Thursday, May 03, 2007

How Does Green Tea Help Weight Loss?

For many people, finding a weight loss supplement that's safeand effective would be nothing short of a miracle. We all knowthat there are no magic bullets when it comes to weight loss; wehave to consume fewer calories in a day than our body uses inorder to lose weight. However, finding ways to burn fat fasterwould speed up the process and make it easier.

One product that seems to have much promise in helping people tolose weight is green tea. In some studies, green tea has beenshown to help regulate insulin and lower cholesterol andtriglycerides. In addition, it is believed that green tea speedsup the metabolism, so that we burn fat faster, and can even turnoff the receptors that make us want to eat.

In addition, green tea, unlike many other weight loss aids isvery healthy overall. Green tea is a potent source ofanti-oxidants, which help us stay healthy and disease free byfighting free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen containingmolecules that are a by-product of our digestive processes. Leftunchecked, they damage our cells and DNA, eventually leading todisease.

However, green tea and other foods with anti-oxidants keep freeradicals at bay, preventing aging and disease. For example, dietsrich in green tea and other anti-oxidants have been linked to areduction in the risk of heart disease and cancer. So, green teais a weight loss supplement that you can feel good about, becauseit can improve your overall health while it helps you shed thepounds.

Most of us are aware of the problems that many other weight losssupplements can cause. Ephedra, for example, has proven to be aneffective way to speed up the metabolism, but can have verydangerous side effects. In fact, it has even been linked to heartattacks and death in some users.

But, just how does green tea work? There are several componentsin green tea that seem to work together to provide the health andweight loss benefits that green tea's so famous for. Researchers have pinpointed three components in green tea thatseem to have an effect on weight loss.

Caffeine

Green tea has lower caffeine content than coffee or black tea,but it does contain caffeine. Interestingly enough, however,green tea's caffeine does not seem to have the negative sideeffects found in other products containing caffeine. Green teadoesn't cause jitters or speed up the heart rate the way thatother caffeinated beverages can. However, the caffeine in greentea does appear to speed up the metabolism.

Many of us take our caffeine intake for granted, but caffeine hasbeen shown to aid in weight loss. Many studies have shown thatpeople on a low calorie diet who consume caffeine daily lose moreweight overall than those who are on a low calorie diet alone.

Catechins

Catechins are the anti-oxidants in green tea. Catechins arepolyphenolic antioxidant plant metabolites, specificallyflavonoids called flavan-3-ols. They are found in many plants,including the cocoa plant and the coffee plant, but the bestsource of catechins is the Camellia sinensis (tea) plant.

The reason that green tea is considered a better source ofcatechins than black tea is because of the difference inprocessing. Black tea is fermented, which changes the catechins.Green tea, however, is unfermented, leaving the catechins intheir natural state.

Because tea catechins are some of the most powerful anti-oxidantsaround, they are some of the most effective at preventingdisease. This is why diets rich in tea are thought to preventmany diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

In terms of weight loss, catechins are believed to suppress lipid(fat) absorption from the diet. This is important because ithelps reduce cholesterol, but it is also thought to prevent theaccumulation of body fat.

Theanine

Theanine is the main amino acid in green tea. Theanine may beimportant to weight loss because of its ability to inducerelaxation and the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemicalproduced by the brain that helps in providing a feeling of wellbeing in the body.

Theanine also seems to minimize the effects of caffeine, which iswhy the caffeine in green tea doesn't seem to cause jitters andan increased heart rate the way that caffeine in other beveragescan. So, while theanine may not actively cause weight loss, itcan be effective in creating a feeling of calm in those whoingest it. This power may help those who overeat as a result ofstress to curb this tendency.

It is certain that more studies are needed on how green tea helpswith weight loss. One interesting study on the subject, by theShizuoka University in Japan, evaluated all three of these greentea components individually, as well as in combination, to tryand determine just what components are most important.

This study concluded that the most important component of greentea for weight loss is caffeine. Caffeine is responsible forspeeding up the metabolism and creating thermogenesis, whichburns fat. However, the study also showed that catechins do seemto have an anti-obesity effect on their own, helping the body toeliminate dietary fat rather than absorbing it.

In short, green tea seems to be the near perfect combination forhelping lose weight and improve health at the same time. Diet andexercise are still critical to taking off excess weight andkeeping it off for good, but it does appear that green tea can bean effective tool in fighting the battle of the bulge.

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Jon M. Stout is Chairman of the Golden MoonTea Company. For more information about tea,(http://www.goldenmoontea.com/greentea) green tea (http://www.goldenmoontea.com/blacktea) and black tea go to http://www.goldenmoontea.com

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