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Does Green Tea Work as a Fat Burner? (From A Dietitian)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: April 30, 2022

Lately, at the gym, clients and colleagues have been discussing whether consuming green tea boost fat burning.

This question certainly has some merit, but I decided to do my own thorough research into it so I consulted our dietician, examined a lot of online data, and invited some of my clients, who were willing to commit to a green tea and exercise trial.

After six weeks of research and testing, I’ve compiled all the data and feedback into this article, so here’s what I’ve learned.

Quick Summary

  • There are certain studies linking green tea and green tea supplements to improving exercise performance and aiding weight loss.
  • Green tea is high in catechins, possibly providing many health benefits besides weight loss.
  • Matcha green tea fat burners seem to be more potent.
  • Green tea extract or loose leaf may play a significant role in reducing visceral fat.

What Does Green Tea Do In Your Body?

A lean person doing yoga

Green tea does a few things in the body, including potentially aiding weight loss, promoting fat breakdown, alleviating headaches, relieving digestive issues, and improving cognitive alertness [1].

A notable component of green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), continues to be studied for its possible effectiveness against cancer and heart disease [2].

Green tea has caffeine which is known to have a positive effect on alertness throughout the day.

If drinks and supplements with any caffeine content disrupt your sleep pattern, you should keep this in mind when taking them later in the day.

Can It Help With Weight Loss?

Yes, green tea can help with weight loss, as it contains caffeine and is rich in catechins, flavonoids with potent antioxidant effects, which are being studied for their possible indirect influence on fat loss by reducing the fat cell's production of triglycerides [3]

The heavy hitter of green tea catechins is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

It is believed to do three things that will aid in weight loss: speed up your metabolism, block the formation of new fat cells, and positively affect the breakdown of fat [4].

As one study suggests, combining green tea with a consistent exercise routine may significantly increase fat oxidation and improve body composition by reducing visceral fat and increasing lean muscle mass [5].

All participants in our small trial combined a consistent exercise routine and balanced diet with green tea consumption in the form of tea.

Most of them experienced increased fat-burning rates to a varying degree, which resulted in noticeable weight loss throughout our trial.

‘Green tea has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any tea. It is naturally low in calories and contains less caffeine than black tea and coffee.’ -Megan Ware, RDN

What Are Some Other Benefits?

A fit man doing a handstand

Studies suggest there are some other health reasons to drink green tea besides weight loss, including improving blood flow, lowering cholesterol, combating high blood pressure, and leveling blood sugar [6]

In our testing group, some opted for taking green tea extract supplements instead of steeping green tea leaves.

Whichever form was consumed, it was taken shortly before hitting the gym, and by the second week, the majority felt slightly better performance.

Another unexpected benefit noted by a few participants, including myself, was improved workout recovery.

When I noticed this trend during the trial period, I dove into a little online research and found studies on green tea’s effect on muscle recovery, supporting my experience [7].

Which Green Tea Is Best For Burning Fat?

Close up shot of six pack abs

The best green tea for burning fat may be matcha, the most catechin-enriched green tea.

Matcha contains significantly more epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) than other green teas, which may increase its weight loss and fat-burning benefits [8].

Matcha is processed differently than other green teas, ground into a powder instead of the loose-leaf form of other green teas, which almost makes it a green tea extract of some sort as it’s much more potent than the regular one.

For a couple of weeks prior to harvesting, the matcha plant is left entirely in the shade.

This process increases the chlorophyll, which increases the caffeine, 80mg per cup, versus loose leaf green tea’s 35 mg [9].

Matcha also has more calories than green tea, which should be a consideration when trying to lose weight.

Matcha is also pricier than traditional green teas, which can be an issue for some, including a few of my clients who chose loose-leaf green tea and exercise to burn excess fat and lose weight during our testing.

Another good option is an actual green tea extract commonly found in supplements and energy drinks.

Green tea extracts are a concentrated form of leaf tea bringing all the same health benefits. Be aware of any unnecessary additives like sugars and fillers in these products as they also may affect your ability to lose weight.

FAQs

Does Green Tea Burn Belly Fat?

Yes, green tea can burn belly fat when combined with exercise and a healthy diet. Aerobic exercise with green tea in the morning can significantly aid weight loss and improve exercise performance in anaerobic training as well.

When Should I Take Green Tea to Burn Fat?

You should take green tea shortly before working out to help burn fat. For continued weight loss and other health benefits, drinking green tea or taking a natural green tea fat burner every day is considered safe.

The Takeaway On Green Tea As a Fat Burner

Drawing from the data I collected through my research and testing, I would definitely recommend adding green tea to your fitness plan alongside plenty of exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.

If you want to speed things up a bit, you can do what proved to be very effective in burning fat for my clients and that is combining running with natural fat burners for men and women.

In my professional experience, this combination is one of the best moves you can take to start getting closer to your body composition goals.


References

  1. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/green-tea
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11838881/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green-tea
  4. https://www.eatthis.com/green-tea-weight-loss/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27548216/
  6. https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20071102/antioxidants-may-fight-fat
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29746891/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14518774/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796401/

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