Does green tea help you lose weight? More specifically, does Mega T Green Tea help weight loss? That's the question I asked myself when I first saw Mega T Green Tea in stores and in TV commercials. For this review I went to the Mega Green Tea website and also investigated the company which makes this green tea supplement. I also searched for the weight loss evidence for Mega T Green Tea and the evidence for each of Mega T Green Tea's ingredients. Hopefully this review will help you make a better decision about green tea supplements.
Mega Green Tea Products
I will focus on the company's product most familiar product—Mega T Green Tea —but I quickly discovered on the product's website (mega-diet.com) that there are several versions of this green tea weight loss supplement. They are:
- Mega Green Tea with Acai
- Mega T Green Tea water pill
- Mega Green Tea packets
- Caffeine-free Mega Green Tea
Mega Green Tea Ingredients
According to the product's website (mega-diet.com) Mega T Green Tea has these ingredients:
|Calcium carbonate||100 mg|
|Proprietary blend 750 mg|
|Green tea leaf extract|
|Eleuthero root extract|
|Fo ti root|
|Guarana seed extract|
The first thing to understand is that there is no published peer reviewed evidence for either Mega T Green Tea or its proprietary blend of ingredients. I know this is true because when I searched the National Library of Medicine for “Mega T Green Tea” and “Mega Green Tea” no studies showed up. Another issue I noticed was that I could not tell how much actual green tea is in Mega T Green Tea.
So, since the product itself seems to have no direct proof, let's look at the weight loss research on the ingredients in Mega T Green Tea and see what we can find.
Does calcium help you lose weight? Well, one 10-year-long study noted that people who consumed more calcium tended to weigh less. The trend was stronger for women than men so in men calcium might not work. One problem with the idea of calcium and weight loss is that other research finds that calcium does not help people lose weight.
While the issue of calcium works or not is a totally different problem, one thing to consider is that Mega T Green Tea does not provide a lot of calcium —only 100 mg per pill (or 300 mg if you take the suggested 3 pills per day). Either way, I'm generally not too impressed with the weight loss evidence I see for calcium supplements.
Tip. For comparison, one 8 oz cup of milk also has about 300 mg of calcium.
Many weight loss supplements contain chromium. Just a few that I've already investigated include QuickTrim, Avesil, and Fat Stripper. This is ironic because there is a bunch of research showing chromium supplements do not help weight loss.
Chromium may help blood sugar levels in those with diabetes, so that I can understand. Maybe they add it because we get hungry when our blood sugar falls and anything that helps keep our blood sugar from dropping might stop us from overeating? Ok—maybe—but as for chromium causing weight loss— I just don't buy it.
Here's my review of chromium and weight loss. Notice how many studies found it doesn't work.
The proprietary blend in Mega Green Tea has several ingredients. We are not told how much each contributes to the blend, only that the total adds up to 750 mg. For this review, I will assume that the proprietary blend contains more of the ingredients listed at the top and less of those listed last.
Green Tea Leaf Extract
They don't tell us what green tea extract is in Mega T Green Tea. Even though they did not say it, I will assume that they are using the extract called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), as this green tea extract has been studied for weight loss.
In one EGCG weight loss study from 2002, the EGCG extract was given to overweight people for 3 months. Researchers noted that EGCG caused a 4.6% drop in body weight, and waist circumference decreased by 4.48%.
Another study from 2011 noted that EGCG reduced body fat in mice fed a high fat diet. One study has noted that green tea extract given WITHOUT caffeine does not seem to help weight loss. In other words, caffeine seems to be needed if green tea extract /EGCG is going to work. Keep this in mind as you read the rest of the ingredients in Mega T Green Tea.
One problem I see with green tea weight loss research is that most of it seems to involve lab rat experiments. Where is all the human research?
In this 12-week long human study from 2015 titled, Long-Term Green Tea Extract Supplementation Does Not Affect Fat Absorption, Resting Energy Expenditure, and Body Composition in Adults, green tea supplements did not cause people to lose weight or increase their metabolism. The study lasted 3 months, long enough to see if green tea worked or not.
Caffeine has a mild fat burning effect. This is why so many fat burner supplements contain caffeine. Also, as just mentioned, caffeine seems to be needed if green tea /EGCG is going to help weight loss. How much caffeine is in Mega T Green Tea? They don't specifically tell us on the product website, so I called CCA Industries—the company that makes Mega T Green Tea—and was told that 1 capsule contains 50 mg.
Eleuthero Root Extract
Another name for this ingredient is Siberian ginseng. Many extracts are in Siberian ginseng but, again, which extract does Mega Green Tea have? They don't tell us, which makes reviewing this ingredient difficult.
I can say that I was not able to locate any Eleuthero root – weight – loss research. I've often seen this stuff in energy drinks and sports drinks, although research has noted that Eleuthero root does not help people exercise better.
