Is Matcha or Green Tea Better for Weight Loss?
A wide range of tea products exists offering multiple health benefits. Green tea and matcha stand out among them as having the capacity to help you lose weight. So, is matcha or green tea better for weight loss? To answer that question, you need to understand the physical properties of each and how they influence your body to lose weight. Apart from that, an understanding of the potential health benefits of each and side effects will help you make an informed decision. Let’s start with the physical properties of each option.
Matcha or Green Tea: Basic Differences
Understanding the basic differences is the first step to answering the question, “Is matcha or green tea better for weight loss?”
An understanding of what each tea is can give you a bit of insight into their potential benefits.
Firstly, green tea is simply ‘non-fermented’ tea.
Essentially, green tea comes from the same plant as black and oolong tea: the Camellia sinensis (6). The difference comes in the method of preparation. To make green tea, you lightly steam fresh leaves from the plant.
It’s also good to know that people in China and Japan used tea for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
You’ll typically consume green tea as a beverage. However, you can buy it as liquid extracts, tablets, or capsules. In some cases, you may even apply it to your skin.
On the other hand, matcha is powdered green tea.
Matcha doesn’t come from just any green tea bush. The leaves used to make it come from tea bushes grown in 90% shade (8). This makes it rich in theanine, a major amino acid found in green tea which produces a stress-reducing effect (10).
You can take a matcha as tea or use it to flavor your food.
Just like green tea, matcha has a long history of being used in Japan for medicinal use. What’s more, the fact that you can also use it as food flavoring gives you more options for consuming it.
However, the key question is whether it has weight loss benefits beyond the potential health benefits.
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Weight Loss Effects of Green Tea vs. Matcha
So, is matcha or green tea better for weight loss?
To figure that out, it’s wise to check on scientific studies, and not just depending on what your friend at the gym says.
Here’s what the scientific research says.
Weight Loss Effect of Green Tea
One randomized clinical trial investigated the weight loss effects of green tea (12). The study featured 63 subjects, both male and female, who were given different quantities of green tea for two months.
The results showed that study participants who drank 4 cups of green tea per day experienced significant weight loss. They also had reduced blood pressure. Participants who drank 2 cups of green tea per day or none at all, didn’t experience any significant change.
Therefore, an important factor may be the amount of green tea you drink.
But, how does that compare to matcha?
Fat Oxidation Effect of Matcha
Another study examined the effect of matcha during exercise (7).
The study attempted to find the metabolic and physiological responses of 13 females. This is based on the knowledge that caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (a substance found in matcha) have been shown in previous studies to enhance exercise-induced fat oxidation.
The results of the study showed enhanced exercise-induced fat oxidation.
As you can see, both green tea and matcha can potentially help with weight loss.
So, which one is better?
Metabolism-Enhancing Antioxidants in Matcha vs. Green Tea
Comparing the content of metabolism-enhancing antioxidants in green tea and matcha can give you a better idea of which option is better for weight loss.
Both green tea and matcha have catechins which are a form of antioxidants.
One particular catechin called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) prevents free radical damage to cells (5). It also prevents the breakdown of a substance called norepinephrine, and this action enhances metabolism. You can see why EGCG is potentially useful for weight loss.
Therefore, high EGCG content could potentially mean greater weight loss capacity.
In that regard, green tea may have between 100 and 200mg of EGCG in one cup. The specific quantity varies based on the brew time and temperature.
In comparison, one study found that matcha has 137 times greater available concentration of EGCG than a specific type of green tea called China Green Tips green tea (4). But generally, matcha has at least 7 times greater available concentration of EGCG than other green teas.
This shows that matcha potentially has a greater weight loss capacity.
However, note that the amount of EGCG in a cup of tea may be different from the amount you absorb in your body (less than 0.1% of the catechins you ingest appear in your blood). Besides, your body rapidly eliminates most of the EGCG from your blood (half of it would be gone within about 3 hours).
Therefore, you should also consider the potential health benefits of each, since that may tip the scale when evaluating the better weight loss option.
Which is Healthier Green Tea or Matcha?
Health is an important consideration when answering the question, “Is matcha or green tea better for weight loss?”
The health benefits of either matcha or green tea may far outweigh the weight-loss benefits. Also, any safety issues involved can downgrade potential weight-loss benefits.
Let’s start by analyzing their potential health benefits.
Generally, matcha tea benefits are similar to green tea benefits. The difference typically lies in the extent of each benefit in either option.
Matcha tends to have more antioxidants than green tea (1). Since antioxidants provide much of the health benefits, you’re likely to get greater health benefits from matcha.
Here’s a sample of the benefits to expect:
- Lowering blood pressure. Catechins may help reduce your blood pressure. This is particularly so for those with an upper number of 130 or higher. Lower blood pressure will help you avoid heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.
- Lowering cholesterol levels. Catechins may not only lower cholesterol levels but also help lower LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol).
- Protecting against cancer. The potential for preventing cancer is attributed to polyphenols as well as other antioxidants.
- Improving dental health. Various components help keep a healthy acid level in your mouth, which may help you get better teeth. However, this may also be attributed to fluoride that gets into plants from the soil or within the water used to brew your tea.
- Managing inflammation. Such antioxidants as polyphenols might ease inflammation caused by arthritis.
- Fighting bad breath. Polyphenols have the potential of preventing bacterial growth. The antioxidant may also prevent bad breath by reducing compounds that cause it (11).
Due to the higher concentration of antioxidants in matcha, you’re likely to gain more of these benefits. Combined with the greater potential of weight loss, matcha seems to offer more compared to green tea.
However, note that many of these potential benefits still require further investigation by researchers. Although studies show a link between better health and tea, more research is required to establish a direct causation link (9).
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Which has more Caffeine Matcha or Green Tea?
So far, matcha seems to offer more benefits than green tea.
However, one aspect that may not go in favor of matcha is the matcha tea caffeine content. Caffeine is typically found in tea, coffee, mate, guarana, and several other products (3).
Caffeine has a good and bad side.
On the good side, caffeine may improve your mental alertness. Several other beneficial aspects include:
- Treating migraine headaches when used rectally or by mouth in combination with painkillers such as acetaminophen and aspirin, plus a chemical called ergotamine.
- Treating simple headaches when used with painkillers.
- Preventing as well as treating headaches following epidural anesthesia.
On the bad side, caffeine could potentially harm your voice quality. Therefore, it’s not advisable for voice professionals like singers and people with voice disorders.
Most of the side effects of caffeine come up if you take it in high doses or for a long time.
So, what is a healthy dose?
Most healthy adults will be fine taking up to 400 mg in a day. You can get that from 4 cups of coffee (coffee has a much higher caffeine content than tea) (2).
What would happen if you take too much caffeine?
Various potential side effects include:
- anxiety, nervousness, agitation, and restlessness
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach irritation
- increased heart rate and respiration
- worsening sleep disorders in people who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- ringing in your ears
- chest pain
Now that you know the potential benefits and side effects of caffeine, what is the concentration in matcha and green tea?
You’ll be glad to know that matcha has about one-third less caffeine than regular black coffee. Compared to espresso coffee, the caffeine content in matcha is even lower.
But matcha has a higher caffeine content compared to green tea.
On the other hand, green tea has lower caffeine content than black tea. 1g of green tea has between 11 to 20mg of caffeine, whereas 1g of black tea has between 22 to 28mg of caffeine.
The lower caffeine content means that you can take more tea without exceeding the maximum recommended caffeine intake.
Is it Safe to Drink Matcha or Green Tea Everyday?
Even if you eat healthy food, taking too much of it may cause some side effects.
So, would you be safe drinking green tea or matcha everyday?
Caffeine is probably the main issue of concern when thinking of how safe it is to drink tea daily. Fortunately, studies don’t show any problems with consuming 75mg of caffeine daily. Potential problems arise only after taking more than 200mg of caffeine.
However, this also depends on your sensitivity to caffeine.
What’s more interesting is that the antioxidants in green tea and matcha lessen the effects of caffeine on your body. When you brew your tea, catechins combine with caffeine, unlike coffee or cocoa which don’t have such antioxidants.
Therefore, green tea and matcha are much safer and healthier than black tea and coffee.
What is Better for You Green Tea or Matcha?
Based on this matcha vs. green tea comparison, you’re better placed to answer the question, “Is matcha or green tea better for weight loss?”
Matcha seems to offer many more potential health benefits, as well as a greater weight-loss capacity. But you’ll have to gauge whether the higher caffeine content is worth it.
Just remember that the weight loss effect is typically minimal (13). For example, in a 2016 study published in the Clinical Nutrition journal, overweight women who took green tea only dropped about 2.4 pounds (1kg) on average.
Therefore, green tea or matcha are best used to complement your weight loss exercise program.
FAQs about Green Tea and Matcha
How do you identify quality Green Tea or Matcha?
To get the most benefit from green tea or matcha, you must know how to buy the best quality product.
You can do that by looking for products that meet the FDA industry standards. The standards apply to specific nutrient content requirements. Such products should be listed in the FDA’s, 21 CFR 101.54(g). FDA Nutrient & Labeling.
Be cautious about products with inaccurate health claims. Even the use of the term “antioxidant” on products should comply with the FDA Food Nutrient Content Claims.
How long can you store Matcha or Green Tea?
Some tea phytochemicals which offer potential health benefits are affected by production, storage, and preparation. Therefore, you need proper storage for the right duration of time.
To get the highest concentrations of the phytochemicals, using fresh leaves is the ideal option.
After a time, the concentration of phytochemicals decreases. Fortunately, you can stabilize and increase the shelf life of catechins by processing fresh leaves into green tea through heating, rolling, and drying.
You can further increase the shelf life by storing your tea in sealed packages within cool and dark spaces. This is because phytochemicals are affected by ambient moisture and oxygen, as well as fluctuations in temperature and light.
Proper storage will also help preserve flavor, color, and aroma.
Note that catechin levels reduce significantly after 6 months.
What can happen if you drink too much Matcha or Green Tea?
Taking lots of green tea or matcha as beverages may not pose serious potential harm, unlike excessive supplement intake.
Taking too much green tea supplements may cause liver damage.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- All About Matcha (2020, webmd.com)
- Caffeine: How much is too much? (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- CAFFEINE (n.d., webmd.com)
- Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Epigallocatechin gallate (2020, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Green Tea (2016, nccih.nih.gov)
- Matcha Green Tea Drinks Enhance Fat Oxidation During Brisk Walking in Females (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Research shows that drinking Matcha tea can reduce anxiety (2019, medicalxpress.com)
- Should You Drink Matcha Tea? (2018, time.com)
- Stress-Reducing Function of Matcha Green Tea in Animal Experiments and Clinical Trials (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Tea Fights Bad Breath, Mouth Bacteria (2003, webmd.com)
- The effects of green tea consumption on metabolic and anthropometric indices in patients with Type 2 diabetes (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Truth About Green Tea for Weight Loss (2018, consumerreports.org)