CONSUMER REPORTS: Is green tea safe for weight loss?

Published: Mar. 17, 2017 at 2:24 PM MDT
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You may have heard that green tea can be good for your heart, but don't confuse a cup of tea with green tea extract powder. Some supplements containing the ingredient are promising weight loss and a healthier metabolism, but the experts at Consumer Reports have concerns.

Jeneen Interlandi with Consumer Reports said, "Higher concentrations of green tea extract can be really dangerous because it can potentially cause serious liver damage. Plus the herb itself has been found to alter the effectiveness of a long list of drugs including certain antidepressants and anti-clotting medications."

It can also elevate your heart rate and blood pressure. Researchers suggest that up to 10 percent of people who suffer acute liver failure from green tea extract may die as a result. Consumer Reports put green tea extract powder on its list of 15 supplement ingredients to avoid.

Interlandi says, "The manufacturers who make these supplements are not required to prove to federal regulators that their products are safe, that they're effective, or even that they are accurately labeled, so you really don't know what you're buying."

Studies have also found that even in high doses, green tea probably won't help you lose weight.

"It's true that green tea can raise your metabolic rate, so you burn more calories, but that's probably just due to its caffeine and catechins it contains," said Interlandi. "Catechins are antioxidants that are found in green tea."

Consumer Reports says most people can reap the health benefits of green tea with a couple of cups a day.

Consumer Reports has long advocated for measures that would improve supplement safety and give the FDA greater authority to remove potentially harmful dietary supplements from the marketplace.

For now,