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How does green tea promote weight loss?

Dr. Andrea Pennington, MD
Integrative Medicine Specialist

If you like green tea, flavored or not, you can get some natural fat burning benefits with a cup or two each day in between meals. Green tea and green tea extract pills have certain natural elements, like ECGC and polyphenols, that rev up the metabolism without hurting the heart. I prefer that you avoid caffeinated teas (and coffee or soda for that matter) because caffeine is a potent diuretic and appetite suppressant. The problem is, once caffeine's appetite suppression wears off, your appetite may come back so strong that you'll find yourself eating things you shouldn't because you just can't resist. Limit your caffeine consumption to one cup a day or less. (None is best!)

Research has shown a more pronounced feeling of "fullness" after eating a meal accompanied by green tea opposed to water alone. This can help people resist that urge to go back for seconds and decrease total calorie intake. The abundance of antioxidants in green tea are an added bonus.

Many human epidemiological and intervention studies show advantageous effects of green tea or green tea extracts for weight control, glucose management and cardiovascular risk factors. The benefits of green tea are attributed to its catechin—particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)—content. While studies are just coming in on the thermogenic properties of certain foods, green tea may be at the top of the list.

In one study researchers found that capsules containing green tea extract made metabolisms run faster so they burned up more fat. This effect was thought to be attributed to diet-induced thermogenesis. In another study published in the journal Phytochemistry, researchers explored the benefits of green tea on metabolic syndrome. While studies results are preliminary, it does show the direction food science is heading in proving that maybe we are what we eat after all.

Tea drinking can be soothing and relaxing, but there is not a solid body of scientific evidence to support its use for weight loss.

Weight Watchers can help you lose weight and keep it off.

Weight Watchers offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that can help you reach your goals.

Dr. Ozgen Dogan
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Some studies have shown that green tea increases metabolism slightly. Weight loss has been seen in lab animals fed green tea. Green tea has only positive side effects. It has 200 times more antioxidants than vitamin E, decreases the absorption of cholesterol in the bowel and reduces fat production.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Current thinking is that catechins in green tea inhibit the breakdown of fats, and also inhibit production of the inflammation-causing substance nf-Kappa-B. Studies show that drinking three glasses of green tea a day reduced body weight and waist circumference by 5 percent in three months. It also increases metabolism (all non-herbals have substances that increase the metabolic rate).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.