As the obesity rate in America reaches what many call an epidemic, the quest for weight loss aids, remedies and boosters sometimes includes substances that are less than desirable. When it comes to caffeine and ephedrine, however, some researchers believe the benefits far outweigh the concerns. Despite the beliefs, however, a ban on Ephedra remains in effect in the United States. Caffeine, however, is still widely in use.
With the ban going strong on some supplements that help with weight loss, many people find themselves wondering how they can reap similar rewards. Research points to the benefits of tea, which does contain some caffeine, as a strong weight loss aid that offers a natural alternative.
How Bad Is The Obesity Problem?
Millions of Americans of all ages are classified as "obese" in regard to their weight. The problem cuts across racial, socio-economic, religious and state lines.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has been on the rise in a very dramatic way for the last two decades. The CDC's own figures show that only four states had obesity rates of less than 20 percent in 2006. Out of the states with high obesity rates, some 22 had at least 25 percent of their population classified as obese. Two states - Mississippi and West Virginia - had rates that topped 30 percent.
With numbers like these and the fact that obesity can lead to some serious health concerns, it's little wonder many people seek out aids to help them drop pounds.
Health Concerns That Make Obesity A Real Problem
Obesity is considered major problem because it has been strongly linked with several very serious illnesses. People who are obese, have a higher risk of developing:
High blood pressure Heart disease Diabetes Some forms of cancer Osteoarthritis Sleep apnea Diseases such as gallbladder disease and liver disease Pregnancy complications
When weight is brought under control, most people find the risks of serious complications are reduced greatly. In addition, overall health and energy levels can rise dramatically.
A Look At Caffeine And Ephedrine
Caffeine and ephedrine both have been proven quite useful in the battle against the bulge. The safety of these two agents, however, has been brought into question in recent years. Thanks to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, these two items were put to use in a very big way in creating products to help with weight loss. Unfortunately, as is the case with almost any supplements, those containing ephedrine and caffeine have been misused by some. The United States effectively banned the use of Ephedra for weight loss on Feb. 6, 2004, when the FDA ruled that all dietary supplements that had Ephedra in the mix posed risk for illness or injury that was deemed unreasonable.
Despite some potential problems with overdosing, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, concluded prior to the ruling that the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to weight loss. The center pointed to the long history of rather safe, non-prescription use of both caffeine and ephedrine for weight loss. The adverse effects, the center said, are "mild and transient" as compared to the impacts of obesity, which is classified as a chronic problem.
The center's report, however, did conclude that further study should take place. It did and now those on the quest for weight loss aids find themselves short one tool that used to prove effective.
This leaves the question of what else can work. Is there a safer, better way? Many say yes and that it's found in tea.
Tea Is An Excellent Alternative To Medications
While Pennington pointed to supplements that contain caffeine and ephedrine for use in weight loss, there are other alternatives to obtain the benefits of caffeine and other fat-fighting agents. Tea happens to be one of those agents. While tea does not contain the high caffeine levels of coffee, soft drinks and most especially weight loss medications, it does have some very strong weight loss agents contained within.
Most forms of tea have been shown in medical studies to work very well in helping people increase metabolic rates and even oxidize fat. The studies are numerous and include:
A study on Oolong tea consumption from the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland. This study concluded that oolong tea drinkers can experience an increase of metabolic rate of about 2.9 percent and an increase in fat oxidation of up to 12 percent. A study out of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. This study revealed results that found green tea consumption can increase insulin sensitivity by as much as 13%. The same study also found that fat oxidation can increase by as much as 17%. A study in regard to weight loss and tea from the Osaka University of Foreign Studies. This 12-week study found that those who consumed tea experienced a significant decrease in body fat, especially in the abdominal region.
While the debate rages about over-the-counter prescriptions and weight loss, studies have proven that low-caffeine containing tea can have a very big impact for those who are trying to battle obesity.
Ways To Make Weight Loss Work
In addition to its many other benefits, tea has been shown time and again to be an effective tool in the fight against fat. It, however, cannot do the job on its own. To more effectively battle obesity, it is important to add these things to a routine of drinking tea:
Healthy diet - More effective weight loss comes when tea drinking - or any other measures - are mixed with a healthy, well-balanced, low-calorie diet. Even if weight loss is on tap, the body still needs the right nutrients to function correctly. Exercise - To make the most of a weight loss plan, it is important to get up and get moving. Aerobic and weight training exercises both can combine with other measures to improve overall conditioning, health and fat burning abilities in the body.
While the use of Ephedra for weight loss is out, there are other ways to reap similar rewards. Drinking tea is one healthful and tasty way to get the job done.