Health

5 Types of Tea That May Help With Weight Loss

If you’re a tea drinker, you probably already know tea has health benefits. “Tea has medicinal properties, and it is the second-most-consumed beverage in the world,” says Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN, who is based in Chicago.

But can tea help you lose weight? The evidence for tea’s effects on weight loss hasn’t always been clear.

RELATED: 8 Teas for a Healthier Body and Mind

Here’s what scientists know — and don’t know — about the effect of tea on body weight.

How Drinking Tea May Help With Weight Loss

If your beverages are typically high-calorie, swapping in tea may lead to weight loss. For example, trading a sugar-laden mocha for a zero-calorie tea at the coffee shop can easily save you a few hundred calories, notes Sarah Koszyk, RDN, the San Francisco–based author of 365 Snacks for Every Day of the Year.

Research suggests that tea may also play a direct role in weight loss. “Teas contain catechins, which can increase metabolism by stimulating the body to break fats down more quickly and burn more calories,” Koszyk says.

Catechins are a type of plant compound with powerful antioxidant properties, according to research. Tea is especially rich in four catechins: epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Of these four, EGCG is the most abundant, and it is thought to contribute most to the many health benefits of tea, according to a review.

There are many varieties of tea, and their unique flavors and properties are thanks to differences in processing, geographical location, and plant varieties. These differences also affect the nutritional composition of each tea, which means certain types may be better suited for weight loss than others.

Robust Research on Tea and Weight Loss Is Lacking

That said, many studies look at the effects of tea in capsule or tablet form, which may provide study participants with a more concentrated dose of plant compounds like EGCG than a typical bag of tea would. Other studies don’t use humans, and if they do, the population sizes are on the smaller side. These are major limitations, so more large studies in humans using brewed tea are needed before scientists understand and can better determine any potential weight loss benefits for people.

Regardless, health experts agree that plain, unsweetened brewed tea is generally healthy. Go ahead and prepare that cup — and as you sip, check out this list of the top teas for weight loss, in order from strongest evidence to weakest.

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