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The #1 Best Thing to Drink If You're Trying to Lose Weight

Hydration is key when it comes to weight loss, and the right choice of drink can actually expedite the process.
Woman drinking tea and water in bed in the morning

When it comes to losing weight, we'd argue that 99% of the time people immediately think that dieting primarily involves switching up the food in your fridge and pantry—eliminating unhealthy foods and then loading up on healthy foods for weight loss.

While we're not saying that's the wrong thing to do, what we are saying is that it's not the only thing you should do. It's just as important to take a closer look at what you're drinking. While sipping the wrong beverages will balloon your beltline, learning what you should be drinking can be a powerful tool in your weight loss journey.

The good news is that upgrading your beverage habits is a lot easier than changing up your entire dietand it can impact the number on the scale just as much. That's especially true if you can sip on a drink that not only slashes your calorie intake but also supercharges your weight loss efforts. And guess what? You can. It's tea.

Before we get into the health benefits of drinking tea every day and how it can help you lose weight, let's rewind a bit to put your beverage habits in perspective.

One in two Americans consumes 145 calories of sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, etc.) a day, on average. So it should come as no surprise that a simple swap of sugar water to any zero-calorie drink (whether that be tea, water, or coffee) could help you lose weight. You'd save 145 calories a day in just one glass. That's the equivalent of an entire bag of potato chips or three chocolate chip cookies. Again—in just one glass.

Drinking water in place of any high-calorie beverage is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to lose weight, and throwing an inexpensive tea bag into the mix can boost your weight loss wins even more.

So, let's get to the chase. How can tea help you lose even more weight?

It's green tea, in particular, you should be looking out for. This steeped drink has been shown to have exceptional weight-loss powers. An International Journal of Obesity meta-analysis that looked at the results of 11 studies found a significant link between drinking green tea and weight loss.

Another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that Americans who consumed the most hot tea were less likely to be obese than those who didn't drink tea. Not only did tea-drinkers have lower BMIs smaller waistlines, but they also appeared to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

Researchers believe that the weight regulating benefits of green tea can be attributed to its high levels of catechins: a specific class of bioactive compounds. The most prevalent catechin, EGCG (Epigallocatechin-3-gallate), has been shown to be responsible for much of the health-promoting effects of green tea.

More research is needed to determine exactly how these compounds can help you lose weight, but researchers believe that green tea catechins can increase fat oxidation, boost metabolism, decrease appetite, and may even block your cells from storing sugar as fat.

You won't just be reaping weight loss benefits from green tea's catechins, you'll also get another fat-melting boost from caffeine. Ample evidence supports that caffeine stimulates the breakdown of fat as well as a boost in your calorie-burning metabolism. Researchers believe that it's this synergistic combination of catechins and caffeine that make green tea one of the best drinks for weight loss.

(Related: 9 Mistakes That are Ruining Your Cup of Tea.)

So how much tea do you need to drink per day to see the benefits? The number varies based on the study. Some have shown health benefits in people who drink just one cup per day, while others say five or more cups is optimal. The European Journal of Nutrition study mentioned earlier found the greatest weight regulating benefits for those who drank multiple cups per day with multiple being more than one; however, those who consumed just one cup daily also reaped benefits.

So, it's probably safe to say that drinking one cup of green tea per day may help you boost your weight loss efforts—when paired with a healthy diet, of course.

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Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more