6 best teas for weight loss, according to science

Raagini Yedidi, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Raagini Yedidi, MD, 

Written by Kirsten Nunez 

Raagini Yedidi, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Raagini Yedidi, MD, 

Written by Kirsten Nunez 

last updated: Jul 08, 2024

6 min read

If weight loss is one of your health goals, sipping on certain unsweetened  teas might help you in your journey—especially when incorporated into a balanced and healthy diet. While some teas contain compounds that can promote fat burn, others may target oxidative stress and inflammation, two processes often involved in weight gain. And those are only two reasons why certain varieties have been deemed “the best teas for weight loss.” 

So, what are those exactly? Ahead, learn all about the best teas for weight loss and how they may help you meet your goals.

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6 best teas for weight loss

1. Green tea

Green tea is one of the top teas for weight loss. It’s packed with antioxidants, particularly catechins. A quick science lesson: Antioxidants are beneficial molecules that fight free radicals to ultimately reduce oxidative stress. This can be particularly helpful for losing and managing weight since oxidative stress can contribute to obesity. In fact, research has found that the catechins and caffeine in green tea can also boost metabolism, which can increase the body’s ability to burn calories and lead to weight loss.

2. Black tea

Drinking black tea for weight loss can have its merits. The beverage is packed with polyphenols, a type of plant compound with antioxidant properties. In other words, polyphenols  can be especially effective at combating oxidative stress, a factor that is often involved in obesity and weight gain. What’s more, research has found that these antioxidant-esque compounds in black tea can decrease fat and sugar digestion. This can potentially reduce how many calories your body absorbs, paving the way for potential weight loss.

Black tea is also high in caffeine, which has been shown to support fat burn. In fact, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), black tea contains more caffeine than green tea; an 8-ounce cup of black tea contains 48 mg of caffeine while the same amount of green tea contains nearly 29 mg.  So, if you’re looking for one of the best teas for weight loss tea and a boost of energy, black tea might fit the bill.

3. Ginger tea

Known for its zesty and spicy flavor, ginger tea can be considered another beneficial tea for weight loss, largely because of gingerol, the main compound found in ginger. Gingerol boasts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and blood glucose-lowering properties, making it (and, thus, ginger tea) particularly powerful at fighting oxidative stress, inflammation and high blood sugar—all of which can contribute to obesity and weight gain. 

But that’s not all gingerol may be able to do in terms of promoting weight loss. According to a 2019 lab study, the compound may be able to boost metabolism by acting on cellular pathways. Plus, a 2023 animal study found that gingerol can lower adipogenesis (i.e. the buildup of fat cells) by reducing the activity of genes involved in the process. However, it’s worth noting that these studies didn’t involve people, so more research on the weight loss effects of gingerol (and ginger tea) in humans. 

4. Hibiscus tea

If you enjoy bright and tart flavors, hibiscus tea might deserve a spot in your weight management routine. That’s because the drink contains anthocyanins, aka plant pigments with potent antioxidant properties. In addition to fighting oxidative stress—which, again, can be involved in obesity and weight gain—anthocyanins might reduce carbohydrate absorption by inhibiting enzymes that break down carbohydrates. This may decrease how many calories your body takes up from carbs, possibly reducing overall body weight.

But that’s not all: Anthocyanins have been shown to lower lipogenesis (the production of fats) and increase lipolysis (the breakdown of fats), resulting in boosted metabolism and weight loss. They can also slow down the activity of pancreatic lipase enzyme, a protein that breaks down fat in your diet to prepare for fat absorption. As a result, anthocyanins (and hibiscus tea) may decrease how much fat—and thus calories—are absorbed in the body, helping to support weight loss.

5. Rooibos tea

As a rich source of antioxidants, rooibos tea may promote weight loss by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, which, as you (hopefully) know at this point, are two processes involved in weight gain. Rooibos tea has also been found to reduce adipogenesis (i.e. the formation of fat cells), potentially decreasing overall accumulation of body fat . 

Plus, the herbal tea is a calorie-free drink with a slightly sweet flavor. This makes it an ideal swap for sugar-sweetened beverages, which tend to be high in calories. Drinking too much of the latter can lead to weight gain, and sipping on zero-calorie alternatives—like rooibos tea—can help manage weight.

