You’ve probably heard that green tea is full of antioxidants that can improve your health, reduce inflammation, and even reduce the risk of cancer. Green tea is also often cited as a weight-loss aid, and is commonly listed among the ingredients for most weight-loss and fat-burning supplements. But does green tea for weight loss really work? Evidence indicates that yes, green tea has several positive effects on the body that can help with your weight-loss goals. Here’s how.

Green tea aids in losing harmful belly fat

We’ll start with the best news about green tea for weight loss: While its weight-loss effects are pretty modest, it can nevertheless help you lose visceral belly fat – the most harmful kind of fat on your body. Visceral belly fat is the fat that surrounds organs inside the abdominal cavity, and has been linked to several harmful conditions such as inflammation, insulation resistance, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Although many studies show that green tea drinkers effectively lose weight, some studies indicate no effect of green tea on weight loss. But a review of 11 different studies did conclude that catechins — compounds found in tea, cocoa and berries — have a small positive effect on weight loss and weight management.

Further, although the weight-loss effects of green tea are modest, a large share of the weight lost comes from harmful visceral belly fat. According to a 2012 study (and there are others that agree with these findings), catechin-enriched green tea “induced visceral fat loss” in adults who had a high proportion of abdominal fat.

Green tea helps increase metabolic rate

Your metabolic rate is a measure of how well your body uses energy from calories and how many calories it burns, even while at rest. An increased metabolic rate generally means more calories burned resulting in weight loss.

A good number of studies show that drinking green tea or taking green tea extract can increase your metabolism. Typically in these studies, the increase in metabolic rate and calories burned hovers right around a 3% to 4% increase. Although this may seem like a fairly insignificant increase, the good news is that the evidence also suggests that this metabolism-boosting effect can last for quite some time.

A study involving 60 overweight adults concluded that green tea can reduce body weight “by increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation.” But keep in mind that this metabolism-boosting effect can vary widely and may depend in large part on the individual.

Green tea helps burn fat during exercise

Green tea is usually listed as an ingredient in weight-loss and fat-burning supplements, especially those designed to be taken before a workout. The reason for this is that green tea has been shown to aid in burning fat during exercise. So, green tea can give you more bang for your sweat.

In a study involving healthy men, participants who consumed green tea extract before exercising were found to burn (or oxidize) 17% more fat than the men who didn’t take the extract before exercising. Researchers concluded that taking green tea extract “can increase fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise” and can also help improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.

Green tea can assist in moving fat from fat cells to the bloodstream

For your body to burn fat, it has to break down the fat that’s stored in fat cells and then move it into your bloodstream. Some animal studies indicate that certain compounds in green tea can assist in or promote this process. In these studies, green tea was found to enhance the effects of certain hormones that play a critical role in burning fat, primarily norepinephrine (or noradrenalin).

Green tea contains an antioxidant known as EGCG that has been shown to inhibit the action of the enzyme that breaks down the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine. The result is that there is more norepinephrine to do the crucial job of breaking down fat. This fat can then be moved into your bloodstream to be used for energy by other cells, such as cells in your muscles.

Using green tea for weight loss: the verdict

Evidence is clear that green tea can help a little with increasing metabolic rate and burning fat, but not a lot. Still, used in conjunction with other strategies like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, it can be a useful tool in your weight-loss plan. Besides, green tea and green tea extract have a great many other health benefits.

For example, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that a substance in green tea helps kill leukemia cells. But even more impressive are the reasons these researchers decided to study the effects of green tea in the first place. Studies have shown that in parts of the world where green tea is commonly consumed, the rate of cancer is lower, particularly that of breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancer. In addition, studies using mice have found that green tea helps protect against tumor development. The EGCG found in green tea has also been proven to induce death in cancer cells.

So why wouldn’t you want to drink your green tea, even if it doesn’t produce dramatic weight loss?

Additional tools for weight loss

At Quest Weight Loss, we can help you with all of the weight-loss tools you’ll need to achieve your goals. We strive to provide a warm, inviting environment full of motivation and support. We’ll work with you to develop a truly personalized weight-loss program that focuses first on safety, efficacy, and health benefits, supported the four pillars of nutrition, hydration, exercise, and supplementation.

With our metabolic weight-loss program, 99.79% of patients lose weight, and, on average, patients lose 27 pounds in only four months. That’s because our program is supported by 14 years of treating obesity and 1.8+ million patient visits. It’s an evidence-based program that can be custom tailored to meet the unique needs of each patient.

We truly want you to succeed, so your goals become our goals. To discover more about how we can help you toward your weight-loss goals and help you achieve better overall health, contact us today for a free consultation!