Ahhhh, hibiscus tea. A beautifully coloured, but very sour tea…LOL
It is made out of the edible flowers of the hibiscus plant, which grows in tropical regions around the world, including Mexico and Hawaii.
Research found that this high antioxidant tea not only lowers blood pressure and reduces inflammation, but it might even help us with weight loss.
It appears that in Mexican traditional medicine it was used for the treatment of obesity.
Although a calorie deficit is the main tool for weight loss, surely there must be some tweaks around that make it help to boost results.
Maybe this tea could really help?
When I read that, I thought hmmm.…if it is true, why are we not hearing more about this? Could it be that it doesn’t help everyone?
Or that nobody bothered to test it properly because isn’t much profit to be made from a simple herbal tea?
So I did a little digging around and found this. As it turns out, it’s quite a ‘busy’ little tea.
Studies show that hibiscus tea can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels when they drink it before meals.
So this means a lesser need for our hormone insulin which is a fat-layering hormone. Reducing blood sugar and insulin spikes is helpful for weight management.
In addition, we are told that it can also help to overcome insulin resistance.
All this deserves the 1st golden star.⭐
Next, I found that it has natural diuretic properties.
This doesn’t actually help with fat loss though. It simply assists with flushing out excess fluid. Therefore in this case, from a weight loss point of view, it won’t get a golden star.
But then I saw a study with young healthy adults who drank 3 cups of hibiscus tea each day over 6 weeks.
They all saw a good decrease in their hunger levels, compared with those who drank a placebo beverage.
They also experienced reduced cravings for sweets, salty foods, and fast food.
This sounded pretty good. But because they never tested this on older adults, I am unsure if it can decrease hunger levels for people of all age groups and those who have some medical issues.
Certainly adding liquid before a meal can keep you fuller for longer. Certainly worth a try!
So let’s give this half a golden star. However, there was no emoji with just half a star so I reluctantly have to give it a whole one. ⭐
There’s a particular study on hibiscus tea that is being mentioned on a regular basis…I read about it everywhere. Most likely they are copying it from each other.
They wanted to find out if there were any weight loss benefits by consuming a daily dose of 4 grams of hibiscus extract over twelve weeks. And yes, participants using the extract lost more weight than those who did not consume the extract.
But 4g of hibiscus extract is about the equivalent of 9 mugs of hibiscus tea.
C’mon!? Who drinks this much sour tea???
But the good news was that participants didn’t just lose more weight, they also had reduced body fat and increased muscle mass by the end of the study period.
This is certainly an impressive outcome. But I am not a friend of concentrated hibiscus powder.
Upon closer inspection, it turns out that 9 cups of this tea would have way too much manganese and could potentially cause liver damage —
👉 So no golden star for concentrated high doses of hibiscus powder that could damage our liver.
I continued my search to find out about more sustainable amounts of real hibiscus tea for weight management. Not with a supplement.
Hibiscus tea contains vitamin C, which helps with immunity, iron absorption, wound healing, tissue repair and the formation of collagen. That’s a great benefit…which may not necessarily assist with weight control though.
But Dr Greger from nutritionfacts.com mentioned other additional positive things about this tea on his website and in his book called How Not To Diet.
For instance, subjects were given a daily amount of 1 ½ cups of hibiscus tea mixed with a ¼ cup of lemon verbena tea for 2 months.
They tested two groups [one who drank the hibiscus tea, and another group that drank coloured sour water as a placebo]
Well, after both groups followed the exact same calorie diet, the hibiscus people lost eight pounds and the water people lost only 5 lbs.
That’s a pretty good outcome for one daily cup of sour drink, no?
That definitely deserves a golden star! ⭐
But what is the actual active compound in the tea that helped people lose weight?
Well, nobody is quite sure.
Perhaps it is the fat-blocking ingredient in hibiscus tea. It helps to flush out a small percentage of the ingested fats we eat before we can absorb them. Maybe that is the main reason behind the weight loss.
And then, there’s a paper I read on how hibiscus extract could possibly prevent the absorption of carbohydrates by inhibiting the activity of certain enzymes, such as alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase. They are both involved in carbohydrate metabolism.
This deserves another golden star.⭐
Although they are still researching it, I’m curious if they’ll ever find out which active components are the real ‘magic’ ingredient.
But in the meantime, it’s totally worth having a cup or two per day and seeing if after 2 months you can notice some added weight loss benefit.
As Dr Greger points out though: don’t forget to rinse your mouth after drinking such a highly acidic tea. It can damage your tooth enamel.
For me: the acidic taste is a major hurdle. I tried to get over it, but can’t. And when I add a healthy non-caloric sweetener, all I can notice is an acidic sour tea…with a sweetener. 🙄
It doesn’t actually ‘mask’ the sour taste.
I’ll probably stick to milder herbal teas, keeping my fingers crossed that they help the same way.
For me, bring on lovely organic matcha tea powder.
Sweet and delicate with a pretty colour. And it is also well known for its weight management benefit.
What about you? Do you drink hibiscus tea and are you ok with the acidic taste?