Consuming caffeine may have ‘unhealthful consequences’

Islamabad (13th Jan, 2020): Research suggests caffeine consumption may have unhealthful consequences.

According to a new study conducted in rats, while caffeine can counter some weight gain caused by diet that is high in sugar and fat, it can also offset “unhealthful consequences”.

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The research team at the University of Illinois reportedly fed a high-fat and high-sugar diet to rats. They added caffeine extracted from mate tea for some of the rats while they gave decaffeinated mate tea to the remaining rodents. It was confirmed that the rats who were given the caffeine extract gained about sixteen percent less weight and almost twenty-two percent less body fat in comparison to the rats that consumed the decaffeinated extract.

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However, it was inferred that ‘anti-obesity effects’ were similar in rats that consumed caffeine either in its synthetic form or as an extract. Following the analysis of the rats’ cells, the scientist further discovered that caffeine exerts some of its effects by ‘altering the expression of certain genes’.

According to the study, the research team divided the rats into groups, six of which were given a high-fat, high-sugar diet for nearly twenty-eight days. Additionally, five of the groups were provided supplements of the following:

  • synthetic caffeine
  • mate tea that contained caffeine
  • extract of caffeine (mate tea)
  • caffeine extract from coffee
  • decaffeinated mate tea

Moreover, the amount of caffeine was reportedly equivalent to the amount that humans ingest by drinking approximately four cups of coffee in a single day, respectively. At the end of the twenty-eight days, a marked difference was discovered, with regards to body mass among the six groups of rats.

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The rats that had been given caffeine from any of the above sources, had gained less body fat in comparison to the non-caffeine group. Furthermore, a link was discovered between the storage of lipid in fat cells, increase in body weight, as well as rise in body fat levels, respectively.

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According to the research team, these findings add to the ever-increasing knowledge about the potential of mate tea in combating obesity. Moreover, it is inferred that this is in addition to other health benefits conferred by the vitamins such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds frequently present in herbal tea.

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Yerba mate or simply Mate tea, is a drink made from the Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire tree leaves. This is quite popular in South America, especially countries such as Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and others where its consumption ranges between three to ten kilograms per capita.

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Apart from studying the effects of caffeine in its various forms, the research team also investigated the effects in cell cultures, for which they exposed the fat cells from the rats to all three forms of caffeine, namely the synthetic, the coffee extracted and the mate extracted, respectively. The results were inferred as follow:

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lipid buildup in the fat cells decreased to an almost twenty to forty-one percent irrespective of the type of caffeine used.

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