When I was a little girl, my mom and I would sit on our living room couch and talk about life over tea. It's still something we do to this very day. Not only does tea bring me fond memories, it gives me a little bit of calm when I need it. After an anxiety-inducing day or to start my mornings off right, I always heat up my kettle. Something about freshly brewed tea restores me and brings me comfort. What I didn't know is that this warm cup of comfort is simultaneously shedding fat cells, too.
According to a new study in the European Journal of Nutrition, both black and green tea are active in aiding weight loss. The University of California researchers found that decaffeinated green and black tea have a positive impact on decreasing the bacteria in our gut, which is closely tied to obesity. These teas target the good bacteria in our bodies that create lean body mass—aka they're serious fat burners.
If it's still hard for you to believe in this easy approach to shedding pounds, we reached out to three registered nutritionists we trust to prove it. Read on for the best teas for weight loss and get your kettle ready in the meantime.
1. Green Tea
"Green tea, well known for its antioxidant powers, helps with weight loss through thermogenesis, a process that burns fat in the body," says Brooke Alpert, registered dietician and author of The Diet Detox.
Jonathan Valdez, registered dietitian and owner of Genki Nutrition, agrees. "The catechins in green tea promote fat loss by increasing energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and decreased lipid absorption by the intestine. Valdez believes that even though tea can be used as a fat burner, this shouldn’t promote excess caloric intake. "In the end, over-consumption will trump this process and lead to weight gain. Drinking these teas should be used as more of a complement to weight loss with current habits of decreasing calories and physical activity. Bottom line, tea shouldn’t be relied on as a source of burning calories versus cutting calories and physical activity."
Try Bigelow Decaffeinated Organic Green Tea ($9).
2. Black Tea
"To a lesser degree, black tea has been studied and appears to work more in the intestine by preventing the fat absorption versus green tea. Both teas play a role in microbial gut health leading to an anti-obese environment," explains Valdez. "Overall, whether it be green tea, black tea, white tea, or lemon tea, they all have zero calories and provide hydration, which can be an opportunity to assist with weight loss versus consuming sugary beverages or alcohol. If you want a little antioxidant water, tea is a nice choice. And if you can't tolerate coffee, tea is a perfect substitute."
Try Choice Organic Classic Black Tea ($4).
3. White Tea
White tea is also a part of the weight loss–aiding family. "White tea, green tea, and black tea all contain some caffeine and antioxidants called catechins. When consumed together, they can help promote weight loss," confirms Alpert.
Nutrition coach Dana Kofsky of Wellness Styled agrees. "White tea has the highest amounts of antioxidants of any tea," says Kofsky. "It boosts lipolysis, which helps the breakdown of fat and blocks something called adipogenesis from being formed, which helps prevent the storage of new fat cells."
4. Dandelion Tea
Alpert loves to recommend dandelion tea to her clients when they start their weight loss programs for two reasons: "One, it’s a calorie-free beverage that helps them meet their fluid needs," says Alpert. "Second and more importantly, it’s a natural diuretic, which helps them lose extra water weight and motivates additional weight loss."
Try Alpert's favorite, Alvita Dandelion Tea ($8).
5. Peppermint Tea
"Peppermint tea is a natural appetite suppressant," explains Kofsky. "It's also really good to have at night instead of dessert because it's naturally sweeter, helps with digestion, and can help you sleep."
Try Single Herb-Organic Peppermint Tea ($7).
6. Oolong Tea
"Oolong tea is filled with antioxidants, which can help boost the metabolism," says Kofsky. "The antioxidants found in oolong tea can help burn fat more efficiently and more quickly."
Try Bigelow Chinese Oolong Tea ($17).
7. Rooibos Tea
"Rooibos tea is naturally on the sweeter side, so you can drink it without anything added to it and still enjoy the taste," Kofsky recommends. "It contains aspalathin, which helps reduce your stress hormones that can trigger hunger."
Try Rooibos Tea USDA Certified Organic Tea ($19).