Green Tea Targets Belly Fat

A number of studies have shown that green tea can increase metabolic rate and promote fat oxidation. The catechins in green tea, especially EGCG, have been shown to be the bioactive nutrients involved in promoting thermogenesis. Although some studies have shown greater weight loss with green tea, not all studies have measured body composition and regional fat distribution. Japanese researchers conducted a study to assess the effects of supplementing with green tea on weight and fat loss with specially emphasis on fat in the mid-section since this abdominal obesity is more closely associated to metabolic problems and several chronic diseases. Obese men and women were randomly assigned to consume daily a drink containing 625 catechins or a control beverage for 12 weeks. They were asked to make no other changes in their diet, but all subjects were required to increase daily physical activity. The catechin group lost almost 5 pounds which was more than twice the control group who lost 2 pounds, but this did not reach statistical significance. Fat loss was also greater in the catechin group (-5.2%) versus the control (-3.5%). The most noteworthy finding was that the catechin group lost significantly more fat in the abdomen (-7.7%) compared to the control (-0.3%). There was also a significantly greater decrease in blood levels of triglycerides in the catechin group. This is one of the few studies that have identified an intervention that can specifically target fat loss in the mid-section. This has major implications for use of green tea supplements that are high in catechins as an effective means to promote fat loss in the mid-section.

Maki KC, Reeves MS, Farmer M, Yasunaga K, Matsuo N, Katsuragi Y, Komikado M, Tokimitsu I, Wilder D, Jones F, Blumberg JB, Cartwright Y. Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults. J Nutr. 2008 Dec 11. [Epub ahead of print]