Is wu-long tea really a fat-burning miracle? There are so many wild and unsupported claims about foods and herbs that are supposed to help you lose weight. So it's rather refreshing to find that wu-long tea, which is being touted as the new weight loss miracle, actually has some scientific studies that back up the claims.

However, you may discover that you'll pay less for this tea if you buy it using the traditional spelling of its name - oolong tea and wu-long tea are the same thing, spelled differently.

The most famous study linking wu-long tea with weight loss was published in August of 2003. Researchers at the University of Tokushima School of Medicine and seven other schools found that oolong tea increased the burning of calories by 10%, while women drinking green tea had an metabolic increase of 4%. Both teas increased the burning of fat when drunk after a meal, but wu-long tea appeared to do a better job.

Another Japanese study was done in 2006, and researchers found that oolong tea was able to reduce the absorption of fats eaten during a meal. They found that lipids (fats) were passed through the body in the stool at a higher rate than participants who did not drink the tea after their meals. The tea also had a positive effect on the participant's cholesterol levels.

Green tea has been used traditionally in Japan and other Asian countries by women who a course in miracles  to stay thin. Green tea has also been used as a cancer-preventative.

Green tea, oolong (or wu-long) tea, and black tea all come from the same plant. The differences in the finished product that we drink comes from the differences in how long the three types of tea are processed and fermented. Green tea has been processed the least, and black tea has been processed the most. Oolong tea falls in the middle.

Oolong tea contains about half the caffeine as green tea, but more polymerized polyphenols, the chemical that is thought to increase the metabolism of fats. Although caffeine can increase the metabolism, to some extent, it is evidently not caffeine that makes oolong tea more efficient as a weight loss drink.

Unfortunately, wu-long tea has less of the cancer-fighting properties that is found in green tea. Since green tea is believed to cut the risk of ovarian cancer as much as 50%, you will need to weight the odds. If you drink green tea now, you may not want to switch to oolong tea if you are concerned about cancer - but if you want to lose weight and you don't drink any tea now, you may want the increased metabolic boost you'll get from wu-long tea.

The results of the studies suggest that you will gain the most benefit from the metabolic boost from wu-long tea if you drink it just after a meal. According to Gary Gause, founder and president of Dragonwater Tea, oolong tea has a delicious, complex flavor. Some say it has a "nuanced flavor profile."

Unfortunately, so many people are now buying this tea for weight loss that it supplies are now limited, and prices will probably continue to rise. If you want to try wu-long tea for weight loss, you might want to put in your supplies.