Effects of green tea on weight loss

 Researchers from the Maastricht University, in The Netherlands reviewed the evidence.

But, there are limits over what can be claimed by manufacturers.

First, the details.

  • Data from 11 articles were combined for the meta-analysis.

And, the results.

  • Catechins significantly decreased body weight and maintained body weight after a period of weight loss.
    • Catechins are phytochemical compounds found principally in green tea, with epigallocatechin gallate being the most abundant.
  • The effect of habitual caffeine intake was not significant.
  • Ethnicity had no significant effect on the response to catechins or caffeine.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Catechins or an epigallocatechin gallate-caffeine mixture have a small positive effect on weight loss and weight maintenance.”

An earlier review conducted at the University of South Carolina in Columbia concluded that among herbal supplements there was modest evidence of effectiveness for drinking green tea (Camellia sinensis).

Yet, not everyone is convinced. In June of this year there was a multistate settlement with 3 beverage companies over claims that a green tea product aids weight loss. Coke, Nestle, and Beverage Partners Worldwide agreed to add disclaimers to Enviga and pay a total of $650,000 to the participating states.

According to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, “The settlement requires that in any marketing of Enviga, or a similarly formulated beverage, that uses the terms ‘the calorie burner,’ ‘negative calories,’ ‘drink negative,’ or makes any claims explicitly or implicitly that consumers will burn calories by drinking Enviga — there must be a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the product does not produce weight loss without diet and exercise.”

7/23/09 11:16 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.