Energy and weight loss are inextricably linked. The more energy you exert in your workouts, the more belly fat you burn, right? But diet also plays an integral role in providing energy and assisting weight loss (or weight gain). And this is where tea ties in. Tea is known for its numerous health benefits and the energy-boosting properties of caffeine. The best teas can give you energy and burn off fat cells at the same time.
In this article, we're exploring the best teas for energy, the best teas for weight loss, and the teas that can do it all in one cup.
Losing weight is achieved by "burning" it off. You can do this through exercise, to burn off a lot of calories at once. You can also do this by dieting, so your body burns off fat to keep you going. The best results are usually achieved by balancing both a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime.
Tea is a tool that can help you with this.
Some teas can assist with fat burning, increasing metabolism, and breaking down fat. Other teas with high caffeine content can give you the energy to run, dance or workout however you like, but without adding extra calories to your diet. The best teas can do both.
Without adding sugar and dairy, tea is usually a 0-calorie (or close to 0) beverage. Switching from any calorie-dense drink to tea will be a step in the right direction too.
When it comes to weight loss, you need to put the effort in. Whether it's dieting or exercise (or preferably both) you can use tea to promote weight loss and drop your body mass index.
Green tea is considered the healthiest tea and the best for losing weight- that's certainly true! There are numerous studies that have found certain components of green tea are particularly effective at assisting weight loss.
One component that's important is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is one of the antioxidants, called catechins, found in tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Obese women who drank green tea with a high dose of green tea extract experienced significant weight loss compared to those who didn't. To achieve a significant result, you'd need to consume a high dose of 857 mg EGCG.1
In addition, green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a natural amino acid that promotes relaxation, focus and calm feelings. This is especially important for weight loss, as having too many stress hormones in your body can lead to numerous health conditions, including obesity.5 Feeling stressed can often trigger hunger known as "stress eating"6 so a calming cup of green tea will keep the cravings at bay while you work on those weight loss goals.
Green tea has further health benefits, from boosting your metabolism to helping fight heart disease. Learn about those in our Guide to Green Tea.
Pu-erh is a fermented tea type that's aged and packed into bricks - in this sense, it's the opposite of green tea. However, pu-erh can be beneficial for boosting fat metabolism and enhancing energy expenditure as pu-erh contains more caffeine than green tea leaves, at between 50 and 80mg per brewed cup.7
A study looking into short-chain fatty acids found that "the weight-loss efficacy of a given tea is determined by a combination of carbohydrate digestive enzyme inhibition and subsequent reactions of undigested carbohydrates with gut microbiota. These reactions among residual carbohydrates, tea polyphenols, and gut microbiota within the colon produce short-chain fatty acids, which enhance lipid metabolism through AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation."8
Interestingly, the study found that this short-chain fatty acid generation was triggered more strongly by teas that had undergone fermentation. This includes pu-erh and oolong tea.
Like green tea, white tea is loaded with polyphenols (catechins). Many of the white tea catechins can also be found in green tea varieties. So, it's no small leap to suggest that white tea may also help keep those fat cells at bay!
One study looking at white tea extract found that it can prevent new fat cells from forming and break down existing fat in the body.9
Furthermore, white tea has anti-inflammatory properties, prevents heart disease, and just like other tea types, it provides a source of L-Theanine to keep you calm, focused on reducing your body fat, and not stress eating in the evenings.
Rooibos tea is an herbal tea from South Africa. Although it tastes quite malty and rich like a black tea, it is entirely caffeine free. If you have been advised to avoid caffeine by your doctor, but you still want to try one of the best teas for weight loss, this is the one for you.
Rooibos, made from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis shrub, is particularly great for heart health. 6 cups of rooibos tea per day may decrease LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.10 Rooibos may also have anti-diabetic effects through the antioxidant Aspalathin. This antioxidant balances blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance.11
Last on our list of teas that may help you shed that body fat, is black tea. Black tea may share the same properties as pu-erh, when it comes to triggering short chain fatty acid generation.
