Arguably one of the best weight loss natural superfoods in existence is green tea. As with any weight loss substance or supplement the most important thing is how you introduce it into your diet. This article explains the relationship between green tea and fat burning and how best to implement.
Green tea is renowned for being one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. It’s as good for the mind as it is for the body and there’s a wealth of research that shows green tea can even help you to lose weight.
In this article, I’m going to concentrate on the weight loss benefits of green tea while also providing an insight into green tea’s value in other areas.
The Beneficial Compounds In Green Tea
Although green tea contains a little potassium and calcium, along with a few other vitamins and minerals, the health-boosting abilities of green tea come from other areas. it is an excellent natural superfood
Green tea can also boost and improve the immune system.
Green tea is packed full of specific kinds of antioxidants called green tea catechins. One type, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), is generally considered to have the most notable value. EGCG and the other catechins in green tea belong to a family of phytochemicals called polyphenols.
Antioxidants are beneficial for the health because they help rid the body of free radicals.
Free radicals are toxins the body picks up from the atmosphere. Food provides free radicals as well. They are also a byproduct of certain biological functions, so the body actually manufactures them as well.
When free radical levels become too high it causes oxidative stress, which has an aging effect. It’s a situation that can also cause disease.
By controlling and reducing free radical activity in the body, the antioxidants in green tea help promote good health.
Most of the weight loss benefits of green tea appear to be directly attributable to EGCG.
Green tea is also a source of caffeine. This natural stimulant that can be found in many plants, including coffee beans and guarana berries, often gets a bad rep.
However, although a few people have problems tolerating caffeine the average person does not have this problem. Negative issues are more likely when people consume too much caffeine. This can be due to drinking too much coffee or too many energy drinks. Some sports supplements and fat burners also contain overly generous doses of caffeine. The problem is not so much the use of caffeine, but it’s misuse.
Although green tea contains caffeine, it has much less than coffee. To put things into perspective, a standard cup of coffee provides around 100-120 mg of caffeine. Certain blends provide 200 mg or more. A cup of green tea typically only provides 24-40 mg per cup.
One of the good things about caffeine is its ability to clear the mind and help improve concentration. It’s also very good at providing extra energy and fighting fatigue. All these abilities give caffeine value as a supplement ingredient.
Nootropic supplements primarily contain caffeine for its ability to clear the mind. Sports supplements contain it because it provides energy. Caffeine is put in diet pills to help to fight diet-related fatigue, but that’s not the only reason.
On top of its other virtues, caffeine is a proven fat burner. It works as a fat burner by boosting metabolism. This causes the body to burn calories faster than normal.
However, research shows the fat burning capabilities of green tea are predominantly due to catechin activity, not caffeine. The same research shows green tea can boost fat burning for up to 24 hours.https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/6/1040/4729179
How Green Tea Helps with Weight Loss
Green tea generally gets the most attention for its abilities as a fat burner. There is evidence to suggest it may assist weight loss in additional ways as well.
Green Tea as a Fat Burner
Green tea’s abilities as a natural weight loss aid have been put to the test in research establishments all over the world. There is no doubt that it works. Though it is important to be aware most studies involve green tea extracts in place of the drink.
Studies show green tea supports fat burning in two ways. First of all, by boosting metabolism and, secondly, by increasing thermogenesis.
1. Green Tea and Metabolism
Metabolism is the process the body uses to extract energy from food and put it to work. This process is ongoing. It does not stop during life.
Metabolism is slowest during periods of rest. This is because, when the body is inert, it only needs to expend energy for normal biological tasks. Things such as breathing and keeping the blood circulating. However, thinking and dreaming require energy too. It’s important to be aware the body uses energy in unexpected ways. It also loses energy as heat. That’s why the skin of a living person is warm.
Energy usage during times of rest is called the resting metabolic rate (RMR). Obviously, during periods of activity the body uses more energy. This is why exercise can play such an important role in an effective weight loss program.
Research shows green tea catechins increase RMR. That means the body is burning extra calories (unit of energy) all the time. That’s more calories while exercising and more during periods of rest.
That in no way means green tea can be used as a replacement for a low-calorie diet. However, it does make it an effective weight loss ally. By increasing metabolism, it helps you to lose more weight than you could simply by diet and exercise alone.
2. Green Tea and Thermogenesis
Studies show the second way green tea encourages fat burning is by increasing thermogenesis.
Thermogenesis is a process common to mammals. It causes energy to exude from the body in the form of heat.
