Imagine shedding pounds while sipping a nice cup of green tea. Wouldn’t that be great?
Starting the conversation about whether green tea can help with weight loss is essential to touch on the basics.
How do we lose weight?
The main driver for weight loss is an energy deficit. We know that energy intake that exceeds our needs will result in weight gain. Most will agree that reducing calorie intake can be challenging and can get pretty uncomfortable.
To sustain weight loss over time, you have to be consistent with your nutritional intake and, ideally, with your activity levels. Many will seek support or an easier way to do it. It is a no-brainer why the weight loss supplements industry is booming and raising millions of dollars yearly.
Why people turn to Green Tea for weight loss
Green tea is often promoted for weight loss in the form of a drink or a supplement. Hence, there are many studies on green tea’s weight loss effects. It is an ancient drink used in China and Japan for medicinal purposes and is a common drink in most parts of the world nowadays.
Green tea extract is a popular addition to various supplements promising weight loss benefits. Fat burners, detoxes, training supplements, and pre-workout drinks may have green tea extract as a component.
So, should you be adding it to your weight loss regimen? What are the benefits, and are there any risks? We will dive deeper into whether drinking your green tea may help to lose weight.
Green Tea for weight loss: What does the science say?
Green tea is made from processed Camellia Sinensis plant leaves. It is rich in bioactive compounds primarily found in plants – polyphenols. Interestingly, caffeinated teas: black, oolong, and green tea, are made from the same plant but are processed differently. Green tea contains the most phenolic compounds of all of them. Catechins, most predominantly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and caffeine, are tied to weight loss effects in green tea.
Current studies don’t support the claim that green tea can significantly aid weight loss. The mixture of EGCG and caffeine may have some positive effects on weight loss or weight management. But if we look at most studies, the bottom line is that weight loss from green tea is really small and clinically not significant. It’s also important to note that most studies use high-dose green tea extracts.
Traditionally preparing tea with dried leaves or tea bags and hot water, we get way lower concentrations of both catechins and caffeine. On top of that, many studies are done in a lab environment. Enjoying a cup of green tea will provide some caffeine and polyphenols, but the effect on weight loss is minimal, if any.
Possible benefits of Green Tea
- Green tea is a zero-calorie drink and can be an excellent swap for soda or other higher-calorie beverages. Enjoying a cup of green tea can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. A cup of tea adds to a total fluid intake.
- Green tea has around 20-50mg of caffeine and can be a daily boost with a safe amount of stimulation.
- It can be a part of a weight loss routine, for example – as a pre-workout drink, a “pick me up” drink with your snack or meal.
- A high content of polyphenols in green tea may have some additional health benefits due to the antioxidant properties of these compounds.
- Green tea is generally safe to consume and has been used for centuries, so the risk is minimal.
- If you choose a supplement like green tea extract, it can pose a risk of liver damage, especially for someone with liver disease. That mainly pertains to taking green tea extracts in a pill form.
- The supplement industry needs to be better regulated, so choosing not third-party tested and choosing high doses of green tea extract may be harmful to your health.
- If you are pregnant or sensitive to caffeine, consuming very high quantities of green tea may not be the best idea.
- Too much green tea at night may disturb sleep and disrupt weight loss, especially for those sensitive to caffeine.
Summary and the bottom line:
While many studies look for various benefits of green tea or its extract, most do not show significant effects on weight loss. However, most studies with some
positive results use high-concentration green tea extracts and not actual cups of tea.
There are some benefits of drinking green tea in addition to a calorie deficit and an active lifestyle for weight loss. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and can be an excellent addition to your weight loss regimen and a balanced diet.
Green tea, instead of a high-calorie drink, reduces total calorie intake. An additional cup of tea helps to stay better hydrated.
It is unlikely to have significant results as far as weight loss only by drinking green tea without other changes in your energy intake.