If holiday good tidings have lifted our spirits, then what did those holiday cookies do? Once the holidays end and our normal lives resume, green tea can help us remove that holiday baggage – the extra pound or two we gained in the past month. Green tea has always been known to have tremendous health benefits – weight loss could also be a possible benefit. Green tea is not just a Camellia sinensis leaf that tastes great when dried; it contains many organic substances, one being epigallocatechin-gallate, or EGCG. EGCG is being looked at as a catalyst for the breakdown of fat in our bodies. According to a study completed in 2009, the reason EGCG is a catalyst for lipolysis, or fat break-down, is due to the fact that it stimulates a special hormone in our cells that increases the rate of break-down of stored fat and free fatty acids. So, in short, the study shows us that green tea EGCG can actually drain fat buildup by stimulating fat break-down and excretion. So what does this mean? Seventy-seven percent (77%) of participants in a study done in 2006 either lost significant weight or maintained their weight by drinking 540 milligrams (mg) a day of green tea for twelve weeks. This study and many more, of course, do not indicate what “significant” means in terms of actual weight loss. According to the USDA, one cup of green tea contains approximately 180 mg of EGCG, meaning that in order to lose significant weight, we would have to consume around four cups of green tea a day.
Although we love our green tea, I cannot say with certainty that four cups of green tea is a healthy and moderate amount. It depends on the individual. Just as we take the stairs to get in those extra steps and eat one less scoop of ice cream to reduce our caloric intake, we drink green tea because it is delicious and does our bodies good. Although we may not be able to drink the pounds away with our favorite brand of green tea, we can rest assured that green tea is not just good for our taste buds, but it is also good for our waist.