Sunday, January 13, 2013

Really? The Claim: Green Tea Helps Burn Fat

By ANAHAD O'CONNOR

THE FACTS
Green tea extract is one of the most popular workout supplements on the market, used widely by bodybuilders, runners and others looking to increase fat-burning effects of exercise.
One of the key compounds in green tea is Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, a potent antioxidant thought of by some as a sort of kryptonite to body fat. Supporters say it reduces fat gain and enhances fat-burning. But the amount found in a typical cup of green tea is not enough to have much effect. That was made clear in a report published this month in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The report analyzed a dozen randomized controlled trials, each lasting at least three months, and found that regularly drinking green tea had no meaningful effect on weight loss in overweight adults.

Green tea extracts, more richly concentrated with EGCG, may not be much better. In a small but detailed study published this month in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, scientists looked at its effects on a group of 31 healthy men who were monitored closely and put on similar diets. Over a weeklong period, one group consumed a green tea extract supplement twice daily — the equivalent of eight cups of green tea a day — while another group was given a placebo. A third group was given a placebo for six days and then the extract on the seventh day. At the start and end of the week, the men cycled on stationary bikes at “an exercise intensity known to elicit maximal fat oxidation.”
The researchers took blood samples and did extensive testing, all of which indicated that the green tea extract did not improve fat oxidation.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Research suggests that green tea extract may not have any meaningful effect on the body’s ability to burn fat.

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