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Drink hot chocolate; gain weight. Drink green tea; lose weight. Not much of a choice if you want to shed pounds. Mix resistance training into the brew, and you're on your way to some serious cold-weather fat burning!

When it's freezing outside and you just want something warm to wrap your palms around, bypass the hot chocolate and fix yourself a cup of green tea. Full of powerful antioxidants, this ancient beverage can crank up your motor, helping you burn more fat even as you're staring into the fireplace.

Drinking green tea regularly can boost the number of calories you burn each day and help you lose weight in the process. Sound like a miracle beverage? Could be. People have been drinking it for at least a thousand years, so it must have something going for it!

Research shows that green tea may help maximize the results of your resistance training. Green tea is a great source of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which improves the body's cellular machinery responsible for burning fat by increasing metabolic rate.[1,2] That's where the increased calorie burn comes from.

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Putting Green Tea to the Test

Researchers tested subjects for a wider range of benefits from green tea when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and resistance training. They wanted to see what effect this combination would have on body composition, resting metabolic rate, performance, and blood triglyceride levels.[3]

The researchers split the study participants into four groups:

  • Group 1: green tea only
  • Group 2: placebo
  • Group 3: green tea and resistance training
  • Group 4: placebo and resistance training

For eight weeks, Group 1 consumed 20 grams of green tea per day (10 grams twice per day), while Group 2 consumed 20 grams of a placebo. Group 3 and Group 4 consumed either green tea or the placebo while also doing total-body resistance training a few times per week.

After eight weeks, Groups 1, 3, and 4 saw overall improvements over Group 2; however, Group 3 did the best of all. Those individuals saw significant decreases in body fat, waist circumference, and triglyceride levels, as well as a marked increase in daily energy expenditure, lean body mass, and strength.

How Much Is Enough?

The amount of EGCG you get in green tea varies from 45-180 milligrams per bag.[4] To get the EGCG you need, drink several cups of green tea each day. Steep the tea for 3-4 minutes before drinking. Hot water does the best job of extracting EGCG from the tea itself.

Green tea is also available as an extract, which commonly contains about 50 percent EGCG. The extract version contains a higher concentration of EGCG versus what you'd find in a tea form. If you're not a fan of tea, consider going this route.

References

  1. Lee, M. S., Kim, C. T., & Kim, Y. (2009). Green tea (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate reduces body weight with regulation of multiple genes expression in adipose tissue of diet-induced obese mice. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 54(2), 151-157.
  2. Dulloo, A. G., Duret, C., Rohrer, D., Girardier, L., Mensi, N., Fathi, M., ... & Vandermander, J. (1999). Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70(6), 1040-1045.
  3. Cardoso, G. A., Salgado, J. M., Cesar, M. D. C., & Donado-Pestana, C. M. (2013). The effects of green tea consumption and resistance training on body composition and resting metabolic rate in overweight or obese women. Journal of medicinal food, 16(2), 120-127.
  4. Bhagwat, S., Haytowitz, D. B., & Holden, J. M. (2011). USDA database for the flavonoid content of selected foods, Release 3.1. Beltsville: US Department of Agriculture, 03-1.

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