Green Tea For Diabetes
By Anthony Almada, MS

Although the bulk of the tea we drink in the United States is black, the green variety is slipstreaming behind, ready to overtake. The reason? Green tea spells health—especially for people with diabetes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reported that green tea's popular catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), could enhance the action of insulin. In fact, researchers have found that EGCG influences the primary way glucose moves into cells, but these tests were not done on humans.

Other test-tube and animal studies show similar results. In one study, researchers found that EGCG may also help diabetics by mimicking the actions of insulin and muting the liver's production of glucose (gluconeogenesis), thus lowering blood sugar. In another study, researchers gave a green-tea extract to animals with chemically induced diabetes and found that the tea lowered blood glucose levels. The liver produces some glucose, but we also take in glucose in our food. Recent investigations suggest green tea and its catechins may reduce the amount of glucose that passes through the intestine into the bloodstream, thereby blunting blood-sugar spikes.

Although green tea's benefits hold promise for people with diabetes, be careful not to steep yourself in these favorable test-tube and animal studies. Instead, look for upcoming and warranted green-tea findings in humans.

Nutrition and exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, MS, has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies, is co-founder of Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS), and is founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition.