Green tea, weight loss and detox: what does science say?
Just how accurate are the claims about the benefits of green tea for weight loss and detox purposes? While it’s been considered a health-promoting beverage since ancient times, is there any proof it works, or are you being sold snake oil? The answer, according to the world’s scientific community, is an emphatic ‘it really does work’.
There is a growing international body of research that supports the claims regarding the weight loss and detox benefits of green tea. In recent years, researchers have conducted numerous clinical trials which have led to reliable and valid conclusions and have increased consumer confidence. For example, one study last year reported:
12 weeks of treatment with high-dose green tea extract resulted in significant weight loss, reduced waist circumference, and a consistent decrease in total cholesterol and LDL plasma levels without any side effects or adverse effects in women with central obesity.
Moreover, last month, a review of the existing studies in the scientific literature also gave weight to the claims:
Supplements containing epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) from green tea may increase energy expenditure and impact metabolic rates, and help with weight management, says a new meta-analysis.
So how does it work? While all tea contains polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants, the most influential of these is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and it’s only found in green tea. It is EGCG that has been associated with fat-burning, shown in the studies to promote weight loss by increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation, increasing the metabolism of fats by our liver (the thermogenic effect), and inhibiting lipase (a fat absorption enzyme).
Aside from the proven weight loss benefits of green tea, it is also a powerful agent to help detox your body. Our bodies are constantly detoxing via our kidneys, liver, bowel and skin—it’s the body’s natural process of ridding our bodies of the toxins and free radicals we ingest through food, absorb through the environment, and even create in our body as metabolic by-products. Accumulated toxins in our bodies are thought to be responsible for many of the degenerative diseases we can succumb to.
If your body is already naturally detoxing, why “go on a detox”? A detox cleanse helps your body’s often overworked organs do their job far more efficiently, through increasing the delivery of nutrients while at the same time helping flush out toxins. Green tea, which is packed with vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants, has been shown to increase the production of certain enzymes that convert carcinogens to non-toxic by-products, greatly assisting the detox process.
The research suggests that three cups a day, taken within the first two hours after eating, is the most beneficial dose for accelerating weight loss and/or to detox. To make the most of green tea’s proven health benefits, it’s best to incorporate drinking the tea daily as part of a holistic approach to a healthy diet.
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