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This One Swap Can Help You Lose 60 Pounds in a Year

Weight loss doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, all it can take is just one diet swap.

Imagine making just one simple swap and losing the equivalent weight of four Thanksgiving turkeys in one year. (We're talking about 60 pounds here.) It doesn't have to be in your imagination — it can be a reality.

How? It all comes down to what you're drinking. Before we give away the secret weight-loss elixir you need to start drinking, we'll tell you what you'll swap it for: soda. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)

Soda is by far the worst drink for weight loss. It packs on pounds without you realizing it. Studies show that the largest source of calories in the average American's diet comes from sugar-sweetened beverages, with soda leading the charge. At about 150 calories per 12-ounce can of soda, that kind of daily drinking habit would supply you with an extra 1,050 calories per week or about 15 pounds of extra weight over the course of the year.

But maybe you're in that elite drinking club of 5% of all Americans who swallow 567 calories worth of sugary soft drinks (four sodas) daily, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. At that rate, you're potentially packing on 60 pounds of fat each year.

What you should drink instead of soda to lose weight

Enter the magic fat-burning swap: unsweetened green tea. Not only will swapping this calorie-free beverage for sugary drinks save super soda drinks the equivalent of 60 pounds of calories yearly, but it may also improve your health and help activate your body to dispose of more fat. Here's how:

Green tea turns off fat-storage genes

"What you eat, and don't eat, can influence which genes are turned on and when," says Kevin L. Schalinske, PhD, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University. And certain nutrients can turn those genes back off making it harder for your body to gain weight.

Two of the primary nutritional tools at our disposal to turn off our fat genes are EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and folate, magical ingredients found at high levels in green tea. EGCG is a powerful plant-based compound called catechins, which is part of a larger group of helpful compounds known as polyphenols.

Many clinical studies suggest EGCG offers powerful weight-loss benefits. For example, According to, a 12-week study on the daily consumption of green tea in women showed a significant decrease in weight and abdominal fat, according to a Clinical Nutrition study.

Green Tea Boosts Your Metabolism

Typically, when you reduce calories (like cutting out sugary beverages), your resting metabolism slows down. But drinking unsweetened green tea may counteract that effect by stimulating thermogenesis, that is, generating heat through calorie burning, according to clinical studies.

One of those trials, published in the Journal of Research in Medical Science, involved 63 men and women with type 2 diabetes who were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group drank four cups of green tea daily, another grand two cups, and the control group consumed no green tea for two months. After 8 weeks, the group that drank four cups a day experienced significant weight loss as well as decreases in body mass index, waist circumference, and systolic blood pressure.

Green Tea May Cause Fat Cells to Shrink

In one study, participants who combined a daily habit of four to five cups of green tea with a 25-minute workout for 12 weeks lost an average of two more pounds than non-tea-drinking exercisers. Researchers believe the catechins found in green tea can blast fat tissue, triggering the release of fat cells particularly in the belly then speeding up the liver's capacity for turning that fat into energy.

To lose weight, swapping soda for any drink that is lower in calories will do the trick. But to speed up weight loss, swap it for green tea to see the pounds melt away.

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Eat This, Not That!
Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more about Eat This