It’s quite common to hear about the health benefits of teas, and how this or that celebrity swears by a certain tea which helps her lose weight. Unfortunately the truth has gotten a bit murky and now it’s hard to find out which teas will really help you lose weight – if they will at all help you lose weight. In addition, there have sprung up certain “fad” teas and even tea pills that all claim to help you lose weight. How can you seperate what works from what doesn’t?
I go by scientific studies, anecdotal evidence from other users and my own experience when I evaluate something. So based on these three factors, I will present what works and what doesn’t… and what I’m not really sure about.
How does tea promote weight loss?
Tea contains a certain chemical called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which helps to promote weight loss. Scientists speculate that this compound might work by blocking fat absorption and increasing metabolism. EGCG is also a power anti-oxidant and is supposed to decrease absorption of sugar.
In addition, tea contains caffeine, which makes you more alert and energetic, which leads to greater activity and increased calorie burn.
Scientific studies have proven that tea increases metabolic rates, and it is not just the caffeine in tea which does this. Studies show that people who were given a caffeine tablet did not experience the same increased metabolic rate as those who drank tea.
Which teas are best for weight loss?
So when it comes to weight loss teas that work, which ones work best?
So far both anecdotal evidence and scientific studies point to green tea and oolong tea.
Green tea for weight loss
Studies conducted on rats showed a decreased absorption of fat and sugar, and increased metabolic rate, when the were given green tea.
There are a number of people (not just celebrities!) who report increased fat loss when they start drinking green tea.
Green tea is also my favorite kind of tea for weight loss. When I was younger (and slimmer) I would regularly drink three – five cups of green tea each day. At that time I found it hard to put on weight. More importantly, green tea also killed my sugar cravings, and that’s not an easy feat! I love my sugar, but drinking green tea after a meal made me lose my desire for dessert. I also like the aftertaste that green tea leaves behind, which makes me eat less soon after drinking green tea.
Oolong tea for weight loss
Scientists also believe that Oolong tea promotes weight loss. In a study conducted on a group of men, those who drank five cups of oolong tea each day lost 12% more fat calories than a group of men who drank only water. The group who drank oolong tea also lost more fat calories than another group of men who drank the same amount of caffeinated water; this finding has led scientists to conclude that it is not the caffeine, but another component in the oolong tea which leads to weight loss.
Herbal teas for weight loss
Unfortunately, there have been no scientific tests done on any other kind of herbal tea, that I know of. If you know of any kind of scientific research done on any particular herbal weight loss tea, please let me know in the comments.
Green tea pills for weight loss
I’ve seen a lot of green tea weight loss pills in health stores and chemists. I hardly ever recommend pills – why not just have actual green tea instead of the pills? I’m not sure that these pills would have the same effect as drinking actual green tea or oolong tea, and I just don’t see the need to take that risk. Yes, it may be a bit time consuming drinking four or five cups of green tea each day – but that really is one of the simplest ways to burn fat! Plus, I personally believe that the aftertaste and the filling effect of those cups of green tea also contribute towards your fat loss.
If you must have a green tea weight loss pill, look for one that has at least 25% EGCG.
Taking all these fat loss claims with a pinch of salt
Critics of the green tea diet say that the loss of calories comes mainly because of the switch from coffee with cream and sugar to a drink without all that cream and sugar.
Critics also say that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the green tea diet works.
The green tea diet – yay or nay?
Personally, I would give the green tea diet a vote of confidence. Green tea is a natural product and has no known side effects. The same goes for oolong tea. The fat loss effects may not be as pronounced for everyone, but drinking all this green or oolong tea will certainly help you enjoy a lot of health benefits. Green tea and oolong tea have a lot of antioxidants which can help prevent a number of diseases ranging from cancer to heart disease. Plus, antioxidants help you look young, which is always nice! However, make sure to take your tea without any sugar or cream.
What do you think of green tea and/or oolong tea? Do you have any experience with any other kind of herbal tea? Please do share your experiences in the comments!
About Alisha: Alisha is a Melbourne-based blogger who is happy to have lost a lot of weight recently! She is now trying to be more fit and lead a more healthy lifestyle. In this blog she shares tips for losing weight quickly and easily. You can read more about her on the "My Story" page.