6 Best Teas for Weight Loss: Why They Work


  • Some of the best teas for weight loss are green tea and oolong tea, which help you metabolize fat.
  • Pu-erh tea—a fermented Chinese drink—promotes a healthy gut, which may contribute to weight loss.
  • Plain black tea may also help with weight loss by reducing calorie intake and helping burn fat.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice. 

There is no magic bullet when it comes to

weight loss

, but drinking tea may help support you on your weight loss journey.

Drinking tea is associated with all sorts of health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. And as part of a well-rounded diet, tea may also help you lose body fat and maintain a healthy weight, says Amy Shapiro, a registered dietitian and founder of the consulting practice Real Nutrition.

Though there are a limited number of human studies on tea’s effect on weight loss, some early research is promising. 

Here’s a look at six types of tea that may help promote weight loss. 

1. Green tea

Green tea may help increase fat oxidation, meaning it helps turn fat into energy, which can help promote weight loss, Shapiro says. 

This is because green tea is packed with antioxidants called catechins, including one known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to increase fat burning, particularly during exercise.

Here’s what the research says:

  • A 2008 study found that men who took green tea extract before working out burned 17% more fat than men who did not take the supplement. 
  • A 2014 review of 14 different studies found that obese people who drank green tea for 12 weeks lost an average of 0.44 to 7.7 pounds more than those who did not consume green tea. 

Because an 8-ounce cup of green tea contains 28 mg of caffeine, Shapiro recommends consuming it early in the day, before 4 p.m., so it doesn’t disturb your sleep. 

2. Oolong tea

Like green tea, oolong tea is thought to enhance weight loss by improving the way your body metabolizes fat.

A 2009 study on the effects of oolong tea for weight loss found:

  • 70% of severely obese participants who drank 8 grams of oolong tea a day for six weeks lost more than two pounds and 22% lost more than six pounds. 
  • 64% of the obese subjects and 66% of the overweight subjects lost more than two pounds over the course of the six weeks. 

3. Black tea

Like green tea and white tea, black tea is also made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which contains antioxidant properties, says Isaac Robertson, a certified sports nutritionist, personal fitness trainer, and co-founder of Total Shape

And like green tea, the polyphenols present in black tea may help promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake and stimulating fat breakdown.

One 2014 study found that healthy adults who drank three cups of black tea daily for three months lost more weight and experienced a greater reduction in waist circumference than participants who did not. But after three months, the result were no longer significant, 

4. Pu-erh tea

Research on the weight loss effects of pu-erh — a fermented Chinese tea — in humans is limited. 

One small 2014 study on humans found that men with metabolic syndrome who were given pu-erh tea extract lost about two pounds more over three months than participants who did not. Similar results were found in a 2012 study on mice.  

Part of pu-erh tea’s weight-loss benefits could be how it helps control blood sugar levels, though results have only been found in vitro and mice, so far. 

Controlling blood sugar levels is important for weight loss because abnormally high blood sugar can trigger cells to store the excess, unused sugar as fat. 

The fermentation process that pur-erh tea goes through also helps promote a healthy microbiome, which may help digestion and aid weight loss, Shapiro says. 

5. White tea

Research indicates that white tea has similar antioxidants to green tea, which may promote weight loss by boosting fat burning.

In fact, a 2009 in vitro study showed that white tea extract solution containing polyphenols increased the breakdown of fat cells.

6. Hibiscus tea

Hibiscus tea is a type of herbal tea made from the flowering hibiscus plant. More research is needed to determine how effective it is for weight loss, but some studies indicate hibiscus tea may protect against obesity.

One small study of 36 overweight individuals found that participants who took hibiscus extract lost more body fat over 12 weeks than participants who took a placebo. 

Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea that does not contain caffeine, so it can be enjoyed at any time of the day, Shapiro says. 

Insider’s takeaway

Some types of tea, including green tea and oolong tea, may help promote weight loss when included as part of a balanced diet. 

Consult with a doctor before beginning a weight loss plan and do not drink tea as a substitute for healthy foods as it contains minimal calories, Shapiro says. Instead, have it as a beverage to compliment a healthy meal.

“It is not a magic bullet,” Shapiro says. “But as part of a balanced weight loss program, tea can help for sure.”


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