October 4/College Station, Pa./Obesity-- It can be sold as dried leaves or included in bottled beverages and dietary supplements, but no matter how green tea comes packaged, its antioxidant load is thought to improve metabolic health and reduce inflammation. Recently, researchers at Penn State University announced that a green tea-based compound appears to slow weight gain in laboratory mice.

A study appearing in the journal Obesity stated that when fed epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), mice gained weight 45% slower, even when given a high-fat diet.

EGCG is a substance derived from green tea leaves, and previous studies have identified it as a powerful antioxidant. The new investigation added that it seems to boost health by preventing the absorption of some fats in the digestive tract.

Researchers estimated that a human would have to drink 10 cups of green tea to match the amount given to mice relative to their size. Still, even a few cups of the beverage or an herbal supplement may reduce inflammation and prevent excess weight gain, the team said.

"Human data -- and there's not a lot at this point -- shows that tea drinkers who only consume one or more cups a day will see effects on body weight compared to nonconsumers," co-author Joshua Lambert noted.

 From the October 5, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.