Will drinking green tea before a workout help you burn more fat and slim down? Green tea has been enjoyed for centuries and has been credited with everything from weight loss to improved energy. New research paints a clear picture as to how green tea affects weight loss and other potential benefits.
Green tea can help reduce appetite, improve workout intensity and reduce stress, but it won’t give you significant weight loss results unless you also focus on diet and exercise.
Drinking Green Tea Before Exercise
As it turns out, drinking green tea before exercise can help burn more calories and fat. A meta-analysis published in the March 2019 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that drinking caffeine improves endurance, as well as strength, speed, power and jumping performance.
In this study, the ideal amount was 200 milligrams of caffeine, which is equivalent to about two cups of coffee. Green tea, however, only has about 25 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup, so you would have to drink 8 cups to get the right caffeine kick for exercise results! Matcha green tea has the most caffeine of any other green tea, so sip on that for an added caffeine kick.
You could also take green tea extract to get the right caffeine dose, however, make sure you don't take more than the recommended dosage of 200 milligrams. Another option is to enjoy a cup of green tea plus a cup of coffee or espresso to get the right caffeine buzz for your workout.
Green Tea and Reduced Appetite
Another way green tea can help you lose weight is that it can help reduce your appetite. A study featured in the October 2014 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that sipping green tea helps in weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing energy. Green tea has zero calories, so next time you are tempted to snack, try sipping a cup of green tea. Not only will it keep you hydrated, but it may also help you eat less.
Green Tea and Weight Loss
Many studies have been done on the effectiveness of green tea as a weight loss aid. A study that was published in the November 2018 issue of the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine concluded that green tea extract did not aid in weight loss after six weeks of treatment, however it did help reduce cholesterol, which can improve heart health.
A study published in June 2016 in Clinical Nutrition studied the effects for a longer period of time and showed that high dosage of green tea extract for 12 weeks did in fact result in weight loss and decreased belly fat, as well as lower cholesterol.
The problem with this study, however, is that they were taking very high doses of green tea extract or ECGC to the tune of 856 milligrams. To put this in perspective, you would need to drink about 29 cups of green tea to get that same dose.
So how much green tea is safe? A study published in Toxicology Letters in August 2017 concluded that 300 milligrams of EGCG per day is the safe limit to avoid liver toxicity, which is well below the dose that was taken in the weight loss study. You can safely drink around 10 cups of tea, so it would be difficult to overdose on drinking green tea. Those that are taking green tea extract supplements, however, need to be aware of how much they are ingesting.
The Benefits of Green Tea
Even though green tea won't exactly make the pounds magically fall off, drinking green tea before a workout does have some benefits. In addition to the small caffeine kick that can help physical performance, a study in the November 2016 issue of the journal Phytomedicine showed that drinking green tea helped to decrease stress. No more stressing over your workout!
Bottom line: Keep your expectations realistic when it comes to green tea and weight loss. If you drink a calorie-ridden green tea smoothie or load your cup with sugar and cream, than green tea won't aid in weight loss. Green tea by itself has zero calories and has some wonderful benefits, so enjoy a cup or two — and then set a realistic goal weight and focus on your diet and exercise to see some real results.
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: "Caffeine Supplementation and Exercise Performance: An Umbrella Review of 21 Published Meta-Analyses"
- Mayo Clinic: "Caffeine Content for Coffee, Tea, Soda and More"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Beyond Superfoods: 6 Health-Boosting Teas"
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "The Anti-Obesity Effects of Green Tea in Human Intervention and Basic Molecular Studies"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Green Tea"
- BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Effects of Green Tea Extract on Overweight and Obese Women"
- Clinical Nutrition: "Therapeutic Effect of High-Dose Green Tea Extract on Weight Reduction: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial"
- Toxicology Letters: "Safety Assessment of Green Tea Based Beverages and Dried Green Tea Extracts as Nutritional Supplements"
- Phytomedicine: "Anti-Stress Effects of Drinking Green Tea With Lowered Caffeine and Enriched Theanine, Epigallocatechin and Arginine on Psychosocial Stress Induced Adrenal Hypertrophy in Mice"