Green tea can be found virtually everywhere. From the coffee shops that dot every major city to the tiny kitchen nestled in the hills of a remote town, green tea has been enjoyed for centuries and has captured the heart and imagination of people from a diverse array of backgrounds and places of origin. While the health benefits of green tea have been touted by traditional cultures for centuries (or more), the benefits of tea have increasingly begun to shift to the weight loss sphere, begging the question: can green tea leaves actually help you lose weight?

Coffee, too, has long been considered a possible intervention for excess weight. When it was first introduced to the West, coffee beans were initially considered a potentially valuable sports and exercise intervention, due to the increase in energy and stamina being provided. When it was discovered that caffeine also functioned as a diuretic (a digestive stimulant), it took a step back from being used prior to sporting events. Nevertheless, athletes and people of a healthy weight continue to consume coffee in the morning or as an afternoon pick me up. 

Both green tea and coffee have been utilized as weight loss aids, and getting in a caffeine boost from both has been credited with providing the energy to get going every morning. Does one truly possess more positive effects than the other? 

How Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight

At the outset, green tea is one of the healthiest beverages currently available. From basic tea bags to the powdered leaves found in matcha, this type of tea is loaded with antioxidants and packaged with a hefty dose of caffeine--a compound known to increase the oxidation and use of fatty tissue and cells. Antioxidants are used to combat free radicals, or damaged or broken atoms within the body. When free radicals exist in great numbers within the body, they run amok and cause extensive damage. Consuming antioxidants regularly can help combat the effects of those free radicals, which can indirectly contribute to maintaining a healthy weight by maintaining general health and thereby supporting metabolic function. 

While caffeine content has been decried in years past, caffeine is not the villain it has been made out to be. Caffeine is a stimulant, but caffeine content alone is not an effective determinant of the risk of dependency and has actually been proven to help burn fat and improve exercise performance. Caffeine consumption has been linked to numerous health benefits, rather than negative impacts, including increasing energy, and contributing to accelerated fat burning. Caffeine has also been linked to a mildly suppressed appetite, and regular consumption of caffeine-rich green tea may be beneficial for its ability to initiate satiety cues. 

As mentioned above, general health is a vital component in ensuring successful weight management. Green tea may help maintain general health by imparting antioxidants and decreasing the likelihood of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and liver disease, as well as the onset of a metabolic disorder like type 2 diabetes. 

How coffee can help you lose weight

A cup of coffee--or even a few cups of coffee--may help people lose weight in part because coffee contains caffeine, which acts as both a stimulant and a fat-burning compound. Many targeted fat-burning supplements actually include milligrams of caffeine as one of the active ingredients, because caffeine has the ability to stimulate fat burning while increasing energy levels. 

The content of coffee includes more than caffeine, including some antioxidants, but caffeine is utilized and more frequently pointed out because it mobilizes fat in the body and increases the efficiency of an individual's metabolism. This is achieved by stimulating the nervous system, thereby instructing fat cells to break down and provide fuel. During this process, blood levels of the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) increase, traveling through your blood and activating the breakdown and release of fat stored within fat cells. 

Caffeine is also included in popular beverages and supplements used to encourage weight loss because it increases the body's resting metabolic rate. This increase is due primarily to the breakdown and utilization of fat cells. As fat cells are broken down and energy is released into the body, stored fat decreases, leading to weight loss. Provided that additional calories are not supplemented to make up for the fat being burned and energy being utilized, this can result in a steady metabolic increase. 

One study determined that initial size and fitness level will influence the way long-term consumption of caffeine affects the body. In lean individuals, caffeine was shown to burn fat at a 29% rate, while obese individuals burned fat at a rate of 10%. When selecting a weight loss regimen, and determining what coffee intake should look like for your particular figure and goals, consider the fat content in your own physical makeup and how that can play a role--including increasing as weight loss occurs.  

best green tea benefits for weight loss green tea and coffee combined blog

The Long-Term Effect of Coffee Consumption on Weight Loss

Coffee drinkers do enjoy a boost to weight loss efforts, but those effects are short lived. Drinking one or more cups of coffee per day can help boost metabolic rate and burn fat, but these changes are directly tied to coffee consumption, and do not incur sustainable or lasting changes to body composition or even the efficiency with which your body burns fat. This is due partly to the dependence the body has on caffeine to boost weight loss and fat metabolism and partly to the tolerance bodies develop for caffeine. Over time, the effect is not as powerful, resulting in decreased fat burning. 

