|From a health perspective it may be good that green tea does not contain all-too much caffeine. From a fat loss perspective, it clearly lacks caffeine.|
Obviously, I cannot really explain why that is the case (I suspect it is because people effect drug-like effects without drug-like side-effects from supps and are thus always on the lookout for the "next big"... hoax), I can tell you, though, that a recent study that is going to be published in one of the upcoming issues of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Jo. 2015) shows that caffeine and green tea, two supplements that belong to the previously described category, are everything but useless.
In said study, Edward Jo and colleagues investigated the effects of a caffeine + green tea polyphenol mix (250mg caffeine + 400mg of a green tea extract with 50% EGCG and 5mg of caffeine per serving) on (a) metabolic rate and fat oxidation at rest, as well as following a bout of sprint interval exercise (SIE) and (b) the performance during a standardized sprint-interval test.
The study was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study that involvd 12 subjects (male: n=11; female:1 n=1) whose antroprometric data, i.e "body mass=76.1±2.2 kg; height= 169.8±1.6 cm; BMI= 22.7±3.0 kg/m2; body fat %= 21.6±2.0% [DXA data]" (Jo. 2015), already tell you that they were healthy recreationally active, but not necessarily athletic (it may be worth mentioning that they were relatively stim-naive with an intake of < 201mg of caffeine per day).
|Figure 1: Energy expenditure (kcal/h) and fat oxidation (g/day) measure before (at rest) and during (during SIE) the sprint interval exercise 10 and 55 minutes after the ingestion of caffeine + GTE or placebo (Jo. 2015).|
Don't confuse increases in fat oxidation w/ fat loss: I guess we have to credit the supplement industry for propagating the myth that the ratio of fat to glucose you were burning was in anyway directly related to losing body fat. I am not sure how often I've written this on this blog or told someone in the gym: that is not the case. You can burn 20% more fat and still store more body fat if you increase your energy intake from exactly enough to already too much. The connection between fatty acid oxidation which would actually be a better term for the phenomenon we are talking about is complicated and a decreasing respiratory exchange ratio, i.e. a reduction of the ratio of glucose to fat that's used to fuel your metabolism is not a reliable predictor of fat loss.After the initial 45-minutes, during which the subjects' resting energy expenditure had been measured, the subjects were placed on a computer-integrated cycle ergometer on which they performed a standardized 30 minute sprint interval exercise (SIE) protocol., the scientists describe as follows:
"Sprint-Interval Exercise Protocol. The SIE protocol was performed on the Velotron DynaFit Pro cycle ergometer and comprised of four 30-second maximal effort intervals each separated by 5 minutes of low-intensity, constant workload cycling (Figure 2). First, the ergometer was properly adjusted for the subject. Adjustment specifications for each subject was recorded during their familiarization visit and repeated for all experimental trials. Subjects initiated the SIE protocol with a 5-minute interval of low-intensity cycling at a constant workload of 75W. Immediately after, subjects cycled with maximal effort for 30 seconds against an added resistance that is 7.5% of BW for males and 7.2% for females. These two intervals were repeated three additional times. After the last 30-second sprint interval, the subjects performed an additional low-intensity 75W interval plus an extra 3 minutes of cool-down at a constant workload of 30W. The total duration of the SIE protocol was 30 minutes" (Jo. 2015).A workout that had little effect on the effect of the caffeine + green tea combo which did, as you can see, when you compare the "at rest" and "during SIE" values in Figure 1, increase the energy at rest and during sprint interval training to a similar extent. More specifically, the increase in energy expenditure and fat oxidation was - within the margin of inter-individual variability - in the range of +10% during both conditions.
|Figure 2: Illustration of the sprint interval exercise test performed 55 min after ingesting the supplement (Jo. 2015).|
- Jo et al. "Dietary Caffeine And Polyphenol Supplementation Enhances Overall Metabolic Rate And Lipid Oxidation At Rest And After A Bout Of Sprint Interval Exercise." Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: Post Acceptance: November 23, 2015. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001277