I’m a huge fan of tea for its health and revitalizing properties. All tea is great, but green tea stands out for one particular compound, EGCG. Epigallocatechin gallate has been available as a supplement for a long time. It is a member of the family of substances found in tea called catechins. Catechins belong to a larger class of plant chemicals called polyphenols, which are thought to be responsible for many of tea’s health benefits.
EGCG has been of special interest to people trying to get an edge on increasing energy or lasting fat loss. It sparks a process in the body known as thermogenesis. Thermo means ‘heat’ and genesis means ‘making new things.’ You’re making heat when you’re digesting food.
Green tea consumption leads to a significant increase in calorie burning, a decrease in bodyweight, and a decrease in waist circumference. Surprisingly, the effects are achieved without producing any change in heart-rate or blood-pressure. Researchers think that one of the ways green tea accomplishes this is by prolonging the effect of norepinephrine, a stimulating chemical.
In one study for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers measured energy-expenditure, or the calories that were burned, in ten healthy young men. Each was randomly given either a standard green tea extract pill, 150 mg of caffeine, or 150 mg of an inert placebo. Believe it or not, the caffeine was no better than the placebo at speeding up metabolism. However, the men who received the green tea extract burned an average of 78 calories a day more. It may not sound like a lot, but over the course of a week or month, those numbers will add up. So where’s your cup?
If you are not drinking green tea, now’s a good time to start. Make a hot pitcher of it in the morning, put in several tea bags, and let it steep for a few minutes. You can sweeten it with a little bit of Truvia or Stevia; pour yourself a hot cup and refrigerate the rest. Most of the research shows that the sweet spot is between three and five cups of green tea a day.