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How to Drink Tea to Lose Weight

Four Parts:Overview of How Tea Helps Shed WeightChoosing Teas and SuppliesDeveloping a Daily RoutineStaying Mo-tea-vated

Numerous scientific studies have shown that tea drinkers, specifically green tea drinkers, lose weight faster than those who don’t. Time to stow away the gym bag and get your kettle on! Here's the skinny on getting skinny with tea.

Part 1
Overview of How Tea Helps Shed Weight

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    Choose a tea based on its effectiveness and your personal preferences. It is best to have a tea your enjoy drinking, but you should know that certain teas are considered more effective for weight loss than others.[1]
    Most effective: Green, white, or oolong
    Moderately effective: black
    Less effective: decaf or herbal
    Harmful in excess: sweet tea, diet tea
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    Drink tea every single day, making it a daily habit. Find ways to create a healthy tea-drinking habit. This is easiest if you make “tea-time” a regular thing. Drink a cup in the morning and one in the afternoon, then have a decaf or herbal tea with bed, as they are still somewhat effective without caffeine.
    • Substitute tea for morning coffee.
    • Brew tea in advance and chill it for iced tea on hot days.[2]
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    Do not add anything to your tea. Cream and sugar will destroy any weight loss benefits earned by the tea. You need to get used to drinking your tea plan, without adornment.
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    Drink tea to fight food cravings. Tea is a great way to help regulate your metabolism. But for the best results, start using tea whenever you feel a craving for something sweet or unhealthy. Often a warm cup of tea will be enough to settle your stomach and avoid temptation.

Part 2
Choosing Teas and Supplies

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    Find a tea you enjoy. While many studies focus on green tea, it's important to find a tea (green or otherwise) that you enjoy drinking. Some green teas are quite strong in flavor and can be unpleasant if you're not used to the taste. Others are truly delightful even for a beginner in green tea drinking.
    Green and white teas:
    Lightly processed tea leaves, available in many varieties and flavors. Visit our guide for detailed info.
    Black tea:
    These leaves undergo heavy processing, which transforms helpful chemicals (theaflavins and thearubigins) into more complex forms. They're still there, but may be less effective.[3]
    Specially processed tea which may increase your metabolism even more than green tea.
    Any of the above varieties, with some of the caffeine removed. Caffeine is beneficial for weight loss, but these still contain other helpful substances.
    Herbal tea:
    Any brew made from a plant other than the traditional tea plant. Usually less effective, but still a good option when replacing high-calorie drinks.
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    Be careful with diet teas. While diet tea tastes similar to many black or herbal teas, diet teas may
    Use extra caution if the tea contains senna, aloe, agarwood, rhubarb root, buckthorn, or castor oil.
    contain a laxative element, so you should drink these teas in moderation. Experts warn against drinking too many cups of diet tea because you could develop vomiting, nausea, persistent diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and even fainting and dehydration.
    • The concept of "diet" tea is sort of false advertising -- any unsweetened, natural tea can promote weight loss. Certain teas may act as a laxative or fat-blocker and that's why they're marketed as such. However, laxatives just clean out your colon (you've already consumed the calories). You may lose a little bit of water weight initially, but the second you drink something, it'll come back.
    • One cup is enough. Seriously. You'll regret drinking more.
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    Read your ingredient labels. There are so many types of teas on the market it's hard to know where to start. A good place to start is by reading the ingredient list on the back label. If it has added sugar or sweeteners, put it back on the shelf.[4]
    • This doesn't mean you have to avoid flavored green teas. True, some have added sugar, but others don't. And if you can stick to all-natural ingredients, all the better for you and your waistline.
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    Make tea brewing (and drinking) easy. One hurdle some people face is that brewing tea, while not an incredibly arduous process, may not be as easy as they’d like it to be. While you can brew a quick cup of tea in the microwave (pour water into a ceramic cup and heat for two minutes until boiling, then add your teabag), you can make the process even easier:
    • Purchase an electric teakettle. Electric teakettles are readily available at many bath and kitchen stores, ranging in price and are extremely easy to use. All you have to do is fill it with water and push a button or lever to bring it to a boil. You can brew tea by the cup or add several tea bags to the entire pot once the water has boiled. Keep a thermos as well for the additional boiled water. Fill with water, add the green tea and keep by the kettle or your desk for ease of pouring a tea when needed.
    • Buy an iced tea maker. During warmer months, drinking hot tea may not sound like fun; however, you can still consume just as much tea by using an iced tea maker. Like the electric teakettle, simply fill the machine with water; add ice (according to the manufacturer’s directions) and teabags. Turn it on and begin drinking fresh iced tea in a matter of minutes.
    • Brew iced tea the night before for quick access during the day. If you don’t have a few minutes to brew your iced tea that day, make it at night and keep a pitcher of tea in your refrigerator. Instead of bringing a few sodas to work, consider filling a large thermos with iced tea and keep it on hand throughout the day.

Part 3
Developing a Daily Routine

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    Create good tea drinking habits. In order to reap the benefits of tea, you'll have to start drinking it every day,
    Do not add cream, milk, or sugar to your tea when trying to lose weight.
    as often as possible, and plain. If it's not easy, tasty, and convenient, you won't stick to it. How can you enable yourself to drink it more?
    • Having "tea supplies" is the easiest way to get started. If you spend 8 hours a day at the office, it's a good idea to stock up there, too -- along with having your favorite mug (or thermos) and microwave or kettle access.
    • Ask any Brit -- tea is a drink made for company. If brewing an entire pot seems worthless to you, get others in on your action. At the workplace, brew a pot for your coworkers, too. Get the family/roommates in on the routine of a late night cup. When it's a social activity, you'll be more likely to engage in it.
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    Substitute tea for morning coffee. Start your day with a fresh cup of tea instead of your usual Joe. Tea drinkers can also save calories, especially when ordering at a coffee house. Some coffee house drinks contain hundreds of calories whereas with tea, what you see is what you get.
    • Like mentioned above, it's important that you drink your tea straight. The addition of milk neutralizes the fat-stomping ability of tea (the flavonoids). What's more, research says skim milk is the worst![5] Crazy, huh?
      • This research is on cow's milk. If you'd like to try soy or almond, do so -- but keep in mind that the same effect may or may not be had.
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    Ask for iced tea (unsweetened) instead of soda for lunch and dinner. Sugary or even diet sodas have been known to actually have the opposite effect on weight loss. The sodium in diet soda can make you retain water, so opt for the smart alternative –– sugar-free iced tea. Iced tea is also ideal because if you're looking for a little caffeinated pick-me-up during the afternoon, iced (or hot) tea will give you the same effect without the sugar in regular soda or the sodium in diet.
    • Much of the "power" behind drinking tea to lose weight is because you won't be consuming anything else instead. Tea is low in calories (if you do it right), and will keep you from downing other, higher-calorie things. It's the same concept as losing weight by drinking water.
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    Have a warm cup of tea to satisfy an afternoon craving. Although the chips or cookies in the vending machine may be calling your name, make yourself a cup of tea instead. If you go for the tea, the EGCG properties found in green tea actually have a glucose-lowering effect, which influences cravings and may help control hunger.
    • Moreover, the ritual involved in making tea (as opposed to shoving coins into a vending machine) gives you a welcome break from your chores or work -- and you can reflect on good thoughts, as well as making conscious choices to put good things into your body instead of empty calories from candy bars. Take a moment to chat to someone else who is in the tearoom with you. And it's a great way to unwind, stretch and socialize in the space of five minutes!
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    Drink a whole cool glass of tea right before dinner. Drinking one glass of tea before dinner fills up part of your stomach, which means that you'll be less hungry when it comes to food. (Of course, eating a healthy dinner is still important.) Cool tea is important, too. Cold tea needs to be heated up by the body in order to be metabolized; this expends extra calories, meaning more weight loss.
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    Have a cup of herbal (decaf) tea before bed. Regardless of your weight loss goal, having a warm cup of herbal tea to end the day can help to relax your body and brain. Because a good night’s sleep contributes to shedding weight, set yourself up for a successful sleep with tea.
    • However, don't drink tea too close to bedtime; otherwise you’ll end up having to make trips to the bathroom and disrupt your sleep, especially if you're pregnant or suffering from incontinence issues.
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    Time it right. Some experts believe that certain teas should be consumed at different times of day to reap maximum weight loss results. While drinking tea at all is good, consider drinking different kinds throughout the day to see what works for you.
    • White tea may block fat absorption, so drink it before lunch.
    • A tea like bilberry can balance your glucose levels, so it's most useful around dinnertime.
    • Pu-erh, green, and oolong teas can get your metabolism going, so drink them in the morning (and throughout the day!).[6]
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    Drink it on the go. Too much of life these days is spent in some sort of commute. Make it more enjoyable by turning it into a chance to sit down and drink tea! Have a thermos (or two) at your disposal anytime to make it super convenient. Prepare tea well in advance for the time crunch of your day.
    • Basically, the theme of this article is drink, drink, drink. Not only will you not have the chance to put something else in your stomach, but you won't want to -- the more you drink, the fuller you'll feel.
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    Think about your caffeine intake. Certain teas have caffeine in them -- sure, not like a cup of coffee does, but if you're drinking it 24/7, it adds up! While caffeine is not technically dehydrating, it does have about 50 mg of caffeine per cup. You don't want to exceed 300 mg, if you can avoid it.[7]
    • If you react poorly to caffeine, stick to herbal teas that don't have caffeine. While this won't be an issue for most people, some are particularly caffeine sensitive and high levels of caffeine can lead to insomnia, nervousness, and prolonged symptoms even hours and hours later.[7]

