Green tea is packed with health benefits. But did you know that green tea also burns fat and boosts metabolism? That’s right! Drinking a cup of green tea each morning can boost your metabolism for the day and help you lose weight.
EGCG Catechin: The Distinctive Ingredient in Green Tea for Weight Loss
Due to its minimal processing, green tea has a high concentration of antioxidants called polyphenols. One particular type of polyphenol compound found in green tea is catechins, which are responsible for most of green tea’s positive health effects, including weight loss. The three main green tea catechins are epicatechin, epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
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Research suggests consuming the EGCG catechin will provide the most benefit for both maximizing weight loss and preventing weight gain. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that mice adhering to a poor diet with EGCG supplementation experienced decreases in body weight and body fat percentage compared to the mice following the same diet without the EGCG treatment.
- Learn more about the benefits of EGCG here: Green Tea Health Benefits— Lose Weight, Prevent Cancer, Fight Depression, and More!
Additional Nutrients in Green Tea Decrease Stress Levels:
Aside from the polyphenols in green tea for weight loss enhancement, it also contains a nutrient called L-theanine that provides a calming effect on the body.
L-Theanine has been fairly well-researched and is believed to:
- Boost energy levels
- Decrease stress and anxiety (provides relaxation without drowsiness)
- Increase alertness and improve memory and concentration
- Protect brain cells
- Increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine
- Lower glutamate activity (which can be high in fibromyalgia sufferers)
- Boost T cell production (which can be low in chronic fatigue syndrome)
- Help regulate the sleep-wake cycle
Why are these benefits of L-theanine important? When you’re constantly stressed out because of crazy demands, your body responds by releasing cortisol – the “stress” hormone. Continuously high cortisol levels slow down your metabolism and promote weight gain. In fact, if you eat the exact same type and amount of food at two different times – eating while you are calm versus when you are stressed – you’re prone to pack on more pounds during the stressful time period. Stress can actually make you gain more weight than you normally would regardless of caloric intake.
Furthermore, prolonged stress causes your body to store fat. High levels of stress equates to greater levels of abdominal fat; this is often attributed to poor adrenal gland functioning. In a state of prolonged stress, your adrenal glands over-react and over-produce cortisol. Thus, a vicious fat-producing and fat-storing cycle ensues.
- Learn more about stress and the adrenal glands here: Lack of Energy: Could That Be One of Your Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms?
Green Tea for Weight Loss in Supplement Form:
If you don’t like the taste of green tea, you can take green tea supplements to achieve the weight loss benefits. When choosing a green tea supplement, check the label and make sure it contains the important ingredient, EGCG. You should not take extremely high doses of green tea on a long-term basis; therefore, since different brands of green tea contain different potencies of EGCG, it is best to follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions.
Drinking Green Tea for Weight Loss:
Sometimes, green tea supplements can cause nausea, especially when taken on an empty stomach. Since green tea works best for weight loss if it is consumed first thing in the morning (before eating a meal), drinking green tea is preferred. One cup of green tea per day is recommended for weight loss. Typically, one 8-ounce cup has between 60 to 180 mg of EGCG; regular green tea (caffeinated) has a higher EGCG content compared to decaffeinated brands.
Many varieties of green tea with various flavors are available online and at your local grocer. So, don’t give up if the first one you try doesn’t suit your taste. Green tea is so remarkably healthy for your body that you should be willing to keep trying different varieties until you find one you love. Then, make it a daily habit!
Originally published in 2013, this blog has been updated.