Green tea has been used for centuries to cleanse the body of unwanted toxins and to aid digestion. In study after study, it is shown that green tea will help to lose weight. The University of Maryland suggests that consuming green tea can help your body to speed up the metabolism and burn fat. If you want to use green tea to help flatten your stomach, aim to consume at least 3-7 cups of unsweetened green tea every day. This will also lower LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff) by up to 16%. That’s impressive!
The history of Green tea goes back to the Chinese who have known the benefits of this herb for nearly 4000 years. Green tea in addition helps to fight disease, but it also aids in weight loss; it has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term.
Of all teas produced, green tea is the least processed and thus provides the most amount of antioxidant polyphenols, notably a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits linked to green tea. EGCG is the active compound in green tea that boosts the effects of some fat-burning hormones, such as norepinephrine. When this enzyme is inhibited, the amount of norepinephrine increases, promoting fat breakdown. Ultimately, your fat cell breaks down more fat, which is released into your bloodstream for use as energy by cells like muscle cells, which boosts your body’s metabolism.
Green Tea for Weight Loss
Numerous studies show that green tea aids in weight loss for people who are dieting or want to shed a few pounds. Green tea may boost metabolism and help to burn body fat. One study confirmed that a combination of green tea and caffeine improved weight loss and maintenance in overweight and obese individuals. A second study found that weight maintenance following weight loss was not affected by green tea. It’s speculated that substances in green tea known as polyphenols, specifically the catechins, are responsible for the herb’s fat-burning effect. Green tea not only promotes fat loss, but specifically, the loss of visceral fat which is fat that accumulates in the tissues lining the abdominal cavity and surrounding the intestines (viscera) and internal organs, ie. belly fat or ‘your gut.’ Unlike fat deposits on the hips and thighs, visceral fat is highly associated with increased risk for disease, especially metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
What’s in Green Tea that helps with Weight Loss
We’re now going to delve into the science bit about how green tea helps with weight loss.
Green tea contains three major components that promote fat loss:
Studies show that green tea compounds promote fat loss by inhibiting both gastric and pancreatic lipase, the enzymes that digest triglycerides, and fatty acid synthetase, the enzyme responsible for synthesizing fatty acids into the form in which they can be stored in the body’s adipose (fat) cells. In one study, where mice were fed diets containing 2% green tea powder for 16 weeks, visceral fat decreased by 76.8%. Green tea also decreased blood levels of triglycerides (the chemical form in which most fats exist in the body). A human study, confirms green tea’s ability to not only reduce body fat, but it also confirmed damage to LDL cholesterol as well. After 12 weeks of drinking just one bottle (one litre) of green tea each day, 38 normal-to-overweight men had significantly lowered body weight, BMI, waist circumference, body fat mass and amount of subcutaneous fat. A 12-week trial in 240 men and women showed significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and belly fat from drinking green tea. Most studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss and is effective at reducing dangerous abdominal fat. In one study, men who took green tea extract before exercise burned 17% more fat than men who didn’t take the supplement. This study also suggests that green tea can boost fat-burning effects during exercise.
When trying to lose weight, an effective exercise regimen should be added to your lifestyle and green tea will help in this capacity as green tea catechins appear to stimulate the use of fatty acids by liver and muscle cells, which in turn, increased fat burning, both during exercise and rest. In muscle cells, the ability to burn more fat translates into a reduction in the rate at which glycogen, the form in which carbohydrates are stored for ready access in muscle, is used up, thus allowing for longer exercise times. Green tea’s effect on muscle cells’ ability to take in and burn fatty acids, speeding up fat breakdown, is also thought to be the reason why it helps weight loss.
That’s enough science for one day!
Green Tea and Calories
Your body is constantly burning calories, even when you’re sitting down doing nothing; this is known as your basal metabolic rate. Green tea will allow your body to burn even more calories at rest, with some studies showing an increase as high as 8%. Now, that’s a bonus! For the average male this can equate to 60-80 calories/day, and for women anywhere from 40-60 calories/day. How does this equate to real weight loss? In one study of 60 obese individuals who were drinking green tea, they lost 7 pounds and burned 183 more calories/day.
Green tea’s primary effect is to increase calorie expenditure, making you burn more fat, however, it doesn’t appear to have any noticeable effect on how much food you end up eating throughout the day.
Getting rid of Abdominal Fat with Green Tea
Green tea contains caffeine and polyphenols that affect the body in a number of ways. These different chemical compounds boost your metabolism, which speeds up the rate at which your body burns calories and hence, weight loss. One study found that an extract made from green tea increased metabolism by up to 4%, suggesting that green tea may help to increase the loss of belly (abdominal) fat.
Subcutaneous fat lodges under your skin, but you may also have significant amounts of visceral fat, also called belly fat, and high amounts of visceral fat are associated with inflammation and insulin resistance, both of which are strongly linked to several serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Several studies on green tea catechins show that although the weight loss effects are modest, a significant percentage of fat lost is harmful visceral fat.
It’s Easy being Green
Overall, studies show that utilizing green tea as an everyday strategy will be beneficial to losing abdominal fat and dangerous visceral fat, which can cause health complications into the future. As most people’s weight loss goals are long term, the consumption of green tea will be one strategy to use in losing, maintaining, and keeping weight off. You’re also going to be involved in exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes, so utilizing green tea is one strategy to helping with your weight loss goals.
If you’re able to add anywhere from 3-7 cups of green tea a day to your regime, you’ll be well on your way to making significant changes in the amount of calories burned and in turn, reduction in fat from your belly, thighs, arms, neck and face.
If you can, avoid green tea which comes in tea bags as this is the powder which is usually swept off the floor from sorting out leaves. Instead, buy the leaf tea. Personally, I buy and consume the Longjin Dragon Well green tea which comes from the area of Longjing Village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province in China. It is produced mostly by hand and renowned for its high quality, earning it the China Famous Tea title.