While coffee and caffeine intake can be a useful addition to efforts to achieve a healthy weight, they are not truly long-term solutions for unwanted weight gain. Consuming one to three cups of coffee per day can contribute to establishing and maintaining strong health, but should not be used in the place of a healthy diet and adequate exercise. 

Green Tea vs Coffee Nutritional Value

Compound

Benefit

Green Tea

Coffee

Caffeine 

Helps burn fat

24-40 mg

100-200 mg

Catechins (Antioxidant)

Improves metabolism and helps fat breakdown. Prevents cell damage

Present

--

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) (Antioxidant)

Improves metabolism and helps fat breakdown, fights cancer

Present

Present in small amounts

Theobromine

Treat asthma

Present in small amounts

Chlorogenic Acid (polyphenols)

Slows down the absorption of carbs; Reduces inflammation and helps fight cancer

Present

Present in small amounts

Amino Acids (L-Theanine)

Anti-anxiety effects, improves brain function

Present

Not present

Sources: researchgate.net and heathline.com

As the table above shows, coffee (decaf coffee or regular) and green tea both possess many health benefits that contribute not only to weight loss, but also positively impact the risk of heart disease, the likelihood of developing a metabolic disorder, and even resting heart rate. Nevertheless, green tea does possess more beneficial components than coffee, including positive changes to anxiety levels, brain function, and the levels of a specific type of antioxidant. 

While nutritional value may not appear to have value in weight loss efforts--after all, so many subscribe to the basic idea of calories in, calories out, regardless of the nutrition content--supporting the body's nutritional needs can help it more effectively and efficiently process and utilize food items. The more efficient or effective utilization of food can help break down fat and carbohydrates, increase satiety, and ultimately promote maintaining a healthy weight.

Healthy weight is influenced by general health in countless important ways. Stable blood sugar, for instance, is vital to correctly store and utilize fat stores. Limited inflammation is essential for healthy and consistent movement.  A robust immune system can help support efforts to exercise, sleep an adequate amount, and consume healthy food. By supporting the body as a whole and targeting health as a whole, you can more effectively achieve weight loss. 

green tea and coffee combined for best energy, weight loss and focus

Conclusion: Which Is More Effective for Weight Loss?

Is drinking gallons of coffee an ideal solution for weight loss, or is green tea the caffeine kick and antioxidant boost you need to achieve a healthy body weight? Ultimately, green tea emerges the winner, because it has more beneficial compounds. It is not enough to drink green tea for weight loss, however; the weight loss benefits of green tea cannot out pace the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Including all three aspects of weight management and health will yield the best results for not only weight loss, but also protecting against cardiovascular diseases, the risk of cancers, and the onset of high blood pressure and uncontrolled blood sugar levels. 

Although green tea cannot and should not be the sole source of weight loss in anyone, it can be a beneficial inclusion in general weight loss routines and healthy lifestyle practices. While coffee and green tea do both possess their own unique sets of health benefits, the health benefits of green tea do seem to outweigh those of coffee somewhat, particularly in individuals who are prone to experiencing jittery movements, racing heart, or other forms of mental and bodily discomfort when consuming the higher caffeine content found in coffee, versus green tea. 

To derive the most substantial benefits of these compounds, they can be combined. Some products offer coffee and tea in conjunction with one another, while others prefer to consume their coffee and tea separately. Because both offer health benefits and each provides some benefits that the other does not, it can be useful to include both in an ongoing health and weight loss routine. From maintaining heart health to encouraging fat burning and metabolic health, coffee and tea alike can provide an important ingredient in the metaphorical recipe for weight loss success. 

 

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