Some herbal teas can help you lose weight thanks to plant compounds called catechins, which can boost metabolism. Here are the teas that experts say have the greatest 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 beverage in the world.
Observational studies have 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 drinks are usually high in calories, replacing them with tea can help you lose weight. For example, swapping out a sweet chocolate for a no-calorie coffee tea can easily save you a few hundred calories.
Research suggests that tea may also play a direct role in weight loss. Teas contain catechins, which can boost metabolism by encouraging 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 common and contributes the most to tea’s many health benefits.
There are many types 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 characteristics are due to differences in processing, geographical location, and plant varieties. These differences also affect the nutrient composition of each tea, meaning some types of tea may be better for weight loss than others.
Solid research on tea and weight loss is still lacking, but there is evidence.
However, many studies are examining the effects of tea in capsule or tablet form, which may provide study participants with a more concentrated dose of botanicals like EGCG than a typical tea bag. Other studies don’t use humans, and when they do, the population sizes are smaller. These are important limitations, so more large-scale human studies of brewed tea are needed so scientists can understand and better determine the potential benefits of weight loss for humans. In any case, health experts agree that plain, unsweetened brewed tea is generally healthy. Go ahead, get your cup ready, and while you sip, check out this list of the best teas for weight loss, ranked from 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 start with green tea, and with good reason. Of all 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 lower body fat percentage and smaller waists than tea drinkers. 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 can 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. In a very small laboratory 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 took a placebo. These small increases can help people lose weight over time.
Green tea’s calorie-burning effects may be due to 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 required for optimal results. According to an analysis of 15 clinical studies published in Nutrición Hospitalaria in June 2017, 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 specifically target fat cells. Another small study involving 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’s in three cups of brewed green tea. EGCG can also inhibit the development of fat cells, preventing the body from making new fat cells.
2 black tea
After harvesting, black tea leaves can oxidize. That is, soak up the surrounding air longer than other teas. This intensifies their flavor and makes black tea one of the strongest varieties on the market. Prolonged oxidation, commonly referred to as “fermentation,” also changes the composition of polyphenols, or botanicals, in black tea. If it contains EGCG, like less processed teas, 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 in Molecules in April 2018.
One study found that men and women who drank three cups of powdered black tea daily gained less weight and slimmed their waists after three months than those who did not drink black tea. Black tea polyphenols may work by reducing calorie intake and lowering the absorption of fat and carbohydrates. Polyphenols can also alter gut bacteria to fight obesity. In a study published in September 2017 in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers fed a group of overweight mice a diet high in fat and sugar and supplemented with black tea extract. After four weeks, these animals dropped to the same weight as a group of obese mice 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, which are linked to 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. According to a previous study, oolong tea contains a mixture of polyphenols that green tea and black tea are famous for: catechins (green tea) and theaflavins (black tea). Like these other teas, oolong provides caffeine and can help with weight loss. For example, a study published in Nutrients in February 2018 found that oolong tea extract helped increase fat burning in mice.
Other research suggests these benefits may also apply to humans, although larger studies are still needed. A small study of 12 participants, published in Nutrients in December 2020, found that non-obese men who drank oolong tea for breakfast and lunch saw a 20% increase in postmeal fat burning after 14 days. Men who drank an experimental caffeinated drink had similar results. However, they did not burn as much fat while sleeping as the oolong group, suggesting that the tea’s caffeine content is not solely responsible for its effects. According to some researchers, the fat-burning effects of oolong tea can directly lead to weight loss by boosting fat 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 the severely overweight subjects (those with a body mass index over 35) lost more than 5 kg after six weeks.
4 White Tea
According to a study, white tea is the least processed of all teas, which explains its light and delicate taste. The minimal processing also means that white tea is high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants and fat-burning EGCG, making it another potentially beneficial weight-loss brew. White tea has been suggested to speed up the breakdown of fat cells and block the formation of new cells, giving it potential weight loss benefits. For example, one test-tube study found that white tea extract did just that: stimulate the breakdown of human fat and prevent new fat cells from forming. According to the researchers, these effects were largely due to EGCG.
5 hibiscus tea
Derived from hibiscus leaves, this flavorful tea contains catechins like EGCG and has been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For example, a previous review of animal and human studies suggests hibiscus extract shows promise in treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol, although the authors say we need more research before we can make any recommendations. It can also help you keep 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, body fat, and hip-to-waist ratio decrease, compared to a control group. Researchers have attributed these benefits to botanicals in the hibiscus extract. Another study reported similar results after feeding obese mice hibiscus extract for 60 days, although studies of a similar duration have not been done in humans.
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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