Green tea is good for you: where’s the proof? Can it help weight loss?

Green tea has long been considered good for your health in Traditional Chinese Medicine. But just because it has been used for a long time doesn’t mean it works. Let’s try to find out what does it really does, if anything.

 Is green tea good for you?

What's the proof that green tea works?People who drink tea are, generally speaking, better off. The statistics show strong correlations between drinking green tea and a healthier life. For example, there is a link between green tea and low cholesterol, and a study from Japan found that green tea drinkers had lower rates of type 2 diabetes.

However, we can’t be certain that it is the tea that is causing this. It may be, for example, that the type of people who drink green tea are more health conscious in other ways. One comprehensive analysis of all the published scientific research gives us a straightforward answer: we simply don’t know. At the moment, there is insufficient evidence to definitely say one way or the other. But don’t give up your matcha (fine-ground Japanese style green tea) just yet…

It has been suggested that green tea may good for you is because it contains anti-oxidants, which get rid of ‘free radicals’ in the body. Free radicals can be thought of as being a nasty waste produced from the body’s cells. Your body normally does a decent job at clearing them up as they are thought to damage DNA, cause cancer, and contribute to aging and cell death. It is logical to think that drinking in more anti-oxidants will help the body’s cleaning up process. There were claims that drinking green tea reduces the risk for breast, prostate, ovarian, and other cancers, however the evidence just doesn’t stack up.

Can green tea help you lose weight?

Drinking green tea increases your metabolic rate, meaning you burn more calories throughout the day. You often see it in weight loss supplements. There is conclusive evidence that green tea does indeed aid weight loss. Don’t get too excited though: after three months it averages to a little over 1kg (2.8 lbs) in weight loss. And this effect is most in Asians and least in Caucasians. Green tea isn’t the magic bullet.

So while green tea may not definitely give you a longer life and it won’t give you a skinny bod, it’s certainly safe in moderation. So if you love green tea then feel free to drink up – or eat up if you like green tea ice cream – you’ve got nothing to lose!

Answer by Shambralyn Baker

Question sent from Zoe via the website

Further Reading:

1. University of Maryland Medical Center

2. Green Tea and Green Tea Catechin Extracts: An Overview of the Clinical Evidence

3. Beneficial Effects of Green Tea: A Review

4. Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype

5. Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories

Image source: phoxography-wien on Flickr

Article by Shambralyn Baker

February 18, 2014

Shambralyn Baker studied both biology and writing in college, and has finally decided to combine her two passions. She tweets at @sevvy09.


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