Sunday, August 31, 2008

Controlling Hunger During a Fast: Does Green Tea Help?

Green tea and fasting
Green tea contains more catechins but less caffeine than black tea. (Photo by Kanko*)

This past week I've been drinking green tea to see whether it's a useful way to control appetite while fasting intermittently. Before that, I tested black tea, which proved to be a decent choice when only slightly hungry but a bad choice when really hungry.

The results are pretty similar with green tea. There does seem to be a slight effect of reducing the feeling of hunger, but if I drink large amounts a few hours before breaking the 24 hour fast, I feel tired, shaky and unable to do pretty much anything. Even water would be a better option at that point, but a few hours into the fast green tea is quite nice and refreshing.

The appetite reducing effect could be due to the caffeine content in green tea - though it's less than in black tea or coffee - or it could something spesifical to green tea. To resolve the question once and for all, I'm going to try and find decaffeinated green tea and compare the two.

For more information on tea and fasting, see these posts:

Controlling Hunger During a Fast: Does Black Tea Help?
Controlling Hunger During a Fast: Does Decaffeinated Tea Help?
Controlling Hunger During a Fast: Does Coffee Help?
The Psychological Effects of Intermittent Fasting

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2 kommenttia:

Kevin0323 November 17, 2011 at 9:57 PM  

What did you find out? I am curious about decaf green tea's effects on fasting and weight loss.

JLL November 18, 2011 at 1:34 PM  


Honestly, I don't remember anymore -- it's been a few years. I know caffeine reduces hunger, so probably decaffeinated green tea is pretty close to drinking water. And since decaffeination reduces the amount of other polyphenols as well, I don't see it as a very good option.

As for weight loss, I'd go with regular green tea -- most, if not all, of the benefits in weight loss seem to come from caffeine. See for example these posts:

Green Tea and Capsaicin Reduce Hunger and Calorie Intake
Green Tea Increases Weight Loss during Caloric Restriction in Rats
Green Tea Extract Increases Insulin Sensitivity & Fat Burning during Exercise
Green Tea Extract Enhances Abdominal Fat Loss from Exercise

All these studies used pure green tea or a green tea extract containing caffeine, and we know coffee and even pure caffeine has a similar effect. While there might be some benefit to taking green tea catechins without caffeine, I'm not aware of weight loss studies comparing decaffeinated green tea and normal green tea.


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