Compared to green tea, black tea has far fewer catechins. Instead, the oxidation process used to create black tea may boost levels of theaflavins. Researchers have found that consuming high levels of theaflavins could help you burn more calories.12
Like all of the teas on our list, black tea will be most effective if you combine it with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and don't add extra sugar to your cup. If you're switching from a sugary soda drink to black tea, you'll naturally reduce your calorie intake too.
Energy is going to make losing weight that little bit easier. Cutting down on sugar and fatty foods, or whatever your diet requires, often leaves you feeling sluggish and tired. Tea can provide energy in the form of caffeine to help you stay active and alert while you burn off that body fat.
This is the tea with the most caffeine. A cup of Zest black high caffeine tea contains 150mg of caffeine, which is way more than a cup of coffee (96mg). We boost the energy levels by adding additional tea extract.
Black tea is one of the most popular choices for boosting energy as it has that rich, full-bodied flavor. If you're switching from coffee, then black tea is definitely the best choice. It provides a strong flavor that works well with milk - see below about adding dairy to tea when you're aiming to lose weight.
If losing weight with green tea isn't right for you (the flavor isn't for everyone) then our high energy black tea flavors are a great option. To start with, try our classic Earl Grey blend.
A cup of Zest green energy tea contains 135mg of caffeine per cup. This isn't quite as much as our black tea blends, but considering the benefits of green teas for weight loss, we don't mind! Green tea naturally contains less caffeine than black tea, so even with our added tea extract it's still a little lower in caffeine content.
Our green tea blends include Pomegranate Mojito and Superberry Samba. If you like a refreshing peppermint tea, Pomegranate Mojito is for you. Superberry Samba has a naturally sweeter flavor so if you're missing those sweet foods that cause weight gain on your diet, it's a good selection.
Learn more about our plant-powered green tea energy below.
Matcha contains roughly 70mg of caffeine per 2g scoop of powder, making it the second most caffeinated green tea after our Zest Tea blends.13 Matcha contains all the health benefits associated with green tea, including weight loss, but it contains more caffeine. If you need a decent hit of energy to burn off those fat cells, matcha can do the trick.
Matcha green tea will also enhance fat oxidation. If you drink matcha the day before and 2 hours before a brisk 30-minute walk, you'll slightly increase your fat burning efforts.14
Bear in mind that the very strong flavor of matcha and the price of ceremonial grade matcha (the kind you should use to make matcha tea) make it less suitable as an everyday early morning tea.
Yerba mate tea is made from the Ilex paraguariensis plant in South America. It's known for being high in caffeine and reducing fatigue. A cup of yerba mate contains approximately 85mg of caffeine, although it really depends on how you brew the tea. In the traditional style, pictured above, yerba mate can contain up to 180mg of caffeine, while a yerba mate tea bag contains just 30mg.15
This South American tea has health benefits linked to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. It's also hypocholesterolemic (it reduces cholesterol levels) and benefits the cardiovascular system, which will certainly help you stay strong and get fit as you work on fat loss.16
Yerba mate is also very promising for helping the obese with weight loss and general health. One study found that "yerba maté modulates the expression of genes that are changed in the obese state and restores them to more normal levels of expression. In doing so, it addresses several of the abnormal and disease-causing factors associated with obesity."17
A dirty chai consists of black tea and a shot of espresso, topped up with dairy. It also contains chai spices, often in the form of a sugary syrup.
It's an interesting tea to add to our weight loss and energy list, but it can help you lose weight if you are following a keto diet. A keto diet is high in fats, but low in carbs and sugar. So, a beverage containing black tea (47mg of caffeine) and a shot of espresso (64mg of caffeine) plus plenty of dairy could be beneficial.18
With 111mg of caffeine in total, it's certainly energizing.
