Does Green Tea Help You Lose Weight & Burn Belly Fat 2023?
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Green tea leaves are from the same tea plant as black tea but have many more health benefits such as reducing the risk of dementia and type 2 diabetes while protecting your heart’s health. Does green tea help you lose weight, though?
Actually, drinking green tea might be one of the best things you can do for healthy weight management. Green tea contains molecules that help regulate our body’s metabolism and increase fat burning, which can help get rid of that stubborn belly fat.
Read on to learn about the science behind green tea for weight loss and how much green tea you need to drink to lose weight.
Can Drinking Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Who’d have thought drinking tea for weight loss actually works? Well, it’s true: green tea can help you burn fat and lose weight.
Many studies agree that regularly consuming green tea daily – as tea or in supplements such as green powder blends – reduces body weight and waist circumference, regulates fat metabolism, and reduces blood pressure and fasting blood glucose.
But how much green tea do you need to consume for these effects?
One study found that one needed to consume green tea for at least eight weeks for weight loss. Strangely, green tea was most effective for weight loss when consumed at lower doses: less than 800 milligrams per day. Some studies even suggest that a dose of fewer than 500 milligrams of green tea has the best weight loss effects.
Does Matcha Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Matcha green tea is similar to normal green tea but rather than leaves that you steep in hot water; it comes as a powder you consume whole. The process of growing tea leaves is different for matcha, too: the tea leaves are grown in the shade and dried carefully, making it more expensive per gram than normal green tea.
When it comes to weight loss, though, matcha might be worth the extra cost. Studies show that consuming one gram of matcha green tea two hours before exercise significantly increased fat burning – although the amount and intensity of exercise remained the same.
However, despite the higher proportion of fat vs. carbohydrate stores contributing to energy production, most studies don’t report changes in body fat percentage or body composition with the consumption of matcha green tea.
Does Green Tea Extract Help You Lose Weight?
If you don’t like the taste of green tea or matcha tea, you could try green tea extract in pill form. But do green tea pills help you lose weight similarly to green tea – even when they don’t contain caffeine?
We know caffeine impacts weight management, but that’s not all that aids weight loss in green tea. In overweight people doing frequent exercise, even decaffeinated green tea extract significantly increased fat burning during exercise, with more energy coming from fat oxidation than from carbohydrates (i.e., glycogen stores). Those consuming decaffeinated green tea extract also increased their exercise intensity by 22.5% relative to those receiving antioxidants or a placebo.
Moreover, studies show that taking a green tea extract pill can also increase fat oxidation in women during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle when fat oxidation is usually lower.
Now we know green tea works for weight loss, how does green tea work exactly?
How Does Green Tea Aid Weight Loss?
Both tea and coffee can help prevent obesity – partially due to the caffeine content and in part by reducing appetite and fat storage while modifying the gut microbiome to support a healthy metabolism. But green tea seems to aid weight loss more than black tea or coffee.
Green tea contains compounds that aid weight loss by
- Increasing exercise-induced fat oxidation.
- Regulating lipid metabolism.
- Reducing appetite.
Unlike black tea, green tea processing skips the oxidation process. This means that green tea leaves contain caffeine, similar to black tea, as well as two unique compounds: catechins and theanine, both of which have surprising weight loss benefits.
Green Tea Catechins
Catechins are powerful antioxidants that lower oxidative stress and inflammation, speed up metabolism, and trigger fat burning during exercise. They can also cross the blood-brain barrier, protect brain cells and increase levels of neurochemicals such as dopamine.
There are several catechins in green tea: epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, epigallocatechin, or EGC, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechins. EGCG is one of the most studied catechins due to its potent effects on health and weight.
So, how do green tea catechins help with weight loss?
Catechins Improve Exercise Performance
Exercise increases oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, which can hinder recovery and reduce sports performance. Green tea catechins can lower oxidative stress and inflammation, speeding up recovery and hence improving sports performance.
This reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation can aid weight loss because the more you exercise, the more weight you’ll lose. Also, higher dopamine levels can make you more likely to follow through with challenges, such as making a habit of doing exercise.
Catechins Promote Brain Health
Green tea can slow brain aging and improve brain function, especially attention and memory. If you’re focused on the task at hand, you’ll probably be less likely to get up and get the cookie jar, meaning less snacking and fewer daily calories.
