Green tea aficionados are always raving about the beauty of green tea and the amazing taste. Fruity and refreshing to grassy or smoky - there’s no end to describe the flavor and aroma.
But there’s also evidence to suggest that green tea does more than just provide a pleasant sensation for the taste buds. Wellness experts suggest that consuming green tea may also have weight loss benefits.
Can this earth plant-based beverage actually help you drop weight, and at what cost?
Keep reading to find out why green tea may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.
As well as finding out some safer, healthier alternatives that can rev your metabolism and help you drop weight - without potentially compromising your health.
The Hype Behind Green Tea
Green tea is made using the leaves of the Camellia sinensis L plant, which is a concentrated source of naturally occurring flavonoids and caffeine. Lately, there’s been a lot of research on the ability of green tea extract to boost fat metabolism, both at rest and during exercise.
As green, oolong, and black tea are all derived from the same plant, the fermentation process is what differs between them.
Green tea maintains the highest concentration of catechin polyphenols, the most prominent being epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), epicatechin-3-gallate, epigallocatechin (EGC), and epicatechin 1. EGCG is the most abundant and thought to be the most biologically active catechin.
There’s quite a substantial body of evidence to suggest that chronic consumption of green tea is linked to weight loss.
This anti-obesity effects of green tea extract may be attributed to enhanced fat oxidation and total energy expenditure.
Green Tea and Weight Loss
While the exact mechanism behind how green tea extract stimulates weight loss isn’t clear, most evidence points to the role of catechins in stimulating the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
Studies on short-term consumption of GTE suggest involvement of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), an intracellular enzyme that degrades catechol compounds, for example many neurotransmitters.
Research shows that EGCG directly inhibits COMT activity, which, in turn increases circulatory catecholamine concentrations and increases activity of the SNS. An increase in sympathetic activity stimulates lipolysis via adrenergic receptors and potentially increases fat oxidation 2, 3.
How Healthy Is Green Tea?
With all of that said, green tea is claimed to be one of the healthiest teas around, but how true is that claim?
The liver is one of the most important organs in your body. It’s responsible for everything from bile production, blood plasma proteins, and cholesterol synthesis to glycogen storage and detoxification.
Without optimal liver function, your health is going to take a knockout.
So, what’s this you’re hearing about green tea and the liver?
Can green tea actually do more harm than good?
Green Tea and Your Liver: Is It Really Harmful?
Some research indicates that yes, green tea can be harmful for your liver.
While GTE has not been directly associated with acute liver injury or liver enzyme elevations, there is concern for the safety of green tea for the liver.
Case series and a systematic review by the United States Pharmacopeia have brought up the issue of the potential for GTE to cause hepatotoxicity 4. Studies show that in postmenopausal women, GTE increased ALT, a liver enzyme, by 6.7%, and after discontinuing use, ALT levels were raised again upon restarting consumption.
More than 100 instances of liver injury linked to GTE have been reported 4—maybe 100 too many to risk it.
The catechin component of green tea is likely the culprit of many of the hepatotoxicity cases, namely EGCG. In rat studies, exposure to EGCG has been shown to induce mitochondrial toxicity and generation of reactive oxygen species (free-radicals), which cause damage to cellular DNA 4.
Given that there is a decent amount of evidence to suggest green tea extract may not be completely safe, opt for compounds that can do the fat-burning job just as effectively without the risks.
Healthier Alternatives To Green Tea That Aren't As "Bad" For Your Liver
Cayenne pepper extract (Capsimax)
One of the best natural fat-burning compounds you can find with minimal risk is capsaicin, or cayenne pepper extract. It’s one of nature’s most potent fat burning ingredients due to active compounds called capsaicinoids.
Most of the capsaicinoids found in chili peppers are capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin 5, which are the active compounds responsible for the weight and fat loss properties.
If you’re looking for fat loss, here’s why capsaicin is so great:
Capsaicinoids are component of peppers that are responsible for their ‘heat’ and when consumed, they elicit a response similar to what exercise does—an increased secretion of the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine 6.
They do this by increasing sympathetic nervous system activity, which causes a subsequent increase in secretion of catecholamines. High circulating catecholamines are a driving factor behind fat mobilization and lipolysis (fat breakdown) 7.
A mere 2mg per day of capsaicinoids can increase energy expenditure by 50 kcal/day 7! It may sound insignificant, but over time it can add up to significant weight loss.
Forskolin is another compound that is incredibly effective for long-term fat loss. It is an isolate of the root of the Coleus forskohlii plant native to India, which has been used for centuries to treat various ailments.
More recently, however, it’s been shown to be an effective fat burning agent due to its ability to act directly on adenylate cyclase, an enzyme that activates cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP); cAMP is an important regulator of lipolysis.
It does this by 8:
- Regulating dietary induced thermogenesis (DIT)
- Increasing basal metabolic rate
- Increasing body fat utilization
- Releasing fatty acids from adipose tissue
While forskolin doesn’t directly increase production of cAMP, it increases accumulation of cAMP, which ultimately has a greater effect on stimulating lipolysis.
Body fat is released to burn for fuel, while muscle mass remains untouched—it’s a win-win situation.
Final Word: There Are Safer Options than Green Tea That Don't Affect Your Liver
If you want all the rewards that green tea extract has to offer without the risks, invest your money in something that’s 10x more effective and 100x safer.
Burn Lab Pro is one of the cleanest, safest, and most effective fat burners on that market that is guaranteed to provide you with results.
It combines Capsimax and ForsLean with HMB, NutriGenesis GTF chromium, and BioPerine to maximize fat loss, enhance muscle growth, preserve lean body mass, and boost your recovery.
- AB Hodgson, RK Randell, AE Jeukendrup. The effect of green tea extract on fat oxidation at rest and during exercise: evidence of efficacy and proposed mechanisms. Adv Nutr. 2013; 4(2): 129-140.
- RT Borchardt, JA Huber. Catechol O-methyltransferase. 5. Structure-activity relationships for inhibition by flavonoids. J Med Chem. 1975; 18(1): 120-122.
- DS Goldstein, G Eisenhofer, IJ Kopin. Sources and significance of plasma levels of catechols and their metabolites in humans. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003; 305(3): 800-811.
- LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; 2012-. Green Tea. [Updated 2020 Nov 20]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547925/
- J O'Neill, C Brock, AE Olesen, T Andresen, M Nilsson, AH Dickenson. Unravelling the mystery of capsaicin: a tool to understand and treat pain. Pharmacol Rev. 2012; 64(4): 939-971.
- T Watanabe, T Kawada, M Yamamoto, K Iwai. Capsaicin, a pungent principle of hot red pepper, evokes catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla of anesthetized rats. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1987; 142(1): 259-264.
- J Deshpande, S Jeyakodi, V Juturu. Tolerability of Capsaicinoids from Capsicum Extract in a Beadlet Form: A Pilot Study. J Toxicol. 2016; 2016: 6584649.
- S Henderson, B Magu, C Rasmussen, et al. Effects of coleus forskohlii supplementation on body composition and hematological profiles in mildly overweight women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2005; 2(2): 54-62.