Before you get excited about the potential weight loss benefits of green tea, it's crucial to know the facts and what to expect. You may already know by now that science has yet to find a magic bullet when it comes to weight loss -- aside from following a healthy diet and living an active lifestyle. Still, a few substances may help enhance weight loss, and green tea is one of them. Taking green tea extract as a supplement may offer more weight loss than drinking brewed green tea, though it's still not an effective weight loss strategy.
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Green Tea for Weight Loss
While seemingly countless varieties of green tea exist, they all have one thing in common: They all come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Green tea varieties are grown in various regions, but they're all made from the unfermented leaves of the plant. The active chemical considered responsible for potential weight loss benefits, a polyphenol compound called EGCG, is found in all varieties of green tea. Green tea contains higher levels of polyphenols than other types of tea, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This means that it likely doesn't matter which type of green tea you choose; they all offer the same potential benefits for enhancing weight loss.
Green Tea May Enhance Weight Loss
A study published in 2015 reported the beneficial effects of taking decaffeinated green tea extract combined with an exercise regimen. Though the study was small -- 14 active males -- the results indicate that the green tea increased fat burning by close to 25 percent and decreased body fat by 1.6 percent. The authors reported an added benefit of enhanced exercise performance from taking the green tea extract. The study was published in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Green Tea Extract a Better Option
If you're thinking of drinking green tea for the enhanced weight loss benefits, you may want to considering opting for the extract instead. Participants in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study took a green tea extract containing 400 milligrams of EGCG, and the authors concluded that lower amounts fail to have the same enhanced weight loss effects. To put things into perspective, the average cup of home-brewed green tea contains anywhere between 25 to 86 grams of EGCG, according to a Consumer Lab report published in 2013. This means you'd need to drink 4.5 to 16 cups of green tea each day to obtain the 400 milligrams of EGCG required for weight loss.
Potential Side Effects of Green Tea Extract
While taking green tea extract is unlikely to cause serious problems, minor side effects have been reported. In clinical settings, users have experienced dizziness, headache and digesting upset. This doesn't mean that you will experience side effects, and if you do, they'll likely go away as your body gets used to the supplement. Many green tea extracts contain other active substances. However, you should avoid multi-ingredient green tea extracts to reduce your risk of side effects. If you experience any troubling side effects, discontinue use immediately and consult your doctor.
- Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition: The Effect of a Decaffeinated Green Tea Extract Formula on Fat Oxidation, Body Composition and Exercise Performance
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- ConsumerLab: Green Teas Vary in Strength and Amount of Lead Contamination
- Drugs.com: Green Tea