Tea is a beverage enjoyed around the world.
You can make it by pouring hot water onto tea leaves and allowing them to steep for several minutes so their flavor infuses into the water.
This aromatic beverage is most commonly made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, a type of evergreen shrub native to Asia.
Drinking tea has been associated with many health benefits, including protecting cells from damage and reducing the risk of heart disease (, ).
Some studies have even found that tea may enhance weight loss and help fight belly fat. Certain types have been found to be more effective than others at achieving this.
This article will look at six of the best teas for increasing weight loss and decreasing body fat.
1. Green Tea
Green tea is one of the most well-known types of tea, and is linked with many health benefits.
It's also one of the most effective teas for weight loss. There is substantial evidence linking green tea to decreases in both weight and body fat.
In one 2008 study, 60 obese people followed a standardized diet for 12 weeks while regularly drinking either green tea or a placebo.
Over the course of the study, those who drank green tea lost 7.3 pounds (3.3 kg) more weight than the placebo group ().
Another study found that people who consumed green tea extract for 12 weeks experienced significant decreases in body weight, body fat and waist circumference, compared to a control group ().
This may be because green tea extract is especially high in catechins, naturally occurring antioxidants that may boost your metabolism and increase fat burning ().
This same effect also applies to matcha, a highly concentrated type of powdered green tea that contains the same beneficial ingredients as regular green tea.
Summary: Green tea is high in a type of antioxidants called catechins, and has been associated with weight loss and fat loss.
2. Puerh Tea
Also known as pu'er or pu-erh tea, puerh tea is a type of Chinese black tea that has been fermented.
It is often enjoyed after a meal, and has an earthy aroma that tends to develop the longer it's stored.
Some animal studies have shown that puerh tea may lower blood sugar and blood triglycerides. And studies in animals and humans have shown that puerh tea may be able to help enhance weight loss (, ).
In one study, 70 men were given either a capsule of puerh tea extract or a placebo. After three months, those taking the puerh tea capsule lost approximately 2.2 pounds (1 kg) more than the placebo group ().
Another study in rats had similar findings, showing that puerh tea extract had an anti-obesity effect and helped suppress weight gain ().
Current research is limited to puerh tea extract, so more research is needed to see if the same effects apply to drinking it as a tea.
Summary: Human and animal studies show that puerh tea extract may help enhance weight loss while also lowering both blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels.
3. Black Tea
Black tea is a type of tea that has undergone more oxidation than other types, such as green, white or oolong teas.
Oxidation is a chemical reaction that happens when the tea leaves are exposed to the air, resulting in browning that causes the characteristic dark color of black tea ().
There are many different types and blends of black tea available, including popular varieties like Earl Grey and English breakfast.
Several studies have found that black tea could be effective when it comes to weight control.
One study of 111 people found that drinking three cups of black tea each day for three months significantly increased weight loss and reduced waist circumference, compared to drinking a caffeine-matched control beverage ().
Some theorize that black tea’s potential weight loss effects may be because it’s high in flavones, a type of plant pigment with antioxidant properties.
A study followed 4,280 adults over 14 years. It found that those with a higher flavone intake from foods and beverages like black tea had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those with a lower flavone intake ().
However, this study looks only at the association between BMI and flavone intake. Further research is needed to account for other factors that may be involved.
Summary: Black tea is high in flavones and has been associated with reductions in weight, BMI and waist circumference.
4. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that has been partially oxidized, putting it somewhere between green tea and black tea in terms of oxidation and color.
It is often described as having a fruity, fragrant aroma and a unique flavor, though these can vary significantly depending on the level of oxidation.
Several studies have shown that oolong tea could help enhance weight loss by improving fat burning and speeding up metabolism.
In one study, 102 overweight or obese people drank oolong tea every day for six weeks, which may have helped reduce both their body weight and body fat. The researchers proposed the tea did this by improving the metabolism of fat in the body ().
Another small study gave men either water or tea for a three-day period, measuring their metabolic rates. Compared to water, oolong tea increased energy expenditure by 2.9%, the equivalent of burning an additional 281 calories per day, on average ().
While more studies on the effects of oolong tea are needed, these findings show that oolong could be potentially beneficial for weight loss.
Summary: Studies show that oolong tea may help reduce weight and body fat by increasing metabolism and improving fat burning.
5. White Tea
White tea stands out among other types of tea because it is minimally processed and harvested while the tea plant is still young.
White tea has a distinct flavor very different from other types of tea. It tastes subtle, delicate and slightly sweet.
The benefits of white tea are well-studied, and range from improving oral health to killing cancer cells in some test-tube studies (, ).
Though further research is needed, white tea could also help when it comes to losing weight and body fat.
Studies show that white tea and green tea have comparable amounts of catechins, which may help enhance weight loss (, ).
Furthermore, one test-tube study showed that white tea extract increased the breakdown of fat cells while preventing the formation of new ones ().
However, keep in mind that this was a test-tube study, so it's unclear how the effects of white tea may apply to humans.
Additional studies are needed to confirm the potential beneficial effects of white tea when it comes to fat loss.
Summary: One test-tube study found that white tea extract may increase fat loss. However, not much research in humans currently exists, and more is needed.
6. Herbal Tea
Herbal teas involve the infusion of herbs, spices and fruits in hot water.
They differ from traditional teas because they do not typically contain caffeine, and are not made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis.
Popular herbal tea varieties include rooibos tea, ginger tea, rosehip tea and hibiscus tea.
Although the ingredients and formulations of herbal teas can vary significantly, some studies have found that herbal teas may help with weight reduction and fat loss.
In one animal study, researchers gave obese rats an herbal tea, and found that it reduced body weight and helped normalize hormone levels ().
Rooibos tea is a type of herbal tea that may be especially effective when it comes to fat burning ().
One test-tube study showed that rooibos tea increased fat metabolism and helped block the formation of fat cells ().
However, further studies in humans are needed to look into the effects of herbal teas like rooibos on weight loss.
Summary: Though research is limited, some studies have found that herbal teas, including rooibos tea, may help reduce weight and increase fat loss.
The Bottom Line
Though many people drink tea solely for its soothing quality and delicious taste, each cup may also pack many health benefits.
Replacing high-calorie beverages like juice or soda with tea could help reduce overall calorie intake and lead to weight loss.
Some animal and test-tube studies have also shown that certain types of tea may help increase weight loss while blocking fat cell formation. However, studies in humans are needed to investigate this further.
Additionally, many types of tea are especially high in beneficial compounds like flavones and catechins, which could aid in weight loss as well.
Coupled with a healthy diet and regular exercise, a cup or two of tea each day could help you boost weight loss and prevent harmful belly fat.