Why Green Tea As A Fat Burner?
Looking through the “Supplement Facts” panels on fat burning supplements is often enough to send you into a headspin.
A dizzying array of different ingredients. Or the same ingredients with different names (supplement manufacturers love the complex sounding technical scientific name). Dosages quoted on different scales. Confusing variants of ingredients based on the form (ie Magnesium Chelate vs Magnesium Sulphate vs Magnesium Aspartate).
It’s enough to make you stop researching and start Googling for reviews.
One fat burning ingredient turns up time and again though.
Why? When everyone making fat burning supplements is desperately trying to differentiate themselves from the competition, why do so many of the reputable supplement manufacturers make green tea the conerstone ingredient in their flagship weightloss supplements?
How Can Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
It’s all down to the polyphenols contained in green tea, and specifically the catechins. Catechins are antioxidants, molecules that help fight free radicals.
In relation to weight loss and fat burning, the most important of these catechins is epigallocatechin gallate, otherwise known as EGCG. EGCG is a bioactive compound which has shown in studies to possess a number of potential health benefits;
- Cardiovascular : Decreasing oxidative stress, inhibit thrombogenesis ,
- Blood Pressure : Inhibition of LDL cholesterol 
- Cholesterol : Inhibition of LDL cholesterol , 
The principle properties we are interested in for fat burning is it’s ability to both accelerate metabolism and break down fat.
EGCG & Fat Breakdown
Fat is stored by the body for future use when the lean times come and food supplies are scarce. That might have worked well in caveman times when you never knew when your next Mammoth would come along. Doesn’t work so well in the western world where food is in permanent abundance.
When we want to lose weight we need this stored fat energy to be activated and used. That involves a fat burning hormone called norepinephrine. How does EGCG boost norepinephrine?
It doesn’t. What is does to is help reduce the proliferance of an enzyme which breaks down norepinephrine. Less enzyme == more norepinephrine.
And more norepinephrine means more fat is broken down into the bloodstream to be used by your muscles.
EGCG & Metabolic Rate
If you are trying to lose weight and work out / exercise at the same time you are going to need that energy to motivate those muscles. The problem is that, when fasting, your body will naturally slow it’s own metabolic rate to try and preserve energy stores. As this study  points out, green tea extract can help here;
These ingredients may increase energy expenditure and have been proposed to counteract the decrease in metabolic rate that is present during weight loss.
EGCG makes you burn more energy. And not just in the gym either, you burn more energy whilst resting.
According to studies, this increase can be anywhere from 3% to 8%. It varies between individuals though, and may be more pronounced on those who are overweight . That is unlikely to be an issue for fat burner supplement customer however, as the overweight are more likely to be the ones wanting to use a fat burner in the first instance.
Green tea has numerous health benefits, but is specifically useful for fat burning supplements.
When you are looking at a Supplement Facts panel on a fat burning supplement and you see green tea or green tea extract – the magic number you are looking for is the percentage of EGCG or Polyphenols the product contains. It could be a weaker, cheaper extract with lower volumes of these all important catechins.
Be careful about dosages. We did a comprehensive article on green tea extract safe dosage levels.
Finally, be aware that the research and studies weren’t done on subjects drinking green tea.
They were conducted on subjects taking dosed quantities of standardized extract with specific levels of polyphenols. You will not get that from an infused drink, you would only get it from a supplement. As always we’d recommend a quality cGMP produced product that comes well recommended.
- Molecular Understanding of Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases (source)
- Green Tea Catechins: Defensive Role in Cardiovascular Disorders (source)
- Green Tea Extract Reduces Blood Pressure, Inflammatory Biomarkers, and Oxidative Stress and Improves Parameters Associated With Insulin Resistance in Obese, Hypertensive Patients (source)
- Prospective Double-Blind Crossover Study of Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) in Dyslipidemias (source)
- Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation (source)
- Effect of a Thermogenic Beverage on 24-hour Energy Metabolism in Humans (source)