Green Tea vs Coffee: Which is Healthier For Weight Loss?
When you’re on a strict meal plan, each calorie counts, and you start to think about all the empty sugars you are putting in your body with a can of soda or a tall glass of juice. So what’s the next best option?
We will get into the details of these coffee and green tea and try to compare and contrast the benefits they have to your weight loss plan. From there, you’ll be able to figure out which drink is truly the best for your diet and weight management program.
One of the earliest pieces of evidence of coffee was dated in the 15th century in Yemen. It was said that the first coffee beans were roasted and brewed in the Middle East.
Although, there have been African historians claiming that the people of Kaffa in Ethiopia were the first ever to recognize its energy-boosting effects. However, there was no recorded evidence of this and thus has been quite debatable. But coffee could have been well introduced to Yemen by the trade lines between Africa.
Soon after, these beans made it to various parts of the globe but were not as popular in North America, where alcoholic beverages were still preferred at the time. As the decades passed, people started appreciating coffee for what it was – an energy booster. By 2018, Brazil was recognized to be the leading producer of coffee beans, responsible for supplying almost a third of the global supply.
What’s in Your Cup of Joe?
A cup of plain black coffee does not have a significant amount of macronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, or fat. In fact, for every eight ounce serving of coffee, you are only consuming 1 calorie, which makes it a great addition to your weight loss program. Despite the lack of macronutrients, coffee is loaded with antioxidants and various micronutrients, like sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B2, and vitamin B3.
One primary chemical in coffee is caffeine, and it is responsible for the stimulating or energy-boosting property of the beverage in general. It also contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors and harmane, which also contribute to the psychoactivity of caffeine. The caffeine content of your coffee depends on the type of beans you buy and the way you brew your coffee.
If your goal is to lose weight, remember; plain black is the best way to have your coffee. Skip the cream and sugar.
Benefits of Drinking Coffee
When you think about coffee, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is instant energy boosts in the morning. But according to dozens of research studies, drinking coffee actually has multiple known benefits.
Improves Brain Power
After drinking coffee, the caffeine goes through your bloodstream and gets absorbed by your brain. As a stimulant, it blocks certain neurotransmitters, like adenosine, and increases the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine, thus improving a variety of brain functions, such as mood, memory, vigilance, and general mental functioning. Studies also show frequent coffee drinkers have 30 to 65 percent lower risks of suffering from several neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Can Help Burn Fat
The primary component of coffee, caffeine, is found in various weight loss supplements due to its ability to improve your metabolic rate by up to ten percent. In turn, the increase in metabolic rate would promote burning fat. Now, this is something we’re all excited about.
Improves Physical Performance
As a stimulant, the caffeine in your coffee increases levels of adrenaline, which prepares your body for intense physical activity. Caffeine also breaks down fat that allows your body to easily access fatty acids to use as fuel, thus improving your physical performance by 12 percent at most. Having a cup of coffee before going to the gym can definitely help with your workout. In fact, most pre-workout supplements contain high amounts of caffeine for this specific purpose.
Lowers the Risk of Acquiring Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases affecting millions of overweight and obese individuals globally. The condition is characterized by the increased blood sugar levels, which is caused by insulin resistance or the inability of your pancreas to secrete enough insulin to cope with the amount of sugar in your blood. According to various studies, it was observed that coffee drinkers are less likely to acquire the disease. One study showed a risk reduction as high as 65 percent.
Based on recent statistics, there are about 4.1 percent of Americans who are classified as clinically depressed, and this particular mental illness has affected millions of people worldwide. In a study conducted at Harvard University, the researchers observed that women who consumed at least four cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of suffering from depression and committing suicide.
Lowers Risk of Acquiring Certain Cancers and Heart Disease
Coffee is quite effective in protecting your liver and colon, thus reducing the chances of you getting malignancies in these particular organs. There have been studies conducted on both humans and rodents that prove this specific claim.
