It is widely believed that green tea helps you lose weight through active substances called catechins. Compared to white or black tea, catechins are believed to be most abundant in green tea as it is the least processed variety of tea. As such, green tea is widely becoming a dietary supplement for weight loss. Although research is steadily confirming this particular health benefit, experts do not recommend that dieters simply drink green tea alone to lose weight.
How Does Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
It is proposed that catechins especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) works by promoting thermogenesis, a heat-generating process directly associated with the utilization of fat.EGCG blocks the activity of catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT), a substance that inhibits thermogenesis. In turn, this translates to more fat being burned for energy.
Get Moving with Green Tea
Murase et al showed that green tea helps you lose weight more if you combined cups of green tea with moderate exercise. Their study on laboratory mice given 0.5% green tea extract showed that the running endurance of this group of mice was markedly increased compared to those without exercise, with exercise only and with exercise and 0.2% green tea extract, respectively. They proposed that catechins’ activity to increase fat metabolism provides ample fuel for contracting muscles to burn during exercise, allowing the mice to run longer and effectively lose more weight. Although a clinical trial on humans has not yet been conducted, a similar effect on physical endurance and weight loss is to be expected.
Go Low-Calorie with Green Tea
Furthermore, green tea helps you lose weight if your diet is also low in calories. In a 2009 study by Di Pierro et al, a group on a low calorie diet and given green tree extracts demonstrated significant weight loss and decreased BMI compared to the control group who were on the hypocaloric diet alone. Most experts would recommend switching fat intake to unsaturated fats, which are found in fish, avocadoes, nuts and vegetable oil.
Zero Additives with Green Tea
Some may choose to drink plain green tea. Others may opt to add milk, lemon juice or sweeteners. One thing you should be aware of is the fact that adding sweeteners would also mean adding unwanted calories to the tea drink. If drunk plain, there are zero calories in green tea. However, once you add sugar or sweeteners are added, the calorie count can go as high as 135. Harvard School of Public Health has found that the more popular iced tea drinks sold in groceries and restaurants should actually be drunk sparingly as they contain more calories and sugar. A calorie-free tip is to add mint leaves to reduce the bitter taste and lemon or lime to add flavor. For green tea dieters who cannot tolerate the bitter taste, you can also opt to use pills containing green tea extracts.
In conclusion, consumers who are concerned about their weight should be aware that although green tea helps you lose weight; its effect is also dependent on other factors like a low-calorie diet and moderate exercise.