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Matcha Green Tea Enhances Fat Utilization During Brisk Walking in Women

Research in 2006 demonstrated that, “chronic intake of green tea extract,” enhanced fat oxidation during swimming and running in mice. In 2008, similar research in men reported enhanced fat oxidation with prior green tea extract during thirty minutes of cycling exercise at 60% of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 Max) – utilized the day before and one hour prior to testing.

Previous human research on the potential fat-oxidation effect of green tea during exercise utilized a capsule form versus brewed green tea in liquid form – easily available to the public.

Matcha green tea powder, which contains catechins and caffeine, would be easily mixed in water and provide a higher amount of the active polyphenol EGCG, a bioactive compound that enhances fat oxidation. WebMD says, “catechins, a type of disease-fighting flavonoid and antioxidant, are the keys to tea’s health benefits.”

Research—”Matcha Green Tea Drinks Enhance Fat Oxidation During Brisk Walking in Females”—appearing in the September issue of the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism – chose to “examine the effect of the consumption of Matcha on substrate oxidation, physiological responses, and perceived intensity during brisk walking in females.”

Researchers from the Universities of Chichester and Worcester in the United Kingdom and Hacettepe University in Turkey recruited thirteen recreationally active, healthy women between the ages of 19 to 35, who visited their laboratory on three separate occasions in advance of exercise testing.

During the first visit, each participant was assessed for height, body mass, resting oxygen consumption, and an incremental (five, 8-minute stages) treadmill walking test, which measured expired air, to determine walking speed and oxygen consumption, measured in METS, a measure of metabolism.

On the subsequent two visits, participants, either with or without consuming the Matcha, were tested in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Prior to the testing, all participants of this randomized, crossover study, refrained from strenuous, unaccustomed exercise for 48 hours, while curtailing alcohol and caffeine consumption.

The Matcha participants consumed three 1-gram (which contains 143 milligrams of catechins and 30 milligrams of caffeine) servings of Matcha powder mixed with water at meal time on the days prior to testing. The total powder intake translated to four cups of Matcha green tea in a 24- hour period, according to the researchers.

On the test day, participants consumed 1 gram of Matcha mixed with water two hours before arrival and after an overnight fast. Food intake for visits two and three were asked to be the same for consistency – verified by a nutritional assessment.

Participants were asked to walk on a treadmill at a five to six MET level—a moderate pace—for thirty minutes, while expired air was collected along with heart rate and a rate of perceived exertion determination; all were used to determine whole-body fat, carbohydrate oxidation, and protein utilization rates.

The researchers concluded that “drinking just four cups of Matcha green tea in 24-hours enhanced fat oxidation during brisk walking in healthy females. The composition of Matcha green tea leaves is sufficient for habitual Matcha drinking to provide beneficial metabolic responses during brisk walking.”

It was also emphasized that “observations of enhanced fat oxidation in this study seem to indicate that it is possible a cup of Matcha provides essential catechins, for example, EGCG, and caffeine, in amounts that cannot be achieved with a cup of traditional brewed green tea. The caffeine intake in this study was very small: a total of 120 mg over 24 hours.”

However, “when regular, moderate-intensity exercise is undertaken as part of a weight loss program, the effects of Matcha should not be overstated.”

It appears that the Japanese—some of the world’s largest consumers of green tea—may have figured out centuries ago, that many foods, in the correct proportion, frequency, and volume, can enhance metabolic efficiency.

Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise, diet, or nutritional supplementation program.

Mackie and April share exerises every Wednesday on WWL-TV