The key is to make it yourself or find a chai mix that doesn't contain added sugars. To burn that belly fat with a keto diet, you need to carefully monitor your fat and carb intake, so it's best to avoid getting your dirty chai from a coffee chain using sugar syrups. Read our Guide to Finding Keto Tea to discover a keto lightning tea recipe you can make with your favorite Zest Tea.
Green tea has some of the best and most-studied components for weight loss. It's high in EGCG, contains no calories, and will provide a small energy boost too. However, that energy boost may not be enough to really enhance the weight loss process.
The study that showed how green tea with low caffeine levels improved weight management through thermogenesis and fat oxidation, also found that high caffeine levels were even more effective. High caffeine tea is "associated with weight loss through thermogenesis and fat oxidation and with suppressed leptin."19
So the best of both worlds is a natural green tea with high caffeine levels. Sound familiar?
At Zest Tea, we create high-caffeine green teas by combining natural Young Hyson Chinese green tea with additional tea extract. We then add a few extra organic ingredients (all non-GMO, of course) to create a tasty flavor and pack it up in tea bags or loose leaf pouches.
And that's it. No added sugar or nasties that could hamper your weight loss efforts.
Check out the full range of Zest High Caffeine Tea.
If you've begrudgingly read our article because you want to lose weight but don't really like tea, then our sparkling tea might be a better choice for you. It contains tea... and bubbles! It's really popular with fans of energy drinks who are looking for a refreshing, sweet and on-the-go beverage.
All the health benefits of tea, none of the brewing. We recommend starting with one of our new additions - Cucumber Melon Green Tea. Or if you prefer something sweeter, Blood Orange Mango is always a good choice.
If you're serious about hitting your weight loss goals, you'll need to do a little more than drink a cup of tea each day. Add these weight management tips to your to-do list.
We don't need to tell you that sugar is unhealthy - we all know this. But did you know that sugar will drain your energy? A study found that 30 minutes after consuming sugar carbohydrates, fatigue increased.20
Many energy drinks contain sugar and you may find it in some hot teas as well. To prevent your waist circumference from expanding and your energy dropping, choose a tea that contains no added sugar. If you usually opt for black tea, which you consume with sugar, try switching to green tea instead.
Adding milk to your tea also adds fat, but that doesn't mean you need to drink your tea "black" to reduce your body weight. Milk is a source of calcium and often has other vitamins added, which is great for your overall health. Furthermore, a tablespoon of reduced fat milk (2% milk fat) contains roughly 7 or 8 calories.21
So, adding a tablespoon of milk or dairy alternative (almond milk has even fewer calories, with 2 or 3 per tablespoon22) to your tea isn't going to ruin your weight loss efforts. As we explored with a dirty chai and other chai recipes, increasing your healthy fat intake can even be beneficial for fat burning.
Just remember to choose a dairy option that doesn't contain added sugars.
Of all the studies we've found that have shown tea or green tea extract has assisted weight loss, there's one thing that's the same in each: the study participants complimented the treatment with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Tea can be a useful tool in your journey to boost daily energy levels, lose weight, and prevent future weight gain, but it's no miracle cure!
Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, green tea is one of the best teas for weight loss alongside white tea and pu-erh tea.
Caffeinated teas, like green or black tea, can provide a short-term boost of energy through caffeine. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome then drinking tea every day may not be a long-term solution. Talk to your doctor about finding a healthy remedy for your fatigue.
Most caffeinated teas work by providing your body with energy to help you exercise and boost your metabolism. As such, these teas are unsuitable to consume in the evenings unless you want to be awake all night. Instead, choose a herbal weight loss tea like rooibos tea, or a simple herbal tea to settle your stomach and prevent late-night snacking - peppermint tea or hibiscus tea are good choices.
Rooibos tea is the best non-caffeinated tea for weight loss, as explained in detail in our article. However, don't be tempted to try decaf black and green tea. Some methods to take out the caffeine in decaffeinated tea also removes much of the antioxidants and catechins that are needed to boost your weight loss efforts.