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Green tea's effects on weight loss may have been overstated, but there are many healthy reasons to keep drinking.
A warming mug of green tea is many things: soothing, tasty and a healthy alternative to sugary beverages and creamy coffees. Unfortunately, one thing it isn’t is a weight loss miracle.
But, over the years, there have been several claims to the contrary. Some studies have found that green tea’s caffeine and catechins stimulate the nervous system, increasing the body’s ability to burn stored energy. Sadly, these benefits have been overplayed. The studies reporting them were either small, or found only small, statistically irrelevant weight loss, according to researchers who have made a more conclusive report from the existing body of evidence.
And even a 2012 review of green tea studies found that drinking green tea regularly didn’t help people who had lost weight keep it off.
"The caffeine in green tea could raise your metabolic rate ever so slightly, but it wouldn't have a different effect than coffee," said Michael Jensen, an endocrinologist who spoke with National Public Radio.
Green tea is still a healthy option
This news shouldn’t make you give up tea drinking, however. If you’re looking to lose weight, green (and other) teas are great replacements for high-calorie beverages. (Just remember to forgo the sugar.)
There’s also some evidence that green tea’s antioxidants may protect your body from free radical damage, which is linked with cancer and other diseases—not to mention skin care benefits. Early studies are showing that tea may also help regulate blood pressure and it could even be linked with living longer.
Want more ways to enjoy your green tea? Check out 10 healthy green tea recipes.