How many cups of green tea a day should I drink to lose weight?

Quick Answer

To lose weight, drink 3-5 cups of green tea per day. Green tea contains caffeine and antioxidants including EGCG that can boost metabolism and increase fat burning. Most studies show that drinking green tea can help you lose a small amount of weight, around 2-3 pounds over 12 weeks. To maximize weight loss, combine green tea with a healthy diet and exercise.

How Does Green Tea Help With Weight Loss?

Green tea contains bioactive substances like caffeine and EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) that can boost metabolism and increase fat burning. Here’s how it works:

Increases Metabolism

Green tea contains caffeine, although in smaller amounts than coffee or energy drinks. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase metabolism in the short term. Several studies show that caffeine can temporarily boost metabolism by 3-11% and increase fat burning. However, this effect diminishes over time as you build a caffeine tolerance.

Boosts Fat Burning

The key active ingredient in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a powerful antioxidant. EGCG can increase fat burning by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, a hormone involved in fat cell metabolism. This results in higher norepinephrine levels and greater fat breakdown.

Reduces Appetite

Some compounds in green tea like EGCG and caffeine may suppress appetite by regulating hunger hormones like ghrelin. This may lead to reduced calorie intake. However, the effects on appetite are mixed.

So in summary, the combination of caffeine and EGCG in green tea can temporarily boost metabolism, increase fat burning, and suppress appetite. However, the effects are modest and may become less noticeable over time.

How Much Green Tea Per Day For Weight Loss?

Most research looking at green tea for weight loss used 3-5 cups per day. Here’s an overview of the evidence:

3 Cups Per Day

Several studies found that drinking around 3 cups of green tea per day can result in about 2.9 lbs (1.3 kg) of weight loss over 3 months. This amount of green tea contains around 240-320 mg of EGCG.

For example, one study in 60 obese people found that taking 870 mg of green tea catechins (EGCG) per day caused about 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of weight loss compared to placebo over 12 weeks.

Another study in 115 overweight women found that 690 mg of catechins from green tea (3 cups) per day resulted in significant decreases in body weight, BMI, body fat percentage, body fat mass, and waist circumference compared to placebo over 12 weeks.

4-5 Cups Per Day

Drinking more green tea daily may cause slightly more weight loss. For example:

– One study found that drinking 4 cups of green tea containing 690 mg total catechins increased weight loss by about 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) compared to a placebo after 12 weeks.

– Another study in 124 people found 5 cups of green tea per day containing a total of 1,350 mg catechins resulted in 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg) greater weight loss compared to placebo after 12 weeks.

So overall, most research finds that between 3-5 cups of green tea daily provides optimal amounts of EGCG to boost metabolism, increase fat burning, and aid weight loss.

Green Tea Dosage For Weight Loss

Instead of thinking about cups of tea, you can also look at green tea dosage in terms of active EGCG content:

– 240-320 mg EGCG: This is the amount in about 3 cups of green tea. It can result in around 2.9 pounds of weight loss over 12 weeks.

– 400-500 mg EGCG: This is the amount in about 4 cups of green tea. It may result in about 3.3 pounds of weight loss.

– 600-900 mg EGCG: This is the amount in 5-8 cups of green tea. It provides the maximum benefits for metabolism and fat burning.

However, taking high doses of green tea catechins in supplement form has been linked to liver toxicity in some rare cases. So it’s best to get this amount from brewed teas.

Tips For Using Green Tea For Weight Loss

Here are some tips to maximize the weight loss benefits of green tea:

– Drink it consistently: The effects of green tea are best achieved when consumed regularly. Aim for 3-5 cups per day.

– Choose high quality tea: Look for organic green tea or matcha tea that is higher in antioxidants. Avoid low quality tea bags.

– Avoid adding milk: Studies show adding milk may reduce the antioxidant availability and health benefits.

– Time it right: For a metabolism boost, have a cup before your workout and avoid it at night as it contains caffeine.

– Combine with diet and exercise: Green tea alone will likely only cause modest weight loss. Combine it with a calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise.

– Beware of sweetened tea: Bottled green teas are often high in added sugar which should be avoided.

Is Drinking Green Tea Enough To Lose Weight?

While green tea can definitely help support weight loss, drinking it alone is unlikely to produce major weight loss for most people.

In most studies, green tea causes less than 3 pounds of weight loss typically over a 3 month period. This is likely because metabolic boosting effects diminish over time as you build a caffeine tolerance.

Plus, green tea itself has few calories. It won’t reduce your overall calorie intake enough to create a major calorie deficit, which is key for shedding pounds.

For significant weight loss, you need to combine green tea with reducing your overall calorie intake, eating better foods, and exercising more. Think of green tea as a metabolism-boosting supplement to enhance your healthy lifestyle, rather than a fat loss solution on its own.

Healthy Diet

Focus your diet on unprocessed whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. Cut back on sugar, refined carbs and fatty foods. Create a moderate calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day.


Aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This can include brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, strength training and other activities.

Other Lifestyle Factors

Also focus on managing stress, getting enough sleep, and making other positive lifestyle changes. The combination of these can maximize results.

Potential Side Effects of Green Tea

Green tea is generally very safe, especially when consumed in moderate amounts of 3-5 cups per day. However, there are some potential side effects to be aware of:

– Caffeine sensitivity – Green tea contains caffeine, which can cause jitteriness, headaches, insomnia in sensitive individuals.

– Stomach issues – The tannins in green tea may cause nausea, cramping or bloating in some. Consider switching to matcha green tea as an alternative if this occurs.

– Iron deficiency – The polyphenols may inhibit iron absorption, which could worsen iron deficiency. Have tea between meals and consider supplementing with vitamin C to enhance iron absorption.

– Anxiety or fast heartbeat – Those sensitive to stimulants may experience these effects from the caffeine in green tea.

– Liver problems – In rare cases, high doses of green tea extract supplements have been linked to liver damage. It’s best to stick to brewed green tea.

Overall green tea is very safe when consumed in moderation from brewed whole leaf tea. Talk to your doctor about any concerns. They can help guide proper dosage and consumption.


Green tea is an excellent drink to incorporate into your diet for overall health. To lose weight, aim for 3-5 cups per day containing 240-900mg EGCG. This amount of green tea can temporarily increase metabolism and fat burning to enhance weight loss. However, coupling this with reducing calorie intake, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly is key for shedding excess pounds. While green tea isn’t a magic solution, it can be an effective addition to a comprehensive weight loss regimen.

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