Understanding The Real Deal Behind The Green Tea Weight Loss Effects

Be it taking green tea weight loss pills or drinking copious amounts of fresh brewed green tea, there seems to be a great deal of interest within the dieting community around the benefits of green tea for weight reduction.  Some swear by it, others dismiss it as gibberish. So does it really work?

Green tea has been a part of the ancient Chinese tradition for countless generations, in large part due to its rich endowment of bioactive catechins. Admittedly, there are a decent number of studies over the past decade about the role of green tea to improve metabolism in a way that is supportive of weight loss.

green tea weight loss benefits

In all honesty, the benefits of green tea as an antioxidant and immune booster are far more well-established than its role as a weight loss aid. Don’t be fooled by green tea weight loss kits or pills promising miraculous weight loss results. The reality is that evidence is emerging but still in its infant stages.

Green Tea Weight Loss Benefits

 1) Green tea reduces fat absorption

Dietary fat requires the digestive action of the enzyme lipase before it can be broken down into smaller compounds and absorbed. There is evidence to suggest that catechins in green tea is able to inhibit the action of lipase.

This translates to less dietary fat being digested and absorbed as calories. Which is why there is often a belief especially in Chinese culture that drinking green tea after a heavy meal promote the discharge of  fats and oils from the digestive system.

2) Green tea enhances fat burning

This is the predominant weight loss benefit of green tea that has been  exploited by marketing companies making unsubstantiated and unrealistic claims about the the effectiveness of green tea weight loss products.

False facts aside, studies do show that catechins alongside with the natural caffeine in green tea has a role to play in stimulating the nervous system to mobilize fat stores for energy, a process known as thermogenesis. As a result, there is a higher fat burning rate, increased calorie expenditure and removal of excess water.

Although caffeine in isolation is able to generate similar effects, researchers noted that found that the combination of catechins and caffeine was much more efficacious in expediting the process.

3) Green tea promotes exercise endurance

As I have mentioned over and over again, weight loss is not just about dieting but also exercise.  Exercise helps to burn excess calories, boost the metabolism and build muscles which in turn raises the body’s resting metabolic rate to an even greater extent.

Studies conducted using green tea extract for sports endurance has shown that catechins stimulate the use of fatty acids for energy during intense physical activities. The effect of this is a slower depletion of carbohydrates and hence allowing one to sustain a longer exercise period resulting in greater calorie burning.

4) Green tea maintains healthy levels of body fat

One of the unique green tea weight loss effects is it’s ability to regulate body fat percentage and sugar levels.  A study conducted on diabetic patients showed that consumption of green tea catechins significantly reduced abdominal fat.

This is presumably through the the effects of catechins in increasing the production of a adiponectin, a hormone that maintains a healthy level of body fat while regulating appetite and blood sugar levels.

How Much Green Tea To Take?

So yes, we conclude that green tea can be incorporated into your weight loss regime. The question that needs to be addressed is how much green tea and in what form of green tea should you be taking for maximum benefits?

If you are considering getting some green tea weight loss pills, do note that that a high quality green tea extract supplement usually contains 300-400mg of catechins and about 10-20mg of caffeine per serving which is typically the dosage used in studies which investigate the green tea weight loss effects.

In comparison, a cup of freshly brewed green tea provides 50-100mg catechins and approximately 15-20mg of caffeine. As a dietitian, I always recommend whole foods and beverages over supplements whenever possible. And it is certainly achievable to consume the recommended amounts of catechins from fresh brewed green tea. A reasonable amount to consume is between 4-5 cups of moderate to full-strength freshly brewed green tea.

And I must emphasize that the  absorption rate is far more superior when it is consumed as a green tea beverage rather than an extract in capsule form. But do bear in mind that both forms of green tea do contain a significant amount of caffeine. Therefore, high doses is not recommended for pregnant women and those with caffeine sensitivity.

Additional Benefits of Green Tea

Putting the green tea weight loss issue aside, this humble tea confers numerous health-promoting benefits including:

  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-aging
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Maintains a healthy blood sugar level
  • Reduces inflammatory symptoms in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease

In summary, green tea does posses some properties that aid in weight loss, in addition to a whole spectrum of health-giving effects. You will not shed tons of weight by spending your time watching TV in the couch, eating whatever you want and drinking green tea. That being said, you can still enjoy the green tea weight loss benefits by incorporating it into a sensible diet plan and exercise regime.

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