You don’t have to buy a book or subscribe to an online service to enjoy the weight loss and other health benefits of a hot tea diet. No official or fad hot tea diet exists, but drinking a lot of tea can help you shed unwanted pounds. Exercising and reducing calories helps, too, but daily consumption of green tea might help you shed 1/2 lb. per week, according to a 2010 article in The Los Angeles Times.
Types of Tea
Four types of tea -- black, oolong, green and white -- come from a single plant, the camellia sinensis. The properties and weight-loss benefits of each depends on how long the teas remain on the vine before harvesting and the type of processing the tea undergoes before it reaches market shelves. White tea leaves, picked before chlorophyll turns them green, contain the highest level of antioxidants. Black tea, left on the vine the longest, contains the least. What happens to tea leaves once they’re off the vine, including bagging, flavoring, decaffeinating and bottling, affects the level of antioxidants in the tea.
You need to consume 300 mg of tea antioxidants daily to lose weight, according to a review of clinical studies by Craig Coleman, associate professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Connecticut. Three cups of green, white or oolong brewed from loose leaves would provide 300 mg of antioxidants. You would need to drink 10 cups of black tea brewed from loose leaves to attain that level of antioxidants. Any type of hot tea brewed from loose leaves will give you more dietary benefits than bottled tea, which loses 90 percent of its antioxidants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Hot black tea contains more caffeine than other teas, up to 120 mg per cup, which is more than in some brews of coffee. Oolong tea contains less caffeine than black tea but more than green tea, which contains 26 mg of caffeine, White tea is believed to be the least caffeinated of the four teas, but it has not been tested in the same way as the others. Caffeine is both a stimulant and an appetite suppressant that some dieters find helpful in weight control. Pregnant women or persons sensitive to the effects of caffeine could drink decaffeinated tea. Decaffeinated tea contains about half as many antioxidants as caffeinated tea, according to the USDA.
Tea and Weight Loss
If you follow a moderate, calorie-reduced diet such as one recommended by the USDA, you could lose 1 lb. per week. The USDA recommends reducing calories by 500 a day to achieve gradual weight loss. And some studies show that drinking 4 to 6 cups of green tea can help you lose 1/2 lb. per week. In one study, led by Arkita Basu, a researcher at Oklahoma State University, participants who drank 4 cups of hot green tea every day for eight weeks lost 51/2 lb. more than participants who drank 4 cups of water, according to an article in the August 2010 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Adding hot tea to your diet provides other health benefits as well. People who drink 5 cups or more of green tea daily live longer and are 30 percent less likely to die of heart attacks and strokes, according to The Globe and Mail in Toronto. Drinking oolong tea can lower your cholesterol level and protect against heart disease and diabetes, according to The Daily Yomiuri, and white tea may help win the battle against obesity, according to Nutrition and Metabolism.
- “Journal of Nutrition”; Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults; Kevin Maki etal; February 2009
- “Journal of the American College of Nutrition”; Green Tea Supplementation Affects Body Weight, Lipids, and Lipid Peroxidation in Obese Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome; Arpita Basu etal; 2010
- “The Los Angeles Times”; Slim Chance Green Tea Can Burn Fat Off; Chris Woolston; Aug. 16, 2010
- “The Washington Post”; Give Green Tea a Try, but Get a Handle on the Perfect Brew for You; Robert L. Wolke; April 25 2007
- USDA: Brewing Up the Latest Tea Research