Lose Weight with Green Tea
Numerous scientific studies have shown that tea drinkers, specifically green tea drinkers, lose weight faster than those who don’t. Time to get your kettle on! Here’s the skinny on getting skinny with tea – how to drink green tea for weight loss.
How to Use Tea for Weight Loss
(How to Lose Weight with Green Tea*)
1. Find a tea you enjoy.
While many studies focus on green tea, it’s important to find a tea (green tea or otherwise) that you certainly enjoy drinking. Some green teas are quite strong in flavor and can be unpleasant if you’re not used to the taste, so here are some options to try.
- Flavored green teas. Both green and white (which has antioxidant properties as well, but is more expensive) are offered in a bevy of flavors. For best results, consider choosing a green or white tea that contains caffeine (according to research, a caffeine-based tea provides maximum calorie burn), but of course be sure not to overdo it. Drink it early in the day, and just one cup.
- Herbal teas. Herbal teas come in a variety of delectable flavors ranging from spicy orange to jasmine. Rooibos (red tea) is another good herbal tea choice. Since herbal teas are typically decaffeinated, they can be used as a late night tea.
- Black tea. Black tea is from the same plant as green tea, but the processing it goes through is different. As a result, those weight loss blasting chemicals (theaflavins and thearubigins) are more complex. They’re still there, but the simpler the better. In other words, green tea may be more beneficial for weight loss, but both are still good.
- Although black tea can be purchased in a decaffeinated form, trace amounts of caffeine may still remain, which can have an impact on those who want to fall asleep at night.
- Oolong tea has been reported to increase your metabolism by as much as 10%. Green tea reportedly only increases metabolism by 4%. Both are great, though! If you’re not into green tea, then definitely try oolong tea for weight loss.
2. Be careful with diet teas.
While diet tea tastes similar to many black or herbal teas, diet teas may contain a laxative element, so you should drink these teas in moderation (or not at all)–especially if your tea contains senna, aloe, agarwood, rhubarb root, buckthorn, or castor oil. Experts warn against drinking too many cups of diet tea because you could develop vomiting, nausea, persistent diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and even fainting, and dehydration.
- The concept of “diet” tea is sort of false advertising–any unsweetened, natural tea can promote weight loss. Certain teas may act as a laxative or fat-blocker, and that’s why they’re marketed as such, however laxatives just clean out your colon (you’ve already consumed and absorbed the calories). You may lose a little bit of water weight initially, but the second you drink something, it’ll come back.
- One cup is often enough. Seriously, you’ll regret drinking more.
3. Read your ingredient labels.
There are so many types of teas on the market, it’s hard to know where to start. A good place to start is by reading the ingredient list on the back label. If it has added sugar or sweeteners, put it back on the shelf.
- This doesn’t mean though you have to avoid flavored green teas. Some flavored teas have added sugar, but others don’t – so simply check the ingredients. And of course, sticking to all-natural ingredients is always a better choice.
4. Make tea brewing (and drinking) easy.
One hurdle some people face is that brewing tea, while not an incredibly arduous process, may not be as easy as they’d like it to be. While you can brew a quick cup of tea in the microwave (pour water into a ceramic cup and heat for two minutes until boiling, then add your teabag), you can make the process even easier:
- Purchase an electric teakettle. Electric teakettles are readily available at many bath and kitchen stores, ranging in price, and are extremely easy to use. All you have to do is fill it with water and push a button or lever to bring it to a boil. You can brew tea by the cup or add several tea bags to the entire pot once the water has boiled. Keep a thermos as well for the additional boiled water. Fill with water, add the green tea, and keep by the kettle or your desk for ease of pouring a tea whenever needed.
- Buy an iced tea maker. During warmer months, drinking hot tea may not sound like fun, however you can still consume just as much tea by using an iced tea maker. Like the electric teakettle, simply fill the machine with water, then add ice (according to the manufacturer’s directions) and teabags. Turn it on and begin drinking fresh iced tea in a matter of minutes.
- Brew iced tea the night before for quick access during the day. If you don’t have a few minutes to brew your iced tea that day, make it at night and keep a pitcher of tea in your refrigerator. Instead of bringing a few sodas to work, consider filling a large thermos with iced tea and keep it on hand throughout the day.
5. Have a warm cup of tea to satisfy an afternoon craving.
Although the chips or cookies in the vending machine may be calling your name, make yourself a cup of tea instead. If you go for the tea, the EGCG properties found in the green tea actually have a glucose-lowering effect, which influences cravings and may help control your hunger.
- Moreover, the ritual involved in making tea (as opposed to shoving coins into a vending machine) gives you a welcome break from your chores or work–and you can reflect on good thoughts, as well as making conscious choices to put good things into your body instead of the empty calories from candy bars. Take a moment to chat to someone else who is also in the tea-room with you. And, it’s a great way to unwind, stretch, and socialize in the tiny space of five minutes!
6. Time it right.
Some experts believe that certain teas should be consumed at different times of day to reap maximum weight loss results. You might consider drinking different kinds throughout the day to see what works for you.
