A new study in rats suggests that caffeine may offset some of the negative effects of an obese diet by reducing the storage of lipids in fat cells and limiting weight gain and the production of triglycerides.
Rats that consumed the caffeine extracted from mate tea gained 16% less weight and accumulated 22% less body fat than rats that consumed decaffeinated mate tea, scientists from the University of Illinois found in a new study.
The effects were similar for both synthetic caffeine and that extracted from coffee.
“In view of the results, mate tea and caffeine can be considered as anti-obesity agents.”
Mate tea is a herbal drink that is rich in phytochemicals, and flavonoids
“class =” glossaryLink “> amino acids It is consumed as a stimulant by people in southeastern Latin American countries. The amount of caffeine per serving in mate tea is between 65 and 130 milligrams, compared to 30 to 300 milligrams of caffeine in a cup of brewed coffee, according to the study.
For four weeks, the rats in the study ate a diet that was 40% fat, 45% carbohydrates, and 15% protein. They also ingested one of the forms of caffeine in amounts equivalent to that of a person who drinks four cups of coffee a day.
At the end of the four week period, the percentage of lean body mass differed significantly in the different groups of rats. The rats that ingested caffeine from mate tea, coffee, or synthetic sources accumulated less body fat than rats in the other groups.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Functional Foods, complements a growing body of research suggesting that mate tea may help fight obesity, along with other beneficial health effects of the phenolic compounds, vitamins, and flavonoids it contains.
“In light of the results, mate tea and caffeine can be viewed as anti-obesity remedies,” said Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, co-author of the study and director of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois. “The results of this research could be transferred to humans to understand the role of mate tea and caffeine as potential strategies for preventing overweight and obesity and the subsequent metabolic disorders associated with these disorders.”
According to the study, the accumulation of lipids in the adipocytes in the rats was significantly associated with greater body weight gain and increased body fat.
“Consuming caffeine from partner or other sources mitigated the negative effects of a high-fat diet high in sucrose on body composition due to the modulation of certain lipogenic enzymes in both adipose tissue and liver.”
To determine the mechanism of action, the scientists carried out cell culture studies in which they exposed fat cells from mice to synthetic caffeine or the coffee or partner caffeine extracts. They found that regardless of its source, caffeine reduced the accumulation of lipids in fat cells by 20 to 41%.
Scientists also tracked the expression of several genes associated with obesity and lipid metabolism. That included the fat acid Synthase gene (Fasn), an enzyme compound involved in the synthesis of fatty acids from glucose; and the lipoprotein lipase gene (Lpl), which codes for an enzyme that degrades triglycerides.
All caffeine treatments, regardless of their origin, significantly downregulated the expression of Fasn and Lpl. In the cell cultures, Fasn expression decreased by 31 to 39%, while Lpl expression decreased by 51 to 69% in cells treated with synthetic caffeine or caffeine from mate tea or coffee.
In the rats that consumed the mate tea caffeine, Fasn expression decreased by 39% in their adipose tissue and by 37% in their livers.
The decreased expression of Fasn and two other genes in the liver also led to lower production of lipoprotein cholesterol and low-density triglycerides in the liver, according to the study.
“Consuming caffeine from mate or other sources has mitigated the negative effects of a high-fat diet high in sucrose on body composition due to the modulation of certain lipogenic enzymes in both adipose tissue and liver,” said de Mejia. “The decreased expression of Fasn and Lpl led to a lower synthesis and accumulation of triglycerides in adipose tissue.”
Reference: “Caffeine, but no other phytochemicals, in mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire) weakens lipogenesis and fat accumulation with a high fat content and a high sucrose content, ”said Fatima J. Zapata, Miguel Rebollo-Hernanz, Jan E. Novakofski, Manabu T. Nakamura and Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, November 1, 2019, Journal of Functional Foods.
DOI: 10.1016 / j.jff.2019.103646
The then PhD student Fatima J. Zapata was the main author of the study, which was jointly written by PhD student Miguel Rebollo-Hernanz, Professor of Animal Science Jan E. Novakofski and Professor of Nutritional Science Manabu T. Nakamura.
The work was funded by the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois.