There is good news and bad news about the Wu-Long Tea Diet that is so prevalent on the internet today. Do any search for “lose weight fast” and you will eventually find yourself reading an advertisement for Wu-Long Tea. These expensive programs claim quick weight loss results if you consume their mysterious and previously “unavailable” tea blends. Although some research studies absolutely support the fact that Wu-Long tea speeds up metabolism, the amazing truth is that all teas have those same qualities. Also, you don’t need to buy Wu-Long tea from these overpriced sources because they’re not selling anything you can’t already purchase at the local grocery store.
Wu-Long = Oolong
First, let me eliminate the mystery: Wu-Long tea is the same thing as Oolong tea. It is simply another translation into the English alphabet. A few years ago, certain companies began using this alternative translation in an attempt to deceive the public. They hoped that dieters would think a new secret tea blend had come from Asia to magically increase their metabolism. And, unfortunately, it worked.
Many people were deceived and spent too much money on something they already owned. Oolong tea is probably served in your local Chinese restaurant. Of course, it certainly is a delicious and healthy beverage, but, it is not some secret formula that is only known to these diet companies trying to hype their weight loss products.
What Is Oolong Tea?
In North America, we typically group tea products into four basic types of teas (white, green, oolong, and black). It should be noted that Chinese classifications are slightly different and include yellow and red teas among other slight alternative groupings.
Whatever the classification scheme, all teas come from the Camellia Sinensis bush and are so named by the way they have been processed and the degree of oxidization. White tea is the least oxidized and black tea is the most oxidized. Oolong is semi-fermented, or partially oxidized, and the taste qualities reside between black and green teas. The leaves of oolong vary in color, too, from the less oxidized green shades to the more oxidized dark brown shades.
Sometimes called the “champagne of teas,” oolong tea is richly aromatic with a range of floral flavors that are smooth and complex. The variety of leaf colors is determined by how oxidized they are and also determines the flavor and aroma characteristics. The lighter green the leaves, the more floral the flavor. This complexity makes oolong a favorite among tea connoisseurs.
Mostly cultivated in Taiwan and Southeast China, oolong teas involve the most difficult and time-consuming processing of all four tea classifications. It is vital that the leaves for oolong tea are picked at a particular time and immediately begin the processing stage. The processing starts when the leaves are placed in the sun to wither. Next, the leaves are placed on bamboo mats and are shaken so that they bruise, just slightly, on the edges.
This aspect of the processing is required to partially oxidize the leaves. After being shaken they are placed in the shade until they turn a slight yellow. The entire process is repeated a few times. Once the desired level of oxidation is reached, the leaves are placed in high heat so they will not oxidize any further. They are then dried a final time and packaged. Because oolong teas have less moisture in the leaves they have a longer shelf life than green and white teas (but slightly less than black).
Is Oolong the Only Diet Tea?
As research about the health benefits of teas arise, so do fads and exaggerations. We must beware of the diet hype and lies claiming Wu-Long is the one and only “slimming tea”. The fact is that all teas contain a variety of thermogenetic benefits, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These antioxidants, as well as other helpful ingredients such as fluoride and caffeine, work to fight heart disease and cancer, strengthen bones and teeth, raise metabolism, and improve mental cognition.
So the truth is that dieters and health conscious individuals in general can benefit from drinking all teas. It is also true that white and green teas typically contain more antioxidants than oolong and black teas; however, there are other benefits in the more oxidized teas that are not available when drinking less oxidized teas. For example, Pu’erh teas undergo an additional stage of processing that allows them to age well in contrast to all other teas, and simultaneously lower an individual’s LDL cholesterol.
Lose Weight and Improve Your Health with Any Tea
Go to pubmed.gov and do a search for “tea”. You will find over fourteen-thousand medical studies that have been published and recorded by the US federal government analyzing the benefits of various teas on the human body. The fact is that all tea is good for your health and the best thing you can do is to drink a variety rather than just focus on one particular style looking for some unique benefit that may not exist in other teas. Remember that all tea comes from the same plant.
For those who like a tea with a weaker richness than black tea, but not quite the grassy notes of green tea, oolong offers the perfect compromise. And with so many tastes available, it is worth exploring the immense varieties of all teas to find a suitable match for each and every palate. Certainly give oolong a try and reap the metabolic rewards of this tea. But, don’t fall prey to the claims that Wu-Long tea is the one and only miracle diet beverage. Save your money from these scam artists, look for a reputable company that sells premium quality loose leaf teas, and drink to your health.
Contributed by Steven Van Solkema, Founder and President of LeafSpa Organic Tea.