If you’ve done even the slightest amount of research on weight loss aids, chances are green tea was one of the first things you discovered. Its popularity doesn’t come unjustified – green tea is one of the most interesting compounds around, in regards to weight loss.
Of course, there’s usually a ton of exaggeration and misinformation regarding the effects of most weight loss supplements – especially on the internet. So, I thought it would be an interesting project to put together a purely factual guide on the use of green tea for weight loss.
All of the information in this article will be opinion-free and based entirely on peer reviewed medical research. We’re going to find out just how effective green tea really is, once and for all!
Green tea is composed of several different compounds, including powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which help prevent a number of diseases including certain types of cancer. This guide is strictly focused on weight loss, though – so for now we’re going to talk about the two ingredients in green tea that help burn fat: EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) and caffeine.
EGCG itself is also a potent antioxidant that has been investigated for the potential treatment and prevention of serious diseases. Besides that, it has another very interesting effect: It is classified as a “COMT Inhibitor”.
COMT (Catechol-O-Methyl Transferase) is something we all have floating around our bodies, and its job is to lower the amount of epinephrine circulating through our bloodstreams at any given time. By temporarily reducing the effects of COMT, the EGCG in green tea raises your epinephrine levels. This causes increased energy, reduced appetite, and a slightly boosted metabolism.
The other green tea ingredient of interest is something we’re all familiar with – caffeine. The caffeine in green tea is less than a fifth of the amount that’s in coffee, so it’s definitely not a lot – but it’s enough to make a difference when paired with the EGCG.
Synergies With Additional Caffeine
If you’re new to drinking green tea, it’s helpful to know ahead of time that it has a unique taste that takes some time to grow on you. I wasn’t crazy about the taste at first, but grew to like (okay, tolerate) it after awhile.
To help get used to its unique flavor, I tried a trick I had previously read about – brew 1 bag of green tea with 1 bag of regular black tea. This works great, as the stronger flavor of the black tea almost completely overpowers the green tea, making it much smoother to drink.
This lead me to stumble upon an interesting effect, though: The effects of green tea are made significantly more powerful by the inclusion of additional caffeine. I noticed a consistently higher increase in both energy levels and appetite suppression when I consumed a caffeine source with my green tea.
So, if you want your green tea to taste better, throw in a bag of black tea – but don’t be surprised if it hits you stronger than it normally does. Also, feel free to pour your brewed tea over ice. I much prefer to drink it iced rather than hot, but this is entirely personal preference.
Does Green Tea Burn Fat? – The Triglyceride Interaction
Excess fats and carbs from your food are transformed into triglycerides and circulated through your bloodstream. These triglycerides can be burned for energy, but only the amount needed to meet your current energy demands is used. The rest travel through your blood and end up being stored in various parts of your body as fat.
The ingredients in green tea increase the activity of a natural enzyme which destroys triglycerides. By helping to destroy them before they can leave your bloodstream to be stored as fat, green tea directly helps prevent the storage of new fat.
Best of all, it preferentially reduces visceral fat, which is the ultra-dangerous type of fat that builds up around your midsection and your internal organs. That’s definitely good news for green tea drinkers.
Metabolism / Appetite / Energy / Motivation / Stamina
The end results of these effects are quite substantial, especially when added together. Increased metabolism helps burn body fat, while suppressed appetite helps limit your caloric intake. Boosted energy levels and improved motivation will help encourage you to work out, and green tea even improves physical stamina – encouraging you to push yourself a little harder during your physical activities.
These individual benefits all work hand-in-hand to product a powerful end result.
Brewed Tea vs. Green Tea Extract
Brewed green tea leaves have been consumed for thousands of years, but you’ve probably also seen green tea extract in the stores. This can leave you a bit confused about which one is better.
Several studies done on green tea have used both extract and brewed tea, and the conclusion is that it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. Extracts are effective, and they are usually formulated to give you stronger effects. Most extracts are equivalent to several cups of green tea – up to 10+ cups (minus the caffeine), making them an easy way to consume your EGCG.
Brewed tea, while not being as potent as the extracts, still works quite well. It also provides the advantage of giving you something to sip throughout the day. This produces much more even and consistent blood concentrations of the active ingredients in green tea, helping to give you benefits throughout the whole day.
All in all, only you can decide which option is right for you.
Does Green Tea Help You Lose Weight, in Reality?
Now that you’ve learned much more than you ever wanted to know about green tea, it all boils down to a simple question: Will it really help you lose fat?
The research is clear – green tea can make an excellent addition to your weight loss regimen, and it can certainly help you lose fat. Green tea’s metabolic effects alone can boost your metabolism into burning around 100 extra calories per day, and the appetite reduction encourages you to eat less.
This, along with increased performance during exercise, mean it really can help when added to your fitness and diet routine.
This shouldn’t, however, be interpreted as meaning you can drink green tea, do absolutely nothing else different, and shed fat like crazy. It’s best used as a tool to supercharge your efforts into being more effective.
Remember: Anyone who tells you that diet and exercise aren’t necessary is just trying to sell you something!