Green tea is often touted as a miracle drink for everything from preventing cancer to increasing heart health and has even been shown to improve memory and other cognitive processes. One of the most referenced health benefits, though, is green tea’s remarkable ability to help people lose weight. But is there any science to back it up?
The two effective ingredients in green tea for weight loss are caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Both work to raise the body’s metabolism and the caffeine especially provides energy that can make efforts at exercise more effective. For a while, a lot of debate occurred over whether any weight-loss efforts attributed to green tea was in reality only due to its caffeine content. To find out, a team of researchers used 14 healthy male subjects and gave half of them a decaffeinated dose of green tea extract, while the other half took a placebo. By the end of the 4-week study, which also involved timed exercise three days a week, those who had taken the decaffeinated green tea extract reduced their body fat by 1.63%, and had risen their fat oxidization rates by 25% when compared with the placebo group. Those taking the tea also noted that their performance during the exercises had risen by 10.9%.
This gives substantial evidence to the credibility of green tea health claims, and because caffeine is also known to be helpful in weight loss attempts, it suggests that those who attribute their weight loss to a steady intake of green tea are probably on to something. The amount of EGCG taken by those in the study is the equivalent of about seven servings of tea a day, which really isn’t all that outlandish an amount when you look at how many soft drinks the average American consumes in a day (1.6 cans). One would assume that if you were to simply replace your soft drinks with servings of tea, you would start to see positive results on your waistline fairly quickly. Couple that with exercise and don’t load the tea down with honey or sugar and you’ll be on your way to a weight loss miracle story.