This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
There are many supposed benefits of drinking green tea, not all completely true. But does drinking green tea help weight loss?
Green tea is made by soaking leaves of plants of certain plants in hot water. By doing this several nutrients get added to the water.
Some people swear green tea is the pillar of their good health. Is it just a myth or does drinking this herb brew actually help for things like weight loss?
Benefits of green tea for weight loss
The first thing you need to know is that green tea has both advantages and disadvantages. Luckily you can enjoy the advantages of green tea and avoid the disadvantages at the same time.
Green tea is an interesting case that gets a lot of attention because countries in the east in general consume a lot it. These countries usually also perform better on health measurements.
It’s not likely that this is only because of green tea but it does raise your eyebrows. It’s worth taking a closer look at it.
Firstly, here are a few advantages of green tea for weight loss.
It contains substances that can help you lose weight
Green tea contains multiple substances that can be beneficial for your weight loss.
One of these substances is caffeine. It’s true that a cup of green tea contains less caffeine (24-40 mg) than a cup of coffee (100-200 mg). However the caffeine still has an effect. Caffeine can help fat burning (1) and improve exercise performance (2).
Some other beneficial substances are antioxidants called catechins. One of these is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a substance that can boost metabolism.
Most studies regarding green tea are done with a green tea extract, a more concentrated version of the tea compounds. Your regular cup probably won’t cause the same amount of results as in the studies but it can still be beneficial for losing weight. Small bits do add up.
It can help you reduce appetite
This one is more fluid related than specifically green tea related.
Just like drinking water, green tea can help you reduce hunger. When your stomach gets filled up it send signals to your brain to reduce the amount you want to eat.
Because water and green tea don’t contain any calories they can help you eat less other foods that do contain calories.
This ultimately helps you achieve or stick to a calorie deficit.
These benefits will most likely not come down to 100’s of calories a day. This amount can be a welcome, small increase in weight loss but you can’t rely on it to get you through your entire weight loss journey.
Disadvantages of drinking green tea for weight loss
Before you start drinking liters of tea, you need to know that there are also potentially disadvantages of drinking green tea.
These disadvantages mainly spring from the caffeine in green tea.
Caffeine can increase stress for some people. Stress isn’t just an emotion. There are physical consequences that can reduce the impact of your weight loss efforts.
Now this won’t happen for most people. However it could be that you are in the group of people that doesn’t process caffeine very well. In that case you might want to avoid it altogether.
Caffeine consumed too close to bed time can reduce your sleep quality. Sleep is one of the most important things for your weight loss and health in general.
Most people can avoid the possible negative effects on their sleep by not consuming green tea 8+ hours before bed time.
Some people need to avoid caffeine altogether
Some people have a gene that makes it so they don’t process caffeine as well as most people. This group of people might see a decrease in sleep quality even if they consume only one cup of green tea first thing in the morning.
You can find out whether you are in this group by getting a dna-test or by closely monitoring your sleep quality and testing with and without consuming green tea.
Maximize the benefits of drinking green tea for weight loss
There are a few factors you need to keep an eye on to keep drinking green tea good for weight loss. Some habits can improve the effects of green tea a little. Other habits can be the difference between your green tea being good or bad for weight loss.
What is the best time to drink green tea for weight loss?
Green tea contains caffeine. Caffeine has a negative on your sleep quality. Your sleep quality in turn influences your weight loss.
The amount of time it takes for caffeine to get out of your system depends from person to person.
However, an estimation is that for most people it takes 5-6 hours before half the amount is gone. The other half stays in your body for longer.
The earlier the better but if you want to play safe you should aim to consume no caffeine at least 8 hours before bed.
How to prepare green tea for weight loss
Even though tea sounds like just boiling some water and pouring it over your herbs you need to pay a little bit of attention.
Boiling water can reduce the amount of EGCG content (3).
You can aim for lower temperatures like 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit (65-76°C) to get more EGCG.
What to add
For maximum benefits of drinking green tea for weight loss it is advised to not add things like cream and sugar to it.
The calories in those ingredients can really add up after a few cups. One addition to your tea that may be ok and even beneficial is some lemon juice.
Which green tea is best for weight loss?
Matcha green tea is basically a more concentrated version of green tea. This means more caffeine and the other substances in it that can help weight loss.
The increase in concentration might not be good for everyone. More sensitive consumers like for example children and pregnant women might want to stick to regular green tea.
How much green tea should you drink to lose weight?
While there is no exact optimal dosage known for green tea, 2-4 cups of green tea are considered safe and even beneficial for most consumers.
Some welcome help
By drinking green tea the right way this beverage can help you lose a little extra weight. You should not expect to start burning 100’s of extra calories a day but small amounts do add up.