In addition to lowering the risk of cancer, coffee drinkers are also least likely to have heart disease. There may have been conflicting views on this. Still, even if coffee slightly increases your blood pressure, this diminishes over time, lowering the risks of cardiovascular diseases at the end of the day.
Big Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential to protect your cells from free radicals that may cause cancers, heart disease, and other diseases. Coffee is jam-packed with antioxidants – even more than fruits and vegetables combined. It may as well be one of the healthiest drinks in the world.
Tea has been consumed in China since 2700 BC and was often used for medicinal purposes. By the 3rd century, it became a daily drink. Back then, high-end varieties that were deemed more potent and much better tasting were only given to royalty.
By the 13th century, tea was cultivated in Japan, and Dutch traders brought seeds from there to bring home. Soon after, tea became quite the trend. The British introduced the tea culture to India by 1836 and to Sri Lanka in 1867. Today, the four biggest tea-producing countries are Sri Lanka, India, China, and Kenya, supplying 75% of the world production of several varieties of tea, including green tea.
What’s in Your Cup of Tea?
As mentioned, there are different varieties of tea. For this article, we shall focus on green tea and its nutritional content and benefits. Similar to coffee, tea, in general, does not contain fat, protein, or carbohydrates and has only trace amounts of potassium. Instead, it includes a variety of compounds in the catechin group that is responsible for green tea’s cancer-fighting and metabolism-boosting abilities.
Just like coffee, green tea also contains caffeine, and a single cup of green tea contains, at the very least, 25 mg of caffeine, which is only half the amount in coffee. It may not be much, but it is enough to give you a quick boost of energy as needed.
Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
According to the US Department of Agriculture, green tea is part of a healthy diet. It is loaded with nutrients and has a whole lot of benefits, which is backed up by various studies.
Improves Mental Alertness
With a minimal amount of caffeine, the National Institutes of Health explains that green tea keeps you mentally alert and much more aware of your surroundings. As explained earlier, caffeine improves the action of your neurotransmitters and the production of adrenaline.
Regulates Cholesterol and Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Green tea can lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This type of cholesterol is known as the ‘bad’ kind. The increased amount of LDL is responsible for several cardiovascular diseases.
There are not many long-term studies done on the effects of green tea on those suffering from hypertension. But green tea can increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the good type of cholesterol.
Another study showed that people who drank five or more cups of tea each day had a 26 percent lower risk of getting heart problems.
Free radicals are responsible for causing malignant growth in our body. There are a few studies that show that catechins are able to block these cancer-causing cells; although, there is much debate on the topic. According to the National Cancer Institute, more research is needed to prove this particular claim, especially on humans.
Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Similar to that of coffee, green tea also lessens the likelihood of you suffering from type 2 diabetes. A study showed that people who consumed six cups of tea in a day were 33 percent less likely to develop chronic illness compared to those who don’t consume tea at all.
Coffee vs. Green Tea: Effect on Energy Levels
Both coffee and green tea can boost energy levels but in different ways. The higher the caffeine level, the longer the energy boost. Coffee is known to have the highest amount of caffeine, while caffeinated soda comes second, and tea comes in third.
Coffee’s Effect on Energy Levels
As mentioned earlier, caffeine increases the amount of dopamine, which is responsible for improving your mood. It also blocks the amount of adenosine in your brain, which is responsible for promoting sleep. Thus, caffeine increases alertness and reduces fatigue.
As soon as you ingest coffee, the caffeine enters your bloodstream in 15 minutes. After 45 minutes, your body absorbs most of the caffeine. If you’re looking for a quick boost, coffee is the way to go.
Green Tea’s Effect on Energy Levels
Although green tea has a significantly lower amount of caffeine, compared to coffee, it is rich in L-theanine. L-theanine is an antioxidant that stimulates brain activity and reduces stress by increasing the production of alpha-waves, which help you relax.
The combination of caffeine and L-theanine is the very reason why drinking green tea gives you a smooth burst of energy. That is not the same with coffee, which provides you with an instant boost.
