Personal Training and Nutrition- Does green tea burn fat?
This blog looks into the benefits of green tea, including whether it can help burn fat as part of weight management.
Personal trainers will often find that clients choose green tea as a fat burning or slimming product and many people cite health benefits among the properties of green tea.
What is green tea?
The three main types of tea are:
- Black tea
- Oolong tea
- Green tea
Produced from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, green tea is processed in a different way from black and oolong tea. Because green tea leaves are not fermented or oxidised – the leaves are heated to destroy the enzymes that cause oxidation – green tea contains a high quantities of catechin-polyphenols.
Although green tea originated in China, it is now produced across a wide range of countries, including Japan and India. There are many types of green tea on the market, from mass produced brands to high-grade teas that are considered a delicacy in their home countries.
The health benefits of green tea
Fitness professionals may be aware of the health benefits claimed for green tea, although some are based on limited studies. However, green tea does contain catechin-polyphenols and these antioxidants are thought to protect cells against the free radicals responsible for ageing, as well as cancer and heart disease.
Can green tea help you lose weight?
Those who champion green tea as a weight-loss aid believe that the catechins in green tea are responsible for fat-burning by speeding up the metabolism and making fat more available for oxidation.
However, it is also thought that green tea may reduce water retention and that any reduction in lean mass may be down to the tea ridding the body of excess water.
There have been several studies into whether green tea can promote weight loss. However, while some have shown a positive result, others have remained inconclusive.
In a study reported in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (May 2013; “No Effect of 1 or 7 d of Green Tea Extract Ingestion on Fat Oxidation during Exercise” by R Randell, A Hodgson et al), GTE ingestion was found to increase lipolysis but there was no resulting significant change in fat oxidation.
How much green tea should you drink?
In order to consume a daily total of 240-320 mg polyphenols, the recommended intake of green tea is around two to three cups a day. However, the concentration can vary depending on the brand and individuals should be careful to avoid over consumption as it has yet to be established whether or not large quantities of green tea could prove harmful.
Like black tea, green tea contains caffeine but in a lower dose. For those cutting down on or avoiding caffeine, the advice is to either choose a caffeine-free product or to brew the tea for a shorter period of time.
Ultimately, whether or not green tea can speed up the metabolism, a personal trainer will advise that the best way to achieve a faster metabolism is by increasing the heart rate through physical activity. A structured programme devised by a fitness professional is therefore recommended as the best way to burn fat and manage weight.