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Slimming on oolong

Without skimping on portions, rats eating diets including oolong tea gain less weight than those dining teafree, a new study finds. The tea apparently impairs the body's ability to absorb fat.

The finding supports a weight-control strategy—oolong consumption—advocated by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, note Lauren E. Budd and her colleagues at the University of California, Davis.

The researchers worked with a strain of adult female rats that spontaneously become obese on a normal diet. For 10 weeks, the team let the animals eat all they wanted but laced the chow of some with a dried extract of brewed tea. Although all the animals ate about the same amount, Budd says, those getting 2 and 4 percent of their food as tea extract by weight gained only about 40 and 20 grams, respectively, over the period. Rats consuming unsupplemented chow packed on roughly 120 grams each.

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