Everyone loves a good quick-fix solution for losing weight. That’s why you can’t scroll through social media without someone talking about the miraculous benefits of lemon water or touting their favorite “fat burning tea.”
Similar to “detox teas,” fat burning teas claim to reduce bloating and blast belly fat. It’s an appealing idea — just sip some tea and watch the pounds melt away! But is there really such a thing as tea that burns fat? Are fat burning teas safe? And if they’re not, what is the best tea for weight loss? Here’s what you need to know.f
What exactly is fat burning tea?
Typically, fat burning teas are a blend of familiar types of tea like green tea, oolong tea, rooibos tea, and yerba mate. They also contain herbal supplements that promise to increase energy levels and boost metabolism. A few herbs commonly found in fat burning teas are ginseng, guarana, ginger, or matcha. Fat burning teas differ slightly from detox teas, which usually have the additional claim of flushing out toxins and improving your digestive system.
Can tea help you lose weight and burn belly fat?
Some of the herbs found in fat burning teas may support weight loss efforts — for example, matcha contains caffeine which can help increase energy levels, and ginger may make you feel fuller. But the idea that fat burning tea will supercharge your metabolism and melt away fat is a myth.
“Is fat burning tea going to cause significant weight loss? Probably not,” says Andrea Giancoli, M.P.H., R.D., and nutrition manager at Openfit. “It might give you a little boost, but don’t expect the pounds to be falling off.” The stimulants in tea may cause a small, temporary increase in energy expenditure, but it’s not going to torch calories the way a workout would.
Many fat burning teas also have a diuretic effect or promote bowel movements, so you may lose some water weight and feel less bloated — and that can make it seem like the tea is doing its job.
But losing water weight isn’t the same as losing belly fat. Fat burning tea doesn’t contain some miracle herb to help you lose belly fat — the only effective way to get rid of belly fat is through a balanced diet, regular high-intensity workouts, and healthy sleep habits.
Are fat burning teas safe?
“Fat-burning teas provide neither a safe metabolic boost nor long-term weight loss,” says Lisa Cohn, RD, owner of Park Avenue Nutrition. The stimulants in fat burning tea can cause increased heart rate or irregular heartbeat in some people. And the diuretic or laxative effect of some fat burning teas can promote dehydration, which can lead to nasty side effects like nausea, fatigue, or headache, she says.
It’s also important to note that the FDA doesn’t require supplement companies to prove their product is safe before they start marketing it. That means some companies might include stronger stimulants or other unsafe ingredients. If you’re going to try one of these teas, make sure you really look at the ingredient label.
What’s the best tea for weight loss?
If you’re adamant about using tea to boost your weight-loss effort, save your money and skip the so-called belly fat burning teas. The best tea for weight loss is likely a basic cup of green tea.
Because of the way green tea is processed, it has the highest concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). That’s just a fancy name for a health-boosting compound that’s been shown to support heart health. Researchers also believe drinking green tea after a workout may boost fat oxidation.
More long-term research needs to be done on the effect of green tea on weight loss, but it’s safe to say a cup of green tea is a calorie-free treat that won’t get in the way of your weight-loss goals. “Tea fits very well into a healthy lifestyle,” Giancoli says. “If you’re drinking it plain, or with some stevia, it’s a healthful drink to enjoy. It’s not going to cure all that ails you, but it’s something you can add to your arsenal of good foods.”