Nutritionists Weigh in on How Drinking Green Tea Could Help with Weight Loss
Please pass the mug.
"Can green tea help you lose weight?" you typed into Google, three green tea mugs into the new year. Well, can it?
"The short answer is yes, green tea may help you lose weight. This is because green tea may help boost your metabolism—and likely also because of the water (which is filling) that tea provides when it is brewed. Studies show that people regularly drinking green tea for 12 weeks may lose up to about 7.7 pounds more than control groups," comments Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area.
Of course, one food or beverage isn't magically going to make you see the number on the scale tick down overnight, but coupled with a balanced diet and exercise, green tea may very well be a superfood, ahem, super-drink. Other nutrition experts agree that the drink can be a friend in the weight loss department, with Daily Harvest nutritionist Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of Real Nutrition, noting, "Green tea is virtually calorie-free, which of course can promote weight loss if it’s replacing a sugar-laden beverage habit. One study published in the Journal Of Nutrition found that subjects who consumed two-to-three cups of green tea a day for three months, in conjunction with physical activity, saw a reduction in abdominal fat beginning on the third day of practice." To bolster the case for green tea as a boon for losing weight, Shapiro adds, "several studies show that green tea can boost metabolism rate and increase fat burning by at least 5%, due to the specific antioxidant catechin compound, EGCG," with the caveat that green tea should be consumed in conjunction with an "overall nutritious lifestyle." Again, just guzzling a cup of green tea a few times a day and eating junk food isn't going to change your health or help you reach your weight loss goals.
Beyond slimming down, green tea also offers a slew of other health benefits. "Green tea may help your heart. You get a lot of health-helping antioxidants from green tea! These antioxidants may help your ticker stay strong. Additionally, drinking green tea may significantly help reduce your blood pressure, per a review study in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews," shares Gorin. Shapiro also points out a variety of health benefits of green tea, stating, "Green tea is full of polyphenols (~30% polyphenols in weight!). Polyphenols work to reduce inflammation and have anti- cancer properties." Additionally, Shapiro highlights the power of EGCG, which "helps prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals, and can halt premature aging and various diseases."
Stressed out? You'll also be pleased to learn that green tea may aid in quelling anxiety. "Green tea contains amino acid L-Theanine, which can help to reduce anxiety. Bonus: the combo of L-Theanine and caffeine (also naturally present in green tea) work together to improve cognitive functioning," explains Shapiro, who's a fan of sipping her green tea in the Daily Harvest Pineapple + Matcha Smoothie, which is reminiscent of a green piña colada or in the Daily Harvest Matcha + Lemongrass Latte, which tastes like a Matcha Latte (pictured above).
It's also worth noting that green tea can help you meet your daily hydration goals. "Remember that green tea is brewed in water, so drinking unsweetened green tea as a replacement for sugary beverages can help keep you hydrated—which helps with everything from reducing headaches to helping you stay energized," says Gorin. "If you are looking for a new way to enjoy your green tea, try adding it to a tropical green tea sangria mocktail or a matcha green tea latte."
Personally, we like green tea virtually any way you can have it, hot, poured over ice, added to in a smoothie, or slipped into overnight oats in powder form. Just remember not to consume it after early afternoon so the caffeine doesn't keep you thrumming with energy all night long.