Many of us are interested in losing weight. Weight loss products are huge sellers – even when they make ridiculous claims. But there is evidence to suggest that some substances can help speed up our metabolism. And, we all know that a faster metabolism means more calories burned in a day – and that can easily translate into weight loss.
One substance that does seem to have promise in the battle of the bulge is green tea. First of all, green has caffeine, which does speed the metabolism somewhat. And, what’s special about tea is that, for some reason, the caffeine in tea doesn’t appear to raise the heart rate or blood pressure rate the way other forms of caffeine do. This makes tea an effective way to speed up the metabolism without worry for those who are caffeine sensitive.
Green tea also seems to be helpful for weight loss because of its potent anti-oxidants. Tea’s polyphenols have been shown to have many health benefits because they combat free radicals in the body that can cause cell damage.
These polyphenols also seem to work with other chemicals in the body to intensify fat oxidation and thermogenesis. This creates fat burning heat in the body. It also helps depress leptin production in the body. Leptin is a protein hormone that regulates our appetite and our fat storage. Lower levels of leptin mean a smaller appetite, but overweight people often produce too much leptin, which may be why they eat too much. If polyphenols can decrease your leptin levels, you’ll automatically eat less.
One of the biggest problems found in those who are obese is this overproduction of leptin along with an underproduction of the hormone that tells us we’re full. If green tea can help regulate these hormones, it may take us a long way to helping the chronically obese get their weight under control. Another advantage to green tea in terms of weight loss and maintenance is the fact that green tea seems to help with our insulin levels. Green tea helps the carbohydrates that we eat be released more slowly, keeping our insulin at a steady level.
This helps reduce our chances of storing fat. If we can keep our insulin levels steady throughout the day, we can lose weight, or keep it off, more easily. Too many carbohydrates often cause our insulin levels to drop in a hurry, so more of our food is stored as fat rather than burned as energy. For these reasons, green tea is thought to be helpful for patients with diabetes, as well.
One important study reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports these thoughts. This study concluded that green tea does promote fat oxidation – and in a more significant way than simply its caffeine content would suggest. This study looked at a cross section of men, with varying lifestyle habits. Some were of normal weight and some were overweight.
The participants were divided into three groups. The first group was given a green tea extract that contained 50 mg of caffeine. The second group received a placebo and the third group received 50mg of caffeine – but not from green tea. During the course of the study, the participants ate the same diet and had the same level of activity.
The participants who took the green tea extract had at least a 41% greater expenditure of calories than the other participants, even the ones who took the caffeine. So, while we do know that caffeine stimulates the metabolism, green tea obviously has other fat burning properties, as well. Other studies have echoed these findings. One study indicated that lifelong tea drinkers tended to be of a healthier weight overall than those who did not drink tea regularly.
Of course, green tea is not a magic pill. To reach and maintain a healthy weight you must make changes to your diet beyond just adding tea. In addition, you’ll need to get exercise to burn calories and build muscle.
However, a faster metabolism is what we’re all striving for. As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down, so anything that can help us improve it is welcome, indeed. By incorporating green tea to increase our metabolism and weight bearing exercise to compensate for the muscle loss that we also experience as we age, we can keep ahead of those pound that normally pile on as we get older.
Over time, no doubt there will be more studies that help us pinpoint exactly how green tea promotes thermogenesis and how we can harness its power to help with our growing obesity problem. But, in the meantime, green tea is a wise addition to your diet for many reasons.
Green tea’s anti-oxidants have also been shown to prevent diseases, including high cholesterol, heart disease and high blood pressure. All of these diseases are ones that plague the overweight. So, drinking green tea may help your fight to stay healthy by helping you lose the weight – but also by getting a jump start on minimizing weight related medical conditions.
Try adding green tea to your diet to help lose pounds naturally and reduce any weight related health concerns that have shown up along with those extra pounds. Even though more research is needed, you can be assured that you’re doing something positive for your overall health – and quite possibly you’ll notice it in your waistline as well.