Does Sweetened Green Tea Burn Fat?

Green tea is a caffeinated beverage made from unfermented tea leaves. While many people are familiar with green tea’s antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties, the effects of regular green tea consumption have been extensively studied and linked to a variety of health benefits. Although the consumption of regular green tea has been linked to weight loss, the amount of calories contained in the sugars and sweeteners may reduce the weight loss benefits of your green tea drink.

Green Tea and Weight Loss 

Clinical studies have linked green tea consumption with an elevated metabolism, increasing the rate at which the body burns fat, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A separate study involving the consumption of green tea and caffeine among overweight individuals showed improved weight loss from regular green tea consumption. Although debate still exists as to which compound in green tea causes weight loss, some researchers believe that substances called catechins contribute to green tea’s fat-burning effects.

Calories and Weight Loss

By boosting your basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body would burn if you remained inactive, green tea helps increase the total number of calories you burn each day. A calorie deficit of 3,500 is required for each pound of fat you burn off -- 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound a week. In other words, if the combined calories burned by your metabolism and physical activity level are higher than the amount you consume with foods and beverages, you will gradually begin losing weight over time.

Sweetened Green Tea

Unlike unsweetened green tea, the sucrose or liquid sugar in sweetened green tea may increase your total caloric intake. According to the What’s Cooking America website, adding sugar to a beverage increases its total caloric value by 15 calories for every 4 grams of sugar. If you are drinking a sweetened green tea product that contains 26 grams of sugar, the liquid sugar alone may account for nearly 100 calories per bottle, depending on the sweetener. For best results, shop around for a low-sugar, low-calorie sweetened green tea product, or use a low-fat sugar alternative, such as stevia.

Safety Concerns

Most green tea beverages are relatively safe for regular consumption. If you have a caffeine, sugar or other intolerance, talk to your doctor before drinking sweetened green tea. For a healthy alternative, look for decaffeinated green tea, or opt for white tea -- a type of tea that's naturally lower in caffeine.