When it comes to losing weight, you already know that what you put on your plate can make a big difference in your progress. But did you know that there’s one beverage in your pantry that could seriously help your efforts? Experts say that regularly drinking tea is an excellent habit to form if you’re aiming to shed pounds. Not just any tea, though—you’ll want to go for teas that are scientifically proven to help melt belly fat for the long haul.
Of course, drinking tea alone won’t magically melt fat. That said, some teas contain certain ingredients and properties that can support your overall efforts to slim down.
“There are no shortcuts or magic pills for weight loss,” says Michelle Zive, a registered dietitian and NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach. “However, there is some research that suggests tea may help you lose a small amount of weight if you pair it with a healthy lifestyle of good eating and physical activity. The real way tea can help you lose weight is if you substitute your morning mocha, lunchtime soda, and/or your after-dinner martini for a cup of tea.”
Additionally, Gina Keatley, a certified dietitian and nutritionist at Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy in New York City, notes that drinking tea can inhibit the effect of enzymes that aid in digestion, thus reducing the rate of sugar and fat absorption and reducing the caloric load of a meal.
“Some of the sugars that go undigested will be turned into short-chain fatty acids by bacteria in the gut,” she explains. “These molecules have been known to prevent glucose in the blood from turning into fat.”
With all of that in mind, here are some of the teas that can help melt belly fat, and for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Without a doubt, the most well-studied tea for the purposes of weight loss is green tea. For example, one 2008 study of obese individuals found that when those who regularly drank green tea lost 7.3 more pounds than those who didn’t consume it.
According to Zive, one reason why green tea is such a phenomenal choice when you’re trying to lose weight is that it’s packed with catechins—a type of antioxidant that may boost your metabolism and assist with breaking down fats more rapidly.
“Catechins are very good at activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)—which helps the body to use fat as a fuel,” adds Keatley.
Not only that, but it also contains caffeine—and a 2011 study determined that the mixture of caffeine and catechins is particularly beneficial for breaking down fat and burning calories.
Note that matcha, a concentrated form of powdered green tea, can offer these same benefits. Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Green Tea.
Black tea generally has the highest caffeine content of any tea—which lends it a major advantage in terms of weight loss.
“Teas with caffeine can boost the body’s energy use, which means your body burns more calories,” says Zive.
In fact, one 2014 study revealed that drinking three cups of black tea daily over the course of three months significantly increased weight loss as well as reduced waist circumference.
In addition to offering a hefty dose of caffeine, black tea is also chock-full of flavonoids—and a 14-year study of 4,280 adults discovered that people who consumed more flavones from foods and beverages had a lower body mass index (BMI).
Convinced? Here are The 12 Healthiest Teas on Grocery Store Shelves you can buy.
Oolong tea is made from the leaves of the same plant that green tea and black tea come from—and so according to Keatley, it offers many of the same benefits where weight loss is concerned. Moreover, research suggests that the polyphenols in this traditional Chinese tea can rev up your metabolism. Polyphenols have been shown to help your body use stored fat for energy, which can obviously be a huge perk when you’re aiming to trim down.
“A lot of the polyphenols from this type of tea are hard for the intestines to bring into the body so they find their way to our colon where they are used by the bacteria living there,” says Keatley. “Short-chain fatty acids are produced by the bacteria which helps to regulate fat metabolism by increasing fat burning and reducing fat storage.”
One 2009 study of overweight Chinese women revealed that subjects who drank four cups of oolong tea per day lost an extra 2.2 pounds over the course of six weeks. Researchers theorized that this was because the caffeine in oolong tea can increase energy expenditure for hours after it’s ingested. And science backs this up, too: a 2001 study found that drinking oolong tea for just three days increased energy expenditure by 2.9% compared to water—and that’s the equivalent of burning about 281 more calories per day.
To learn more about the wonders of tea, get started on a 7-day plan that will melt up to 10 pounds and buy the 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse now.
This Chinese black tea isn’t just known for its distinct earthy aroma—it’s also known for its potential weight loss benefits. Animal studies have demonstrated that pu-erh tea may help with burning more stored body fat while also synthesizing fewer new fats as well. That might explain why one study linked this tea to a slight reduction in body weight and BMI for people with metabolic syndrome. However, it’s worth noting that these effects were more significant in the study’s male subjects than they were for women.
Not to mention, since it’s a fermented tea, pu-erh tea may offer a healthy dose of probiotics, which can benefit your gut in general while also improving blood sugar control—which is a crucial component involved in weight loss and management.
Did you know that dandelion is a natural diuretic? That means it may help you to lose water weight, which can definitely sabotage your efforts to slim down. Not only that, but a 2008 study discovered that dandelion can function as a lipase inhibitor by decreasing the gastrointestinal absorption of fats, thus making it a viable natural alternative to certain weight loss medications (like Orlistat).
Dandelion has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which is noteworthy given that chronic inflammation is linked to weight gain.
While dandelion tea is safe for most people, you should consult with your doctor before drinking it if you currently take any prescription medications to make sure there aren’t any potentially dangerous interactions.
Here are 7 Ways Tea Can Help You Lose Weight.
If you find yourself mindlessly snacking a lot between meals, you might consider pouring a soothing cup of peppermint tea, which can act as a natural appetite and craving suppressant. And as it turns out, even just taking a whiff of the tea can provide these benefits: a study conducted by a psychology professor at Wheeling Jesuit University found that when people smelled peppermint every two hours throughout the day, they consumed a whopping 1,800 fewer calories than they did on days when they didn’t sniff the aromatic herb.
To boot, research has demonstrated time and again that peppermint tea can support more regular bowel movements—and keeping things moving in that regard can help you avoid constipation, which can cause inflammation and bloating.
Since white tea leaves are quickly dried as soon as they’re picked, they are not only one of the least processed varieties of tea, but also one of the highest in the fat-blasting micronutrients known as polyphenols.
One 2009 test-tube study discovered that white tea extract not only stimulated the breakdown of fat but also prevented new fat cells from forming. Meanwhile, another review concluded that white tea can help boost your metabolism by 4-5%, resulting in burning an extra 70 to 100 calories per day.
Remember: no matter what tea you’re drinking, the best way to ensure that it supports your weight loss efforts is to enjoy it as-is.
“Black tea and green tea are the most studied and have the largest amount of positive research behind them but one thing all of the studies have in common is that there is no added sugar, milk, or cream,” explains Keatley. “Because at the end of the day, the amount of calories tea prevents you from digesting is not very high—and it is the regulation of calories that is the most important aspect of any diet.”
Don’t like the taste of tea plain? Try adding a squeeze of lemon, or a splash of unsweetened almond milk or oat milk to enhance the flavor without adding much to the calorie content.
Now that you know which teas to sip on to melt belly fat, here’s What Happens to Your Body If You Drink Tea Every Day.