Green tea is well known for its mighty antioxidant properties and mild caffeine boost, but can it help you lose weight or take inches off your waist? Yes, well, sort of. I say “sort of” because it was found that weight lost was 3.4 lbs. after drinking liters of green tea for two or more months, according to a recent compilation of research studies. I’ve never heard anyone who’s trying to lose weight to set their goal lower than 5 lbs., or even 10 lbs. So, could it help? Yes, but you better think about hitting the pavement or cutting calories too. If you want to let caffeine (from green tea or your other favorite source) help you lose weight, consider adding it to your workout routine to boost your stamina. Here’s how it works: When you exercise, your body uses glycogen stored in your muscles and liver (and broken down into glucose) for energy. When it’s depleted, your body draws on fat stores to replenish its fuel supply. Caffeine stimulates fat stores to be used earlier in the process and helps your glycogen stores last longer. This makes it easier for you to exercise (and burn calories) for a longer period of time. The result: more calories burned and hypothetically, more pounds lost over time.
The kicker is that the best “kick” takes place when you’ve abstained from caffeine and reintroduced it into your life. The same is true for the boost found in exercise. The point is, caffeine can be useful to your workouts but only if used in moderation.
Here are some tips to use caffeine well in your workouts:
- Save caffeine for a weekly spin class, a competition or sessions with a trainer
- Avoid caffeine for two to three days prior to the “big day”
- Take in caffeine an hour before your workout
- Consume around 200 to 400mg (4 cups of tea, or 2 brewed double strength)
- Be prepared for more bathroom trips, as caffeine is a diuretic
You may not be stoked about the extra pee breaks, but there are reasons to continue drinking green tea, regardless of your weight loss or exercise goals. Green tea has been linked to heart health, prevention of ovarian cancer, building of strong bones and fresh breath; it’s also delightfully energizing. Freshly brewed green tea, anyone?