You don't need to go on an extreme diet, colon cleanse or detox diet to lose weight with green tea. In fact, detox diets and colon cleanses can be risky and have unwanted side effects, such as muscle breakdown and a weakened immune system. Your body is designed to get rid of any toxins on its own. Adding green tea to a balanced weight-loss diet, however, might just help you lose weight.
Simply adding green tea to your diet isn't likely to help you lose much weight, but plain green tea is a calorie-free beverage that may help to slightly increase the amount of weight you lose. For example, drinking 4 cups of green tea per day helped people lose an extra half pound compared to people who didn't drink tea in an eight-week study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2010. Adding lots of cream and sugar to your tea will add calories and offset the benefits of drinking green tea, however.
To lose a significant amount of weight, you'll need to make other changes to your diet besides drinking green tea. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recommends you cut calories by eating fewer foods made with refined grains or containing added sugars or lots of fat. Instead, eat plenty of filling but lower-calorie vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein sources. These foods tend to be lower in energy density, or calories per gram, than foods high in fat or sugar, which means you can eat more food for the same amount of calories. This helps you stay full longer and may make sticking to your diet easier.
You'll get even more benefits from adding green tea to your diet if you also exercise. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition in December 2008 found that drinking green tea and exercising at least 180 minutes per week at moderate intensity helped people lower their triglycerides and decrease their abdominal fat by over 7 percent more than exercise alone.
Check with your doctor before adding large amounts of green tea to your diet, as it may not be safe for everyone. Pregnant women and people with anxiety, high blood pressure, ulcers or kidney, liver or heart problems should avoid green tea.
Green tea also contains caffeine unless you buy a decaffeinated variety. Getting too much caffeine from green tea or other sources can cause headaches, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, as well as heart palpitations. MedlinePlus recommends limiting caffeine to no more than 300 milligrams per day, about what is in 5 cups of tea.
Green tea may interact with certain medications, increasing the risk of side effects. These include certain types of antibiotics, sedatives, blood thinners, chemotherapy medications, blood pressure medications, ephedrine, lithium, adenosine, birth control pills and the phenylpropanolamine found in some cold medications.
- NBC News: Experts Warn of Detox Diet Dangers
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Green Tea Supplementation Affects Body Weight, Lipids, and Lipid Peroxidation in Obese Subjects With Metabolic Syndrome
- The Journal of Nutrition: Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Dieting That Works
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management: Cutting Calories While Controlling Hunger
- MedlinePlus: Caffeine in the Diet