Green tea is somewhat of a star in Chinese medicine. Known today as a potent anti-oxidant and a subject of several studies looking into its effects on everything from high cholesterol to various brain disorders, green tea has traditionally been used to combat things like mental fatigue and a foggy mind, poor eyesight, dragon breath (heh) and unwanted body fat. As it turns out, the chinese medical practitioners of yesteryear knew what they were doing when they were prescribing the stuff for fat loss, as research now suggests that green tea can be a beneficial addition to a weight reducing program for overweight and obese adults.
A twelve week study conducted at Provident Research in Bloomington, Indiana examined the influence of a green tea beverage on body composition and fat distribution in overweight and obese adults. 107 study participants exercised for a minimum of three hours per week, at a moderate intensity. The researchers found increased abdominal fat loss in the participants who used a green tea beverage containing 625 mg of catechins with 39 mg caffeine, while a control group drinking a beverage containing only the 39 mg of caffeine showed no increase in fat loss. It is generally considered that the primary active ingredients in green tea are EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and catechins.
Because of study results like this one, green tea is often used in fatloss supplements either on it’s own or together with other compounds where it may have an additive or possibly synergistic effect. You don’t have to be carrying a a lot of extra bodyweight to have a reason to use green tea; many people use it for anti-axidants and possible cancer fighting properties, for instance.
If forever reason you decided to consume more green tee, should you take a supplement or just put the kettle on a few times a day? Personally, I get most of my green tea as actual tea and not from supplements. I’ve grown to like the stuff, and besides coffee it’s the only hot drink I indulge in daily. However, in order to get a sufficiently high intake of the stuff, I do need to drink a few cups a day, so on the days I don’t I keep a supplement handy to make up for it. I do take it as early in the day as possible, though, so as to not let the albeit small amounts of caffeine mess with my sleep.
Here’s a tip if you aren’t a fan of the taste of green tea: Just have some more. This type of slightly bitter tea can be an aquired taste, but in my experience it doesn’t take more than a few cups here and there to become somewhat of a fan. Can you add a little sugar to help things out? Of course not (unless, I suppose, you’re the eccentric guy at the gym and green tea happens to be your post workout drink). What you can do, however, is buy flavored green tea. I like the mint stuff, but various fruit and berry tastes are also popular.