Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet.
It is loaded with antioxidants and various substances that are beneficial for health.
Many studies have shown that green tea can increase fat burning and help you lose weight.
Let me explain how that works…
Green tea is more than just hot, flavored water.
The bioactive substances in the tea leaves dissolve in the water and make it into the final drink.
When you drink a cup of quality tea, you’re actually getting a large amount of beneficial substances with potent biological effects .
The best known of these is caffeine. A cup of green tea contains much less caffeine (24-40 mg) than a cup of coffee (100-200 mg), but still enough to have a mild effect.
Caffeine is a well known stimulant that has been shown to aid fat burning and improve exercise performance in numerous studies.
But where green tea really shines is in its massive range of antioxidants… being loaded with potent antioxidants called catechins.
The most important of these is EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), a substance that can boost metabolism.
Keep in mind that these benefits can be derived both from drinking green tea as a beverage, as well as taking green tea extract as a supplement. Most of the studies used extracts.
In order to burn fat, it must first be broken down in the fat cell and moved into the bloodstream.
The active compounds in green tea can aid in this process by boosting the effects of some fat burning hormones.
The main antioxidant in tea, EGCG, can help inhibit an enzyme that breaks down the hormone norepinephrine.
When this enzyme is inhibited, the amount of norepinephrine increases.
This hormone is used by the nervous system as a signal to the fat cells, telling them to break down fat. Therefore, more norepinephrine leads to a stronger signal being sent to the fat cell and more fat gets broken down.
Caffeine and EGCG (both found naturally in green tea) may actually have a synergistic effect, because caffeine enhances another step in the same pathway.
The end result is that the fat cell breaks down more fat, which is released into the bloodstream and becomes available for use as energy by cells that need it, like muscle cells
One way that green tea could help with weight loss, is by reducing appetite.
This would make us take in fewer calories, automatically, without any effort.
Several studies have looked at the effects of green tea on appetite, but most showed conflicting results.
There are also animal studies suggesting that green tea can reduce the amount of fat we absorb from foods, but this has not been confirmed in humans.
Overall, it seems that green tea exerts its effects primarily by increasing “calories out”… it makes us burn more fat, but it doesn’t appear to have any noticeable effect on how much food we end up eating throughout the day.
When it comes to actual pounds losts, the effects of green tea are relatively modest.
Although there are numerous studies showing that people do in fact lose weight, there are also some studies showing no effect.
Two review studies that looked at many controlled trials found that people lost about 3 pounds (1.3-1.4 kg) on average .
However… it’s important to keep in mind that not all fat is the same.
We have subcutaneous fat that lodges under the skin, but then we also have visceral fat, which is the belly fat that builds up around the organs.
It is this deep visceral fat that is harmful. It causes inflammation and insulin resistance, both of which are strongly linked to all sorts of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Several studies on green tea show that although the weight loss effects are modest, a significant percentage of the fat lost is the harmful visceral fat.
This should translate to a reduced risk of many killer diseases down the line… which may lead to a longer and healthier life.