Love coffee? Here's good news for you. According to a latest study, caffeine may help offset some of the negative effects of an obesogenic diet. The scientists reveal that caffeine intake reduces the storage of lipids in fat cells and restricts weight gain and the production of triglycerides. The study was published in the Journal of Functional Foods, the research team from the University of Illinois in US.
For the study, a research team from the University of Illinois in the US examined a group of mice. That rats that consumed the caffeine extracted from mate tea gained 16 per cent less weight and accumulated 22 per cent less body fat than rats who happened to consume decaffeinated mate tea. Similar effects were observed with synthetic caffeine and that extracted from coffee.
Mate tea is an herbal beverage rich in phytochemicals, flavonoids and amino acids, It is widely consumed by people in southeastern Latin American countries. The amount of caffeine per serving in mate tea ranges from 65-130 milligrams, compared with 30-300 milligrams of caffeine in a cup of brewed coffee.
"Considering the findings, mate tea and caffeine can be considered anti-obesity agents. The results of this research could be scaled to humans to understand the roles of mate tea and caffeine as potential strategies to prevent overweight and obesity, as well as the subsequent metabolic disorders associated with these conditions," said study researcher said Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia.
For four weeks, the rats in the study ate a diet that contained 40 per cent fat, 45 per cent carbohydrate and 15 per cent protein. The mice were also made to ingest one of the forms of caffeine in an amount equivalent to that of a human who drinks four cups of coffee daily.
The percentage of lean body mass in the various groups of rats differed significantly, by the end of 4-week long study.
According to the study, the rats that ingested caffeine from mate tea, coffee or synthetic sources accumulated less body fat than rats in the other groups.
The accumulation of lipids in the adipocytes was significantly associated with greater body weight gain and increased body fat in rats, the study revealed.
To better understand the action, scientists performed cell culture studies in which they exposed adipose cells from mice to synthetic caffeine or the coffee or mate caffeine extracts.
Caffeine was found to decrease the accumulation of lipids in adipose cells by 20 per cent-41 per cent, regardless of the source.
In the rats that consumed the mate tea caffeine, expression of Fasn (fatty acid synthase gene, an enzyme compound involved in the synthesis of fatty acids from glucose) decreased by 39 per cent in their fat tissue and by 37 per cent in their livers.
"The consumption of caffeine from mate or from other sources alleviated the negative impact of a high-fat, high-sucrose diet on body composition due to the modulation of certain lipogenic enzymes in both adipose tissue and the liver," de Mejia said.
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