With America caught up in an epidemic of obesity, many people are turning to green tea for fat burning. This natural remedy has been in use for hundreds of years. But just because they contain natural ingredients doesn't mean that green tea fat burners have no side effects. These can, in fact, be significant.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is a substance produced from the leaves of camellia sinensis. While most teas are produced using a fermentation process, green tea is not; this means the leaves undergo very little oxidization. It's believed that this makes green tea a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge and neutralize free radicals, which are toxic substances within the bloodstream that contribute to aging and disease.
Green tea has been consumed as a beverage for hundreds of years in many cultures, including India and China. The use of supplements in capsule form is a more recent development.
Traditional Medicinal Uses
Over the years, many claims have been made about green tea's remarkable health properties. Traditionally, it has been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for a variety of purposes. These include use as an astringent, a stimulant, a diuretic and even to control flatulence.
It's also been said that green tea improves concentration and can even support the health of the heart.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), green tea is "generally recognized as safe." This does not mean, however, that green tea and its extracts have been proven effective for weight loss or for any other claimed uses.
Green tea's proponents have suggested that it is a virtual miracle cure, having an effect on a wide range of conditions, including cancer. However, the FDA, in a statement issued in 2005, has stated that no study has shown a highly probability that green tea reduces instances of cancer as claimed.
The agency has also rejected petitions from green tea companies to use a label claiming green tea reduces the risk of heart attack or heart disease. The official stance is that, while some animal trials have shown promise, there is no evidence that the substance has an effect on human heart health.
The FDA has not issued a statement either supporting or denying the effectiveness of green tea as a fat burner or weight loss supplement.
Fat Burning Claims
Many companies offer "fat burners" that contain green tea as the primary ingredient. These companies often make claims that green tea is an effective appetite suppressant or that it causes the metabolism to speed up.
To some extent, these claims can be explained by the fact that green tea contains caffeine. Caffeine is a known stimulant, and does have metabolic significance. Herbal stimulants are often included in the ingredients, as well.
Studies have suggested that the polyphenols-antioxidants-are also responsible for the fat burning effect. While these claims have not been authenticated to the satisfaction of the FDA, some companies, customers and alternative health practitioners do put faith in them.
One of the reasons for the popularity of green tea fat burners is that they seem to produce minimal side effects, especially when compared with other weight loss products on the market. The problem, however, is that there is no real regulation of these products, and they often contain additional stimulants.
Some users report feeling jittery or extremely dehydrated when using a green tea fat burner. Others complain of headaches. While all of these symptoms can be related to the caffeine found naturally in green tea, most fat burner supplements contain additional quantities of both caffeine and herbal stimulants.
Dehydration can occur due to the diuretic effects of green tea. It's important to drink plenty of water when using a green tea fat burner.
There are green tea supplements available that have been decaffeinated. However, these are not normally the formulations intended to support weight loss. Those who are sensitive to caffeine and other stimulants should consider the ingredients carefully before choosing to use a green tea fat burner.