Fo Ti Root
The scientific name for Fo ti is Polygonum multiflorum. I was not able to find any human research on fo ti root and weight loss. Most of the research I saw involved test tubes studies. There are human case reports of fo ti being linked to liver damage including hepatitis. Because fo ti was used in supplements alongside other ingredients, it is not known if fo ti caused liver problems or if it was something else.
See my review of Super Beta Prostate for more info on this.
This is likely garcinia cambogia which also goes by the name hydroxy citric acid (HCA). Just a few other garcinia cambogia containing supplements that I've already looked at include Healthe Trim, Plexus Slim and the diabetes supplement Diab-X.
For more information see my review of Garcinia weight loss research.
In one study of garcinia and weight loss from 2001, garcinia cambogia didn't seem to work. Two problems with this study were that the study only lasted 2 weeks and involved only 11 people. But, it did use 500 mg of garcinia cambogia. I'm guessing this is more than is in Mega T Green Tea because garcinia is listed #5 in the proprietary blend list and the total amount of ingredients only adds up to 750 mg. I admit, I could be wrong on this point though since we are not told how much garcinia is in Mega T Green Tea supplements.
In a larger garcinia weight loss study from 1998 involving 135 overweight people, garcinia cambogia also was found not to work . This study lasted 3 months.
In a more recent weight loss study published in 2011, 86 overweight men and women were randomly given either garcinia cambogia or soybean extract (glycine max) or a placebo for 10 weeks. This study found that neither garcinia cambogia extract or soybean extract caused any significant weight loss or reduction in cholesterol levels.
On the flip side, in a meta analysis review of garcinia cambogia and weight loss published in 2011 in the Journal of Obesity, researchers noted that there was some evidence that garcinia cambogia might help weight loss, but also noted that the effect was likely to be small and that more research was needed.
It should be pointed out that this review did not include any actual / original human research. Rather, the researchers looked at previous studies and attempted to determine—through statistics—if the overall bulk of research to date on garcinia cambogia showed that an actual weight loss effect really existed. They felt that a small weight loss effect might exist. studies such as this are good but are also sometimes hindered by the quality of studies that preceded it. This is why the researchers stated that more (i.e. better) research was needed to determine if garcinia really works or not.
Note. Garcinia cambogia is not without controversy. In 2009 the FDA highlighted garcinia cambogia as possibly being responsible for cases of liver failure associated with Hydroxycut. Here is a PDF of an FDA article on Hydroxycut and here is the letter from the FDA to Iovate Health Sciences International, the maker of Hydroxycut. I believe Hydroxycut no longer contains garcinia cambogia.
Guarana Seed Extract
My guess is that the extract is probably caffeine. Guarana contains caffeine.
In other supplements this ingredient is called Fucoidan and its scientific name is Fucus vesiculosus (just in case you research this stuff in the future).
So why would kelp be used in a weight loss supplement? Well, kelp contains iodine and, as mentioned above, iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone, in turn, helps regulate metabolism. A lack of iodine in the diet may cause hypothyroidism, which makes it hard to lose weight.
One study from 1987 that lasted 2 years noted that bladderwrack kelp along with various other vitamins etc. did not help people lose weight. Unfortunately, I was not able to locate any other research on kelp and weight loss. This is too bad because I've noticed that kelp and iodine are showing up a LOT in weight loss and health supplements.
How To Test Your Iodine Levels
As was reported in the book, The Fatigue Solution, by endocrinologist, Dr Eva Cwynar it's possible to see if you are low in iodine. Get some USP tincture of iodine (not the clear version) and paint a 3 inch circle on your skin. The skin will look red/orange when you apply the iodine tincture. If the color disappears in 1-3 hours, you may be lacking in iodine. If, it takes 4-6 hours for the color to go away, your iodine levels are probably OK. Here is tincture of iodine on Amazon.com. Remember, do not drink this brand of iodine! If you feel you are deficient in iodine, go to your doctor for a more accurate test of your iodine levels.
The scientific name for gotu kola is Centella asiatica. Like all herbs, people say gotu kola helps a lot of different conditions. That said, I could not locate any weight loss research for gotu kola. Gotu kola might have a calming effect on the brain. I speculate that this may be why it's used in Mega T Green Tea. In other words, if we are more calm, we might not eat when over stressed by life? Again, I'm guessing at this.
Tip. The word “kola” in gotu kola always reminds me of caffeine-containing colas, however gotu kola does not contain caffeine.
How Much Caffeine Is In Mega T Green Tea?
When I called the makers of Mega T Green Tea—CCA Industries—I was told each casual has 50 milligrams of caffeine. Originally, I was told that it had the same as a cup of coffee but caffeine content of coffee can vary. I'll assume it has 50 mg of caffeine until I'm learn otherwise.
