Updated: Mar 26
If you have worked with me in the past, you already know I am a huge advocate for finding healthy solutions using all natural ingredients. Yes, there is a time and place for medical interventions and pharma supplementation, but I fully believe you can get the majority of the nutrients we need from our food, natural extracts and botanicals. One mighty healing botanical I highly recommend you add to your diet, is the leaves and buds of Camellia sinensis aka green tea.
For centuries, green tea has been used to boost one's well-being, aid digestion and gut health as well as defy the ageing process. More recently, it's connection for supporting weight loss has been the focus of various clinical studies with some pretty exciting and positive effects. Studies have shown that green tea and weight loss are substantially linked together through the plant’s thermogenic properties. Thermogenesis is the process by which the body produces heat by speeding up metabolism, burning calories, and breaking down fat. The unique substances contained in green tea are believed to help in our body’s thermogenesis, thus contributing to weight loss.
Exciting news. Green tea isn't just for washing down your Sunday arvo feast of Asian dim sims or sushi. It has a highly effective and concentrated positive effect on our digestion, gut health and the metabolism. The only caveat is it that a standardised herbal extract of pure green tea is required in order to activate the weight loss benefits.
Proven Weight Loss Benefits in Green Tea
According Medical News Today, the two magic weight loss compounds found in green tea are caffeine, and a type of flavonoid called catechin, which is a powerful age-defying antioxidant. Both of these compounds can stimulate the body to produce heat by revving up the metabolism. This in turn, burns more calories, and aids the breakdown of body fat. In fact, there have been several studies that indicate regularly consuming pure green tea can help you burn as much as 75–100 calories per day.
Pretty amazing! However there is a catch...
In order to reap these natural fat burning benefits, you'd need to drink a fair bit of green tea. For those with no medical conditions* or who are unaffected by caffeine*, adding 2-5 cups a day can provide a little metabolic boost. I recommend you do this 15 minutes before main meals which will also aid digestion and help you regulate your appetite. However, to really get the full fat burning and metabolic effects, you';d need to consume 6-7 cups per day.
I don't know about you, but there's no way I can take that much caffeine, nor would I want to either. A standard cup of green tea contains between 30 and 50 mg of caffeine. Coffee contains 100 to 150 mg. For most people, 210 to 350 mg is a lot to take every day just to burn fat. In my opinion, it is far better to include a cuppa before your main meals 2-3 times and day and supplement if needed. This way you are getting the full health benefits of pure green tea and boosting your body’s thermogenesis process.
Tips On Choosing The Best Green Tea
Not all teas are created equal. Given you are consuming the tea leaves and steeping them for some time to extract the goodness, I always recommend going for an organic brand. The last thing you want is pesticides in your cuppa! Loose leaf is best as it tends to be less processed and contains more of the beneficial catechins. Always use green tea when it is fresh. Whether loose or bagged, the tea only holds a shelf life of up to 6 months, so keep it in a dark, sealed container and use up before then. I store mine in the fridge to preserve optimum freshness.
Now if you're sensitive to caffeine, especially if consumed after lunch in the afternoon, there are alternatives whereby you can still reap all the fat burning health benefits. All natural botanical supplements are the way to go in this case but you must be choosy. Health food shops and online markets offer dozens of green tea weight loss products marketed for rapid weight loss, but the majority do not use adequate or the standardised extract. These non-standardised green tea weight loss products are a dime a dozen and cheaper that the real thing, but without the main active green tea substances to have any significant weight loss benefits, they are in essence, a waste of money.
As Health & Nutrition Coach, I believe that better weight loss results are achieved when green tea is used in conjunction with a healthy eating plan, other weight loss herbs and with other nutrients. For example, green tea when combined with ginger and olive leaf, helps lower cholesterol and promotes weight loss. Green tea helps stop blood vessel constriction while CoQ 10 protects the heart and ensure blood pressure levels. By mixing green tea with CoQ 10, you will not only achieve maximum weight loss but you will also be able maintain the health of several body systems at one time.
*Green tea or the extracts should not be consumed by those suffering from renal failure, liver disease, cardiovascular conditions, or if pregnant without formal medical advice from a GP. Those sensitive to caffeine should restrict their intake or consult their health professional first.