For the past few years, green tea has become a talked about and written about supplement on many sites as being an ideal fat loss addition to your diet. I wanted to clear up and answer a few questions that people have asked me over the last few years about this tea.
Here is some information about the history of green tea. References to green tea date back to Chinese history to well over 5,000 years. There were lots of stories about the discovery of green tea that range from a man just taking a walk and coming upon the plant and tasting it, to an emperor having a tea blossom just fall into his tea. It is interesting to note that back in those days, all tea was green and other teas such as black and oolong teas, came along later through fermentation processes. Tea drinking was the privilege of the rich back then and only the wealthy could afford them. Eventually, green tea made its way from China to Japan in the 800’s and the Japanese created types of green teas, such as Sencha, Matcha and Bancha. Eventually, the tea made its way to Europe in the 1600’s and it has grown, literally, into popular culture.
What does green tea do to actually promote fat loss? That’s a great question that I asked, as well. Green tea does 3 things for our bodies when it comes to fat loss.
First of all, green tea has a lot of polyphenols. What are those? When we eat something, all our food gets digested and synthesized into what we call “triglycerides”. We all need these for energy and to do our daily activities. However, the trouble comes into play when we eat too much and have too many triglycerides, that’s when this excess turns into fat. What green tea does is dissolve these excess triglycerides and therefore burn fat.
The second benefit of green tea is that it stimulates metabolism and accelerates weight loss. How does it do that? Well, back to that word “polyphenols”. Green tea has lots of these, one of which is called EGCG. What this compound does is stimulate the central nervous system and causes fat to be released into the blood stream for the body to use as fuel. Once it does that, the body can shed excess water, body fat and get more energy to be used.
The third benefit of green tea is a lesser known fact people rarely mention. The polyphenols that we have been talking about also help to stimulate the use of fatty acids by the liver and muscle cells. What does that mean for us? It means that this stimulation reduces the amount of carbohydrates being used and therefore you can exercise longer and have more endurance to exercise. So the longer you exercise, the more fat you burn.
So all this news about green tea promoting fat loss is great, right? Well, how much green tea do we actually need to drink to get these great health benefits? It all depends on the type of green tea you have. What we are ultimately looking for is green tea with a lot of EGCG and caffeine. Some scientific studies have shown that we need about 300-700 milligrams per day of EGCG to get the weight loss benefits of green tea.
So how much does each cup contains? Well again, it depends on the quality. If you get a high quality loose leaf tea, then it’s about 3 grams of tea leaves per cup, so that’s about 300 milligrams, so about 3-6 cups (8 ounce cups) a day would be ideal. But, also know that getting high quality green tea is tough as well since the EGCG is very sensitive to being packed, which is why loose leaf tea is the way to go. So what else can you do to get your EGCG’s from green tea? There are also supplements out there that have extracts of EGCG’s. If you do your research on websites where there are reviews, you will be able to find a good supplement.
Overall, just remember that this is only a “supplement” to a solid diet and exercise plan for overall weight loss. Don’t count on green tea to be your only weight loss plan. Nothing can replace rigorous exercise and a clean diet.