The “Best Weight Loss Evidence”
When taken as a whole, I see the “best” weight loss evidence for these ingredients:
- Green tea (EGCG) maybe (I'm skeptical)
I am listing these ingredients so people can better pinpoint the ingredients that might do the most as far as weight loss is concerned. But, keep in mind that the “evidence” on these ingredients is far from what I would call “concrete” or “it's going to work.” Remember also that research, so far, seems to show that EGCG might not work unless its combined with caffeine.
If this really is the true, then it's caffeine —alone —that may be the major weight loss ingredient in Mega T Green Tea. Of course this is speculation on my part. I base this statement on the research I see and the fact that Mega T Green Tea itself seems to have no published peer reviewed proof that it works.
Other Types Of Mega T Green Tea
I noticed that the decaffeinated Mega T Green Tea has 50 micrograms iodine. I'm guessing that they have added this mineral because we need iodine to produce thyroid hormone (also called T3 and T4). So the idea is that if you eat more iodine, then you might make more thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone in turn, helps you burn more calories. So, would iodine supplements speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight? Well, maybe a little, if you were deficient in iodine— but if you are not deficient I don't think so. I could be wrong on this. Either way, consider getting your iodine levels checked by your doctor to be sure.
As for Mega Green Tea with Acai, I see no published peer reviewed proof that Acai berry helps people lose weight. Acai is a trendy ingredient in several weight loss products. For more on Acai see my reviews on Acai Berry itself as well as the Acai Berry Diet and the Acai health drink, MonaVie.
Who Makes Mega T Green Tea?
The company is called CCA Industries and it is located at 200 Murray Hill Parkway, East Rutherford, NJ 07073. Their phone # is (201) 935-3232. CCA Industries makes a variety of health and beauty aids and the company is also a publicly traded stock with the symbol “CAW”. According to the Better Business Bureau, CCA Industries was started in 1983 and it has a BBB rating of “A +” as of 3/26/12.
Green Tea Side Effects
Since Mega T Green Tea has not itself been tested in peer reviewed research, side effects are really not known. What I will mention here stems from what researchers think might happen, based on rational thought and case studies of other products that contained similar ingredients. Side effects of the ingredients in Mega T Green Tea do not necessarily mean that the same thing would happen with Mega T Green Tea itself.
As an aside, when I called CCA Industries – the company that makes Mega T Green Tea, their voice recording does make a reference to “contact extension 299” if you are experiencing a “medical emergency.” I'm going to assume they do this because anything is possible when millions of people take their products. In other words, it sounds to me like a precaution “just in case.” If I'm right, then what they are doing is smart thinking.
Since Mega T Green Tea has caffeine it may cause jittery feelings in those not used to caffeine. It will probably interfere with sleep if you take it close to bedtime.
There have been case reports of fo ti-containing supplements causing liver problems including hepatitis. Whether it was fo ti itself that caused hepatitis or other ingredients in the product is not known. I also want to be clear that as of this review, I am not aware of any proof that Mega T Green Tea causes any liver problems – or any harmful side effects for that matter.
Fo ti may interact with many different medications including but not limited to diabetes medications and blood thinners although there is no strong peer reviewed proof of this currently. Fo ti also appears to have estrogen-like activity. As such, people with cancers that are sensitive to estrogen level fluctuations such as breast cancer should see their doctor before using fo ti products.
There is a possible link between garcinia cambogia and liver problems.
There are case reports of gotu kola and liver problems but so far no published peer reviewed clinical trials seem to exists to substantiate this. The same lack of direct proof can be said for garcinia cambogia and fo ti as well.
Because kelp has iodine, consuming too much iodine could cause hyperthyroidism. Kelp is listed almost at the end of the proprietary blend ingredients so Mega Green Tea probably does not have much iodine. Still, the iodine in the product would add to any other iodine consumed normally in the diet. There may be other metals in kelp that may be dangerous if consumed in high amounts.
Does It Work?
I personally, would like to see a head-to-head comparison of the weight loss power between Mega T Green Tea and regular green tea (even Lipton Green Tea). While I think for the most part, the ingredients in Mega T Green Tea are tame compared other products I've reviewed previously, what I see about liver problems and fo ti, and gotu kola make me go hmmm.
What I did like about the Mega Tea website is that they emphasized the role of exercise and healthy foods and even stress reduction. I also liked that they said that taking more of the green tea supplement would not speed up weight loss. I suggest that people who take any medications or who have health issues see their doctor before using Mega T Green Tea. Write down the ingredients and show them to your doctor and let the doctor make the call on whether this green tea supplement is ok for you. Or just drink green tea instead. For those interested and want to compare prices, here is Mega T Green Tea on Amazon.