As a weight loss coach from Asia who has been a life-long tea drinker, I always get these questions: “Can green tea help with weight loss?” “Which is the best green tea for weight loss?” “How do I use green tea to lose weight?” “How much green tea should I drink a day to lose weight?”
The topic of green tea always unfolds a mixture of myths and truths when people research online. Although drinking green tea has been a long tradition in Asia for thousands of years, here in the west not many people are used to this idea yet— let alone knowing and fully taking advantage of its benefits.
Therefore, I thought it’d be a great idea to write an article including EVERYTHING you should know about green tea in the context of weight loss. My goal is to strip away the myths and only present to you the authentic knowledge and experience we’ve had about it.
Want to know how I help my clients lose weight sustainably — while enjoying massive ease and food freedom, even if they don’t weigh themselves at all? Access my 14 Minutes of PURE GOLD video that shows you the core strategy.
First, does green tea help with weight loss?
The answer is yes. Green tea can help accelerating weight loss in the following ways:
First of all, let me lay out some data from scientific findings because this information can give you a big picture view about all relevant and legit discussions that have happened. However, note that scientific conclusions alone can be nebulous due to various factors brining uncertainties. And scientific findings from a study done in the specific setting don’t always apply to all real-life situations.
Because of that, I’ll follow up with what I’ve learned from my experience as a tea drinker and a weight loss coach — these will be experiential data which either reinforces the scientific conclusions, or not.
Here’s a summary of science findings during recent years:
- Tea contains caffeine (24-40 mg per cup) and many antioxidants, especially the main type EGCG. Both caffeine and EGCG have shown metabolism boosting effects, accelerating metabolism by 3-4%. (Related post: 3 Truth Bombs From Metabolic Weight Loss Coach)
- Studies like this one suggest that the EGCG in tea can mobilize fat from fat cells by boosting the effects of some fat-burning hormones, such as norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
- Some studies suggest that tea can help increase fat burning especially during exercise. In one study, men who took green tea extract before exercise burned 17% more fat than men who didn’t take the supplement. And in a different study, tea catechins is found to be the compound which is potentially responsible for this benefit. Some studies like this one also attributed it to EGCG — the antioxidant mentioned above.
- Meanwhile, studies have shown that green tea may help you eat fewer calories — with some ambiguity regarding which compound in it is responsible for its effect on appetite.
- Also, some animal studies like this one claim tea can help you absorb a fewer amount of fat that you absorb from food. But it’s not confirmed in humans.
And what’s our real-life experience with green tea from the weight loss perspective?
In east Asia, drinking tea is a part of people’s everyday life on a large scale. I grew up in China watching everyone around me drinking tea all day long. And it was until later when I realized that by doing it, we were unconsciously taking steps to stay skinny fit. The truth is we really enjoyed green tea (and a bunch of other kinds of tea), and the weight management part was just a natural side benefit we got.
Here are a few benefits of tea which we had very close experience with:
1. Green tea can be used to bring up satiety.
As a general rule of thumb, the more liquid you drink, the more easily you feel full. So it’s just tea that does this for you but other healthy drinks like clear vegetable soups.
2. Green tea keeps you hydrated.
In Asia, it’s common for people to drink tea for the whole day. If you’ve worked for Asian companies in the US such as Samsung, you’d see people having a cup of tea on their desk all the time. Tea has a calming effect plus some flavor, which makes it much more interesting than plain water.
It’s important to know that when hydrating your body, you are doing two essential things at the same time:
- Clearing inflammation — one of the major barriers to weight loss
- Boosting metabolism — one of the major conditions for weight loss.
You have seen me mentioning tea’s metabolism boosting effect in the science discussion section above. We can’t say for sure the 3-4% increase in metabolism due to EGCG and caffeine could really make a difference when it comes to weight loss effort. However, we know for sure sufficient hydration is the cornerstone for efficient, fast metabolism.
3. Green tea could help you retrain your food preferences and taste buds.
One of the greatest features of the best green tea for weight loss is curbing sugar cravings, sometimes immediately. There’s a technique I teach which is really popular among my clients. This technique, as well as many other techniques that sound like novelty, is actually an everyday tradition in China and Japan that can be traced back to ancient times.
Since 2014, I’ve been teaching people how to do this. The name of this technique is ‘Teassert’ — tea + dessert. I made up the name so that I could convey the concept to westerners, but the tradition has been there for thousands of years in Asia.
