Aside from exercise and diet, another option being considered for weight loss recently is drinking green tea — but does it really work?
Long before it gained popularity in the West, green tea has been widely used in other parts of the world, especially in China, to treat different conditions, but of late, it has been linked to weight loss.
How and why? Let’s dig further.
What is Green Tea?
There are various types of tea — green, black, white, oolong — and these are produced from the same plant named Camellia sinensis, but the difference is on how each tea is manufactured.
Green tea in particular is produced by steaming the leaves of the Camellia sinensis, but does not go through the same fermentation process used to make other types of tea, such as oolong or black tea, which means, more antioxidants and nutrients are retained in the production of green tea, and something that has more antioxidants and nutrients means it’s great for the body.
But how is it linked to weight loss?
Green tea contains caffeine and catechin, a type of flavonoid which is an antioxidant. This pair can help speed up metabolism with catechin acting as the one that will help break down excess fat, and coupled with caffeine, can boost the amount of energy the body uses. Based on this, several studies were launched to identify the effects of green tea on weight loss.
In 2010, a review found that green tea supplements had a “small but positive impact on weight loss and weight management.” A more recent review agreed but the result was not significant enough that the authors concluded that it was unlikely to be of clinical importance.
Does this mean that consuming green tea doesn’t actually work?
While drinking green tea has small effects compared to other weight loss options such as exercise in terms of metabolic benefits, it can still help aid weight loss. In fact many weight loss shakes have Green tea as part of the ingredients.
Researchers recommend having a regular exercise and a healthy diet as effective weight loss strategies, and drinking green tea alongside these methods may help increase positive results.
So, you ask, should you drink green tea for weight loss or not?
Melissa Majumdar, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and senior bariatric dietitian for Brigham and Women’s Center for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery explained that there’s no harm in drinking green tea, but drinking it for weight loss, per se, may not be effective.
“Is it going to help with weight loss? Probably not much,” says Majumdar. “But it can be included in a general healthy diet, and safely be included in a weight-loss plan.”