It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Does green tea extract help control blood sugars?

Is green tea extract effective in controlling blood glucose? Is it better just to drink a cup of green tea daily?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Green tea

I would avoid all green tea extract products: they have been clearly associated with liver failure. There's no guarantee that the company making them has quality controls in place to make sure of no contaminants. Likewise, many have been taken off of the market by the FDA because of the inclusion of pharmaceutical-grade medications. There are very poor controls on the supplement industry and I never recommend any of these sorts of herbal products to anyone for any reason.

Green tea, on the other hand, has been shown to have health benefits and would be a great choice. It appears to help prevent cancers of the digestive system in general as well as stomach cancer in particular. Tea that's too hot, however, might contribute to esophageal cancer.

This also reinforces the idea that fresh products are good for you and those that are processed are not.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet