Why The World Needs More Green Tea

A recent study, published in The International Journal of Eating Disorders, discovered that the amount of green tea people drank in the past week was more predictive of their subsequent weight loss than were exercise, diet, stress, and even BMI.

According to the World Health Organization, over 635,000 cases of obesity are estimated to occur every year in the EU alone. And while the problem is far from being solved, things have begun to move in the right direction. Unfortunately, much of what we have been offered is nothing more than fads, gimmicks, and junk science designed to sell us products.

A common strategy employed by the tobacco industry was to convince cigarette smokers that the product contained “natural” chemicals that were found in marijuana. The government quickly bought into this myth, and the tobacco industry was able to convince people that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer or lung cancer, just like they weren’t harmful to your body.

Green tea, despite being far less commonly consumed than tobacco, has a similarly negative influence on health. According to The Green Tea Association of America (GTAA), Green Tea is responsible for causing approximately 300,000 deaths each year worldwide, and that’s including the health of people who ingest the tea themselves.

Green Tea is, in fact, one of the more heavily researched, yet under-utilized ingredients in any given product.

While it is true that in some cases there have been documented cases of caffeine-like effects from Green Tea (1, 2), this does not hold true for other ingredients such as EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate. There is also the possibility that some people are simply more sensitive to the effects of Green Tea than is generally assumed.

But, what exactly can we take of when we consider the fact that the effects of Green Tea are so potent? As I’ve written about before , the chemical is responsible for the relaxation of your muscles and helping you relieve stress. The tea also appears to stimulate your blood circulation, as well as reduce blood pressure. It’s likely that the caffeine present in Green Tea is the stimulant, while the epigallocatechin and gallate are involved with the “decongestion” effects.

Green Tea is the most commonly used tea in the Western Hemisphere. According to the OECD (the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), in 2010 the tea industry made up about 60% of the global market, and with an estimated 4.7 billion cups consumed worldwide, only a little more than half a billion cups will have been drunk in France alone. And of these, about 1.8 billion were consumed in the same year that the study was conducted.

Now, while the study may have shown that tea consumption correlated with some small improvements in weight loss, and perhaps weight maintenance, I think it’s safe to say that green tea was not the main driver of this. This is not to say that there isn’t much scientific evidence supporting the use of green tea, though. But for most people trying to lose weight, caffeine-based products are very tempting, especially if the cost of caffeine itself is less important.

I’m going to make an assumption, though. This study was a cross-sectional design, meaning that it didn’t follow people once they’d lost their fat, so we can’t really know the reasons behind that weight loss.

But it does appear that the weight loss was achieved by consuming more green tea than was traditionally thought or consumed. As you can see, the authors state that their results show that “green tea consumption predicted weight loss, which is consistent with the notion that green tea could potentially help with weight loss.”