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Green Tea Weight Loss Myth?

Updated on March 21, 2014

Drinking Green Tea is a Healthy Habit but Weight Loss?

Nearly everyone who feels they are a bit overweight looks for some solution they can integrate into their diet to help them shed the pounds. Green Tea for weight loss is helpful but not for the reason that most people want it to be helpful. First and foremost our bodies need energy to operate. We get our energy from the Calories in the foods we consume.

There are fundamentally 3 “Macro” Nutrients and thousands of micronutrients (Vitamins and Minerals). The Macro Nutrients we consume are:

1. Fats – 9 Calories per Gram

2. Carbohydrates – 4 Calories per Gram

3. Protein – 4 Calories per Gram

4. Alcohol – 7 Calories per Gram (Just so you know!)

This is why many believe that a low fat diet will help them lose weight. Simply substituting a carbohydrate or protein for every gram of fat does in fact reduce the calorie count by a factor of 2. But losing weight isn’t that simple. Our bodies need… more correctly demand a balance of nutrients. Not all fats are bad fats, not all proteins and carbohydrates are good. The focus of this article is not to dwell on these macro nutrients but to open your mind to the “Big Picture” and how Green Tea can help you lose weight.

The secret behind the health benefits of green tea is its abundance of the antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This powerful antioxidant is lost in other tea leaves during the fermentation process but retained in green tea leaves because the leaves are steamed, baked, or pan heated to prevent oxidation.

EGCG has been found to be particularly effective in lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), stopping unnatural formation of blood clots, reducing high blood pressure, destroying free radicals, lowering bloody sugar levels, boosting the immune system and stimulating metabolism.

There is also strong evidence that green tea can reduce the risk of cancers - bladder, colon, esophageal, pancreas, rectum, and stomach - by as much as 60% due to its EGCG richness which inhibits and kills the growth of cancer cells without harming the healthy cells.

In order to understand how Green Tea helps you need to understand what a calorie is and why it’s important. Calories are neither bad nor good. Calories are simply a way to measure the “Energy Potential” in a food. How much energy can we get into our bodies by eating certain amounts of food. You can think of a Calorie in the way you think of Temperature. If it’s 72 degrees out side is that bad or good? It is neither. It’s just a measurement. In the same way if a food contains 350 calories that is not good or bad either. But knowing this number helps us figure out how much we can consume.

In nearly every study about weight loss you’ll read about the BMI (Body Mass Index). In my view it’s BS!!! What is important is not that you fall into some arbitrary mathematical formula… but that you are HEALTHY! As a general rule of thumb an average size man will need to consume 2,500 calories of food per day and an average size woman 2,000 calories per day. But who is average? Most of us fall above or below these numbers based on our own genetics and the amount of exercise we perform.

Now that You have some Background lets talk Tea – Green Tea!

If you haven't been living under a rock the past few years, you've likely heard someone touting the advantages of green tea, whether in a magazine, online ad, or television special. Most products get way too much hype which is not deserved! Just consumer Green Tea is not going to help you lose weight unless you also change your diet and exercise. It’s really that simple. This tea itself doesn't contain magical fat burning particles that will make you drop 100 pounds overnight. There is simply no magic pill, potion, or formula that you can take that will allow you to drop off unwanted pounds and also remain healthy.

Substituting Green Tea for Soft Drinks Works!

People who have a problem maintaining a healthy weight often have terrible habits and will consume substantially more calories than they realize. One of the worst things a person can do is consume soft drinks. In addition to being nutritionally void they are also full of empty calories. Sure you could pretend like it’s okay to consume “Diet” soft drinks, but honestly what are you doing to your body by dumping all those un natural artificial sweeteners into your system? You liver has to deal with them, and your calcium reserves become depleted because sodas are acidic and that acid must be neutralized. Small amounts of soft drinks in moderation are likely tolerable by most people, but over consumption has disastrous consequences. Switch to Green Tea and do yourself a health favor that your body will thank you for over and over.

Some people desiring to lose weight will switch to juices, not realizing that many of them are just as sugary and unhealthy as soda! Fruit juices pack a powerful anti-oxidant punch but they also contain tons of natural high calorie sugars. Again Green Tea is a real, viable option in this scenario, because it helps curb eating and drinking in several ways. Primarily, drinking this tea instead of soda keeps those cola calories off your hips, the liquid fills you up so you don't eat as much, and you'll also be staying hydrated, which keeps your metabolism working.

Enjoying Green Teas Year Round

Integrate Green Tea into your diet with daily meals or “Tea Times”. Can you make an effort to drink this tea at the same time every day? Perhaps just once or twice per day? This will help you get in a congruent rhythm with your other weight loss goals. Green Tea is usually enjoyed hot, but you should hold back on the sweeteners or it will sabotage your efforts. Instead, try using Stevia, a sweet plant extract that is now available in most supermarkets, and health food stores. Be careful of using too much honey as well. Even thought honey is natural it is still high in calories… remember above any carbohydrate contains 4.5 calories per gram. If you don’t have a sweet tooth it’s probably just best to drink your tea plain. Green tea can also be brewed hot and then poured over ice to enjoy as “Ice Tea”.

Why Green Tea Benefits the Body – Your Body

Okay lets address the hype just a bit… there are many claims that Green Tea increases your metabolism. But if this were in fact true would this even be desirable? Do you want to burn more calories by just sitting around? The answer is NO! You want you body to operate efficiently. If you are over burning calories it’s more likely that your body is out of balance and entering into some state of disease. In my research I have found no definitive studies to say that increasing ones metabolism through stimulants of any kind is a desirable effect.

There are claims that Green Tea will actually burn fat. Nonsense. There are claims that green tea will block the absorption of the fats you eat. If you are not absorbing fats properly again this a sign of disease. Your bowel movements will float, be greasy and smell really bad. If this is the case you should see your doctor. There is some research to suggest that Green Tea may be an appetite suppressant. While there may be some merits in this for some people, I believe it is more of a substation effect. I feel good when I drink Green Tea but I eat just as much.

These claims are similar to those attributed to oatmeal lowering cholesterol. Sure it may actually have some minute benefit, but the real benefits come from not eating all the other crap you were eating before. This is the “Substitution Effect”. Listen, I’m not a Doctor (But most Doctors know very little about nutrition anyways as they receive a couple of weeks at most learning about Nutrition in Medical School). So you can choose to believe the hype or not. But the reality is you already know that if you want to lose weight you must consume fewer calories than you burn. It’s that simple.

Green tea does contain Polyphenols and Antioxidants, which studies have shown help fight free radicals, which can speed up the aging process and lead to health concerns. But our bodies create free radicals for a reason. This is a natural process. Again what is important is maintaining a balance of nutrients in the body. And of paramount importance is maintaining a Balanced PH in our bloodstream.

Most experts agree that the "closer to the leaf" one can get - meaning drinking whole leaf green tea instead of pre-bottled mass-marketed "beverages" - the better the benefits for their health in fighting these. So brew up a cup today and start enjoying the green tea weight loss effects that frequent tea drinking can offer. So enjoy your green tea, and don’t worry so much about your weight. Green Tea is a healthy drink in moderation And HEALTH is what you should be striving for not WEIGHT.

Remember no matter what your size you’ll likely find someone who in the Words of Billy Crystal thinks “You look Marvelous”.

Delicious Green Tea!  Drink up!
Delicious Green Tea! Drink up!


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