We’ve all heard that green tea is good for weight loss, but is it really true? Here we’ll take a deep dive into the research and various factors involved with green tea and weight loss. With its balance of catechins and caffeine, green tea could be a helpful addition to your weight loss regimen. On the other hand, it is also important to take the information with a grain of salt. Using green tea for weight loss will still be more effective paired with lifestyle changes such as exercise and a healthy diet.
Green Tea and Weight Loss
Research suggests that green tea may have a mild but positive weight loss effect. The two main components of green tea that can help you lose weight are EGCG and caffeine. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is a unique chemical compound found primarily in green tea. You may see it referred to as a catechin, polyphenol, or antioxidant, as it falls into all three of these categories.
How Does Green Tea Help with Weight Loss?
EGCG works synergistically with caffeine to deliver the benefits of green tea. The combination of EGCG and caffeine encourages the body to burn fat rather than carbohydrates, promoting weight loss over the course of several weeks.
Especially for people who are already overweight, it can be difficult for the body to switch from carbohydrate burning to fat burning. They may find themselves in a harmful cycle of craving carbs and gaining fat. Green tea can help to break that cycle and kick fat burning into gear. But it will take some patience - most studies suggest that you may need to drink several cups daily for over a month to start shedding pounds.
Green tea has a variety of benefits that together can help you lose weight:
- Increased fat burning
- Reduced appetite
- Helps to regulate blood sugar
- Balances cholesterol levels
- Increased energy (promoting an active lifestyle)
- Faster recovery after exercise (so you can exercise more often!)
The weight loss effect of green tea is most effective when paired with regular exercise. According to some studies, when exercise is paired with EGCG from green tea, you may burn more calories than with just exercise alone.
The Best Green Tea for Weight Loss
Since green tea contains EGCG, it can boost metabolism more than other beverages that contain caffeine alone. You may want to try switching from coffee, energy drinks, or soda and start primarily drinking green tea. Other types of tea such as black tea, oolong, white tea, and pu-erh tea may also contain similar catechins, but have less than green tea. There are three types of green tea that we recommend starting with to get the best effects.
- Matcha Green Tea
- Pure Loose Leaf Green Tea
- Green Tea Blends
Matcha is a powdered form of green tea that is whisked with hot water. Since you consume the whole leaf from drinking the powder, you get 100% of the healthy compounds in the green tea. Matcha green tea for weight loss is a great choice since it has by far the most EGCG and caffeine.
Pure Loose Leaf Green Tea
is the golden standard for daily green tea drinking. Loose leaf tea is generally much higher quality than tea bags, and delivers both better health benefits and flavor! If matcha is a bit too strong for your taste, loose leaf green brews a lighter, sweeter infusion. Sip it every morning and feel your metabolism kick into gear.
Green Tea Blends are another great way to enjoy green tea regularly. Although blends are less concentrated, any amount of green tea provides healthy catechins to aid weight loss. Blended green tea is a good way to keep your flavors interesting if you get bored of pure green tea. Whether you prefer spicy, flowery, nutty or fruity, there are endless green tea blends to choose from. This way you can stick to your weight loss regimen long term and enjoy the process!
How to Prepare Green Tea for Weight Loss:
Be sure to choose high quality, loose leaf tea in order to get the maximum benefits. Tea bags typically brew weaker tea and may have minimal effects. More importantly, don’t add milk or sweetener to your green tea if you are using it for weight loss! The added sugar and fat may counteract the benefits when you are trying to boost your metabolism. Luckily, high quality green tea is naturally light and pleasant in flavor without needing anything added. Follow our brewing instructions for the best flavor.
How to Brew Green Tea:
- Use mildly hot water at 140-180 degrees F. (simmering, not boiling).
- Use about 1 tsp of loose leaf tea leaves per 8 oz cup.
- Steep for 30 seconds up to 3 minutes.
- Note: If brewing matcha, simply whisk 1 tsp of matcha powder into a cup of water at 140-180 degrees F.
How Much Green Tea Do You Need to Drink?
Generally, 3-4 cups of green tea per day is needed to promote weight loss over the course of several weeks. You may also see mild effects with 1-2 cups per day.
Other Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages in the world, so there are many reasons to drink it besides weight loss. Research suggests that it can help prevent a variety of conditions including coronary heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and even cancer. As well as boosting metabolism, green tea supports your overall health and is generally safe to consume daily.
Green Tea Health Benefits Include:
- Promotes brain health
- Stronger immune system
- Supports the nervous system
- Supports the cardiovascular system
- Better digestion
- Sustained energy boost
- Positive effect on mood
There are so many positive effects from drinking green tea, it is certainly worth trying. Each sip is refreshing and soothing to your entire body. You may even find that a cup of green tea a day keeps the doctor away.
Risks and Considerations
Green tea is generally considered safe to consume, but if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, green tea may not be the right choice for you. Decaffeinated green tea will have some of the positive effects, but may not boost the metabolism as much as regular green tea. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have health conditions that are affected by caffeine, you may want to consult your doctor first.
On the flip side, if you normally drink caffeine every day, you may not see as strong weight loss effects from green tea. Studies have shown that green tea has milder effects on people who already consume a high amount of caffeine. This being said, everyone reacts differently to changes in caffeine intake, so green tea is still worth a try.
Risks of Green Tea Extract and Supplements
It is also important to be mindful of green tea extracts and supplements. Although many studies on green tea and weight loss show benefits from green tea extract and supplements, you should always consult your doctor before taking these. Some green tea extracts and supplements are very high in catechins and could potentially cause liver damage. If you are working on a weight loss regimen on your own, it is safer to stick to green tea in its natural form.
Green Tea for Weight Loss
It is best to drink multiple cups of green tea daily to get the strongest effect, and incorporate it into a healthy lifestyle. Green tea may enhance the benefits of movement and nourishing food, but is not a miracle cure by itself. Start with high quality, loose leaf green tea to get the most out of your cup.
Overall, weight loss from green tea is mild but beneficial, and comes with other positive benefits from tea. Green tea is an amazing source of antioxidants and the sustained energy boost will keep you feeling productive and positive throughout your day. Over time, it may prevent diseases and strengthen your brain, heart, and immune system. Best of all, going green tastes great too!