Subacute Ingestion of Caffeine and Oolong Tea Increases Fat Oxidation without Affecting Energy Expenditure and Sleep Architecture: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blinded Cross-Over Trial

Nutrients. 2020 Nov 28;12(12):3671. doi: 10.3390/nu12123671.


Ingesting oolong tea or caffeine acutely increases energy expenditure, and oolong tea, but not caffeine, stimulates fat oxidation. The acute effects of caffeine, such as increased heart rate and interference with sleep, diminish over 1-4 days, known as caffeine tolerance. During each 14-day session of the present study, 12 non-obese males consumed oolong tea (100 mg caffeine, 21.4 mg gallic acid, 97 mg catechins and 125 mg polymerized polyphenol), caffeine (100 mg), or placebo at breakfast and lunch. On day 14 of each session, 24-h indirect calorimetry and polysomnographic sleep recording were performed. Caffeine and oolong tea increased fat oxidation by ~20% without affecting energy expenditure over 24-h. The decrease in the respiratory quotient by oolong tea was greater than that by caffeine during sleep. The effect of oolong tea on fat oxidation was salient in the post-absorptive state. These findings suggest a role of unidentified ingredients in oolong tea to stimulate fat oxidation, and this effect is partially suppressed in a postprandial state. Two weeks of caffeine or oolong tea ingestion increased fat oxidation without interfering with sleep. The effects of subacute ingestion of caffeine and oolong tea differed from the acute effects, which is a particularly important consideration regarding habitual tea consumption.

Keywords: body temperature; caffeine tolerance; carbohydrate oxidation; fat oxidation; respiratory quotient; whole room indirect calorimetry.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Tea*


  • Tea
  • Caffeine