What’s not to love about tea? It’s hydrating, it’s flavorful, and depending on what herbs and ingredients it contains, it can either give you energy or help you prep for a good night’s sleep. But can tea help you lose weight? If you’re trying to shed pounds, tea should definitely be your new best friend. Not only can it offer a zero-calorie alternative to some of your go-to sugary beverages, but it also has properties that can suppress your appetite, support your metabolism, and ultimately help you achieve your goals—that is, as long as you’re also adhering to a healthy overall diet.
“While weight loss is most effective with a balanced nutrition approach and exercise, tea can enhance your progress,” says Carrie Lupoli, certified health and nutrition coach. “Teas should not be considered a ‘weight loss’ plan, but merely another way to support the work of a balanced diet and exercise regimen.”
Skeptical? Not only do the experts condone adding tea to your diet, but studies have actually proven that they have a variety of weight loss benefits. So, fire up that kettle and read on to learn about how you can get the most out of this healthy habit. And for more weight loss tips, be sure to check out our list of 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
It’s important to listen to your body’s signals when you truly feel the pangs of hunger and eat something. But sometimes, you end up snacking mindlessly for a different reason altogether. Maybe you’re dehydrated, and you mistake your thirst for hunger. Or maybe you’re just bored. Either way, Lupoli advises grabbing a tea bag when you wander over your pantry.
“Brewing a steaming hot cup of tea can provide us the ‘filler’ for that need and keep us feeling full and satisfied,” says Lupoli. “Also, when we are fueling our bodies correctly and frequently like I coach my clients to do, they are less likely to find themselves getting hungry between meals. Taking a moment to enjoy a cup of tea is a great way to determine if you are really hungry or your body is triggering that sensation for other reasons.”
Did you know that certain teas have been shown to kick your metabolism up a notch?
“As we age, our metabolism naturally starts to slow down but, when we fuel it correctly, we can keep it revving,” says Lupoli. “I coach clients that in addition to eating so we fuel our bodies with the right nutrients, ideal portions and at reasonable intervals, certain teas take on metabolism-boosting qualities.”
Specifically, Lupoli recommends trying green tea as it’s packed with both caffeine and the antioxidant catechin, both of which are believed to raise your metabolic rate, thus helping you to burn more calories throughout the day. Here are 7 Amazing Benefits of Drinking Green Tea.
In fact, a 2009 study revealed that participants who drank 4-5 cups of green tea each day lost an average of two more pounds than the non-tea-drinkers, even though they were doing the same amount of exercise.
If you find yourself frequently reaching for a soda, sports drink, or another sugary beverage, replacing those with tea can go a long way in terms of supporting your weight loss efforts.
“It can be a calorie-saver without leaving you feeling deprived,” says Lupoli.
Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S, founder of Ancient Nutrition and author of the upcoming book Ancient Remedies, adds that since tea contains zero calories (as long as you don’t add sugar or milk), it’s a spectacular substitute when you’re trying to cut down on your fat and sugar intake.
Instead, reach for one of these 22 Best Teas You Should Drink for Weight Loss.
If you suspect that bloating may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, dandelion tea—which acts as a natural diuretic—could be a game-changer. By ridding your body of excess fluid, it can help you to look instantly slimmer.
“Dandelion tea has qualities that have been known to reduce water weight gain,” says Lupoli. “It’s also been known to detox the liver. This is key because when our liver function is optimal, we absorb nutrients more effectively and that, in turn, boosts metabolism.”
It’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re taking any medications, however, as dandelion weed can interact with some antibiotics and other drugs, particularly those broken down in your liver.
According to Dr. Axe, green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is known to have anti-inflammatory effects, support a healthy metabolism, and also potentially reduce fat storage in your body.
“The antioxidants in tea can also support metabolic health in general by lowering oxidative stress—plus they help keep blood sugar levels more balanced which is beneficial for controlling fat storage,” he adds.
Dr. Axe says green tea—and specifically matcha powder—is highest in EGCG, so consider switching that morning or afternoon coffee for an iced matcha latte.
“EGCG which seems to help block the formation of new fat cells and may also reduce your appetite,” he says. “EGCG and other antioxidants are also thought to support recovery from exercise and can help you feel more alert, which is helpful for staying active and getting a workout in.”
Lupoli notes that white tea is highly underrated in this regard as well. Not only is it the richest source of antioxidants, but a 2009 study found that white tea can not only block the formation of new fat cells but also boost the breakdown of fat.
Whether you know it or not, it’s a lot more difficult to lose weight when your hormones are out of whack—especially as you age. Fortunately, Lupoli says some herbal teas can help you to balance your hormone levels out, thus making it easier to shed pounds.
“Rooibos herbal tea is one example of a tea that has shown some evidence of being effective when it comes to fat burning.”
Rooibos tea, which is made from the leaves of the South African “red bush” plant, is chock full of Aspalathin, a flavonoid that studies have shown can reduce the stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage.
Another 2007 study also found that black tea can speed up the process of your body returning to normal cortisol levels and calming down, which is noteworthy given that increased levels of cortisol can cause your cells to become resistant to insulin (thus promoting weight gain).
When you feel sluggish for that morning or after-work sweat sesh, you’re going to put in less effort—which ultimately equates to burning fewer calories. That’s why Dr. Axe recommends drinking tea before hitting the gym.
“The caffeine in some teas (including green, black, and Yerba mate tea) can give you a boost in energy and motivation, so drinking it may help you burn more calories if it leads to being more active,” he says.
Caffeine only takes about 30 to 60 minutes to reach a peak level in your blood and generally lasts for 3 to 5 hours, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to time your tea drinking right to fuel you through a workout.
Lupoli recommends drinking tea either with breakfast or within an hour of waking up—especially with caffeinated varieties. Adding lots of sugar to your tea may negatively impact your weight loss goals, which is why she advises replacing those with a squeeze of lemon to enhance the flavor without adding as many calories.
“Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and can support blood sugar stabilization—which is at the core of long-term weight loss and metabolism-boosting,” she adds.
Dr. Axe also notes that there’s nothing wrong with adding a dash of almond, coconut, or regular milk if you prefer the taste that way.
Don’t be shy about refilling your cup, either—according to Dr. Axe, most studies have found that people who drink about 3 to 5 cups spaced out over the course of the day reap the most benefits. Just make sure to avoid these 9 Mistakes That are Ruining Your Cup of Tea.
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