Have a cup of Green Tea
Green tea weight loss has become all the rage recently but green tea consumption is not a new phenomenon, in fact green tea drinking can be traced back to China over 4,000 years ago.
Green tea has been hailed as one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, with an assortment of amazing health benefit claims, and it is said to aid weight loss too.
In this post Moose and Doc will be examining all the evidence, and dispelling some of the myths, behind this hot green elixir. So, fancy a cuppa anybody?
I spent a couple years drinking only Chinese and Japanese teas, of all varieties and critically researching them. These included, amongst others, pu-erh tea, sencha green tea, matcha green tea, oolong tea, tava tea, cho-yung tea, and of course, red tea, white tea and black tea.
In conclusion, I personally discovered that the immediate benefits of drinking green tea are fairly minor, especially for weight loss … but let’s have a look.
What’s so Great about Green Tea?
Green tea is made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. The leaves to makegreen tea are steamed, rather than undergoing a fermenting process, used to make the traditional black tea thereby safeguarding more of the nutritional value
Did you know that there are more than 450 organic ingredients in green tea? For example, essential oils, B vitamins (B1 and B12), Vitamins K and P, folate (natural folic acid), iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc.
The two main active ingredients in green tea are:-
Firstly, at around 30 to 50 mgs in an 8 oz cup of green tea, the caffeine content is enough to provide benefits, but not equivalent to a cup of coffee that can leave you a little hyper. Caffeine aids fat oxidation and increases your metabolic rate. You may need to exercise too though. One medical research study showed that fat loss was increased by 22% when caffeine is taken before aerobic exercise.
Green tea Catechin and Antioxidants
Secondly, the major active substances found in the green tea leaf are catechins, which are a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols. The main catechin is epigallocatechin gallate. These antioxidants have significant benefit to cell function by freeing free radical from the blood. This antioxidant has been shown to prevent the growth of cancer cells, help with digestion and improve cardiovascular health … but more on that later …
Green Tea Weight Loss
Overall, the jury is out on green tea weight loss at the moment, with some studies claiming it is useful in helping you lose weight and others stating that the effects are minimal.
It has been suggested that the volume of tea needed for weight loss is much greater than a couple of cups a day. It is interesting to note that most of the clinical trials used green tea extracts – this means that the active ingredients were in much higher doses than those found in drinking cups of green tea.
Green Tea Weight Loss Clinical Trials.
Several clinical studies have all concluded that the effect on weight loss of drinking green tea is not clinically significant. That is it has a very small impact on weight loss or weight maintenance. The Cochrane Systemic Review examined 14 randomized controlled trials that looked at green tea preparations and weight loss compared to control groups. They found that overall the green tea drinking group lost between 0.2 and 3.5 kg more than the control group over a 12 week period. This review concluded that the amount of weight lost by taking a green tea supplement is, ‘unlikely to be clinically relevant’.
A 2005, clinical study however, looked at 76 overweight participants who received a green tea caffeine mixture containing 270 mg of epigallocatechin gallate and 150 mg of caffeine per day or a placebo. This study concluded that high caffeine intake was linked with weight loss and that the green tea group improved weight maintenance also. Another research study from Thailand also concluded that green tea can reduce body weight in obese subjects by increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
Green Tea and Belly Fat Loss
It has been said that green tea is really good in helping you lose that belly fat or visceral fat. Several studies have looked at the effect of green tea catechin on fat distribution in obese adults during exercise-related weight loss.
One scientific study examined the effect of green tea compared with caffeine and a control group over a 12 week period that included moderate intensity physical exercise 3 times a week.
The percentage body fat did not differ between the green tea drinkers and both control groups. However, percentage changes in abdominal fat were greater in the green tea drinking group, suggesting that green tea may be good for the waistline.
But that’s not all … green tea has been said to have other amazing health benefits too so let’s take a quick look …
Green Tea and Cancer Prevention
There have been many studies, both on animals and humans, that claim there may be an association with drinking green tea and the prevention of some cancers. Way back in 1999 a Japanese study looked at 8,552 adults over a 9 year period. The study found that the incidence of cancer amongst women who drank more than 10 cups of green tea per day was lower than that of males. This study tentatively concluded that:-
‘green tea has a potentially preventive effect against cancer among humans’.
