Does Green Tea Help Burn Fat?

Buyer beware. Don’t believe everything you read. Okay, they’re not the most original phrases, but when it comes to the marketing of tea and the many health benefits that it’s said to bestow on us, they’re appropriate maxims to keep in mind.

Green tea study (Photo source: screen capture from site)
Green tea study (Photo source: screen capture from site)

My standard disclaimer here. Yes, I do believe that tea can have some benefits to the health of those who drink it. There’s just too much evidence in favor of this notion to believe otherwise. On the other hand, I certainly don’t believe everything I read when it comes to this sort of thing, and I think there are plenty of people out there who are prone to exaggerate the health benefits of tea in the name of commerce, among other things.

Take weight loss, fat burning, and that sort of thing. If you go on a casual skim through the Internet you could be forgiven for thinking that tea – and especially green tea – is a miracle elixir that will instantly melt away pounds and unsightly fat. But does it really? It’s a topic we’ve addressed in these pages before, including this article, but a recent article in the New York Times motivated me to take another look.

The focus in the article – as with so many studies on tea and health – was on a compound in tea called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which some believe is the magic ingredient that gives tea and tea extracts the power to melt away pounds and fat.

Which is all well and good and it would sure be nice, but it’s not necessarily true, according a pair of studies cited in the article. The verdict, at least according to one group of Canadian researchers, is that green tea “preparations” can cause a small amount of weight loss in overweight adults, but they ultimately concluded, “green tea had no significant effect on the maintenance of weight loss.”

The other study, conducted by researchers in the Netherlands and United Kingdom, wasn’t particularly bullish on the prospects for green tea extract to burn fat during exercise. Test subjects took the extract and exercised for either one day or seven, with no effect on fat oxidation in the former case and no significant effect in the latter.

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8 thoughts on “Does Green Tea Help Burn Fat?

  1. Tea drinking throughout the day can lead to an increased metabolic rate of 4.7% on average. That translates to about 110 calories per day. That’s not a big increase but it does show that substituting tea for soda or that second glass of wine at dinner could be an easy start to a healthier lifestyle. This research information comes from my report on September’s International Symposium on Tea and Health. Read my column in the January issue of TeaTime magazine or at [link removed per blog policy]

    1. A.C. Cargill

      Hi, Bruce, hope you’re having a great tea day! I went to your blog and do not see this referenced. Sorry about removing the link, but it’s strict blog policy. Also, do you have a link to a study by medical/science professionals? We are careful about passing along any health benefit claims for tea since this blog is not an official medical site. I also use milk in many more teas than you name, but it’s a matter of personal taste there. I know your list is based on your tea research. 🙂

      1. [link removed per blog policy]
        This is the symposium sponsored the Dept of AG, Am Cancer Society, Linus Pauling Institute, Am Council of Nutritionists. We hold it every 3 or 4 years at the USDA in DC.

      2. A.C. Cargill

        Sorry, Bruce, as I mentioned in a previous reply to another comment, we cannot include links and email addresses in comments on this blog. Thanks for reading!

      3. B. Richardson

        It’s an older post from September –

        [link removed per blog policy]

        This is the symposium sponsored the Dept of AG, Am Cancer Society, Linus Pauling Institute, Am Council of Nutritionists. We hold it every 3 or 4 years at the USDA in DC.

        Bruce Richardson

        The Tea Maestro Blog

        Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2013 15:53:01 +0000 To: [link removed per blog policy]

  2. Common sense. Tea demands composure and common sense. It is not a potion for weight loss or other miraculous physical improvements; it is an experience. It helps the drinker savor the moment and savor life more fully… and with this attitude anything is possible, like sticking to an exercise routine for example!

  3. Yes. Green tea helps to burn fat. Coffee does, too, but people usually add more fat (milk/cream) to the coffee than it helps you to burn. Coffee is also easy to become addicted to, and the withdrawal symptoms include overeating. Green tea is the best choice.

    Making green tea relaxes you. The water’s warm, not hot, and most cultures have semi-ritual processes for brewing (e.g. gongfu). Obviously, this is as long as people don’t burn the leaves.

    Good coffee, though, is noisy and messy to make (the deafening sound of bean-grinder, then the equally-deafening milk-frother, then the terrible mess that has to be cleaned up before your drink goes cold). Coffee makes you nervous, which causes overeating, too.

    Think about the stereotypical coffee drinker: a fat, balding businessman under too much stress. The stereotypical green tea drinker? A skinny vegan who enjoys life.

    I’m glad the science agree with the stereotypes 🙂 Thank you for posting.

    1. A.C. Cargill

      Actually, “addicted” is probably incorrect. People get used to the caffeine levels but, unlike hard drugs, they can easily stop drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Also, stereotypes are always stereotypes, meaning there are always lots of exceptions. I know a lot of skinny, unnervous coffee drinkers and a lot of fat vegans who love green tea.

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