What is matcha powder?
Matcha is essentially green tea, but is more concentrated. Matcha is the powder of green tea leaves. Instead of steeping your green tea (infusion) you can dissolve the powder in liquid making the green tea drink even more powerful.
One cup of brewed green tea contains about 50-100 mg catechins and 30-40 mg caffeine. One gram matcha powder (about 1/3 tsp) contains 105 mg catechins (of which 61 mg are EGCGs) and 35 mg caffeine (source). Usually drinks contain 1 tsp of matcha powder, so you get much more of these catechins and health benefits than consuming a green tea.
What are catechins?
Catechins belong to the group of phytonutrients called flavanols. These act as antioxidants in our body and have many health benefits (see below). Catechins also include: epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) (source).
Is Matcha Powder Good For Weight Loss?
Yes. In 2009, researchers reviewed 11 green tea studies and found that people who consume about 1-4 tsp matcha powder per day lost an average of 3 pounds over the course of 12 weeks.(source)
What are some matcha tea side effects and how much matcha should I drink?
Supplements or food additives like matcha are not regulated by the FDA. What that means is that it has not been studied and tested well enough yet. As a result, we don’t have a lot of information on side effects and the best directions to take it. With FDA approved medicine we know (because it has been thoroughly tested) how much of the substance will have a certain effect and what amount becomes dangerous or toxic to human bodies.
Most natural supplements simply don’t have these safety regulations, therefore, it is always a good idea to be cautious. The matcha I got from Amazon states one teaspoon equals 1/2 a cup of coffee. This gives you an idea of how much might be too much concerning the caffeine content.
But there are also some case reports of liver toxicity from matcha green tea supplementation (source). The problem with case studies is it could have happened to one person and we don’t know what other variables influenced the person’s health.
Scientific studies look at one group of people that ingest the supplements and compare this to a control group with people who don’t ingest the supplement, but they also control for other factors that could change results such as lifestyle.
In another study on weight loss, women ingested 856.8 mg of the green tea extract per day for 12 weeks without any side effects. (source)
So we really don’t have any clear guidelines here. In my personal opinion, I think 1/2 or 1 teaspoon per day should be fine but be sure to talk to your health care provider about this before use.
If you aren’t sure about matcha, you can simply enjoy good old fashioned green tea with similar health benefits. Drink your green tea as if you enjoy drinking tea, not as if it is a medicine.
Nutrition of 1 tsp Matcha Green Tea Powder
- 68 mg caffeine
- 100 IU vitamin A (4% DV)
- 0.4 mg iron (2%)
- 1 g fiber (4%)
- 1 g protein (2%)
- ~300 mg catechins
- High in antioxidants: 1,384 ORAC units per gram
Matcha Tea Health Benefits
The powerful substance in green tea responsible for weight loss is called ECGC (epigallocatechin gallate). But the green tea powder also comes with other health benefits like anti-cancer and anti-fungal properties while also increasing your chance of a longer life span:
“Green tea, one of the healthiest beverages we can drink, has been associated with about a 30 percent reduction in breast cancer risk, and may protect against gynecological malignancies, such as ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer, as well as lower our cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body fat.” (source)
Breast cancer prevention
A case-control study done in China between 2004 and 2005 looked at 1009 women with breast cancer and 1009 control subjects. While more in depth research is needed, the researchers came to this conclusion:
A large cohort study done by the department of health in Japan found: “Green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes and due to cardiovascular disease but not with reduced mortality due to cancer.” (source)
This study did not back up the claim that green tea reduces cancer risk, but they also studied all cancer. The study above on breast cancer protection is still relevant. Nevertheless, matcha green tea can help you live longer due to a reduction of all death-causes including cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the US (source).
33% reduced risk for diabetes
In a study done by the Department of Social and Environmental Health in Japan a total of 17,413 people were tested on the effects linked to diabetes from consuming coffee and black, green, and oolong teas. While the study had some limitations, the outcome shows a 33% reduced risk of diabetes with the consumption of coffee and green tea. No evidence was found with black tea or oolong tea (source).
Improved cognitive performance
A small study performed in the Netherlands showed matcha consumption can “induce slight effects on speed of attention and episodic secondary memory to a low degree.” They also found that consuming matcha in a drink had a better effect than the matcha snack bar (source).
Lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels
There is some evidence that drinking black and green tea may lower bad cholesterol levels and even reduce high blood pressure (source).
“Several large, population-based studies show that people who regularly drink black or green tea may be less likely to have heart attacks and strokes.”
5 Easy Matcha Recipes for Weight Loss
If you are wondering how to prepare the matcha green tea powder, here are some of my favorite easy recipes:
When to take matcha green tea powder for weight loss?
A small study showed enhanced exercise-induced fat oxidation in females who drank 3 matcha drinks per day the day before and one drink 2 hours before a 30 minute walk. (source).
This study shows us that it is beneficial to consume matcha before exercising, but we need exercise combined with matcha to improve fat oxidation.
“12 weeks of treatment with high-dose green tea extract resulted in significant weight loss, reduced waist circumference, and a consistent decrease in total cholesterol and LDL plasma levels without any side effects or adverse effects in women with central obesity” (source). Women were ingesting 856.8 mg of the green tea extract per day.
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