Green Tea Extract May Be More Effective than You Thought

green tea, obesityGreen tea could raise your energy expenditure, and possibly even help battle obesity, according to a new study.

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound found in green tea, was shown to increase fat oxidation by 33 percent.

This result comes from one of many studies that have looked at green tea's potential in weight loss. EGCG has been shown to be a key component in many of these studies.

There are a number of ways the EGCG could help aid weight loss:

  • It could increase metabolism and fat oxidation
  • It could inhibit fat cell development
  • It could increase fat excretion
Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the active component of green tea, is again on the radar as a potential weight loss aid. The authors of this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover trial state:

“This pilot study provides for the first time evidence that a single green tea catechin, EGCG, can increase fat oxidation in obese men, at least within 2 h after meal intake.”

The potential of green tea, or EGCG specifically, to promote weight loss has been studied for some time now, and many of the findings are positive.

Green tea does appear to have fat-burning properties, which are related to a class of polyphenols called catechins. Catechins are naturally occurring antioxidants, which have been reported to have a number of physiological and pharmacological properties.

For example, previous studies indicate that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in particular may also be helpful in preventing and/or treating:

  • Dementia
  • High blood lipid
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Cerebral thrombus
  • Pain and inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis
  • Prostate cancer

It may also offer protection against heart disease, and may even help protect fatty livers after a liver transplant.

These are all beneficial, but what about the fat burning? Will it really help melt your excess pounds away?

Is Green Tea Extract a Magic Weight Loss Potion?

There is some evidence that long-term consumption of tea catechins is beneficial for burning fat. At least one study attributes the effects, in part, to the activation of hepatic lipid catabolism, which involves the release of energy resulting in the breakdown of complex materials.

Another study proposed that catechin polyphenols may work with other chemicals to increase levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis, where your body burns fuel such as fat to create heat.

However, there’s another side to this story as well.

A review published in the Journal of Nutrition in January of this year stated that “there is emerging evidence that high doses of tea polyphenols may have adverse side effects,” and:

“Given that the results of scientific studies on dietary components, including tea polyphenols, are often translated into dietary supplements, understanding the potential toxicities of the tea polyphenols is critical to understanding>their potential usefulness in preventing obesity.”

Yes, too much of a good thing can be just as bad as not enough, and when it comes to avoiding or treating obesity with a supplement – whether it’s natural or not – I would strongly suggest using caution and common sense.

I’ve previously written about the negative health effects of overdosing on antioxidants, and unfortunately, when it comes to weight loss aids, many people tend to go overboard.

That’s not to say that green tea can’t be a healthy part of your diet. As mentioned earlier, green tea has been shown to have a number of health boosting properties.

Just avoid looking at it as a magic potion that will miraculously make you shed pounds, or worse, prevent you from gaining weight if your diet is less than ideal.

Drinking Green Tea as Part of a Healthy Diet

There is a misconception that it takes pot upon pot of green tea to add up to any significant benefits. In reality, much of the research on green tea has been based on about three cups daily.

A cup of green tea will give you anywhere from 20-35 mg of EGCG, so three in a day will supply you with 60-105 mg. Three cups would amount to just over one-third of the amount given to the low-dose group in the study above. The high-dose group received 600 mg.

However, even though the article in NutraIngredients above states that “green tea may increase energy expenditure and help men beat the bulge,” the actual study concluded that:

“Low EGCG [300mg dose] increases postprandial fat oxidation in obese men and this to the same extent as 200 mg caffeine, whereas high EGCG [600mg] does not exert this effect.

Fasting fat oxidation is increased only by caffeine (with or without EGCG). There is no synergism of low EGCG and 200 mg caffeine.

Energy expenditure is not affected by EGCG.”

So wait… Where did NutraIngredients get that from then?

Well, the fat burning benefit of EGCG turned out to be during the first 2 hours directly after eating. During those two hours, a dose of 300 mg of EGCG helped boost fat oxidation by 33 percent. But at the higher dosage, this effect was reduced to 20 percent.

Clearly, in this case, more antioxidants did not equate to more weight loss potential.

My advice?

If you enjoy green tea, add a few cups to your day as an overall healthy addition to your diet.

My personal favorite is Matcha green tea, as it has a wonderful flavor and superior nutrient content as it has not been damaged through processing. The best Matcha green tea comes from Japan and is steamed, rather than roasted or pan-fried. As a result, Matcha green tea retains all the nutrient-rich value possible from the tea leaf.

Perhaps it will help you in your weight loss efforts, maybe it won’t. Just don’t expect any miracles. Because when it comes to serious weight loss, a tandem regimen of diet and exercise simply can’t be beat.

Diet and Exercise are the “Magic Pills” You’re Looking for

One of your most basic health principles is to eat a diet of whole, nutritious foods rather than the processed ones that line most grocery store shelves. This includes cutting out grains and sugar, which are two of the MAJOR culprits behind weight gain.

What your body needs is nutrition, not artificial fillers and flavors.

You also cannot be optimally healthy, nor successfully lose excess weight without exercise. The two go hand-in-hand.

Why Most Exercise Does Not Work Very Well

As many of you know I have been an exercise fanatic for the last 42 years. But I only recently became aware that some of my foundational understanding of exercise was seriously flawed about exercise and weight loss.

Most exercise works just fine for most people so long as they are under 30 years old. At that time one’s growth hormone dramatically starts to drop.

It turns out that nearly ALL exercises that are typically done in this country by those over the age of 30 do not generate growth hormone. This is because they are not exercising the super fast muscle fibers.

Cardio, aerobics and even most all strength training do NOT increase growth hormone. The only way to do that is by using anaerobic exercises.

These are typically sprint type workouts but they don’t have to be done by running. You can do them on many pieces of aerobic equipment. One of the best is a recumbent bike.

The principle is simple. You warm up for two minutes then increase the intensity to as high as you can and pedal as hard as you can for 30 seconds. If you can pedal for 45 seconds you are not working out hard enough. You simply have to push it very hard.

After your 30 second workout you pedal at comfortable relaxed pace for 90 seconds, and then you repeat this 7 times for a total of 8 cycles. If you are doing it correctly you will be sweating profusely and it will likely be one of the best workouts of your life.

The beauty of this approach is that it is only requires 20 minutes of your time. If you do it properly I can assure you that it will improve your health far more than HOURS of regular cardio.

For the next two hours you will radically increase your level of growth hormone as long as you avoid sugar.

This really is some radical new information that can change your life. Once I started doing this I was able to easily drop extra weight I had picked up and could not lose despite doing my standard cardio.

The master educator who taught me this was Phil Campbell and his term for it is Sprint 8. I recently met him at a fitness camp in Mexico. He has a book that you can get more information on called Ready Set Go, available on Amazon.

I plan on introducing more detailed articles on this in the future.

Additional TIps

If you are overweight, you will need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to experience any weight loss benefits. Major studies have shown that 60 minutes a day is best, and according to the latest research, you’re wasting precious time if your regimen does not include anaerobic, sprint-type exercises.

Ideally, your exercises should also be broken up with short breaks in between for maximum effectiveness.

I’ve published many stories about the benefits of interval training, just one of which is saving you from having to do hour-long cardio workouts!

I’ve written extensively about the countless health benefits of exercise, which go far beyond weight management. If you need some direction to get started, I urge you to review my beginner's exercise page that includes links to my most important exercise articles.