You get out of bed and what’s the first thing most people reach for? Probably tea or coffee.
There’s nothing like the smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning to wake you up and get your day started.
But for people who aren’t really a fan of coffee, many alternative beverages contain caffeine and elicit a similar effect - green tea being one of them.
Green tea has become increasingly popular in the last few decades, not just because of its delicious taste, but because of its potent medicinal properties.
And in the fitness world, it also has a big name because of its exceptional fat-burning capabilities.
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea is produced from a combination of the leaf and bud of the Camellia sinensis plant.
What you may not know is that tea is the second most widely consumed beverage on the planet, even ahead of coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks 1.
Green tea is produced by taking freshly harvested leaves and immediately steaming them to prevent fermentation.
The process of steaming destroys the enzymes responsible for breaking down the color pigments in the leaves, allowing for the potent green color to remain 2.
These processes help preserve the natural polyphenol content within the leaves and provide many of the proposed health-promoting benefits associated with green tea consumption.
The popularity of green tea is due to the earthy, grassy taste it provides and the firm evidence behind its proposed health benefits.
Green tea polyphenols (GTP) are suggested to positively affect bone density, cognitive function, oral health, kidney stones, and much more 1.
How Is It Different From Other Teas?
The process of creating tea is the major difference between the various types of tea you’ll find. Tea is classified into three major types:
- Non-fermented = green tea, which is produced by drying and steaming fresh leaves to inactivate polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme
- Semi-fermented = oolong tea, whereby fresh leaves are partially fermented before drying
- Fermented = black and red (Pu-Erh) teas, which undergo full fermentation after harvesting and before drying and steaming
Besides the fermentation process, green tea also contains polyphenols (flavanols, flavandiols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids), an antioxidant that accounts for up to 30% of the dry weight of tea leaves.
Most of the polyphenols present in green tea are flavanols, more specifically known as catechins 2.
The four catechins that comprise the majority of polyphenols found in green tea are:
- Epigallocatechin (EGC)
- Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)
However, the number of catechins will vary between green teas based on factors like tea variety, origin, and growing conditions 3.
Health Benefits Of Green Tea
The vast majority of people consume green tea for both the health benefits and the taste, and when it comes to what it can do for your body, there appears to be no shortage.
Most benefits associated with green tea are because of its concentration of catechins, a potent type of antioxidant that provides a wide range of positive effects.
Here are some proposed benefits 1, 2:
- Protection against neurodegenerative diseases
- Anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer)
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps reduce cholesterol
- Protects cells against free-radicals (antioxidant)
- Improves oral health
You’ll see frequently noted that green tea extract’s ability to boost metabolism and induce fat loss. It’s why you’ll commonly find it in many fat burners and weight management supplements.
How Much Caffeine Is In Green Tea?
The one concern that green tea often raises is the caffeine content, which is why some people tend to stay clear of it.
However, green tea may not have as much caffeine as you think. And in comparison to things like energy drinks and coffee beverages, it’s practically negligible.
Most of the products you find containing green tea are derived from extracts of green tea in a liquid or powdered form.
All of these products vary in their constitution, with generally 45-90% polyphenol content and 0.4-10% caffeine 2.
On average, fresh green tea leaves contain about 3-4% alkaloids, composed of compounds like methylxanthines, such as caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline 2.
So, you probably think that what we just told you doesn’t answer how much caffeine you’ll get in a cup of green tea. Here’s a bit more specifics:
According to one study, the mean content of caffeine in green tea is around 32.5mg/g, but this may vary depending on the type of tea and the form of preparation (i.e. brewing time).
Generally speaking, bagged green tea produces a higher percentage of caffeine than loose leaf tea.
On average, green tea brewed for 3 minutes contains around 15–25 mg of caffeine per 150 ml of tea 1.
Another study showed that concentration of EGCG and EGC can reach up to 5% in some green tea samples, and the caffeine level of green tea ranges between 1.0 and 3.5%, with instant tea samples going up to 3.8% 4.
Be Mindful Of These
If you’re drinking a lot of green tea, there are a few things you need to be aware of 1:
- How much caffeine you’re consuming—While the caffeine content of green tea is lower than that of its fermented counterparts (2.4-4.8%) or other caffeinated beverages, non-fermented teas still contain caffeine levels ranging between 1.47-3.86%. If you’re caffeine sensitive, you may find green tea gives you the jitters or a serious energy crash afterwards.
- Aluminum presence—Studies show that the tea plant has a high capacity to accumulate aluminum, which can be difficult to excrete from the body. Studies show that aluminum dietary intake must not exceed 6 mg/day to avoid potentially toxic levels.
- The effect of tea polyphenols on iron bioavailability—Research shows that black tea inhibits the bioavailability of non-heme iron by 79-94% when both are consumed at the same time. Green tea catechins, however, may also have an affinity for iron and may cause a significant decrease in iron bioavailability from the diet.
Try These Instead
If you’re looking for a healthier, stim-free alternative to green tea that can help you shed fat and lose weight, plus provide other health benefits, there are a couple of options for you:
1. Cayenne Pepper Extract (Capsimax)
Cayenne pepper extract is one of the best, most effective natural fat-burners that offers many of the same effects as green tea, without the risks.
Its potent fat-burning properties are due to active compounds called capsaicinoids, which give chili peppers their ‘heat’ and increase secretion of the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine 5.
Capsaicinoids do this by increasing sympathetic nervous system activity, which stimulates catecholamine secretion; high serum catecholamines aid in fat mobilization and lipolysis 6.
Forskolin is another lesser-known, but just as effective, compound for long-term fat loss. It is an extract from the root of the Coleus forskohlii plant that has been shown to be effective at torching fat.
It acts directly on adenylate cyclase, an enzyme that activates cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), and cAMP is a regulator of lipolysis.
Forskolin helps regulate thermogenesis, increase basal metabolic rate, increase body fat utilization, and stimulate the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue 7.
Keep in mind that forskolin doesn’t directly increase the production of cAMP, but instead increases the accumulation of cAMP, which ultimately works to stimulate lipolysis.
Both of these compounds are the shining stars of Burn Lab Pro—one of the cleanest, safest, and most effective fat burners on that market that is guaranteed to get you the results you want.
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.
- C Cabrera, R Artacho, R Giménez. Beneficial effects of green tea--a review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006; 25(2): 79-99.
- SM Chacko, PT Thambi, R Kuttan, I Nishigaki. Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review. Chin Med. 2010; 5: 13.
- S Khokhar, SG Magnusdottir. Total phenol, catechin, and caffeine contents of teas commonly consumed in the United kingdom. J Agric Food Chem. 2002; 50(3): 565-570.
- PL Fernández, MJ Martín, AG González, F Pablos. HPLC determination of catechins and caffeine in tea. Differentiation of green, black and instant teas. Analyst. 2000; 125(3): 421-425.
- 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.