Tea is the second most-consumed drink in the world, preceded only by water. And green tea, one of the most popular of the teas, contains nutrients that supposedly help melt away pounds. Unfortunately, research shows that the tea may not be the solution to your weight problem, and it's no replacement for a healthy diet and exercise program. If you're struggling with your weight, talk to your doctor for suggestions as to how to go about losing it and whether green tea makes a healthy addition.
Christy Brissette, MS, RD is one of North America's top dietitians and a leading nutrition and food communications expert. She is the President of 80 Twenty Nutrition, a nutrition and food media company. Her mission is to end food confusion and dieting once and for all. Christy appears on national TV and is interviewed for international magazines, radio and websites. She empowers her clients to look and feel their best with the healing power of healthy, delicious food. She helps clients achieve results through cutting-edge, creative and fun meal plans and recipes. You can still enjoy your favourite foods and have the body of your dreams!
It's a one-time investment you'll never regret. Here's why: Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories — at work or at rest — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more lean muscle you have, the faster you'll slim down. How do you start strength training? Try some push-ups or a few squats or lunges. Use your free weights to perform simple bicep curls or tricep pulls right in your home or office. Do these exercises three to four times per week, and you'll soon see a rapid improvement in your physique.
Avoiding salt doesn’t mean your food has to be bland. Experiment with using different herbs and spices. Try adding fresh cilantro and cumin to grilled fish, lemon and rosemary to chicken, or ginger and Chinese five spice to tempeh or beef. Pick up some spice blends from your local market to help add more spice to your life… just read the ingredients and make sure there’s no salt added.
Eggs are rich in high-quality protein, fats and essential nutrients, like vitamin D and choline. It's the protein, and the time of day we tend to eat them, that especially makes them a powerhouse for weight loss. Eating a high-protein breakfast promotes weight loss, because protein increases satiety while regulating hunger and appetite hormones, helping fend off your hunger until lunchtime. One study found that eating eggs for breakfast left people feeling more satisfied than those who had bagels—which helped them eat less throughout the day.
Yes, you can eat dark chocolate to lose weight. A study among women with normal weight obesity (or “skinny fat syndrome”) who ate a Mediterranean diet that included two servings of dark chocolate per day showed a substantial reduction in waist size than when on a cocoa-free meal plan. Researchers attribute dark chocolate’s weight loss abilities to flavonoids, heart-healthy compounds in the sweet treat that the scientists at Harvard say can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and mortality. Like nuts, dark chocolate has also been found to induce satiety. When reaching for chocolate, just make sure you choose a bar with at least 70 percent cacao. Anything less contains more belly-bloating sugar and a significantly reduced flavonoid content.
In addition to its 4 grams of belly-filling fiber, a cup of hearty oatmeal delivers as much protein as an egg. In other words, the popular breakfast food is an excellent weight loss tool. In fact, according to a study in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, scientists found that having oatmeal for breakfast resulted in greater fullness, lower hunger ratings, and fewer calories eaten at the next meal compared with a serving of ready-to-eat sugared corn flakes, even though the calorie counts of the two breakfasts were identical. For an added fiber boost, sprinkle some berries and chia seeds on top of your oatmeal, but be sure to stay away from fattening syrup and sugar.
Both Weight Watchers and Noom provide lots of guidance. If you’re more of a self-starter — someone who just needs to be pointed in the right direction — The Mayo Clinic Diet provides pure resources. Picking up the entertaining, densely informative book is the only associated cost. You can also get the app for about half the cost of WW Mobile, but we didn’t find it as useful.
The Biggest Loser program has come under attack with recent revelations that its amazing, as-seen-on-TV results are both pharmaceutically assisted and likely to reverse. Living proof that the medical community’s understanding of weight loss is still evolving: The diet still stands in third place on US News’ & World Report’s list for Best Fast Weight Loss.
