You should drink at least five glasses of water every day, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as people who live in hot climates or exercise vigorously, require several glasses more. Including tea in your daily water requirement could help you lose weight and protect you against heart disease. But the caffeine in tea may be harmful to some.
Properties in Tea
Tea contains powerful antioxidants called epigallocatechin gallate that you may also see listed on product labels as catechins, EGCG, or flavonoids. Green and white tea contain the highest number of catechins, black and oolong tea the least. Green and white tea contain about half as much caffeine as black and oolong tea. The catechins in tea boost metabolism and burn fat, while the caffeine in tea acts as a stimulant and appetite suppressant.
How Much Tea to Drink
You need to consume at least 300 mg of catechins daily to achieve a weight loss benefit, according to the “Los Angeles Times.” This would mean drinking about 3 cups of green tea brewed from loose leaves or 10 cups of black tea brewed from loose leaves. If you drink tea brewed from bags, made from mixes or ready-to-drink in bottles, you would need to drink even more. Ten servings of bottled green tea, for instance, contain the same amount of catechins as a single cup of green tea brewed from loose leaves.
Tea Catechins and Weight Loss
The link between tea antioxidants and weight loss is fairly well-established, but results are mixed. Arpita Basu, a researcher at Oklahoma State University, conducted a study in which daily consumption of 4 cups of strong green tea produced an extra weight loss of 5.5 lb. in eight weeks. Basu’s study, published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition in August 2010, also found that people who took green tea capsules containing 460 mg of catechins lost 4.9 lb. during the same period. Craig Coleman, associate professor of pharmacy at the University of Connecticut reviewed 15 weight loss studies that demonstrated less promising results. Coleman said consuming 300 mg or more of tea catechins produced weight losses of one to 3 lb. in three to 24 weeks.
Water and Weight Loss
Drinking plain water may also help you lose weight. Drinking water before meals creates a sense of fullness that may make you eat less. Water also directly affects your metabolism, according to a study conducted by Michael Boschmann and other German researchers. Drinking two glasses of water increases metabolism by 30 percent, according to the results of the study published in May 2003 in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.” Boschmann compared the effects of drinking water to taking 100 mg of ephedrine, the weight-loss supplement banned by the Food and Drug Administration.
Drinking water is safe unless you consume it quickly in large amounts. Rare fatalities have occurred among athletes who tried to rehydrate by chugging down a gallon or more of water. Caffeine may adversely affect people with kidney or nervous disorders. Pregnant women should consult their physicians before adding caffeinated beverages to their diets. Women who consume more than 100 mg of caffeine daily are at greater risk of giving birth to low weight babies, according to the “British Medical Journal.”
- Mayo Clinic: Water: How much should you drink every day?
- BMJ: Maternal Caffeine Intake During Pregnancy and Risk of Fetal Growth Restriction; a Large Prospective Observational Study
- “The Washington Post”; Give Green Tea a Try, but Get a Handle on the Perfect Brew for You; Robert L. Wolke; April 25 2007
- Mayo Clinic: Caffeine Content for Coffee, Tea, Soda and More
- “Los Angeles Times”; Slim Chance Green Tea Can Burn Fat Off; Chris Woolston; Aug. 16, 2010