- White tea may block fat absorption, so drink it before lunch.
- A tea like bilberry tea can balance your glucose levels, so it’s most useful around dinnertime.
- Pu-erh, green, and oolong teas can get your metabolism going, so drink them in the morning (and throughout the day too).
7. Think about your caffeine intake.
Certain teas have caffeine in them–sure, not like a cup of coffee does, but if you’re drinking it 24/7–it adds up! While caffeine is not technically dehydrating, it does have about 50 mg of caffeine per cup. Drink decaffeinated teas preferably after morning time.
- You can either shorten the brewing time to give your tea less caffeination or just stick to herbal teas that don’t have caffeine. While this won’t be an issue for most people, some are particularly caffeine sensitive and high levels of caffeine can lead to insomnia, nervousness, and prolonged symptoms even hours and hours later.
8. Balance your tea habits with a healthy diet.
Let’s get real here: If you don’t see results with a new diet fairly quickly, you’re not going to stick with it. While drinking tea is a great idea, you’ll get faster results if you have a healthy diet, too. The two, combined, will make you a force to be reckoned with!
- You know what tea goes great with? Drink your tea with health snacks. Cut out processed foods. Know every little thing you’re putting in your body and it’s impact on your health and your waistline.
9. Avoid getting bored.
Your taste buds may get tired of drinking just one type of tea. Would you want to eat only one food for every meal? In order to stick to your routine, mix it up and try different teas, flavors, and enhancements. It can be a lot of fun making a tea selection in your home or office cupboard, allowing you to choose a tea flavor according to the mood you’re in.
- Try a splash of cream or a squirt of lemon for a zestier tea. A slice of lemon can help improve the flavor. Plus, one study found that those who drink black tea with lemon peel have 70 percent reduced likelihood of developing skin cancer.
10. Explore new tea flavors.
The sky is the limit when it comes to trying different flavored teas. There are many brands and many sources of tea, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever taste them all. Learning about new tea varieties, flavors, and styles is a lot of fun for the tea enthusiast.
- Here are some more interesting teas to consider, all of which claim to promote weight loss:
- Star anise tea: promotes digestion and can actually soothe an upset tummy.
- Peppermint tea: controls appetite and speeds up digestion.
- Rose tea: prevents constipation and contains loads of vitamins.
- Pu-erh (poo air) tea: shrinks fat cells (drink it in the morning).
- Chickweed tea: reduces bloating and is a mild diuretic (stick to one cup).
- In order to stay true to your diet, only select tea you have to brew yourself instead of a pre-made tea. Some pre-made coffees and teas have a tremendous amount of sugar and other added chemicals which are definitely not diet-friendly.
11. Know your stuff.
According to a study by Abdul Dulloo, from the Institute of Physiology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, the plant compound EGCG found in green tea, plus caffeine, increases thermogenesis by 84 percent. Thermogenesis is the generation of body heat that occurs as a result of normal digestion, absorption, and metabolization of food. Green tea also increases your levels of norepinephrine, which prepares your body to burn fat for the “fight or flight” response. (Knowledge is power, people! It’s also motivation for weight loss!)
- While not every researcher believes that tea drinking (green tea or others) is a “magic bullet” for weight loss, every weight loss expert would agree that flooding your system with water or drinking tea versus eating a candy bar or drinking soda can help move the digestion process along quickly and perhaps distract you from munching snacks that aren’t healthy. Regardless of whether it’s magical or not, tea (drinking healthier options) is always is a good idea.
- Many teas have a range of benefits, including protecting your heart, preventing tooth decay, elevating your sense of well-being, protecting you from diseases, etc. It’s important to read more about the individual teas you choose, as the benefits will vary.
- Monitor your diet, too, to see quicker results.
- Drinking 3-5 cups of green tea a day can burn off about 50-100 calories.
- Stick to your diet by drinking tea plain, without any added sugar.
- Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggest drinking two to three cups of green tea a day to see health benefits and/or weight loss results.
- Excessive consumption of tea can lead to interference with iron absorption so be sure to check your iron levels.
- Caffeine can interfere with sleep. Don’t drink or eat caffeine after morning or afternoon time.
- Tea is only fresh for a limited period of time. Avoid drinking stale tea.
- Some herbal tea can be harmful to some people, so be sure to know what is in the tea. Avoid tea made from comfrey, which contains Pyrolizidine alkoloids, which harms the liver. Internal consumption of comfrey is banned in many countries.
- If you become a tea enthusiast, space for all your tea can become a bit of an issue. Make room somewhere in your kitchen or pantry and stick to limits.
- Drinking more than 3 cups of tea per day may cause dental and sleep problems.
- With any new diet and fitness plan, consult with your doctor first. Each individual is different in their specific requirements, so you are responsible for finding out your own.
- Excessive tea drinking may stain your teeth. Be prepared to use teeth whitening products if you like to keep a white smile.
Adapted from How to Drink Tea to Lose Weight.