“Stop focusing on calories and start focusing on the quality of the foods you eat. High-quality diet options are natural, whole, minimally processed foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds that offer a lot more nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. These foods help tame hunger naturally and nourish our cells at the deepest level so that we aren’t left with constant cravings. — Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California
The idea is that the fasting induces mild stress to the cells in your body, helping them become better at coping with such stress and possibly helping your body grow stronger. The verdict is still out regarding the diet’s long-term effectiveness with weight loss, according to a review of preliminary animal research published in January 2017 in Behavioral Sciences. (17)
The point at which unexplained weight loss becomes a medical concern is not exact. But many doctors agree that a medical evaluation is called for if you lose more than 5 percent of your weight in six months to a year, especially if you're an older adult. For example, a 5 percent weight loss in someone who is 160 pounds (72 kilograms) is 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms). In someone who is 200 pounds (90 kilograms), it's 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms).
Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I.-M., … Swain, D. P. (2011, July). Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: Guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 43(7), 1334–1359. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Quantity_and_Quality_of_Exercise_for_Developing.26.aspx
Already nearly calorie free, matcha is a great addition to a weight loss program by tackling the problem from both sides. It boosts metabolism and burns fat. One recent study even suggested that matcha may help burn calories by four times. At the same time, matcha does not put any stress on the body. It doesn’t raise blood pressure or heart rate, making it a safe alternative to questionable quick fixes or pharmaceuticals ridden with side effects.
Moreover, asking people to live with chronic hunger by consciously restricting their food intake creates an unresolvable conflict between our evolutionarily ingrained hunger drive (“I’ve gotta eat to survive!”) and our intellectual will to eat less. Growing research also suggests that this unresolvable conflict plays a major role in the development of eating disorders. Yes, we’re making ourselves sick, both psychologically and physiologically, by fighting our instinctual drive to eat when hungry.
Green tea’s health benefits stem from its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that can protect our cells from damage and may help protect us against cancer and heart disease. Green tea contains a variety of antioxidants including catechins, theaflavins and the flavanol quercitin. Green tea also contains caffeine, about 25 mg per 8 oz. cup, which is about one-third the caffeine in an 8 oz. cup of coffee.
Caffeine itself may play a synergistic role in increasing metabolic rate. A meta-analysis of 15 studies showed that shows that green tea catechins given with caffeine was able to decrease body weight compared to catechins given alone. I will note that green tea does in fact contain some caffeine, whereas green tea extracts are may or may not contain it. Some studies sugges that regular and high caffeine usage may blunt the benefits of the GTE. In one study, using more than 300 mg/day of caffeine daily negated much of the benefits (a cup of brewed green tea only has 30 mg caffeine). Caucasian population typically drink more coffee and perhaps higher doses of catechins are necessary for benefits.
"If you are drinking lots of fluids, these liquids will fill you up and send a regulatory hormone to your brain that tells it that you aren't hungry, which could mean you eat less," Zeratsky explains. "Also, if you're well-hydrated, your body won't confuse hydration with being hungry which could also lead to consuming less...But, ultimately, a balanced diet and exercise are the most important."
Another frontrunner on the U.S. News and World Report 2016 list (it came in at number two in the weight loss category), the HMR Weight Management program is used in over 200 medical facilities around the U.S. Dieters embark on two phases, the first centered around HMR's products (meals, shakes, snacks) and the second transitioning towards a sustainable plan emphasizing fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Catechins are also credited for green tea’s cancer-fighting potential. These antioxidants have the ability to block the action of molecules called free radicals, which can cause changes in healthy cells that sometimes lead to cancer. But there’s no solid proof yet that the catechins in green tea help to prevent cancer in humans, despite some promising studies in test tubes and animals.
A is for attitude. A can-do attitude will help you get over the inevitable hurdles of weight loss. Anticipate slip-ups -- they happen. But instead of letting them derail your weight loss efforts, learn from them and get right back on track. You don't have to be perfect to lose weight and be healthy. Just keep your eye on the target and keep moving forward, one step at a time.