When it comes to weight loss, a quick fix can seem especially tempting. From fad diets to potentially dangerous pills, there seems to be an ever-growing market of products and programs that promise to help you shed those extra pounds for good.
Perhaps even more alluring are the many “health foods” that seem to have a more legitimate claim to boosting your metabolism and improving other physiological functions. The latest craze? Matcha tea. You know something is trendy when Starbucks starts selling it.
So what exactly is matcha? Matcha is a specially grown and ground green tea that originated in Japan. The plants are grown in the shade for three weeks, which increases its chlorophyll and theanine content (the latter is an amino acid group that promises to boost mental acuity), as well as its grassy flavor and bright green color. The stems and veins are removed from the leaves prior to grinding, so that drinkers consume the leaf in its entirety.
The promise? Matcha has been said to burn fat, increase concentration, boost energy and even fight cancer. It might be a great marketing tool aimed at the health-conscious crowd, but how do these claims measure up against the science?
“This is purely speculative,” Dr. Dirk says. “The studies suggesting that catechins or flavanoids are curative are based on people or subjects that already engage in healthy lifestyles; these studies are unable to isolate the products in the tea as the specific cure or preventer.”
So if matcha tea isn’t the answer, what can you do for your health and weight? The answer is simple, according to Dr. Dirk.
“Preventing disease comes from not smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, eating a balanced diet, staying away from junk food and getting in an hour of cardio exercise every day,” Dr. Dirk explains.
It may sound less flashy and tempting than a quick fix from a faraway land, but when it comes to your health, long-term lifestyle changes are what will allow for sustainable health. If matcha really is your cup of tea, enjoy it for its flavor, but don’t depend on it for your health.