Drink Green Tea to Lose Weight
A popular ancient beverage in Asia known for its health benefits and medicinal uses, green tea has been a favorite in Eastern countries for many years. Legendary Chinese emperor Shen Nung, who lived over 5,000 years ago, found green tea to not only be generally healthy for the body, but also have detoxifying effects. Over the years green tea has been consumed as a way of preventing and treating numerous types of illnesses.
Interestingly, green tea has also been used for weight loss purposes. The first report of this was made by a Chinese pharmacist named Wang Ang (1615-1695). Ang noted that consuming green tea for an extended amount of time could reduce body fat.
The benefits of green tea would not be researched in depth again until hundreds of years later, when in 1995 researchers began examining green tea as an anti-obesogenic agent. Since then, research has continued to explore the beneficial health effects of green tea. The findings from epidemiological and laboratory studies reveal a connection between green tea and its ability to offer protection against cardiovascular disease, various forms of cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Obesity is becoming alarmingly more common in the United States. It is considered a factor that contributes to other chronic diseases. Obesity has become so much more than a personal problem. In fact, the cost associated with obesity has become a huge public health expense, with a price tag around $100 billion a year in the United States for medical spending.
The cause of obesity is having an energy intake that is more than your energy expenditure, resulting in a positive energy balance. If you want to lose weight, you must have a negative energy balance, which is accomplished by either reducing the amount of energy consumed (what you eat and drink), or by increasing the energy you burn.
Explanation behind Green Tea and Weight Loss
Green tea contains chemical substances called catechins, which belong to the family of antioxidant polyphenols. The catechins have many physiological effects. For example, catechins have the ability to limit the storage of fat in humans, which can be highly beneficial for weight loss efforts.
In a Taiwanese population of over 1000 adults, epidemiological research was conducted and found that people who drank tea at least once a week for more than 10 years saw a 20% drop in their body fat and a 2% decrease in their waist line when contrasted with infrequent tea drinkers. The findings suggest that consuming green tea has positive effects on weight loss.
A second study examining more than four thousand individuals from the Netherlands concluded that there is a negative association between the catechins ingested with green tea and a person's Body Mass Index (BMI) over a 14-year period. BMI is used to measure the degree of overweight, factoring in height and weight. The higher the number for BMI, the more overweight you are considered. Based on this study, the more green tea you consume, the smaller your BMI score tends to be.
Many studies have explored the correlation between consuming green tea and weight loss. Several of these studies found that the participants who drank catechins-rich green teas for 3 months ended up with lower body weight, smaller waist and hip circumference, and less body fat mass and LDL cholesterol. It is noteworthy that the people who participated in these studies did not change their normal eating behavior or exercise patterns beyond adding green tea to their diets. This reveals the simplicity of drinking green tea and its positive effects on weight loss-it can't get any easier!
It Prevents Excessive Fat Storage
Your body stores fat in fat-storing cells called adipocytes. The amount of fat your body can store is in direct proportion to the size and number of the fat cells. The fewer fat cells that you have in your body, the less room you have to store fat. You want less room for fat storage in order to control your weight.
Adipocytes, or fat cells, are produced through the process of adipogenesis by pre-adipocytes which are non-specialized, generic type of cells. Production of fat cells either from pre-adipocytes (adipogenesis) or from existing fat cells (proliferation) is an ongoing process in your body since fat cells eventually die and need to be replaced.
Research indicates that green tea inhibits production of adipocytes. If this is indeed true, then green tea has the effect of reducing the amount of adipocytes, which means less fat storage happening in the body. A decrease in storage means less room for your body to hold fat.
It Stimulates Calorie Burning
The total amount of energy your body burns in a day to perform the basic biological functions needed for survival is called Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR). It is the rate at which you spend energy when you rest or sleep. A portion of this energy is expended in the form of heat, also known as thermogenesis. If heat production in your body increases, your BMR increases, too. Some foods can stimulate heat production in the body. Foods that can increase your BMR by way of increased body heat production are called thermogenic foods.
