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

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 10, 2023
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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

  • Green tea works as a fat burner due to its caffeine and catechin content, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
  • Matcha, a form of green tea, is considered the most effective for fat burning because of its higher EGCG content.
  • A study published in PubMed suggests that combining green tea with consistent exercise can significantly increase fat oxidation and improve body composition.
  • Personally, I've observed that clients who incorporate green tea into their fitness regimen often report better overall health and weight loss results.

What Does Green Tea Do In Your Body?

A lean person doing yoga

According to NCCIH, 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].

In my experience, green tea has not only aided in weight loss but also improved my focus during workouts.

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's caffeine can boost alertness, but be cautious about consuming it later in the day as it might affect your sleep.

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, according to the WebMD [3].

From what I've seen with my clients, green tea, especially when combined with exercise, can significantly aid in weight loss.

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 published in PubMed 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].

In our trial, participants who paired green tea with regular exercise and a balanced diet generally saw an increase in fat burning and significant weight loss.

"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

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 one of the high-quality fat burners.

While green tea is celebrated for its immediate weight loss benefits, there's a growing interest in understanding its role in long-term weight maintenance, emphasizing the need for strategies to sustain the weight loss achieved through its consumption.

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].

Many of my clients have reported improved overall health, including better blood flow and lower cholesterol, after regularly consuming green tea.

Participants in our group used green tea in various forms, notably extracts and steeped leaves, often before workouts.

Many reported enhanced performance by the second week and, interestingly, some experienced quicker workout recovery.

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

However, it must also be pointed out that excessive drinking of green tea can cause problems and negative effects.

While green tea offers numerous benefits, nutritionist Vasundhara Agrawal advises consuming green tea in moderation to gain the best health advantages.

Which Green Tea Is Best For Burning Fat?

Close up shot of six pack abs

Based on my observations, matcha seems to be the most effective green tea for fat burning among my clients.

Delving into the biochemistry of green tea reveals that its weight loss properties are largely attributed to catechins and caffeine, which play a pivotal role in enhancing energy metabolism, thereby contributing to the fat-burning process.

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, according to the Molecules [9].

While matcha, richer in calories than regular green tea, can aid in weight loss, its higher price and calorie content may not suit everyone. Some of my clients preferred loose-leaf green tea for its affordability and effectiveness in fat burning.

Alternatively, green tea extracts offer a concentrated form with similar benefits but watch out for added sugars and fillers in supplements and energy drinks that could impede weight loss.

Ultimately, whether it's matcha or green tea extract, choosing the right form depends on your weight loss goals and personal preferences.

Related: Best Fat Burning Tea

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.

Is L-Theanine A Nootropic?

Yes, L-Theanine is considered a nootropic. L-Theanine is often used in combination with caffeine to promote alertness and focus without the jittery side effects commonly associated with caffeine alone. It is known for its potential to improve relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance cognitive performance.


References

  1. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/green-tea
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11838881/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-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/default.htm
  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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About The Author

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
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Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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