Some herbal teas can help you lose weight, thanks to plant compounds called catechins that can kick-start metabolism. Here are the teas that experts say have the most potential to help you lose weight.
If you’re a tea drinker, you probably already know that your cup is good for your health. Tea has medicinal properties and is the second most consumed drink in the world.
Observational research has found that drinking two or three cups a day is associated with a lower risk of early death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
How Drinking Tea Can Help You Lose Weight
If your beverages are usually high in calories, replacing them with tea can make you lose weight. For example, swapping a sweet chocolate for a calorie-free coffee tea can easily save you a few hundred calories.
Research suggests tea may also play a direct role in weight loss. Teas contain catechins, which can increase metabolism by stimulating the body to break down fat faster and burn more calories. Catechins are a type of plant compound with powerful antioxidant properties. Tea is particularly rich in four catechins: epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Of these four substances, EGCG is the most abundant and contributes the most to the many health benefits of tea.
There are many varieties of tea, and many of the traditional types: green, black, white, and oolong are harvested from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Their unique flavors and properties are due to differences in processing, geographic location, and plant varieties. These differences also affect the nutritional composition of each tea, which means that some types of tea may be better suited for weight loss than others.
Solid research on tea and weight loss is still lacking, but there are clues.
That said, many studies examine the effects of tea in capsule or tablet form, which may provide study participants with a more concentrated dose of plant compounds like EGCG than a typical tea bag would. Other studies don’t use humans, and if they do, the population sizes are smaller. These are important limitations, so further large-scale human studies using brewed tea are needed so scientists understand and can better determine the potential weight loss benefits for people. Either way, health experts agree that plain, unsweetened brewed tea is generally healthy. Go ahead, get your cup ready and, as you sip it, check out this list of the best teas for weight loss, in order of strongest to weakest evidence.
Here is what can be said about the effect of tea on weight loss
1 Green tea
Most conversations about tea and weight loss tend to start with green tea, and for good reason. Of all the teas, this sweet and sour variety has the most research to support its potential weight loss benefits. For example, a study of about 1,200 Taiwanese men and women found that those who drank two cups of green tea a day for more than 10 years had a lower body fat percentage and smaller waistline than tea drinkers. irregular green. The researchers simply observed an association between green tea consumption and a smaller waistline, not a causal relationship. Also, the researchers relied on survey data, which may leave room for error.
Other studies have suggested a more direct link between green tea and weight loss, although this research also has limitations, including the size and duration of the study, and the lack of tea use. infused. In a very small lab study, 10 healthy men burned an additional 63.5 to 200 calories over 24 hours after taking two green tea extract supplements three times a day, compared to one day when they had took a placebo. These small increases can help people lose weight over time.
The calorie-burning effects of green tea may come from the combined effects of EGCG and caffeine, which appear to work synergistically. Studies have reported that caffeine must be present with EGCG to promote weight loss, as a stimulated nervous system is needed for optimal results. According to an analysis of 15 clinical trials published in June 2017 in Nutrición Hospitalaria, green tea was only effective for weight loss when combined with 80 to 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day.
Additionally, the EGCG and caffeine in green tea can target fat cells in particular. Another small study in 10 obese or overweight men found that taking 300 mg of EGCG in supplement form for three days helped increase fat oxidation (the process of breaking down fatty acids). According to previous research, 300 mg of EGCG is roughly what is found in three cups of brewed green tea. Also, EGCG can inhibit the development of fat cells so that the body does not form new fat cells.
2 Black tea
After being harvested, black tea leaves can oxidize. That is to say, soak up the surrounding air longer than other teas. This intensifies their flavor, making black tea one of the strongest varieties on the market. Prolonged oxidation, commonly referred to as “fermentation,” also changes the composition of polyphenols, or plant compounds, in black tea. If it contains EGCG like less processed varieties of tea, it is a better source of theaflavins. These polyphenols form when black tea leaves are oxidized, and they may offer weight loss benefits, according to a review published April 2018 in Molecules.
One study found that men and women who drank three cups of powdered black tea a day gained less weight and slimmed down their waistlines after three months, compared to those who didn’t drink black tea. Black tea polyphenols may work by reducing calorie intake and decreasing fat and carbohydrate absorption. Polyphenols can also modify gut bacteria in ways that fight obesity. In a study published in September 2017 in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers fed a group of obese mice a diet high in fats and sugars and supplemented it with black tea extract. After four weeks, these animals dropped to the same weight as a group of obese mice that had been fed a low-fat diet. By taking gut samples from the animals, the researchers found that the black tea-treated group had fewer gut bacteria associated with obesity and more bacteria linked to lean tissue.
3 Oolong tea
This partially oxidized tea is a popular choice with a flavor that is stronger than green tea, but milder than black tea. Oolong tea contains a blend of polyphenols that green tea and black tea are famous for: catechins (green tea) and theaflavins (black tea), according to a previous study. Like these other varieties of tea, oolong also provides caffeine and may aid weight loss. For example, a study published in February 2018 in Nutrients found that oolong tea extract helped increase fat burning in mice.
Other research suggests that these benefits may hold true in humans too, although larger studies are still needed. A small study involving 12 participants that was published in December 2020 in Nutrients found that men without obesity who drank oolong tea for breakfast and lunch saw a 20% increase in postprandial fat burning. after 14 days. Men who drank an experimental caffeinated drink had similar results. However, they didn’t burn as much fat during sleep as the oolong group, suggesting that the caffeine content of the tea isn’t solely responsible for its effects. According to some researchers, the fat-burning effects of oolong tea can directly lead to weight loss by promoting lipid metabolism. For example, a previous study showed that drinking four cups of oolong tea a day helped overweight or obese adults lose weight. In fact, about 70% of severely obese subjects (those with a body mass index above 35) lost more than 5 kg after six weeks.
4 White tea
According to one study, white tea is the least processed of all teas, which explains its light and delicate flavor. The minimal processing also means white tea retains a high amount of anti-inflammatory antioxidants and fat-burning EGCG, making it another potentially beneficial brew for weight loss. White tea has been suggested to help speed up the breakdown of fat cells and block the formation of new cells, giving it potential weight loss benefits. For example, a test-tube study found that white tea extract did just that: stimulate the breakdown of human fat and prevent the formation of new fat cells. According to the researchers, these effects were largely due to EGCG.
5 Hibiscus tea
This tangy tea, harvested from hibiscus leaves, contains catechins like EGCG and has been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. A previous review of animal and human studies, for example, suggests that hibiscus extract shows promise in treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol, although the authors say we need more research. before being able to make recommendations. It can also help you maintain your weight at a healthier level. In one study, overweight or obese adults who took hibiscus extract for 12 weeks saw their body weight, body mass index, fat mass, and hip-to-waist ratio decrease, compared to a control group. . Researchers have attributed these benefits to plant compounds in hibiscus extract. Another study reported similar results after feeding obese mice hibiscus extract for 60 days, although studies of similar duration have not been conducted in humans.