Is green tea really a ‘miracle’ aid for weight loss? We asked nutrition experts to find out

A STEAMING mug of green tea can do more than comfort you on a cold day or give you a caffeine hit.

Studies have linked the green grass liquid to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and even delayed biological aging.


Studies seem to show that green tea can help you lose weight – but experts doubt whether the drink is really that effectiveCredit: Getty

The drink is also touted for weight loss benefitsand studies seem to show that drinking green tea may help improve your metabolism or burn fat.

Green tea contains caffeine and a type of antioxidant called catechin, and research from 2010 suggests that both of these may help speed up your metabolism.

Another piece of research published in 2012 found that men who took green tea extract before exercise burned 17 percent more fat than men who did not take the supplement, suggesting that green tea may increase the fat-burning effects of exercise.

But the health benefits of green have often not been studied for a long time periods over time, and many based their results on green tea extracts rather than the drink itself.

So The Sun asked two nutrition experts to spill the tea to see if the much-loved drink can help with weight loss.

Duane Mellor – dietitian and Head of Evidence-Based Medicine and Nutrition at Aston University – and Gunter Kuhnle, Professor of Nutrition and Food Science at Reading University, discussed research into the drink and its other potential health benefits.

Does green tea really help with weight loss?

Dr Mellor told The Sun: “Although there are reports of green tea helping with weight loss, many of the studies are very limited and therefore there is no confirmed claim that green tea helps people lose weight to lose.

But he said that “interestingly, mouse studies seem to show that green tea can help these rodents lose weight”.

Most are read in Diet & Nutrition

Professor Kuhnle echoed his words, and questioned whether research showing that drinking green could lead to weight loss is as clear as it seems.

“Green tea is often promoted for weight loss, but from the data I’ve seen and know, it’s likely to be small and therefore hard to say if it’s really meaningful.

“So I’m not sure it’s very useful for weight loss,” he said.

Are there other health benefits to drinking green tea?

According to Dr. Mellor, it has been suggested that green tea contains beneficial plant compounds with antioxidant properties called polyphenols.

Popular low-cost snacks that can help you lose weight and improve your heart health

It mentions epicatechins and an amino acid that is not found in protein called l-theanine.

Test-tube studies of polyphenols have “incorrectly linked their antioxidant functions in the test tube with health benefits”, Dr Mellor said.

But he noted that “in humans, this effect is much less clear”.

Some studies suggest that l-theanine can help people relax and be in a calm and alert state, the dietician said.

“However, the evidence is currently inconclusive and therefore no health claims can legally be made when marketing green tea.”

As for Professor Kuhnle, he said that green tea may be linked to better memory and heart health.

“Green tea contains a group of compounds – flavanols – which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, so there is likely to be a health benefit,” he told The Sun.

Writing for The Conversation, he discussed a study he helped conduct that found people who eat a lot of flavanol-rich foods may have better memory compared to those with a low intake.

Previous research also found that people with a low intake of flavanols were at a higher risk of heart disease, Dr. Kuhnle said.

What won’t green tea help with?

According to Dr Mellor: “Green tea can be an interesting and refreshing alternative to regular tea or coffee.

“It’s slightly lower in caffeine than black tea and much lower in caffeine than coffee.

“It’s not guaranteed to help any health issues, because the best way to manage weight is to watch what you eat and make sustainable changes.”

Professor Kuhnle noted that some people may experience an upset stomach after sipping the drink, but said that “green tea is generally fine”.

But he and Dr Mellor warned that green tea extract could be dangerous when consumed in excess, as it could cause liver damage.

The European Food Safety Authority recommends not consuming more than 800 mg/d of green tea – “which is difficult with tea as a drink, but easy with juice”, according to Professor Kunle.

How often should I drink green tea?

Professor Kunle said you need to consume about two to three cups of green tea a day to reap the flavonol benefits.

As for Dr Mellor, he said: “It’s fine to drink 2-4 cups a day.”

How to lose weight safely

Losing weight should be a long-term commitment to healthier living, rather than any drastic measures.

NHS tips – which can be taken slowly – include:

  • Be active for 150 minutes a week – you can break this up into shorter sessions
  • Try to get your 5 a day – 80g of fresh, tinned or frozen fruit or vegetables will count as 1 portion
  • Aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds, or 0.5 to 1kg, per week
  • Read food labels – green color coded products are often a healthier choice than amber and red
  • Swap sugary drinks for water – if you don’t like the taste, add lemon or lime slices to taste
  • Cut down on foods high in sugar and fat – start by swapping sugary grains for whole grain alternatives
  • Share your weight loss plan with someone you trust – they can help cheer you up when you’re having a bad day

Read about:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *