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Green Tea Weight Loss: Not Just Another Fad

There are too many diets out there that come and go. And there's a reason: They don't last because they don't really work. But amidst all the hype, once in a while you come across something that really does work.

Green tea, one of the most common of all household herbs, can also be a valuable asset in the quest to lose weight. Green tea is set apart from all the other "fad" diets in two ways - its benefits are backed up by verified science, and it can be a genuinely useful supplement to any diet, anywhere. So instead of referencing obscure studies and leaving out vital nutrients in favor of one catch-all solution, green tea really can be a healthy choice for anyone trying to lose weight.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea acts as a metabolic stimulant. Our metabolism determines how quickly we burn calories, and when it is sped up, the rate at which calories are burned also speeds up. And with green tea, this speed doesn't come from caffeine. Instead it comes from a unique concentration of the naturally-occuring chemical catechin.

Catechin acts directly on the metabolism by increasing the body's rate of thermogenesis - the process by which the body produces heat to use energy (or in other words, the metabolism). The Linus Paul Institute confirms this, after conducting a study in which it was revealed that consuming green tea extract on a consistent basis could increase the body's rate of burning calories by 3-4%. Extract, or concentrated green tea, doesn't even have to make it into our daily diets - just drinking a cup or two of unconcentrated tea a day will yield similar effects.

However, in addition to stimulating the metabolism, green tea can play a further key role in dieting. At the University of Chicago, studies have revealed that green tea can assist in the reduction of appetite. Most likely this is due to the regulatory effects the herb has on our blood sugar. This can be pivotal for an individual who has issues with eating too much.

Put another way, drinking green tea can keep the dinner plate lighter.

When we eat most carbohydrates, we ingest a considerable amount of glucose. Carbohydrates can be both our best and worst friends, giving us a large quantity of energy if used immediately, or being stored as fat if left untouched. If we can't manage to go work off the carbs immediately, glucose gets absorbed into fat cells - putting on more fat. But green tea apparently inhibits this process, by slowing the increase in blood sugar after eating, which in turn prevents the insulin jumps that lead to fat storage. So by drinking tea, we're afforded some more time to work off the carbs.

Lastly, many of us just plain like our caffeine. While there's nothing implicitly wrong with this, many of today's caffeinated drinks are over-saturated with unnecessary calories - often numbering well into the hundreds. But green tea has caffeine too, and doesn't come with high quantities of sugar and cream. Switching from sugary or creamy caffeine drinks to green tea can not only provide all the previously discussed benefits, but cut a substantial portion of the day's calories out of our diet.

Green tea has been around for thousands of years, and it looks likely to be around for thousands more to come. That's not just because it tastes so great, or has so many vital nutrients. It's because green tea can help reduce weight as well. And that's a cup we just can't pass up.

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