Drink it up

Study shows caffeine from mate tea effective in warding off weight gain

Next time you’re at the grocery store, it might be worth reaching for some mate tea. Studies of the herbal infusion—made from brewing the dried leaves of a species of holly plant—already have reported benefits of protecting against infection and inflammation, lowering cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular damage. But the tea also is effective when it comes to suppressing weight gain, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Functional Foods. Scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gave caffeine from mate tea to rats with a high-fat and high-sugar diet (the equivalent of about four cups of coffee per day for humans). The results? They gained 16 percent less weight and 22 percent less body fat than those given decaffeinated mate. The outcome was similar when the rodents were fed synthetic caffeine and caffeine from coffee as well, concluding that mate tea and caffeine itself can be considered as “anti-obesity agents.”