Green Tea and Cancer Prevention: Some of the Research
It has been widely acknowledged in the medical world that a lot more research needs to be done regarding the association of green tea drinking and reduced cancer risk before any wild claims can be made.
Early laboratory studies have shown some promising results but there are not enough human studies at the moment to prove them. The research on human cancer and green tea is wide and the results are varied, so let’s take a quick look at the Cochrane review of 51 separate studies that included over 1.6 million people.
The review included studies that examined the link between green tea consumption and :-
The evidence when all 51 studies were analysed was conflicting. Some studies found a reduced risk, especially in women, with green tea consumption whilst others found no correlation at all. The review concluded that:-
‘drinking green tea remains unproven in cancer prevention,
but appears to be safe at moderate, regular and habitual use’.
Cardiovascular Disease, Death and Green Tea
Many of the clinical trials on green tea have been in China and Japan where the consumption of this lovely liquid is traditionally higher.
The Ohsaki Cohort study followed 40,530 healthy adults over an 11 year period. This research revealed that drinking tea (green) was associated with a decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease.
Again, women who drink green tea regularly seem to benefit more so than men. Death from all causes was lower for the green tea drinkers, but death from cardiovascular disease was significantly reduced. Green tea drinking is particularly effective in protecting against stroke. A Chinese study also found that green tea significantly lowered serum TC and LDL-cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol). Research surrounding blood pressure and green tea consumption is conflicting.
Brainy Facts about this Magical Drink
There is substantial medical evidence that green tea consumption may help protect the ageing brain and stave off neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. The natural polyphenols found in green tea, or the camellia sinensis leaf, are the most abundant antioxidants and neutralize stress-induced free radicals and inflammation which causes damage to the brain cells.
Research is underway with a view to using these extracts as therapy and protection against ageing and dementia in the elderly.
Green Tea and Diabetes
Diabetes is a major, global concern at present putting monumental stress on health services worldwide.
Type II diabetes (late onset) is associated with high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Research studies have shown that green tea may be beneficial, as part of a healthy diet, in reducing blood sugar levels.
Green tea consumption may even prevent the development of type II diabetes by around 18% according to a scientific review paper. Green tea also helps improve the features of metabolic syndrome.
Questions and Answers
Does the brand of the green tea matter?
Yes it does. You want to make sure not to mess up your organic green tea by adding sugar or milk, try it with fresh lemon or some true lemon sweeteners. To reap the maximum health benefits, look for the organic brands that use all natural ingredients and have no artificial preservatives.
Does green tea go bad?”
It won’t spoil, but like most foods and drinks, the fresher the better! If you are using loose tea or tea bags be sure to drink it within six months, otherwise the tea will lose some of it’s antioxidant powers.
Do you get the same green tea benefits with flavored green tea?
The benefits of green tea should not be lessened by the addition of flavors. For example, pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry, etc. If the flavoring includes sugar, it may contain more calories than unflavored green teas.
Is Green Tea alkaline or acidic?
Interestingly, green tea is slightly acidic however, it has an alkalizing effect when it has been digested. This makes it a perfect beverage if you want to try the alkaline diet.
Is Green Tea a natural cure for anxiety and stress?
One of the active ingredients in green tea is L-theanine. This amino acid helps to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, which is very good for anxiety.
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- Auvichayapat P, Prapochanung M, Tunkamnerdthai O, Sripanidkulchai B (et al). (2014) Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial. Physiol Behav. 2008 Feb 27;93(3):486-91. Epub 2007 Oct 18. (Retrieved September13th 2016)
- Baladia E, Basulto J, Manera M, Martínez R, Calbet D. (2014) Effect of green tea or green tea extract consumption on body weight and body composition; systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Hosp. 2014 Mar 1;29(3):479-90 (Retrieved September13th 2016)