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Can Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?

Green Tea

Green tea helped chubby mice slow down weight gain and reduce their fat absorption, according to a new study, and researchers believe it may also help overweight people keep the pounds off.

Food scientists at Pennsylvania State University report that obese mice fed a high-fat diet along with a compound found in green tea gained weight significantly more slowly than a control group of mice that ate the same fatty food, but did not receive the supplement.

In the study, published in the current online edition of the journal Obesity, the green tea mice gained weight 45 percent more slowly than the control group. The mice fed the green tea supplement also absorbed nearly 30 percent less fat, the researchers said.

But here's the catch: A person would need to drink 10 cups of green tea a day to match the amount of green tea compound, called EGCG, that was fed to the mice.

Don't despair. Other studies have found that drinking green tea, or taking that specific green tea extract (EGCG), seems to help moderately overweight people take weight off. One 2009 study found that dieters who exercised and drank green tea lost twice as much weight, as well as more tummy fat, than a control group who only exercised.

Although previous research has shown that lean mice fed a high-fat diet plus green tea extract don't gain as much weight, studying overweight mice is more relevant to humans, said Penn State researcher Joshua Lambert  in a prepared statement.

That's because people don't consider changing their diet until they start having health problems associated with obesity. "Most people hit middle age and notice a paunch; then they decide to eat less, exercise and add green tea supplement," he said.

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