Black tea is packed with nutrients that are slightly different from those in green and white teas but — like green tea — black tea for weight loss can be beneficial. You'll get the same benefits from caffeine in both types of tea.
And unique black tea flavonoids show promise that help you drop extra pounds. But you'll get the biggest impact by using black tea to replace high-calorie beverages.
Black Tea for Weight Loss
A group of plant-based antioxidants called flavonoids, or polyphenols, are responsible for many of the black tea benefits, according to Oregon State University. All types of tea are made from the same plant leaves, which contain a group of flavonoids called catechins.
In green tea, the primary flavonoids are catechins. When the leaves are further processed to produce black tea, the catechins form new flavonoids called theaflavins and thearubigins. Black tea may retain a small amount of catechins, but black tea benefits come from the new flavonoids.
Researchers reported that energy expenditure — or calories burned — significantly increased after laboratory mice received a dose of theaflavins from black tea, according to PLOS One in September 2015. The studies published so far are promising, but they've only used lab animals. More research is needed in people to study black tea for weight loss.
Boost Metabolism to Lose Weight
When you drink an 8 ounce cup of regular black tea, you'll get 47 milligrams of caffeine, according to the USDA. Caffeine also promotes lipolysis — the breakdown of stored fat — and it stimulates cycles that metabolize fats.
Caffeine may help keep weight off for a longer period of time. Out of 2,000 people surveyed, nearly 500 people reported that they successfully lost weight and kept it off.
The smaller group consumed significantly more coffee and caffeinated beverages compared to the other participants, reported the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in November 2015. However, this survey only implies an association; it does not prove that drinking more caffeine caused the positive outcome.
Mayo Clinic notes that most healthy people can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily. However, people who are more sensitive to caffeine and those who have an irregular heart rhythm, high blood pressure or excess stress, may need to consume less than that recommended by the general intake guidelines.
Reduce Calorie Consumption
Beyond the potential black tea benefits of polyphenols and caffeine, black tea will help you lose weight if you use it as a replacement for high-calorie beverages.
One cup of black tea only has 2 calories, according to the USDA. Even if you add a teaspoon of honey, it still only has 23 calories. If you drink any type of sweetened beverage, switching it with black tea eliminates a significant number of calories.
Compare this to one 12 ounce can of sweetened cola, which has 138 calories, according to the USDA.
- Oregon State University: "Tea"
- PLOS One: "A Single Oral Administration of Theaflavins Increases Energy Expenditure and the Expression of Metabolic Genes"
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Caffeine Intake Is Related to Successful Weight Loss Maintenance"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Beverages, Tea, Black, Brewed, Prepared with Tap Water"
- Mayo Clinic: "Caffeine: How Much Is Too Much?"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Honey"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Cola"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beverages, Tea, Black, Brewed, Prepared With Tap Water
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Honey
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beverages, Carbonated, Cola, Regular
- Obesity: Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-Aged and Older Adults
- Obesity: Efficacy of Water Preloading Before Main Meals as a Strategy for Weight Loss in Primary Care Patients With Obesity: RCT
- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: Water Drinking Induces Thermogenesis Through Osmosensitive Mechanisms
- Tea Association of the U.S.A. Inc.: Tea Fact Sheet