Weight loss has become such a buzzword in today’s society that one would think it is some new trend that’s catching on like wildfire.
But is it all just a fad?
Is that why “weight loss” sits atop most people’s priority lists nowadays?
People are merely becoming increasingly health conscious – they know that the excessive, abusive lifestyle has been the root cause of several serious illnesses.
Moreover, obesity has become much too rampant; studies have proven that obesity can increase the risk for developing severe, even life-threatening, health problems early in life.
The number and type of weight loss products in the market is a testament to how people are clamoring to lose weight quickly, oftentimes desperately.
But the buyers, too, have learned that there is really no “magical” formula to it, no “instant weight loss” product that is both safe and good for the health, especially not one that’s effective over the long term.
Nowadays, the intelligent buyers are turning their attention to products with all-natural ingredients to help them lose weight…and, more importantly, to keep it off.
One of those natural ingredients that are becoming increasingly popular is Green Tea. But is green tea really effective for losing weight?
Let us look at the facts.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea comes from the plant Camilla sinesis, the same plant from which black tea and oolong tea are made.
The difference between the three is the way they are prepared: green tea is merely steamed and dried while oolong and black tea undergoes further process through fermentation.
Fermentation reduces the amount of polyphenols in tea and increases the caffeine content.
Of the three teas made from Camellia sinensis, green tea has the least caffeine content; black tea, which is fully fermented, has the lowest amount of polyphenols but the highest caffeine; oolong tea, which is partially fermented, has an antioxidant and caffeine content that is somewhere midway between green tea and black tea.
Because green tea is not fermented, it retains a high concentration of polyphenols – a powerful antioxidant – in the form of catechins.
It is these catechins that are primarily responsible for triggering weight loss in green tea drinkers.
This has been shown by a study comparing the fat loss between a group who regularly drink green tea and another group who drank oolong tea instead.
The study, which was conducted by a Japanese research group headed by Tomonori Nagao, was published in 2005 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, affirming earlier studies that also uncovered green tea’s fat-busting capabilities.
How Can Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Green tea can help you burn more calories.
As early as 1999, a research team headed by Swiss Dr. Abdul Dulloo established that the caffeine and catechins in green tea triggers increased energy expenditure over a 24-hour period.
Since then, several studies followed up the findings and showed that green tea affects weight loss through the following mechanisms:
1. The cathechin polyphenols help to increase the breakdown of the body’s sugar, converting them to energy, thus increasing the body’s basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which your body uses up the calories even if you are not active;
2. The caffeine also increases energy expenditure but this is enhanced by the presence of catechins;
3. Because of the higher metabolic rate, caffeine and catechins also promote thermogenesis, which is the body’s process of producing heat, thereby increasing the rate at which fat is burned;
4. Catechins are also able to suppress the production of fatty acids in the body, therefore helping to prevent fat accumulation, particularly in the abdominal region;
5. Green tea is known also for lowering harmful LDL cholesterol levels even as it increases good HDL cholesterol level.
The polyphenols does this by blocking the absorption of bad cholesterol in the intestines while it assists the excretion of these cholesterols from the body;
6. Catechins promote the feeling of satiety even without having to eat too much; that is, you feel full with less amount of food and for longer periods of time thus reducing food intake.
Additionally, green tea can also be used to substitute other caffeinated drinks.
Green tea increases vitality and mental awareness, same as coffee or cola is supposed to, but it doesn’t cause the same sugar level spike that other caffeinated drinks do.
Plus, it has a bare minimum of calories – in fact, a tea bag of green tea has zero calories, provided you don’t add sugar and cream to it.
Why Should You Drink Green Tea?
Apart from having anti-obesity properties, the polyphenols in green tea is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are known to neutralize free radicals and even reduce the damage they cause.
Free radicals are compounds that are damaging to our health because of their tendency to alter genetic material and destroy, and even kill, cells.
As well as that, green tea is also known for its anticancer and antiviral properties and can help reduce the risk of coronary artery diseases, cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases, liver diseases and can help to control blood sugar and reduce inflammation in arthritis.
How Much Green Tea Should You Drink?
Drinking green tea obviously has numerous health advantages but there should also a limit.
Green tea contains caffeine and may not be advisable for those who are sensitive to this ingredient.
It may also interfere with active compounds in other medicines so it is important that you consult your doctor about drinking beverages if you are under medication.
For those who do not have such restrictions, green tea is readily available in a variety of forms: bottled iced tea, natural tea leaves, tea bags, and tea extracts in capsule form.
However, it is best taken by brewing the dried tea leaves or by steeping the tea bag in hot water.
Adding milk or cream and sugar or honey can mask the bitter taste but you might like to reconsider putting those in as they add calories to your drink.
According to the USDA, a 6 oz cup of green tea has 235 mg of catechins; since the daily recommended dose of polyphenols is between 270 mg to 1,200 mg in order to promote weight and fat loss, 2 to 5 cups of green tea a day should be ideal.