On this site, I’ve written about the health benefits and weight loss benefits of both oolong tea (also known as wu long tea) and green tea.
Lately, however, I’ve been receiving review requests for Wu Yi tea — a tea apparently boasting fat burning and metabolism boosting powers far beyond those offered by plain oolong tea or green tea.
To determine whether there is any fact to this claim, let’s first ask the most obvious question… what is Wu-Yi tea?
According to my friend and tea aficionado Julian Tai from Amazing-Green-Tea.com…
“Wuyi tea is not a single tea variety, but refers collectively to the teas grown in the Wuyi Mountain of Fujian Province in China.
Some vendors in the West sell Wuyi green tea, which is unheard of in China. Wuyi Mountain is renowned for producing oolong tea, not green tea.”
According to Julian, the Wu-Yi area produces some of the most sought after oolong teas, like Dahongpao, which has a unique taste because of the high mineral content of the wu-yi mountains.
OK, so there you have it. Wu Yi tea ia not a “different” type of tea — it is a type of oolong tea grown in the Wu Yi mountains.
So that puts a bit of a damper on the “more powerful than other teas” type of claim I’ve been seeing a lot of lately.
As I wrote in my original oolong tea review, there is some evidence this tea can elevate the metabolism and even reduce dietary lipid absorption (see J Med Invest. 2003 Aug;50(3-4):170-5, J Nutr. 2001 Nov;131(11):2848-52, Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Jan;23(1):98-105, Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Nov;60(11):1330-6). It also offers a myriad of other health benefits that makes it a great addition to any supplement regimen.
I also noted that although there is a trend towards weight loss, we need to be careful before jumping to conclusions. Most studies were performed on a very small group of participants. Such studies are less valuable than those performed on a much larger cross section of individuals.
Second, even if the conclusions reached are completely accurate, the results were hardly dramatic. For instance, the actual number of additional calories you’ll burn as a result of consuming this tea is relatively minor (anywhere between 100-200, depending on a large number of factors). So if you continue to over-consume calories in a significant manner, don’t expect either oolong, Wu-Yi, green tea — or any other tea for that matter — to do anything for you.
Several of the online retailers of Wu-Yi teas claim to be selling a polyphenol-enriched product (polyphenols are one of the core constituents of both green and oolong tea that contribute to their weight loss characteristics).
While this may make these teas more potent than other non-enriched products, the problem is that online retailers have a terrible track record. Since they are free to conduct business nearly “un-policed” by anyone (neither the U.S. Federal Trade Commission or the FDA has anywhere near the amount of staff required to keep tabs on any but the tiniest percentage of retailers selling online), the retailers often say (and do) whatever they want.
Several retailers are offering “free trial” offers which lead into recurring billing >programs. I always recommend you avoid doing business with companies that use such programs — they are only in place for the benefit of the retailer, not you. You can read more about the 5-7 day free trial scam here!
So are these Wu-Yi teas actually enriched with polyphenols? And if they are, to what extent?
Only a trip to a lab can confirm these claims.
I’m excited by the health benefits offered by both quality oolong and green tea. For the last 2 months or so, I’ve been drinking about 1 liter per day of either oolong (wu long) or green tea and I really feel it plays a helpful role in my current effort to trim down a bit. Of course, I’m also eating right, doing a lot more cardio, and cutting back on the snacking at night too.
In other words, it’s helpful, but it will not “melt fat” as advertised, and unless you make the appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle, you probably won’t notice much.
If you’d like to experiment with either oolong or green tea, I’d recommend checking my friend Julian’s site, Amazing-Green-Tea.com. He sells some of the highest grade Chinese teas in the world. His is the only tea I buy now.
Postscript: One of our newsletter subscribers, Joan Marx, sent in this “taste” tip …
“I have been using the Wu Yi tea and just wanted to offer a suggestion to your readers. I am not much of a tea drinker so I added just a little bit of orange juice to the tea and it really tasted quite good.”