Green tea catechins trigger a slight elevation in body temperature that causes additional energy to radiate from the body in the form of heat. Again, this is extra energy that is lost both during exercise and at rest.
Green Tea and Lipolysis
When the body runs short on calories it begins “burning” fat. This is a somewhat dramatic way of saying it starts getting its energy from its stores of fat.
Before the body can make use of the calories in its stores of fat it has to break down the fat cells to their component parts. The resulting fatty acids and glycerol can then be picked up by the blood and utilized as a source of energy. This process is called lipolysis.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2885771/
Animals studies suggest green tea catechins may aid lipolysis by enhancing the ability of fat burning hormones such a norepinephrine.
This appears to be partly due to EGCG’s ability to inhibit the activity of an enzyme that normally breaks down norepinephrine. The resulting rise in norepinephrine then increases lipolysis.
Although this is all very interesting, it’s important to remember there is a need for research on human volunteers.
It’s equally important to be aware the fat burning ability of green tea has been proven by numerous clinical trials involving humans. The fact that further study is necessary in regards to lipolysis in no way detracts from green tea’s ability to increase metabolism and thermogenesis.
The 60 obese volunteers in one 12-week study burned 183 more calories per day than the placebo group. This helped them to lose 7.3 more pounds than the placebo group.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18006026
Green Tea and Calorie Intake
Some studies conducted on animals suggest green tea may also have appetite suppressing capabilities. Others indicate possible potential as a fat blocker.
Once again, there is a need for further study involving humans. It’s also unlikely the appetite suppression will not be a powerful as that of other plant-based ingredients such as glucomannan.
Nor is it likely that any fat blocking capabilities green tea may possess will be as good as those of nopal cactus extract.
Having said that, anything that helps reduce calorie intake has the potential to boost fat burning.
Hunger is the main reason a lot of diets fail. Green tea may never be a main player as a hunger suppressant, but any help it offers will be a good added bonus alongside its fat burning capabilities.
Likewise, any help with fat blocking will also be useful. Each gram of fat you eat provides nine calories. Be it via nopal, green tea, or some other natural compound, any fat that is blocked will pass through the body without releasing any calories.
Value as Natural Weight Management Aid
Green tea undoubtedly offers the greatest potential as a fat burner. Any additional benefits it may offer are best seen as supplementary.
However, regardless of the various processes that may or may not come into play, green tea has value. It’s one of the best natural weight loss ingredients there is.
Most studies show green tea can boost metabolism by 3-4%. There are even a few study results that show increases of up to 8%.
In real terms, a 3-4% increase in metabolism would allow someone who normally burns 2,000 calories per day to burn an extra 60-80 calories more per day.
An 8% increase in metabolism would allow the same person to burn an extra 160 calories per day.
The other thing to know is not all fat is the same. There’s subcutaneous and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat that builds up under the skin. It functions as a shock absorber that can help protect the underlying muscles and bones from damage.
The subcutaneous fat present in the feet has a cushioning effect while walking and the subcutaneous fat in the buttocks has a similar effect while sitting.
Additionally, subcutaneous fat helps insulate the body. It’s also the type of fat that can alter to become cellulite.
Visceral fat is belly fat. It’s associated with inflammation and insulin resistance. Both these things can contribute to type 2 diabetes, heart disease [remove this if you think it will trip the YMYL filters], and other undesirable health issues.
Some study results suggest green tea catechins may be particularly good at targeting visceral fat.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464611001162
Value In Other Areas
Green tea is such a healthy ingredient it would be criminal to ignore its value in other areas and focus solely on its abilities as a weight loss aid.
This is not a comprehensive list, but a few green tea health benefits include:
Better Cognitive Function
Apart from being a source of caffeine, green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine.
Caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter, adenosine. In so doing, it boosts the concentrations of dopamine, norepinephrine, and other important neurotransmitters while also increasing the firing of neurons.
These changes play a big part in caffeine’s ability to improve mental focus, enhance the mood, increase reaction speed, and improve memory.
Meanwhile, L-theanine increases GABA activity. GABA is a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety.
L-theanine also boosts dopamine and increases (alpha) brainwave activity. The other important thing to know is L-theanine and caffeine share a synergy that allows them to increase cognitive ability in ways they could not do when used individually.
Improved Physical Performance
By increasing lipolysis in the way that it does, green tea provides extra energy. This is in addition to the energy-boosting ability of caffeine, which can boost physical performance by around 12%.
Some research shows green tea catechins can kill bacteria and may also inhibit viruses.
