Green tea is strongly associated with weight loss by a good part of the world’s population.
This has resulted in a large market for “weight loss green tea”, which is sold as a supplement.
The main component that’s being studied is EGCG. You’ll also hear about “green tea extract”, which basically consists of EGCG.
I drink good quality green tea at least three times a day, exercise regularly, and try to eat healthy foods. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever see the abs behind my belly unless I make drastic changes to my diet 🙂
Anyway, I was curious on the scientific evidence behind this. Let me tell you what I found.
What the studies say regarding the effect of green tea on weight loss
The most recent study I found was from March 2015, and was published in The Journal of Nutrition. (Refer to the links of the studies at the end of this post).
It consisted of a randomized placebo-controlled study with 60 people. At the end of 12 weeks, there was no significant change in fat absorption, or resting energy expenditure.
In 2012, a review done by the Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders Group regarding studies that had at least a 12 week duration with green tea concluded that “green tea has no significant effect on weight maintenance” and “very small, statistically non-significant loss of weight, decrease in BMI, and decrease in waist circumference compared to a control substance”.
Another study from the International Journal of Obesity did a meta analysis on previous studies in 2009. The result was “a small positive effect on weight loss and weight maintenance”.
It also suggested that ethnicity and caffeine intake play a role in the outcome.
A study from 1999 found a 4% increase in energy expenditure with green tea extract after 12 weeks. I believe that this one ignited the hype about green tea as a weight loss supplement.
As explained by Michael J. Coffey in his post from 2013, the 4% increase “for the subjects’ assigned diet during the exercise, amounted to an increase of about 78 calories in a day. Which is the caloric equivalent of about 20 pistachios or a single stick of string cheese”.
Green tea isn’t going to have much impact in your weight loss program, you can easily negate its small effect by eating an extra snack.
Concentrate on diet and exercise, which isn’t easy, but it’s the surest way to succeed. The miracle weight loss pill hasn’t been invented yet, sorry.
In the next post, I’ll continue this topic by giving my opinion on green tea supplements.