And it goes like this:
When you eat a cake (or any type of dessert), pair it with green tea.
Take a bite of the cake, then take a sip of green tea.
Let the tea sit in your mouth for a few seconds, and let its flavor and aroma slowly spread and sink. It can take a few seconds before you slowly swallow the tea.
Soon, you’ll find your craving for the next bite of sugar disappearing.
This is my favorite technique because it works all the time. And whenever I teach it to my clients, they feel immediately relieved from the sugar craving, no matter how long they’ve been out of control in front of sugar!
You can watch me demonstrating Teassert in the video below:
Why does “Teassert” work? Check this study: A Spoonful of Bitter Helps The Sugar-Response Go Down. If you’ve tasted green tea, you’d know that it’s slightly bitter — the main reason why many westerners don’t find it an appealing drink.
However, as soon as you’ve adapted to its flavor and taste, you’ll love it because now, without the sugar, you can recognize and start cherishing its soothing aroma. And the bitter isn’t that bitter after all, even though it’s that effective in canceling out your sugar cravings.
In my coaching experience, I don’t see a direct linkage between green tea and weight loss due to the specific compounds that science studies have analyzed and claimed to be effective. It’s not because these effects aren’t existent. It’s just because in a coaching setting, it’s impossible to do controlled studies the way that scientists can do in the lab.
However, I do see a direct linkage between green tea and weight loss due to its natural, spontaneous effect in calming down your body, hydrating it, helping you reach satiety more easily, and lessening sugar cravings.
Does green tea help lose belly fat?
The answer is yes.
First, if tea can help you lose fat throughout your body, it can help you lose fat in your belly area.
Secondly, in this article A Winning Strategy To Remove Apron Belly, I’ve shown you how belly fat and chronic inflammation are intertwined and reinforce each other. And because tea — for various traits it has — can help you eliminate chronic inflammation, it can help you lose belly fat effectively.
Meanwhile, we do have many scientific studies that show that green tea can effectively decrease abdominal fat (Example 1, Example 2). And in my coaching, my clients do see their belly flattening steadily when using green tea in the way I instructed.
Which green tea is best for weight loss?
Here’s my recommendation for the best green tea for weight loss:
For any tea you use for health and weight loss purposes, we are talking about natural herbal tea — the unsweetened, unflavored, unprocessed type.
Here are my favorite types:
- Japanese Hojicha
- Dragon Well Tea (also known as “LongJin”)
- Rain Flower Tea (also known as “Yu Hua”)
On this page you can find a list of green tea and experiment on your own.
How much green tea should I drink a day to lose weight?
Green tea is great for weight loss, but how much should you drink a day?
I don’t think there’s an upper limit or minimum by rule. Try not to look at it in the same way that a dieter looks at diet pills, and you should be drinking tea and enjoying its natural benefits as you wish.
Don’t overdo it also. More than 7-8 cups a day is probably too much.
Also, make sure you check with your doctor though because there are some potential side effect you might want to consider when drinking tea:
First of all, it does contain caffeine although it’s a much smaller amount compared to coffee. It means if you’ve been having trouble sleeping and if you are very sensitive to caffeine, you need to be extremely careful when it comes to the quantity.
Also, if you have anemia deficiency, don’t drink much of it because green tea contains chemical compounds that hinders iron absorption. For this reason, I don’t suggest drinking it when you are pregnant.
Other groups of people who need to apply caution when drinking green tea include:
- People with liver disease
- People with acid fluid issue
- People with bleeding disorders
Children should not drink green tea.
There are some side effects from overusing green tea just like overusing any other food. Do your research, consult with your doctor if needed, but also remember that green tea is in general a safe drink and considered safe by the FDA when used in moderation.
Leslie Chen is an Executive Weight Loss Coach for High-Achieving Women. For 8 years, she has been helping professionals and entrepreneurs who struggle with problematic eating and weight patterns create a blissful and freedom-based food life — while losing weight left and right.
Leslie is rated as the Top Weight Loss Coach by Coach Foundation. She’s also frequently interviewed on globally top 0.1-1% podcasts about Health and is an expert contributor for world-class media including Entrepreneur.com.
To learn her scientific, proven strategy which has changed many people’s lives in a very informative and inspiring 14 minute video, access her 14 Minutes of PURE GOLD.
To work with her on solving your weight and eating problems forever, book a Clarity Call.
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