Tea consumption in the US has been dominated by black tea for a while - in 2021, it constituted about 84% of the tea consumed according to the Tea Association of U.S.A. However, when it comes to teas that have taken over the the internet multiple times in the past few years, it's green tea that takes the lead. And while it forms only about 15% of the US tea market, green tea's online presence would make you think otherwise! Let's get into the hype around green tea.
Why the Internet Loves Green Tea
Green tea's huge following is not for nothing - it's a tea that boasts of a range of unbelievable health benefits that avid tea-drinkers can swear by! One of these are its ability to help with weight loss. Drinking a cup of green tea per day has been found to help you lose a few pounds within a month!
With the recent rise in slightly dangerous diet pills and extreme fasts as ways to lose weight, green tea is one of the few, natural methods that seem to work. A 2017 study also found Green Tea helpful in improving mood and cognition. Overall, green tea is seen as an effective and natural way to manage weight.
Can it Really Help With Weight loss?
What Research Says
A few studies on the efficacy of green tea for weight loss have led to slightly mixed results. While some claimed it did have a significant effect in aiding weight loss, others found that its effect on weight was "not clinically relevant." More research is needed to fully understand whether green tea consumption can, at least significantly, help with weight loss.
A Note on Scientific Studies
One important point to keep in mind is that most studies use a green tea extract containing mainly the 'active ingredients,' which we'll discuss below, in quantities and concentrations which are far higher than in an average cup of green tea. For normal, day-to-day consumption, the effects of green tea on weight loss will probably be a bit more gradual. Drinking tea at least 2-3 times a day is recommended to see the results reported by studies.
Nonetheless, the holistic health benefits, earthy flavor, and countless testimonies regarding its weight-loss abilities make this a tea worth trying.
The Science Behind Green Tea
Green tea's ability to help lose weight and shed fat is largely linked to its ability to boost your metabolism. For those who may not know what exactly metabolism is, metabolism refers to the process by which the body converts food (calories) into energy and nutrients necessary for your body. The energy is essential to the all biological functions and processes, from breathing to blood circulation - which is why this process takes place 24/7.
How Metabolism Burns Fat
You might've heard of a 'fast metabolism,' usually in the context of someone who's able to eat a lot of food while seemingly not gaining weight. Though genetics and environmental factors can have a role to play, a fast metabolism is a pretty intuitive reason - the faster your body burns calories (or turns food into energy), the less your body stores calories as fat, and the lower your body weight.
Body fat usually increases when there's too many calories which aren't being used up in other biological functions, and are instead being stored. This is why exercise and lowering your calorie intake is recommended in weight loss.
Active Ingredients in Green Tea that Increase Metabolism
The beneficial compounds in green tea that can boost metabolism are anti-oxidants (catechins, specifically) and caffeine. Both of these have been shown to also increase fat burning both during exercise and at rest.
When it comes to anti-oxidants, green tea contains EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), which studies have shown is extremely effective for speeding up metabolism. The relatively high concentration of ECGC is what sets green tea apart from black tea. While both teas come from the camellia sinensis plant, green tea is far less oxidized than black tea, allowing it to retain far more anti-oxidants.
In comparison, green tea's caffeine content is actually lower than that of black tea's. The high levels of oxidization of black tea allow it to have the highest caffeine levels among almost all other teas.
Green Tea Lowers Appetite
Though studies haven't been very conclusive about this, green tea is theorized (and sometimes observed) to also reduce appetite. This is in part because of the caffeine and anti-oxidants mentioned above. It's also due to the presence of theanine, which is an amino acid, which is known to reduce cravings and appetite. By lowering your food intake, the body automatically ends up having less calories to burn, allowing both weight loss and weight maintenance.
Theanine and Cortisol
Theanine is also useful in lowering high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. High levels of cortisol can often cause increased appetite (often for unhealthy foods) that can adversely affect your weight and overall health. Green tea can hence lower cortisol levels to some extent, promoting healthier and manageable cravings, and preventing weight gain.
Green Tea is Rich in Vitamins
With all its science-backed weight loss and weight maintenance benefits, green tea also offers a host of vitamins that are good for your health. These include vitamins C, B2, and E, among others! Unsweetened green tea is also extremely low on calories - 8 ounces (or a cup) of green tea has only about 3 calories! When trying to lose weight, its important to keep your vitamin and nutrient intake high - making green tea an ideal, organic weight management beverage!
The Verdict on Green Tea for Weight Loss
Overall, green tea can be a highly effective, safe, and natural way to promote weight loss. The caffeine and antioxidants present in the tea leaves can boost metabolism and burns fat. Its lack of side effects, high concentration of vitamins, and theanine all come together to create a drink that can benefit your overall health, too!
It's important to note that drinking green tea alone cannot be entirely transformative - losing weight usually requires exercise and a healthy diet. Green tea alone is simply a part of an overall healthy lifestyle!
Other Teas for Weight Loss
The active ingredients of green tea are present in other mildly-oxidized teas like white and oolong tea. While green tea is not oxidized at all, white and oolong are. This lowers their catechin levels, but leads to higher caffeine levels. Since both these compounds boost metabolism, you can support your weight loss journey with these teas, too.