Can Green Tea Help you Lose Weight?

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Green tea has become some what of a gym lovers staple, but why is this? For years science has proven that Green tea is a prominent supplement used to aid Weight loss. Being colloquially named as a ‘fat burner’ or ‘fat melter’.

What is Green Tea?

Green Tea is harvested from the Camellia Sinensis plant, a native Chinese plant, later adopted by the Japanese. The plant is a slow growing and tall shrub that can reach heights of 9m. The leaves are the most valuable part of the plant to the grower as these are harvested and dried to produce tea.

We are all mostly familiar with the black tea found in our typical English Breakfast Tea and Builder’s Brew. Green Tea is the un-oxidised form of this. By being un-oxidised it provides a whole wealth of health benefits that Black tea is unable to provide [1]. The main actives for Green tea are polyphenols such as catechins, EGCG. That being said Green tea is also hugely nutritious. Green tea is full of Vitamin C, theanine, valine, glycine, leucine, histadine and much more. Some of Green Tea’s health properties are contributed to its nutrition but the majority are contributed to its caffeine and Catechin content.

What Evidence Ties Green Tea to Weight Loss?

Green Tea has been linked with all aspects of weight loss including, increasing metabolism, energy and body temperature. However, the primary effect is its ability to induce a process call the thermogenesis.

The Thermogenic effect or thermogenesis is brought about by the active Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). ‘Thermo’ means heat and ‘genesis’ means to produce, this put simply is the production of thermal energy. By the laws of energy, it cannot be technically ‘produced’ simply shifted. The energy we consume in the form of kilocalories shifts to produce heat energy. Green Tea is particularly powerful at encouraging the body to produce excess heat energy and thus burn more calories from the food consumed, or excess fat stores within the body. Studies have shown that drinking green tea can increase calories burned by up to 4%. 4% may appear measly but in an average 2000 calorie intake, this is equivalent to 80 calories burned simply by doing nothing. It is not only EGCG that produces this effect but also caffeine. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulator, by doing so it increases our heart rate which causes internal body temperature to rise and burn more calories. Caffeine is less effective than EGCG at stimulating the thermogenic effect.

Moreover, Green tea extract has been linked with a fat ‘burning’ mechanism. Technically, burning is the wrong term, and the correct is ‘fat oxidation’. One study looked at this approach and found that indeed, Green Tea did improve the body’s ability to reduce fat. Groups were given an EGCG tablet including caffeine or just a caffeine tablet. The researchers found that after just 24 hours of taking green tea extract fat oxidation was ‘signficantly improved’. Furthermore, statistical evidence showed a 20% higher rate of fat oxidation generated by Green Tea over caffeine alone [3]. One study measured its effect through weight loss. Two groups were created with different controlled conditions. One group was given a catechin-rich drink (609.3mg/day) and the other group was given a placebo drink containing very little catechins (86.2mg). They drank these for 12 weeks and their weight was measured afterwards. Both groups were given no other instructions to moderate their food, or increase exercise. The research showed that there was a decrease in body weight by an average of 1kg, and a decrease in body fat by as much as 0.7kg[4].

Green Tea is also supposed to reduce the amount of fat stored from excess calories. This is a reasonably new area of research that requires more scientific backing before it is confirmed. A 2006 study found that EGCG is able to inhibit the action of insulin thus preventing the conversion of glucose to fat. This reduces fat storage and increases the energy molecules readily available for use in the body [5].

Other methods to help lose weight…

  • No one thing can help you drop pounds instantly. It is a working progress that must combine healthy eating, a healthy mind and exercise to maintain a good weight. Why not try the following alongside Green Tea to promote weight loss?
    • Exercise at least five times a week, for 30 minutes.
    • Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, lean meats and fish.
    • Mix up your exercise routine, some days you may want to try vigorous exercise such as weight lifting or sprinting and others, moderate exercise, including swimming or jogging.
    • Stay away from high fat, high sugar processed snacks such as cakes, biscuits and chocolates.
    • Why not try other weight loss supplements such as Chitosan, Chromium, Capscium or Garcinia Cambogia.
  1. Botanical Online. (2016). Green Tea - Camellia Sinensis. Available: http://www.botanical-online.com/medicinalsteverdeangles.htm.
  2. Amazing Green Tea. (2006). EGCG and Weight Loss Benefits Green Tea Three-Way Magic - See more at: http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/egcg-and-weight-loss.html#sthash.JF6aLbye.dpuf. Available: http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/egcg-and-weight-loss.html.
  3. Dulloo.AG, et-al. (1999). Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.. American Journal of Clincal Nutrition. 70 (6), Pg. 1040-1045.
  4. Jówko. E. (2015). Chapter 8 : Green Tea Catechins and Sport Performance. In: Lamprecht. M Antioxidants in Sport Nutrition.. Florence: CRC Publishing. eCollection.
  5. Changhong. L, et-al . (2006). Green Tea Polyphenols Modulate Insulin Secretion by Inhibiting Glutamate Dehydrogenase. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 281 (4), Pg. 10214-10221.

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