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Weight Loss – Green tea really kicks butt . . . it will also shrink it.

Weight Loss  –  Green tea really kicks butt . . . it will also shrink it.

Green tea is one of only two beverages that can claim health benefits for the human body. The other is water. We know we need water in our diet and it is the single most important fluid we consume. Most of us do not consume enough water on a daily basis but that is a topic for another time. I want to share with you the incredible benefit that green tea holds in the realm of weight loss.

Green tea has numerous benefits for our general health and well-being and has been studied in medical research for years. Here is a short list of its accomplishments:

  • Anti-oxidant – it is a stronger anti-oxidant that resveratrol and many times more potent than vitamin C and vitamin E at reducing free radical damage to human cells.
  • Anti-cancer – studies have shown that increased consumption of green tea catechins (polyphenols) is associated with lower rates of cancer and that application of green tea catechins to cancer leads to cancer cell death. It inhibits tumor formation and growth.
  •    Immune system support – green tea catechins have demonstrated an ability to raise levels of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria which are good bacteria in our bowels, while decreasing levels of numerous potential pathogens (bad bacteria). Studies have also demonstrated green tea’s antibacterial properties against a variety of gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial species.
  • Cholesterol advantage – helps to lower badLDLcholesterol and elevate the goodHDLcholesterol.
  • Arthritis reduction – reduced joint inflammation

But now let’s add one big bonus to green teas accomplishments . . .


 Green tea polyphenols act as THERMOGENIC compounds, which accelerate our body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. A human study of green tea extract containing 90 mg EGCG (EGCG is just one of several polyphenols found in green tea) taken three times daily concluded that men taking the extract burned 266 more calories per day than did those in the placebo group and that green tea extract’s thermogenic effects may play a role in controlling obesity. 

Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, et al. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols  and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutrition 1999;70:1040-1045.

This degree of accelerated calorie burn could results in ½ a pound per week of weight loss without making any other changes to your present habits.

Another study form the journal of Obesity from June of 2007 reported a study:  “A Green Tea Extract High in Catechins Reduces Body Fat and Cardiovascular Risks in Humans” by T. Nagao, T. Hase, and I. Tokimitsu  that demonstrated significant reductions in body weight,BMI, body fat ratio, body fat mass, waist circumference, and hip circumference.

The Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism in 2008 reported a study:

“Effect of green tea extract on obese women: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial “ showing that green tea extracts demonstrated significant reduction inLDL-cholesterol and triglyceride, and marked increase in the level ofHDL-cholesterol and adiponectin. Adiponectin makes insuln receptors more sensitive, thus reduces insulin levels which correlates to better health and leaner body mass.

Green tea polyphenols have also been shown to markedly

inhibit digestive lipases in vitro, resulting in decreased lipolysis of triglycerides, which may translate to reduced fat digestion in humans and weight loss.

So the comment I hear frequently is “that’s great because I drink green tea all the time”. Well . . . lets look at what most people consume and shed a little light on this topic. The standard green tea leaf that you might buy at the grocery store typically comes in a standard tea bag and may not be the highest quality leaf on the market. Good green tea is typically sold as loose leaf. Even if you started with really good loose leaf green tea and brewed yourself a cup of tea it would on average contain a little more than ½ of a milligram of the good polyphenols (catechins) that we desire. That’s still good for us but it is a rather small amount. About 95% of the good stuff we desire is left in the leaf itself and you just threw that in the trash. So let’s consider option number 2 which is to buy dried, ground up, powdered green tea leaves and mix this with water so that we are consuming the entire leaf. May sound odd but that is exactly what eastern cultures have been doing for centuries to enjoy great health benefits. A cup of tea made from powdered lea leaves has a very rich taste and contains roughly 65 milligrams of polyphenols. Yes, that’s 100 times the amount found in the tea bag variety.

Well let’s go nuclear and look at the possibility of consuming concentrated green tea polyphenol extracts prepared in capsules. This is done very successfully and can have tremendous health benefits as we are now taking all the anti-oxidant and other beneficial properties and multiplying it for a medical effect. This is the level that we start to achieve weight loss benefits that are measurable. So all of the other options mentioned are healthy and beneficial but concentrating them in a capsule has a profound impact on weight that simply sipping a cup of tea may not be able to reproduce. For the record I drink organic sencha green tea daily for my health but I also use capsules of polyphenols to act as strong anti-oxidants in my daily health regimine.

The studies that examined weight loss with use of green tea extracts (and there are many) typically used around 500 to 750 mg of polyphenols per day. So this is the dose I use in my weight loss patients and I in fact take it one step further. There are many manufacturers that offer green tea extracts but as you can imagine not all offerings are of good quality. If you are going to make the decision to use green tea polyphenols as an adjunct in weight loss then do yourself a favor and don’t waste money on something that is poorly made and ineffective. I use a source of green tea that is tested and purified and properly managed to result in a reliable product. It is not bound to fillers or flow agents and is a pure polyphenol that will absorb when taken. The brand I trust is Thorne because of their process and reputation for exceptional quality but the reason I select them over all others is that they have bound their green tea polyphenol to phosphatidylcholine to aid absorption. The phosphatidylcholine is a naturally occurring lipid that greatly increases the ability of the polyphenols to absorb thru the bowel lining and go directly into the blood stream. This dramatically increases the beneficial effect and very few supplements can claim to have this advantage. So now we have a high dose, pure polyphenol, that absorbs easily for maximal impact in it’s ability to facilitate thermogenesis (fat burning).

A review of the facts:

Green tea factoids

  • Brewed tea:  brewed green tea nets 0.66mg of catechins on average.
  • It takes 100 grams of tea leaves (3.3 ounces) to net 132 mg of catechins total. That’s 200 cups of tea made from 3.3 ounces of leaves.
  • Whole leaf powdered green tea:  1/8 tsp (0.5 grams) nets 65 mg of catechins.
  • In 100 grams of powdered tea (3.3 ounces) yields 13,000mg of catechins if it is sencha green tea. Other lesser green tea may yield less catechins.
  • Green tea supplement: Thorne’s “Green Tea Phytosome” is lipid bound 250 mg of green tea leaf extract. It provides the highest deliverable polyphenol content to the body for a therapeutic effect.
  • Studies show that green tea supplements of 500 to 700 mg of polyphenol led to a thermogenic effect leading to an extra 266 calories burned per day. There are 3,500 calories in one pound of body weight so a daily intake of green tea netting 500 to 700 mg of polyphenol would potentially lead to a weight loss of 0.5 pounds per week.

I recommend Thorne’s “Green Tea Phytosome” at a dose of 2 to 3 capsules daily to facilitate weight loss. Now if you have read ANYTHING else on this website then you know me well enough to anticipate that this is not the ONLY thing I recommend for weight loss and certainly just taking a few green tea capsules is not the way to regain good health all by itself. But it can be a safe, easy adjunct that helps start you in a new direction as you learn better habits, nutritional practices and figure out your metabolic issues with the help of a qualified practitioner. Need Help? Call me or visit my medical website ( But this is the end of 2011 and 2012 is a great time to redefine yourself and start some new habits. So start making plans and stay tuned as we offer up a host of weight loss ideas over the next few weeks.


Dr. Gary Huber

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