People love to talk about green tea and how good it is. It’s all over the media and has been credited with doing anything from stimulating your immune system to helping the body against allergies. It even has been shown to act as a powerful antioxidant.
But is it worth all the hype? The answer is yes. There is a plenty of evidence to suggest that green tea has benefits to burning fat.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea comes from the Camilla sinensis plant, the same one as white tea, black tea, and oolong tea. The difference between these three is how the tea is prepared. For green tea, the green leaves are plucked and then dried. In contrast, with black tea the leaves are picked and also fermented.
You can take green tea in several ways. You can buy it in capsule form, take the liquid extract, brew up some of the tea, as a powder, and in pill form.
How green tea works?
Some ‘fitness gurus’ think that part of the green teas fat burning power comes from the caffeine it contains. This is both laughable and moronic. Green tea contains a very small amount of caffeine (I examine caffeine in my book The Truth About Supplements). It contains a measly 15mgs, compare that with a cup of coffee which is 100mg per cup. Green teas fat burning properties do not come from the caffeine it contains.
The primary reason green tea so wonderful at helping to burn fat is because of the catechins that are present in it, particularly EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate. This is an active polyphenol that is very important because it directly affects a neurotransmitter that helps control the body’s rate of fat burning and how fast or slow the metabolism is.
This means that when you consume green tea, you are taking a positive step to help lose extra body fat because it can potentially make your metabolism run smoother.
Scientific studies on green tea
Blood pressure controller: In the past, researchers have particularly focused on the role of tea in cardiovascular and cancer outcomes, and the results have generally been positive. In a study of 1507 individuals in Taiwan, tea consumption of 120-599 mL per day reduced the risk for incident hypertension (high blood pressure) by 46% after adjustment for potential confounders.
(Yang YC, Lu FH, Wu JS, Chang CJ. The protective effect of habitual tea consumption on hypertension. Arch Intern Med 2004;164:1534-1540)
Reduces the risk of cancer: Other research has found that high levels of tea consumption reduced the risk for any type of cancer in men and women.
(Nakachi K, Matsuyama S, Miyake S, Suganuma M, Imai K. Preventive effects of drinking green tea on cancer and cardiovascular disease: epidemiological evidence for multiple targeting prevention. Biofactors. 2000;13:49-54.)
Ok, I’m convinced; I really want this stuff now!
In order to truly get the most out of the benefits of green tea (for fat burning) it isn’t enough to simply drink (unless you drink five to eight cups a day). And if you do decide to become a chronic green teas drinker, please do not add anything to the tea such as sugar, milk or artificial sweeteners.
While this is certainly a pleasurable beverage to drink, the polyphenol content is just not high enough in 1 or 2 cups. Let’s face it, it’s just not practical to drink five to eight cups of green tea everyday (along with your water intake). So instead you can find a standardized extract at your local health food store. Aim for taking 500 mg of the extract 3 times a day. This will ensure that you consume enough of the vital EGCG content. In addition, you can also safely drink a few cups of green tea a day.