The past few months have been a bit of a whirlwind for me, as I recently made the decision to leave the East coast and move back “home” to Colorado. Packing, moving across the country, unpacking, and starting a new job here at two leaves and a bud was exciting – but also a bit chaotic and stressful. With this fantastic opportunity to come back to the mountains I love came a few unwelcome extra pounds, due to the fact I tend to eat my stress and sustained a bummer of an ankle injury that prohibited exercise for a number of weeks.
Late one afternoon during my first week at two leaves and a bud’s corporate offices, I noticed something odd. It appeared that I haven’t had much of an appetite during the day. Normally ravenous in the afternoon, I wondered what the sudden change could be attributed to. The only changes to my normal routine I could think of was that I was now coming to work on a daily basis after a brief hiatus from being employed full time. And, I was drinking a lot more tea during the day, due to the perk of having access to an unlimited supply of lovely teas. So, I asked my co-worker, Bess, if she had ever heard of tea being an appetite suppressant.
“Well, many folks claim that green tea will help with weight loss,” Bess said. “You should Google it and see what you find.”
So Google I did. If you ever want to completely overwhelm yourself with information, Google “weight loss” and “green tea” and see what comes up. Pages and pages of information touting the benefits of green tea were soon at my fingertips. Many of the pages gave the same information. Some of the more notable benefits claimed to be an increase in metabolism and energy with enhanced focus and mental function. Could this be true? I can drink green tea and will have more energy and be able to focus more? This sounded too good to be true. So, I called my family doctor to see what she had to say.
While not professing to be an expert on green tea and its weight loss merit, my doctor did say that she had read some studies on the subject and agreed that green tea may have some benefits. A recent University of Chicago study showed that when injected with green tea after a period of time, lab rats lost up to 21% of their body weight, due to a loss of appetite. And some experts say that green tea will inhibit the movement of glucose cells, while also acting as a glucose regulator (helping slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal). Eating less and regulating glucose both may result in weight loss.
My doctor cautioned me to not get too excited about the prospect of green tea being the weight loss miracle I’ve been seeking. However, she did agree that green tea, being a natural product, has the potential for many benefits that she recommended that I drink as much as my heart desires. Whole leaf green tea retains many of its powerful nutrients and antioxidants, and foods rich in antioxidants may be beneficial in protecting against cancer, strokes, and heart disease.
As for the appetite suppressant properties in green tea, my doctor would not take ownership of this statement either. However, she did agree that perhaps drinking green tea has a serendipitous effect in that drinking lots of water during the day helps you feel full and curb the hunger that is actually thirst in disguise, which is likely what I was experiencing recently. Of course, being properly hydrated throughout the day is also good for your body. For me, drinking plain water is just plain boring, and I like the taste of the many varieties of green tea available. Without even realizing it, drinking more tea during the day means I was also increasing my intake of fluids.
Is green tea as a weight loss tool too good to be true? I’m not sure just yet, as the FDA hasn't put a stamp of approval on green tea for weight loss. For now, I will continue to drink it up and enjoy its delicious flavor and quietly hope my jeans fit better this fall.
Has anyone else had any luck with using green tea as part of their weight loss plan?