Green tea and its polyphenol components have been investigated as possible functional foods for a range of applications. Dulloo et al. (1999) investigated whether a green tea extract, by virtue of its high content of caffeine and catechin polyphenols, could increase 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. This was a placebo-controlled experiment and caffeine at the level in the green tea extract was also studied on its own as a second control. It was concluded that green tea has thermo-genic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that accounted for by caffeine. Hence, green tea extract may play a role in the control of body composition via sympathetic activation of thermogenesis, fat oxidation or both.
In Japan, the Kao Corporation has launched a FOSHU product called 'Healthya' which is a 300 ml green tea beverage with an enhanced catechin content. The 540 mg of catechin makes the product extremely bitter. Indeed the product may curb appetite in several ways. The claim for the product is 'this product is suitable for people who are conscious of fat'.
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