Anti-obesity effects of green tea: from bedside to bench

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2006 Feb;50(2):176-87. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200500102.


During the last decade, the traditional notion that green tea consumption benefits health has received significant scientific attention and, particularly, the areas of cardiovascular disease and cancer were subject to numerous studies. Due to the ever-growing obesity pandemic, the anti-obesity effects of green tea are being increasingly investigated in cell, animal, and human studies. Green tea, green tea catechins, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) have been demonstrated in cell culture and animal models of obesity to reduce adipocyte differentiation and proliferation, lipogenesis, fat mass, body weight, fat absorption, plasma levels of triglycerides, free fatty acids, cholesterol, glucose, insulin and leptin, as well as to increase beta-oxidation and thermogenesis. Adipose tissue, liver, intestine, and skeletal muscle are target organs of green tea, mediating its anti-obesity effects. Studies conducted with human subjects report reduced body weight and body fat, as well as increased fat oxidation and thermogenesis and thereby confirm findings in cell culture systems and animal models of obesity. There is still a need for well-designed and controlled clinical studies to validate the existing and encouraging human studies. Since EGCG is regarded as the most active component of green tea, its specific effects on obesity should also be investigated in human trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lipolysis / drug effects
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Thermogenesis / drug effects


  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • gallocatechol