Can green tea help you lose weight? Green tea has become well-known as a weight-loss supplement in recent years thanks to numerous studies that have uncovered the many health benefits of this liquid superfood. Green tea is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that contribute to weight loss by reducing inflammation, boosting metabolism, and increasing energy levels. Including green tea in your nutrition plan can drive your weight-loss efforts while reducing your risk for illness and disease at the same time.
Here’s a look at how green tea helps you lose weight, along with tips on how to prepare and drink this soothing beverage.
Green tea and its link to weight loss
One cup of green tea contains between 24 and 40 mg of caffeine, which is less than half the amount found in one cup of coffee. Numerous studies show that caffeine alone can accelerate fat burning and improve one’s exercise performance by dipping into fat tissue for energy stores. Since green tea has far less caffeine than coffee, you can enjoy more than one cup per day and not experience the same jittery effects produced by a cup of joe.
Green tea also contains a high amount of catechins, which are antioxidants that work similarly to caffeine in that they make it easier for your body to use excess fat for energy. The catechins in green tea have been proven especially effective at helping you lose visceral belly fat.
EGCG is another powerful antioxidant in green tea that increases your body’s production of the hormone norepinephrine, which in turn, helps your body break down fat more easily. Other weight-loss benefits offered by green tea are increased calorie burning and reduced appetite.
Using green tea for weight loss
- Choose a healthy type. Try matcha green tea, in which the whole tea leaf is ground and dissolved in liquid, while other green teas are only steeped. Matcha green tea often contains the highest amount of nutrients and antioxidants. Avoid impure green tea brands that contain additives like sugar, natural flavors, and other fillers.
- Brew as preferred. Brewing green tea using hot water helps promote the extraction of catechins, while steeping in cold water helps prevent the breakdown of EGCG. Both brew methods are acceptable based on your personal taste, and neither brewing method is necessarily healthier or better than the other. Avoid using boiling water, since this may destroy some of the tea’s powerful nutrients.
- Steep for the right length of time. Most experts suggest steeping green tea for between three and five minutes in hot water, or between one and two hours in cold water for the best results. This allows the tea’s antioxidants and vitamins to fully infuse the water so you can benefit from these nutrients.
- Consume just enough. Drinking as little as 2.5 cups of green tea per day offers enormous benefits for weight loss. Some medical studies suggest drinking no more than 10 cups per day, since this increases caffeine intake and can cause problems with sleep patterns.
- Use the right sweeteners. Green tea is an acquired taste for some individuals who may prefer to use sweeteners to improve its taste. Stick to using natural sweeteners like lemon, grapefruit, Stevia, and raw honey, and avoid using sugar and artificial sweeteners that can have adverse effects on weight loss and your overall health.
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Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on August 30, 2017