Part 4
Staying Mo-tea-vated

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    Balance your tea habits with a healthy diet. Let's get real here for a second: If you don't see results with a new diet fairly quickly, you're not going to stick with it. While drinking tea is a great idea, you'll get faster results if you have a healthy diet, too. The two combined will make you a force to be reckoned with!
    • You know what tea goes great with? Whole grains, fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy products. Since you're brewing your own tea, why not cook your own food while you're at it? Cutting out processed goods and making everything yourself means you know every little thing you're putting in your body.
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    Avoid getting bored. Your taste buds may get tired of drinking just one type of tea. Would you want to eat only one food for every meal? In order to stick to your routine, mix it up and try different teas, flavors and enhancements. It can be a lot of fun making a tea selection in your home or office cupboard, allowing you to choose a tea flavor according to the mood you're in.
    • Add honey or rock candy sticks to your tea. Keep in mind though that doing this will go against your initiative to lose weight –– but a little honey or sweetness may make the tea taste better. Perhaps as an occasional treat, this one won't hurt.
    • Try a splash of fat free flavored cream or a squirt of lemon for a zestier tea. A slice of lemon can help improve the flavor. Plus, one study found that those who drink black tea with lemon peel have 70 percent reduced likelihood of developing skin cancer.[8]
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    Explore new tea flavors. The sky is the limit when it comes to trying different flavored teas.There are many brands and many sources of tea, and it's unlikely you'll ever taste them all. Learning about new tea varieties, flavors and styles is a lot of fun for the tea enthusiast.
    • Here are some more interesting teas to consider, all of which claim to promote weight loss:[9]
      • Star anise tea: promotes digestion and can actually soothe an upset tummy
      • Peppermint tea: controls appetite and speeds up digestion
      • Rose tea: prevents constipation and contains loads of vitamins
      • Pu-erh (poo-air) tea: shrinks fat cells (so drink it in the morning)[6]
      • Chickweed tea: reduces bloating and is a mild diuretic (stick to one cup)
    • In order to stay true to your diet. only select tea you have to brew yourself instead of a pre-made tea. Some of the pre-made coffees and teas have a tremendous amount of sugar –– not diet friendly.
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    Drink tea mindfully. Dieting is often about overcoming your mind's tendency to crave and to feel deprived. Mindfulness can help to restore conscious eating habits and can help you to remain calm and in control about your food choices. Even if you're not craving tea, try keeping it around to fight off those temptations.
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    Know your stuff. According to a study by Abdul Dulloo, from the Institute of Physiology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, the plant compound EGCG found in green tea, plus caffeine, increases thermogenesis by 84 percent. Thermogenesis is the generation of body heat that occurs as a result of normal digestion, absorption, and metabolization of food. Green tea also increases your levels of norepinephrine, which prepares your body to burn fat for the "fight or flight" response. Knowledge is power, people! It's also motivation![10]
    • While not every researcher believes that green (or other) tea drinking is a “magic bullet” for weight loss, every weight loss expert would agree that flooding your system with water or drinking tea versus eating a candy bar or drinking soda can help move the digestion process along quickly and perhaps distract you from munching snacks that aren't healthy. Regardless of whether it's magical or not, it's a good idea.


  • Drinking 3-5 cups of green tea a day can burn off about 50-100 calories.
  • Monitor your diet, too, to see quicker results.
  • Many teas have a range of benefits, including protecting your heart, preventing tooth decay, elevating your sense of well-being, protecting you from diseases, etc. It's important to read more about the individual teas you choose, as the benefits will vary.
  • Drinking warm/hot tea won't slow down digestion like cold tea/drinks will.
  • Stick to your diet by drinking tea plain or with fat free milk or a sugar substitute.
  • Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggest drinking two to three cups of green tea a day to see health benefits and/or weight loss results.[11]
  • You can lose 2 pounds a week by drinking green tea three times each day.


  • Excessive consumption of tea can lead to interference with iron absorption.
  • Caffeine can interfere with sleep. Don't drink or eat caffeine within three hours of bed.
  • Excessive tea drinking may stain your teeth. Be prepared to use whitening products if you like a white smile.
  • Tea is only fresh for a limited period of time. Avoid drinking stale tea and rotate the tea to ensure the oldest tea is consumed before fresher teas. Buying less tea can help ensure that you're not drinking stale tea.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid caffeine past four in the afternoon, including more than 1 cup of tea a day.
  • If you become a tea enthusiast, space for all your tea can become a bit of an issue. Make room somewhere in your kitchen or pantry and stick to limits.
  • Some herbal tea can be harmful to some people, so be sure to know what is in the tea. Avoid tea made from comfrey, which contains Pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which harm the liver. Internal consumption of comfrey is banned in many countries.
  • With any new diet and fitness plan, consult with your doctor first. Each individual is different in their specific requirements, so you are responsible for finding out your own.
  • Drinking more than 3 cups of tea per day may cause dental and sleep problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Variety of teas
  • Tea drinking equipment

Article Info

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