Does Green Tea Help With Weight Loss?

Tea bowl and tea leaves on bamboo mat, close-up
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We all know that green vegetables are good for us, but what about green tea? You’ve probably read that green tea can help shed some unwanted pounds. But is there any truth to the claim?

The crux of the claim is that green tea supports weight loss in two ways:

  1. The caffeine, though limited, is said to help burn fat and improve exercise performance, which could lead to added calorie burn.
  2. The antioxidant EGCG found in green tea is known for its metabolism-boosting ability.

While there is a link between high caffeine intake and weight loss, a cup of green tea has only about 40mg of caffeine, that's about one-third the amount that's in a cup of coffee. Similarly, it takes at least five cups of green tea to get enough EGCG to impact your metabolism. Even if you did manage to get a significant dose of caffeine and EGCG by chugging green tea all day long, you'd probably wind up with a massive case of the jitters.


So while green tea might not be the lean fat-burning machine it's cracked up to be, that doesn't mean it can't be beneficial for weight loss. After all, unsweetened green tea is one of the smartest beverage picks around. It’s free of calories, fat, and sugar—definitely much better than a 140-calorie can of soda. And since it's common to confuse thirst for hunger, sipping some green tea can help keep food cravings at bay.

Watch the Added Calories

But green tea does come with a hidden danger. Because the taste is mild yet very earthy, it's often served with lots of sugar and milk, which can add hundreds of calories. And consuming hundreds of extra calories is a surefire way to gain weight. So you have to be careful about how you enjoy it.

Coffee shops can be a nightmare. You meet your friend for a “coffee,” and before you know it, you’ve consumed half a day’s worth of calories from a milkshake-like drink and a humongous pastry. A green-tea beverage may sound like a smart bet, but watch out:

  • The Green Tea Sparkling Lemonade at Caribou Coffee contains 210 calories and 52 grams of sugar 
  • Starbucks Green Tea Crème Frappuccino has 430 calories and 65g of sugar.
  • Sit-down restaurants aren't any safer. Order a glass of iced tea, and it's not uncommon to be offered a fruity brew like raspberry green tea. Chances are, that raspberry flavor comes courtesy of sugary syrup.

So, make sure to order a standard green tea: hot water with a green tea bag. If you're going iced, make sure it's unsweetened. Then sweeten your drink to taste with some no-calorie sweetener. If you want a creamy hot tea, add just a splash of fat-free milk.

Beauty Bonus: The antioxidants in green tea are known to be an effective remedy for puffy eyes. Place brewed and cooled tea bags over closed eyes for a few minutes and see if you notice a difference.

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