Due to their ability to kill the streptococcus mutans bacteria in the mouth, catechins may also reduce plaque formation. This could help prevent tooth decay. There is even evidence to show green tea can neutralize bad breath.
How to Use Green Tea as a Weight Loss Drink
Normal green tea does not provide the same concentration of catechins as the extracts used in supplements do. However, many people incorporate green tea into their daily routine in an effort to lose weight.
The quality of green tea can vary considerably from one brand to the next. That goes for Matcha green tea varieties too, but Matcha is normally the most powerful option.
You prepare normal green tea by steeping the leaves in hot water. Then you throw the leaves away. Nothing is wasted with Matcha because it’s made by grinding the leaves until they become a fine powder.
Needless to say, a good quality Matcha green tea provides the optimum amount of catechins and nutrients. It also provides dietary fiber, but almost no calories.
Correct Brewing Technique
Regardless of whether you are preparing a cup of Matcha or steeping the leaves in water, the temperature is important. It should be hot, but not boiling.
Boiling water reduces the potency of the catechins. So instead of pouring the freshly-boiled water over the powder, leaves, or tea bag it’s best to let the water stand for a few minutes first. Many people let it stand for up to 10 minutes.
How long you allow the tea to brew is a matter of personal taste. Some people let the brew sit for three or four minutes, others brew it for longer. Obviously, with non-Matcha teas, a longer brew time will increase the potency.
To Sweeten or Not to Sweeten
Some people add sugar to their tea. Others opt for honey and still others drink it unsweetened.
If you are drinking green tea for weight loss, unsweetened is definitely the best way to go. Adding a lot of extra calories in the form of sugar or honey is counterproductive.
In fact, a cup of green tea with sugar or honey is probably a recipe for weight gain instead of weight loss.
If extra sweetness is an absolute must, stevia is a better option. Stevia leaf extract is a natural sweetener that boasts zero calories.
Unfortunately, there are concerns that stevia may lower blood pressure and cause other undesirable complications.
With that in mind, it may be better to add a little ginger or lemon to the tea instead. Ginger aids digestion and provides other favorable health benefits. Lemon is rich in Vitamin C and provides its own polyphenol antioxidants.
The Green Tea Diet
The Green Tea Diet is a structured diet plan made popular by weight loss experts over at Eat This, Not That! website. The diet involves drinking the beverage several times per day for at least 17 days.
To do the diet you need to introduce green tea into a healthy lifestyle. This should include a low-calorie diet and, preferably, regular exercise.
The day begins with a cup of green tea, taken just before breakfast. Further cups are required before each meal. Additional cups are permissible, but experts suggest drinking no more than six per day.
The idea is that, apart from improving fat burning, the presence of the tea in the stomach will help reduce appetite.
Additionally, any fat blocking capabilities the beverage has will act to further reduce the daily intake of calories.
Green Tea Supplements Vs Green Tea the Drink
Green tea is an incredibly healthy beverage. There can be no doubt about it. However, a cup of tea does not provide the same catechin potency as the extracts used in supplements. Extracts are concentrates prepared in a way that ensures maximum power.
Although it’s possible to buy green tea concentrates in capsule and tablet form, the ingredient is likely to offer the most benefit when combined with other natural ingredients.
Some ingredients, such as cayenne pepper, have fat burning capabilities that can complement those of the tea extracts. Others, such as nopal and glucomannan, are very good at suppressing the appetite.
Any product that contains quality green tea extracts should be good, but those that contain additional natural weight loss ingredients generally have more to offer. As a lone soldier, green tea extracts can work well, but there a lot to be said for using it as part of a weight loss platoon of ingredients. In the war against obesity, the more big guns the better.
The Bottom Line
Green tea offers many health benefits including weight loss. It’s abilities as an appetite suppressant and fat blocker require further study. It’s abilities as a fat burner do not. Green tea’s abilities in this regard have been tested in many clinical trials. There is a wealth of evidence that shows it’s a natural fat burner that works.
Although there’s no doubt drinking a few cups of green tea a day can speed the weight loss process, the concentrates used in quality natural supplements are likely to offer the most benefit.
No. As with any other weight loss aid, the beverage needs to be used alongside a low-calorie diet.
Yes. It provides the full leaf and maximizes the level of benefits on offer.
It doesn’t matter. You can drink it either way and the results will be the same. However, it’s important not to use boiling water to make the beverage. Let the water cool for a few minutes first. This will ensure the catechin content retains maximum potency.
If used with a calorie controlled diet it can provide an excellent natural weight loss benefit.