FAQ

Green Tea! Is it an all-natural fat burning super-drink?

Green tea is the second most popular beverage in Asia. Only water is drank in greater quantities on that continent. Yet, in the Western world it has only come to prominence relatively recently, as black teas are more common here. As it has grown in popularity, so we have learned of its apparent benefits in terms of health.

Green tea, along with many other plant products, has been used in Eastern medicine for many hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. Many of these products are now being researched and tested in the Western world, with some interesting results.

There are many claims made about the benefits of drinking green tea. Those that claim it helps burn fat when exercising are worth checking out in more detail. Green Tea Extract is found in many health products, and in some of the best fat burning supplements.

Does it – as some sources claim – reduce fat gain and help burn fat? That’s the question we have set out to answer. Let’s begin by talking about what is special about green tea, and why it has become so popular as an ingredient in workout supplements.

What’s In Green Tea?

Green Tea is, like other types of tea, made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant – otherwise known as the Tea plant. The difference between green and other tea is that with the former, the leaves have not been processed, and remain unfermented.

Grown mainly in China and Japan – although it is now being cultivated in many countries around the world – green tea is subject to many claims as a health aid, although these are somewhat difficult to quantify.

We will say, however, that many people have reported the effectiveness of green tea as a health aid, and that it can help with weight loss as a supplement – which is what we are concerned with here.

The active ingredient in green tea that is claimed to help with weight loss is called Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCC. It is a known antioxidant, but does it help with fat burning?

How Does it Work?

It is important we have a look at how green tea extract is supposed to do its job as a weight loss aid, so here is an explanation in as simple terms as possible.

The active ingredients in green tea extract are EGCC, as mentioned above, and caffeine. It may surprise some people to learn that caffeine – more commonly associated with coffee – is prevalent in both green and black tea. Like EGCC, caffeine is known to speed up the metabolism.

This means it may help burn more calories as you work out. It stands to reason, then, that a supplement containing these two substances may have an effect on weight loss.

The sheer number of supplements containing green tea extract are testimony to the widely-held claim that it does help reduce fat gain and burn fat, as does the number of people who use it and demonstrate results.

Does it really work, and should you be using green tea extract as part of your workout regime? Is there any evidence that the claims of its effectiveness are true? That’s the next question we will try and answer.

Does Green Tea Extract Burn Fat?

First, let us establish that as a natural product, green tea is harmless. So, if you want to try it, go ahead as you have nothing to lose. However, when it comes to evidence about its effectiveness as a weight-loss aid, there is conflicting evidence.

The difficulty in assessing the evidence for green tea extract as a fat burning ingredient lies in the fact that research and opinion differs. The same is true for its other claimed health benefits. It is notable that – as we have said – green tea is caffeine-rich; caffeine is known to speed up the metabolism, as is ECGG [1]. This should help with burning calories during exercise.

The problem is that the small amount of these substances in one cup of green tea would not have a perceivable effect on weight loss, unless you were to drink colossal amounts! In concentrated form in a supplement, however, there is evidence that it does have a positive effect, but clearly not in the exaggerated manner that some of the less reputable suppliers claim [2].

This is a problem with many products in the weight loss and workout market; wild claims of fast-acting ‘miracle’ supplements need to be treated with caution. Nothing acts immediately, and all supplements need to be taken as part of your overall routine, and with a healthy and sensible diet regime.

There is one other curious factor regarding research into weight loss using green tea, and it is this: it appears to be more effective in users from Asian backgrounds, and less so in Caucasian people. This is discussed in the article we have linked to above at Nature.com.

The reasons for this anomaly are not fully understood – perhaps it is due to the fact that green tea is a staple drink in Eastern culture, and not in the West – but the results are interesting, nevertheless.

Green Tea Plant

Our Conclusion

Put simply, you are not going to lose weight by simply drinking green tea. The amount of the active ingredients in a cup is not enough to have an effect. It may be a healthier option than black tea – its popularity within the Asian nations shows that this is possible – but if you want to use it as a weight-loss agent, you need to take it as part of a supplement where the concentration is greater.

Overall, the evidence from the research we have mentioned says that green tea extract does act as an effective ingredient in fat burner supplements, and the results are there to back that up. The proviso is that it does not work for everyone. The fact it is a natural, harmless product means it is perfectly safe to try it, and you might be one of those for whom green tea extract can help you achieve your goals.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20156466
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/ijo2009135

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