Looking to drop a few pounds? Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill that can miraculously help you lose weight quickly. Shedding fat requires a careful combination of eating the right foods, exercise, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep. (If you need a little help in that department, here are 40 Tips Nutritionists Say You Must Follow to Lose Weight.)
But there is something very close to a weight-loss elixir, a beverage that will help rev up your metabolism, regulate blood sugar, and blast away belly fat. It’s lining the shelves of your grocery store right now and is available for just pennies a serving — green tea. Although it comes in many different forms, green tea and its antioxidants will help you drop pounds and deliver the results you’ve been looking for. Here’s what happens to your body when you drink green tea. And for more, don’t miss What Happens to Your Body If You Drink Tea Every Day.
Your body is composed of two types of fat: White fat and brown fat. While white fat is the type of fat we typically know as the squishy stuff in our body that appears when we gain weight, brown fat can actually help you lose weight. Brown fat, although in much lesser quantities in the body, is metabolically active and burns calories. The brown stuff can also help suck white fat out of the body and contributes to improved insulin levels.
Basically, brown fat is like the magic unicorn of fat in the body, and adults don’t have very much of it. Here’s where green tea comes in: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that along with caffeine, the catechin compounds in green tea increased brown fat among the study participants. And the more calorie-burning brown fat an adult has, the better.
Here’s a little weight loss 101: When you lose (white) fat, you’re not actually getting rid of fat cells. Rather, the fat cells, or adipocytes, shrink. The compounds in green tea called catechins actually help activate this shrinkage. The catechins trigger the release of fat from fat cells, especially in the belly.
The most potent catechin in green tea is EGCG, the powerhouse compound that’s responsible for most of green tea’s weight loss properties. In addition to revving your metabolism and boosting the breakdown of fat, EGCG can also block the formation of new fat cells. One study found that men who drank green tea containing 136 milligrams of EGCG lost twice as much weight than a placebo group and four times as much belly fat over the course of three months. The amount of EGCG in green tea varies, but the average brewable tea contains 25-86 mg per serving. For more EGCG, opt for matcha green tea; the nutrient could be as much as 137 times greater in powdered matcha. There’s a reason green tea is one of our best teas for weight loss.
An increase in blood sugar can make you gain weight; not only can high blood sugar trigger your body to store glucose as fat, it can also lead to unhealthy cravings and a drop in energy. Luckily, green tea may be able to help even everything out. Both Japanese researchers and Mexican researchers found that the antioxidants in green tea limit the total amount of carbs absorbed by your body after a meal, which ultimately improves sugar metabolism.
Working out on its own is beneficial for weight loss; although diet plays more of a role than exercise, physical activity still has weight-loss benefits such as burning calories, building fat-burning lean muscle, and revving your metabolism. When paired with green tea, however, it’s an even more powerful fat-fighter. In a recent 12-week study, participants who drank 4-5 cups of green tea each day along with a sprinting exercises lost more belly fat and total fat while increasing lean muscle mass compared to non-tea-drinking exercisers. Looks like green tea might be the only pre-workout beverage you need!
Working out is an essential part of any weight-loss plan, but soreness and recovering from an intense workout may keep people out of the gym longer than they want to. That’s where green tea comes in; Polish scientists found that study participants who consumed three cups of the beverage every day for a week had fewer markers of the cell damage caused by resistance to exercise. So it’s worth enjoying a cup of green tea before and after a workout.
If you have high cholesterol levels, you might want to look into drinking green tea. A The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition meta-analysis that reviewed the results of 14 studies, found that green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults. Green tea isn’t the only thing worth consuming to lower your cholesterol, there are also these 17 Foods That Lower Cholesterol.