In one of the studies, thermogenesis and the associated increase in BMR was observed by giving daily capsules of green tea extract to participants. The study used 10 healthy men who took the green tea capsules, caffeine, or a placebo with their usual meals. Those who took the green tea capsules exhibited a 4% increase in their BMR. An increase of this magnitude was not observed in the participants who took the caffeine or placebo.
A second study found similar results. Thirty men and women drank 3 servings of green tea a day . After three days, their BMR increased up to 8%, a result that rivals the previous study. In other words, the increase in BMR was equal to an extra 100 calories a day that was burned by basic metabolism. It was conjectured that drinking green tea on a regular basis with a healthy diet and regular exercise is a good combination for weight control.
It Aids In Weight Maintenance
Research indicates that green tea has a positive effect on metabolism. This is great news for individuals aspiring to shed pounds and maintain their slimmer body. However, the loss of weight is correlated with a decline in metabolic rate. Our metabolism changes along with our body weight, and lower weight is generally associated with lower metabolism.
Unfortunately the drop in metabolic rate during weight loss is also responsible for the weight loss "plateau" people experience after losing their first initial few pounds. This plateau makes further weight loss difficult, including the maintenance of weight loss. If by drinking green tea your BMR goes up, you can counteract the drop in metabolism experienced during weight loss. This will give you the benefit of sustained weight loss and maintenance. Experimental evidence reveals that regular green tea drinking helps maintain weight loss.
It Reduces The Amount of Fat Absorbed
For fat to be absorbed by the intestines, it must first go through these two processes:
- Emulsification by bile salts. A process that makes lipids ready for absorption, emulsification, renders lipids bio-available and absorbable by the intestines.
- Digested by enzymes. Lipases are enzymes that are found in our stomach and small intestines. They are responsible for breaking down lipids.
The catechins found in green tea have the ability to reduce absorption of lipids in the intestines. This is especially true for EGCG, the catechin existed in the greatest quantity in green tea. EGCG prevents lipids from emulsifying and inhibits the activity of gastric lipase and pancreatic lipase, which are two important enzymes needed to digest fat in the body. Therefore, green tea reduces a person's caloric intake by simply interfering with the way fat is absorbed in the body. Green tea's impact on the digestion of fat can be seen in the increased amounts of fat found in a person's fecal matter. Essentially much of the lipids pass right through the body and are expelled in your stool.
It Halts Fat Synthesis
If you break down the food you eat, it contains three basic macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These molecules are deconstructed into their component parts in the digestive tract of the human body. This process is essential for the absorption of these small building blocks by the intestinal wall. Specifically, carbohydrates are broken into glucose (or sugar), fats are turned into fatty acids, and proteins become amino acids. After the body has absorbed these smaller molecules, it will use them for various body functions. Whatever is not used will be sent to fat cells.
However, fat cells cannot store anything else but fat. For this reason, any macronutrients that not used by the body and are destined to be stored must be first changed into fat. This fat generating process is called lipogenesis, and is performed by lipogenic enzymes. Green tea inhibits the action of lipogenic enzymes, and, as a result, blocks the synthesis and storage of fats.
A Natural Weight Loss Program
The scientific evidence that green tea positively impacts weight loss efforts is vast. This ancient and revered beverage can assist a person not only lose but also maintain the desired body weight.
Green tea, and its potential to tackle the problem of obesity in society, stands out among other solutions to the weight loss epidemic, because it does not require dramatic changes in lifestyle. When you think of the drastic measures people take to lose weight, including surgery and unhealthy dieting practices, drinking tea is a very simple, cost-effective approach to weight loss that contrasts the more expensive and often temporary solutions of other so called best weight loss programs. Green tea is considered a viable strategy for losing weight, and also to help keep the pounds off.
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- Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Physiol Behav. 2010 Apr 26;100(1):42-6. Epub 2010 Feb 13.
- Thermogenic ingredients and body weight regulation. Hursel R, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Apr;34(4):659-69. Epub 2010 Feb 9.
- Laboratory, epidemiological, and human intervention studies show that tea (Camellia sinensis) may be useful in the prevention of obesity. Grove KA, Lambert JD. J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):446-53. Epub 2010 Jan 20. Review.