The reduced susceptibility to depression might also help, as depressed people are less likely to exercise and are more likely to cope with their emotions with food than non-depressed people.
Catechins Inhibit Hunger Levels
Ghrelin is our hunger hormone, and leptin is our satiety hormone. Levels of these hormones can become unregulated in obesity. For instance, metabolic syndrome is associated with low fasting ghrelin levels, and increasing your ghrelin levels might promote healthy weight management.
Studies suggest that regularly drinking green tea regulates ghrelin and leptin levels, which can help regulate food intake. These anti-obesity effects are attributed to green tea’s ECGC content.
Other compounds present in green tea with anti-obesity potential are the free amino acids l-theanine and l-arginine, which have stress-reducing properties.
Stress can hinder weight management and even promote weight gain, so managing your stress levels is important for sustainable weight loss.
L-arginine can also increase fat burning and is best taken on an empty stomach two hours after eating to burn fat while retaining muscle mass.
Finally, similarly to black tea, green tea contains caffeine. Studies show that consuming caffeine or coffee is associated with better weight management.
Studies show that caffeine increases exercise-induced fat burning when exercising fasted, but tea seems to increase fat burning even more due to the catechin content. Having said that, caffeine might not be what it’s cracked up to be. It turns out there’s a huge “placebo effect” when it comes to the effect of caffeine (or not) on fat oxidation. One study found that simply informing participants, they’d received caffeine, when, in fact, it was a cellulose pill, increased fat oxidation as much as those who’d actually received caffeine.
How To Drink Green Tea For Weight Loss?
If it hasn’t worked for you (yet), you might be drinking the wrong kind of tea – or drinking it at the wrong time. Here’s how to drink green for weight loss.
When To Drink Green Tea
The most crucial impact of green tea is its effect on increasing exercise-induced fat oxidation. As such, green tea should be consumed one to two hours before physical activity. Low-moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking or jogging is best, as that’s when fat oxidation is highest.
It’s also good to drink the tea two hours before or after eating to take full advantage of l-theanine and arginine.
How To Brew Green Tea
Green tea should be brewed for up to three minutes at 61-87 degrees Celsius to produce the best flavor with the least bitter-tasting compounds.
Two grams of green tea is usually used per 100 milliliters of water, but studies suggest that less than one gram of green tea per day is more optimal for weight loss.
Certain compounds in citrus fruits might increase the antiobesity effect of green tea, so try adding a slice or two of lemon to your tea.
Other Health Benefits Of Green Tea
As well as weight loss, drinking green tea daily is linked to other health benefits, including
- Reducing the risk of some types of cancer, especially lung cancer, digestive cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.
- Improved cognitive function, especially memory and attention.
- Improved symptoms of depression.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Reduced risk of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
- Improved blood sugar balance.
- Lowered blood cholesterol levels (evidence mostly comes from animal-based studies).
- Lowered oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Improved sports performance.
- Reducing the risk of influenza virus and coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
- Might improve symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis.
Potential Side Effects
Some studies suggest that green tea or green tea extract can increase the risk of gastrointestinal side effects, especially nausea. This is more likely when consuming green tea on an empty stomach.
Be sure to check whether green tea interacts with any medications you’re taking before consuming it regularly.
Consuming too much green tea or EGCG has been linked to liver damage and failure. However, this only seems to occur with concentrated high-EGCG green tea extract supplements, not with EGCGs from brewed green tea. The safe upper limit of EGCGs from supplements and extracts is 308 milligrams per day, while the safe amount of EGCGs from brewed green tea is thought to be as high as 704 milligrams per day.
When handled and stored correctly, tea shouldn’t harbor fungi. However, poor storage can lead to mold growing in tea leaves, which produce compounds called “mycotoxins” that can harm human health. Although one study found that the levels of mycotoxins in samples of green tea weren’t enough to cause concern, we recommend buying your green tea from a known brand or trusted supplier to be on the safe side.
The Bottom Line
Green tea has various health benefits, but does green tea help you lose weight? Yes, studies show that green tea can aid weight loss by increasing fat burning and reducing fat storage.
We recommend combining drinking green tea daily with a healthy diet and lifestyle, including regular exercise.
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