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Can People Lose Weight by Drinking Iced Tea?

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Can People Lose Weight by Drinking Iced Tea?
Two glasses of ice tea Photo Credit Kesu01/iStock/Getty Images

The beverages you choose to drink can make a big difference in your weight-loss efforts. Opt for high-calorie drinks and you may find yourself gaining weight instead of losing it, since it isn't hard to consume hundreds of extra calories in a day through beverages. This doesn't mean you have to stick with just water. Some other calorie-free beverages, including unsweetened iced tea, may have weight-loss benefits, especially if you use them to replace higher-calorie beverages.

Hold the Sugar

A 16-ounce bottle of sweetened iced tea contains about 180 calories, so it isn't likely to help you lose weight. However, unsweetened iced tea is a calorie-free beverage, making it a diet-friendly way to slake your thirst. Squeezing a little lemon juice into your iced tea will add flavor without a lot of calories if you don't like your tea plain.

Go for the Green

Opt for iced green tea over iced black tea since it may have more weight loss benefits. Beneficial antioxidants called catechins appear to be at least in part responsible for the small weight-loss benefits provided by green tea, according to a study published in the "International Journal of Obesity" in September 2009. The processing of black tea lowers the amount of these catechins by changing them into other compounds, making green tea a better source of these nutrients.

Catechins and Caffeine

Caffeine increases fat burning, and thus weight loss. Drinking an iced tea that combines both the catechins in green tea and caffeine may improve your weight loss results, according to a study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in December 2008. This effect may be greater if you don't usually consume a lot of caffeine, note the authors of a study published in "Obesity Research" in July 2005. The combination of catechins and caffeine may counteract the decrease in metabolism that sometimes accompanies weight loss and increases the amount of energy you burn, according to an article published in "Physiology & Behavior" in April 2010.

Diet Soda's Downside

Switching from drinking a 20-ounce non-diet soda to an unsweetened iced tea could save you 227 calories. Trading a whole-milk latte for an unsweetened iced tea could save you 265 calories. Drink two or three fewer sodas each day and it may be enough to generate the daily 500-calorie deficit you need to lose a pound a week. While unsweetened iced tea doesn't save you any calories compared to diet soda, it doesn't contain all the chemicals in diet soda, making it a healthier option for dieters. Although research results are conflicting, the artificial sweeteners in the diet soda may also lead to weight gain, according to an article published in "The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine" in June 2010.

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