5 Best Teas To Drink For Weight Loss

Tea holds a special place in cultures worldwide, from the British ‘cuppa’ to the beautifully intricate tea ceremonies in Japan. Humans have served and enjoyed tea for millennia, both for its health benefits and its flavor. The first credible reference to tea comes from the 3rd century AD, from the writing of Hua Tuo, a Chinese physician.

Read on to dive deep into some of the benefits of tea drinking and how it can help you to lose weight.

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1. Green tea

Green tea is made from the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. Green tea contains fresh young leaves and buds that have not gone through the same drying and oxidation process as those of black and oolong teas.

A 12-week study examined the effects of drinking green tea versus placebo on weight loss and resting energy expenditure (the amount of energy the body burns at rest) in obese people following the same diet. It found that the tea-drinking group lost significantly more weight and had increased resting energy expenditure than the placebo group.¹

Green tea contains caffeine and catechins which can both assist with weight loss. These substances may work together synergistically to produce a greater effect than on their own.²,³

2. Black tea

Black tea is produced from the dried, oxidized leaves and buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant.

One cup of brewed black tea contains approximately 47mg of caffeine⁴. An extensive meta-analysis of 16 randomized controlled trials showed that caffeine helped to reduce body weight, body fat, and body mass index (BMI).⁵

Black tea also has benefits beyond its caffeine content. It is known to be high in flavonoids, which offer health-promoting properties.⁶ Diets high in flavonoids have been linked to lower body mass index in women.⁷

A study that examined the effects of the non-caffeine components (mainly flavonoids) on body composition when consuming black tea resulted in reduced body weight and body fat distribution after three months. This was separate from the caffeine effect. However, the weight loss effect did not seem to be sustained longer than three months, so further studies are needed to verify this.⁸ 

3. Pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea is a fermented and oxidized black tea traditionally produced in the Yunnan province of China. Research has shown modest weight loss benefits from drinking pu-erh tea, especially in men⁹. 

4. Yerba mate tea

Yerba mate is a South American tea made from the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant which are dried over a fire. Some weight loss properties have been attributed to yerba mate tea, with studies in animals showing it to have anti-obesity effects, but further studies are needed with humans.¹⁰

5. Herbal teas

Herbal teas are not produced from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and do not contain caffeine. Instead, they are usually made by infusing the leaves, flowers, fruit, roots, or bark of a particular plant or combination of plants in hot water.

There is a wide range of herbal teas, some of which have shown limited ability to promote weight loss.

An extensive study on the effects of ginger on body weight showed that it helped to reduce body weight and waist-to-hip ratio.¹¹ It is thought that drinking ginger tea may offer similar benefits.

Hibiscus tea has been shown to decrease blood pressure and may have an effect on lowering body weight, but further studies are needed.¹²

Another herbal tea that may be beneficial for weight loss is South African rooibos tea. In vitro (test-tube) studies have shown that rooibos tea affects fat cell metabolism, suggesting that it may support obesity management.¹³

How to drink tea for weight loss

The most important part of drinking tea for weight loss benefits is not to load your cup of tea with full-cream milk and sugar. Ideally, you should drink your tea pure, without any additions, to maximize the benefits.

Since the weight loss effects of different teas tend to come from their caffeine content, you should avoid drinking tea, other than herbal tea, in the late afternoon and evening so that it doesn’t affect your sleep. 

Possible side effects of drinking tea

Generally, tea drinking in moderation is well-tolerated and considered safe. However, there have been some reported cases of liver damage due to excessive green tea consumption.¹⁴

Pu-erh tea may cause some gastrointestinal discomfort because it is fermented, but this is not harmful in itself and can actually support gut health.

Another possible side effect is that drinking large amounts of yerba mate tea at high temperatures has been linked to an increased incidence of throat and mouth cancer. Despite this, it is likely safe to drink in moderation.¹⁵

The lowdown

Drinking tea is not only an enjoyable, calming ritual that is important in many cultures, but it may also aid in your weight loss efforts.

There are many different types of teas that may help with weight loss, so choose your favorite or mix it up. For maximum health benefits, drink your tea without adding milk, sugar, or other sweeteners. Swapping out soda or sugary drinks for a cup of tea can also decrease your total daily calorie intake, further contributing to weight loss.

When consumed in moderation, tea can be a useful addition to your weight-loss toolkit together with a healthy diet and exercise program.

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