Green tea has been hailed as one of the best natural fat-burners around. Why? It gives your metabolism a jolt, and it’s packed full of antioxidants. Aside from being a great natural fat burner, green tea has been linked to the prevention of everything from heart disease to Alzheimer’s.
Where does green tea come from?
Green tea, along with black and oolong tea, comes from the tea plant Camellia sinensis. Camellia sinensis is an evergreen shrub that is native to mainland South and Southeast Asia, but can now be found across the world in tropical and subtropical regions.
Green, black and oolong tea may all come from the same plant, but the difference stems from the way each is prepared. Green tea, unlike black and oolong tea, is not fermented, so the active constituents are unaltered in the herb.
How does green tea work as a fat burner?
It is the polyphenols found in green tea that have got people excited – more often called flavanols or catechins. The main catechins in green tea are epicatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, epigallocatechin and, the one with the highest concentration, epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG.
There have been plenty of studies done on green tea which tend to focus on the highly concentrated EGCG catechin, and plenty more on catechins in general.
According to a study published in an issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea has been shown to activate the body’s thermogenic fat-burning activity. This study showed that an optimal amount of catechins (690 mg) ingested for 12 weeks significantly reduced the subjects’ total fat area, waist circumference, skinfold thickness and subcutaneous fat area.
Catechins work by inhibiting an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltranferase, or COMT, which actually degrades the body’s primary fat-burning hormone, norepinephrine. Simply put, if you’re trying to burn fat, you want less COMT and because there are so many catechinsin green tea, they really help elevate norepinephrine levels, keep them elevated and prolong thermogenesis. In short, catechins help turn you into a fat-burning machine!
It has also been shown that there is a synergistic interaction between the caffeine in green tea and the catechins (more specifically EGCG) in green tea, which revs up the body’s use of calories as energy. And the combination of caffeine and EGCG found in green tea was further shown in the British Journal of Nutrition to significantly increase the resting metabolic rate.
The bottom line is that green tea extracts help boost your 24-hour energy expenditure to create the perfect environment for maximum fat burning. When you add in the fact that green tea increases norepinephrine, you can really start to understand why it is seen as the ultimate fat burner!
Tea or supplements?
You might be convinced that green tea is the way forward when it comes to fat burning but there’s a downside. Green tea just doesn’t taste that great. Fortunately there are plenty of green tea supplements available. So are these any good?
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the absorption of polyphenols was enhanced when they were given to healthy individuals as a green tea extract supplement in capsule form. In other words, if you don’t like drinking tea or can’t be bothered to drink it by the bucketload, a capsule will do just as well – if not better.
Green tea – a summary
Green tea is a really powerful fat burner – benefits include:
- It increases your 24-hour energy expenditure
- It increases your body’s key fat-burning hormone, norepinephrine
- It prolongs thermogenesis
- It provides powerful antioxidants
- It supports a healthy immune system
Should I take green tea on its own?
Although green tea is a super powerful fat burner, combining it with other fat-burning ingredients can make it even more powerful! There’s research to show that combining green tea extract with components like yohimbe can support overall fat burning.
Green tea is clearly a powerful fat burner and should be top of your list when it comes to fat burning supplements. When taken as a supplement and together with other ingredients, it is even more powerful. As with all supplements it is advisable to talk to your doctor or a health care professional to ensure that they are right for you.