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How Green Tea Helps You Lose WeightThe New Research That Explains How Green Tea Burns Fat
By Jason Boehm MS, CNS, MMC, Edited By PEERtrainer
If you're going to indulge in pumpkin pie with whipped cream this holiday season, enjoy it with a cup or two of green tea. This fat-burning drink might slightly stave off your pie's metabolic consequences.
What Do We Know Now That We Didn't Know Before?
A new study in the journal Obesity concluded mice fed epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a compound in green tea, with their high-fat diet gained weight 44% more slowly than mice who ate a high-fat diet without the EGCG.
What is new about this study is that it suggests that EGCG could provide a low cost alternative to clinical weight loss pills- without the crazy side effects.
"There's no difference in the amount of food the mice are eating," said Joshua Lambert, assistant professor of food science at Penn State. "The mice are essentially eating a milkshake, except one group is eating a milkshake with green tea."
The study found EGCG potentially inhibits pancreatic lipase (PL), an enzyme your small intestine secretes when you eat a meal that contains fat. The EGCG-fed mice's feces contained 30% more PL than the non-EGCG fed mice, suggesting they pooped out rather than absorbed some of that fat.
The Key Point Of The New Research:
"There seems to be two prongs to this," said Lambert. "First, EGCG reduces the ability to absorb fat and, second, it enhances the ability to use fat."
Martha Stewart might call that "a good thing."
What The Weight Loss Drug Manufacturers Don't Want You To Know
Weight-loss drug manufacturers don't like these studies because they suggest you can get the same fat burning boost, bu without a drug's side crazy effects.
You know how green tea inhibits PL? Well, Orlistat, the first FDA-approved drug for weight loss, does the same thing, but with some unpleasant problems you won't get with green tea. I'll spare you the scatological repercussions of Orlistat. Let's just say you better stock up on Depends or be really close to a bathroom.
This is hardly the first study to show green tea can burn fat. A meta-analysis on green tea and weight loss/ maintenance, for instance, concluded it "significantly decreased body weight and significantly maintained body weight."
Here's the deal. The researchers believe a human would need to drink about 10 cups of green tea daily to get fat-burning amounts of EGCG, but further research is required to establish the correct effective dose range.
Do I Really Need To Drink 10 Cups Of Green Tea A Day??
It is possible to achieve this herculean feat if you consume green tea throughout your day. For instance, swap the morning java and that mid-afternoon latte for green tea. The cups add up and they give you instant energy.
Brew your own green tea, and when you're out, opt for freshly brewed over bottled teas. Enjoy it unsweetened or add a little stevia or xylitol. Trust me, the seven teaspoons of sugar in a 16-ounce bottle of Snapple iced green tea will negate its health benefits, and diet Snapple is loaded with aspartame.
Related PEERtrainer Article: Is Aspartame Is Bad For You?
I also recommend that your green tea be decaffeinated, especially in the afternoon. Theanine, an amino acid in green tea, seems to balance most of its caffeine, but you don't want to risk overload and stay wired past bedtime.
What About EGCG Supplements?
If drinking that much green tea sounds tortuous, you can instead choose a high-quality supplement that offers therapeutic amounts of EGCG. You often find this compound in over-the-counter weight-loss aids, but they rarely contain optimal amounts of EGCG and might include other potentially harmful ingredients. In my opinion, look for a professionals-only supplement.
However, it should be noted that the authors of this new study state that one should make every effort to drink actual tea, because there are still some concerns about liver toxcity resulting from overuse of EGCG supplementation. The quality of any supplement varies widely.
Finally, don't kid yourself that you can down three venti green teas or pop some supplements with your 480-calorie Starbucks pumpkin scone and burn fat. No drink or nutrient can take the bullet for a crappy diet. Remember, the EGCG stalled weight gain in these mice.
However, when you start to stack green tea consumption with almost any other fruit or vegetable on a regular basis, the positive effects start to stack up. Dr. Fuhrman recently pointed to other studies that show daily green tea consumption combined with mushrooms or grapefruit is strongly correlated with lower incidence of breast cancer.
Related PEERtrainer Article: How To Burn Fat Quickly (In A Totally Natural Way)
Ask Us A Question!
Grove K, et al. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate Inhibits Pancreatic Lipase and Reduces Body Weight Gain in High Fat-Fed Obese Mice. Obesity (2 June 2011).
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