Coffee vs. Green Tea: Effect on Weight Loss
Now, let’s discuss how these two beverages can aid in your weight loss plan. With the thousands of supplements in the market that claim to help you lose weight, you’d probably be shocked to know that these two beverages that are readily available in your home can help you lose weight.
Coffee’s Effect on Weight Loss
According to recent findings, drinking a cup of coffee can help you lose weight through the stimulation of brown fats, which are responsible for burning calories and generating body heat.
Brown fat, or brown adipose tissue, is one of the two kinds of fat we, as mammals, have in our bodies. The primary function of this fat is to convert food into body heat by burning the sugar and fat we consume. It also gets activated when you feel cold. Hibernating animals and human newborns have high levels of brown fat in their bodies. Ordinary white fat stores calories from the food we consume, but brown fat has more mitochondria that burns calories instead.
The study conducted at the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham was the first to show the impact of coffee on brown fat. One of the co-directors of the study said that increasing the activity of brown fat improves blood sugar control, as well as your lipid or cholesterol levels. With the extra calories that get burned in the process, weight loss is possible.
Another aspect of coffee helping in weight loss is through caffeine. It being a stimulant enables you to improve your metabolism. Caffeine is present in dozens of weight loss supplements. Several studies were able to prove this claim, one of which showed how those who consumed the most coffee were more successful at maintaining their weight over time.
Caffeine is also known to suppress your appetite. There have been some studies that showed how individuals actually eat more throughout the day when they do not have their morning coffee. Though, more recent studies have shown little to no significance in terms of fullness.
The bottom line is, plain black coffee, which is high in caffeine and low in calories, is great for decreasing your hunger and improving your metabolism.
Green Tea’s Effect on Weight Loss
The Chinese have been using green tea for a variety of medical reasons since the dawn of time. In the western world, it has been linked with weight loss for as long as we can remember, but how valid is this claim?
Green tea helps boost your metabolism to make it work more efficiently. Aside from caffeine, green tea also contains a potent antioxidant called catechin. Catechin is a flavonoid that, when paired with caffeine, acts as a catalyst for metabolism by increasing the amount of energy our body uses.
There has been some conflicting research on the subject. A study published in 2010 showed that green tea supplements had a little impact on weight loss despite having compounds that do aid in the process. A more recent study focused on the clinical aspect of green tea. It used subjects who were overweight and obese. The results showed a positive impact, but the researchers believed it wasn’t as significant in the clinical sense.
In addition to being able to increase the activity of metabolism, green tea is also known for its fat-burning abilities. This particular ability is quite noticeable after exercise. One study showed that men who consumed green tea before exercising were able to burn 17 percent more fat than those who didn’t. Several other studies confirmed this claim by proving that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is responsible for burning fat that would lead to its reduction in the long run.
Theoretically speaking, there is a basis for the contribution of green tea in the weight loss process, and there has been empirical evidence of these claims beyond clinical research. It is equally important to take into consideration other factors like diet and exercise. You can’t lose weight by bulking on calories and drinking a cup of tea after, expecting it to work like magic. A healthy diet, moderate exercise, and a cup of green tea are quite useful in weight loss.
The Conclusion: Which is Better? Coffee or Tea?
Based on what we’ve learned from both beverages, coffee and tea are both excellent sources of caffeine and antioxidants. There have been numerous studies that can back up the claim to the benefits they provide in terms of weight loss, and choosing the better option boils down to personal preferences. Are you a coffee fan, or are you more of a tea connoisseur?
Drinking tea is an acquired taste; it’s not something everyone can enjoy. Plain black coffee, on the other hand, may be a bit too strong, so people would prefer to drown its essence in sugar and cream. It’s essential to choose which works best for you in terms of taste. Just be sure to take these beverages in their pure forms – add-ons mean added calories.
Whichever you prefer to drink, you should continue doing so. If you want to experience the best of both worlds, go ahead and drink a bit of each. Just be sure not to overdo it. Everything should always be in moderation.