Green Tea and Your Metabolism

By Tim Skwiat, Pn2

If your goals are to lose fat and add calorie-burning lean muscle mass—and who doesn’t want to do that—then, besides plain, filtered water, your beverage of choice should be green tea.

Green tea, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, is considered to be the most studied plant when it comes to weight loss.1 Research suggests that green tea activates several mechanisms of belly-fat-blasting effects, including increased metabolic rate, reduced fat storage, decreased appetite, increased fat burning, and enhanced muscle uptake of carbohydrates.2

Green tea is rich in a category of polyphenols called catechins, and there’s one catechin in particular that seems to have pronounced fat-torching and metabolism-stoking effects. It’s so awesome, in fact, that people simply call it by its initials: EGCG.

In one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, French researchers found that healthy men taking 90mg of EGCG three times daily experienced a 4% increase in metabolic rate—amounting to upwards of 200 EXTRA calories burned per day. Not only that, the researchers found that men taking EGCG significantly increased their fat burning—even while they slept! In fact, they were burning 31% more fat than the placebo group.3

In another 12-week study, men taking 136mg of EGCG daily lost TWICE as much fat as the placebo group, including FOUR times more belly fat!4

The average cup of green tea brewed for 5 minutes contains about 45mg of EGCG; however, the amount of EGCG in a cup of green tea can vary wildly depending on the brand and brewing conditions.5 With that said, experts in herbal medicine from the University of Chicago suggest consumption of 2 – 4 cups of green tea per day to reap these fat-burning and metabolism-boosting effects.6

References:

  1. Wolfram S, Wang Y, Thielecke F. Anti-obesity effects of green tea: from bedside to bench. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2006;50(2):176-187. doi:10.1002/mnfr.200500102.
  2. Torres-Fuentes C, Schellekens H, Dinan TG, Cryan JF. A natural solution for obesity: Bioactives for the prevention and treatment of weight gain. A review. Nutr Neurosci. 2015;18(2):49-65. doi:10.1179/1476830513Y.0000000099.
  3. Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, et al. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(6):1040-1045.
  4. Nagao T, Komine Y, Soga S, et al. Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(1):122-129.
  5. Shishikura Y, Khokhar S. Factors affecting the levels of catechins and caffeine in tea beverage: estimated daily intakes and antioxidant activity. J Sci Food Agric. 2005;85(12):2125-2133. doi:10.1002/jsfa.2206.
  6. Kao YH, Hiipakka RA, Liao S. Modulation of obesity by a green tea catechin. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(5):1232-1234.