6. Oolong tea

Last on this list of the best teas for weight loss is oolong tea: a traditional Chinese tea that’s full of disease-fighting antioxidants, which can reduce risk factors associated with obesity, including oxidative stress and inflammation. There’s also some evidence that the drink may be able to decrease the buildup of fat tissues, potentially helping weight loss. The only catch? Most of the studies examining the link between oolong tea and weight involve rats. So more research on humans is needed to truly determine oolong’s tea benefits for weight loss. 

Teas for weight loss vs. weight loss teas

Teas that support potential weight loss, such as those listed above, are very different from the “weight loss teas” you might see on social media. Also known as “detox teas” or “teatoxes,” these herbal drinks are marketed specifically for weight loss, but can have a  diuretic effect or even contain laxatives such as sennosides, according to Johanna P. Salazar, MS, RDN, registered dietitian. This means they promote urination and bowel movements, respectively, which can lead to temporary weight loss by removing water and waste from the body.

So what are in weight loss teas, exactly? The exact ingredients depend on the product, but “some [are] green tea extract, dandelion, peppermint, licorice, senna, and fennel,” says Salazar. These teas are also associated with many risks. For starters, since herbal products are considered supplements, they’re not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Meaning, they don’t have to go through the same rigorous testing, and  as such, it’s difficult to know if they’re safe or effective. Some detox teas have even been found to contain potentially harmful ingredients, such as sibutramine, a controlled substance that was removed from the market in October 2010 for safety reasons. (It’s known to “substantially” increase blood pressure and pulse rate in some patients, pose significant risk for people with a history of heart disease or stroke, and may dangerously interact with other medications, according to the FDA.)

Due to their diuretic and laxative properties, these “detox teas” can also  negatively affect the gastrointestinal system, says Salazar. What’s more, laxative-induced bowel movements can rid the body of essential electrolytes, such as sodium potassium, chloride, and magnesium, which are crucial for maintaining blood pressure and hydration, she explains. Overall, the research on weight loss or detox teas is lacking, but they are unregulated by the FDA and could potentially have harmful effects. 

Other ways to lose weight safely 

  • Eat a balanced diet. Focus on eating a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein (think: chicken and fish), and sources of healthy fats. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide antioxidants and vitamins to support healthy metabolism. They also contain fiber, an essential nutrient that increases satiety, keeping you fuller longer and potentially promoting weight loss. Lean protein and healthy fat also boost satiety, further helping your weight loss efforts. 

  • Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep has been shown to reduce leptin (the satiety hormone) and increase ghrelin (the hunger hormone), leading to a bigger appetite and weight gain. To support healthy weight, try to get 7–9 hours of shut-eye per night.

  • Practice stress management. Mental and emotional stress can increase oxidative stress and inflammation, fueling the possibility of weight gain. Try to prioritize stress management techniques, such as meditation, journaling, and deep breathing.

  • Stay hydrated. The body needs water to support healthy metabolism, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Plus, thirst can be mistaken for hunger in some people, so regularly drinking water will help curb your appetite. Of course, there is such a thing as drinking too much water, so consult a healthcare provider before drastically changing your water consumption.  

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is a key component of any weight management routine, as regular physical activity can support weight loss by burning calories. It’s recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) per week. Additionally, aim to do strength training at least twice a week, which will help build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest.

  • Consult a pro. For even more support, consider making an appointment with a healthcare provider to discuss additional steps you can take to meet your weight loss goals, such as taking certain medications like  Wegovy (semaglutide) and Zepbound (tirzepatide)—both of which are FDA-approved for weight management in obese individuals or overweight individuals with a weight-related additional  health condition. Through Ro, for example, your provider will first review your health history and weight loss goals and potentially order a lab test to best determine if you’re eligible for medication. If so, they’ll then customize a program with prescription treatment according to your unique biology. 

Wegovy Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Zepbound Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Bottom line

On their own, the aforementioned teas aren’t magic bullets for weight loss. But when part of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and an all-around healthy lifestyle, they may help support your weight loss goals. Just remember to consult a healthcare provider before you start sipping anything new, as some contain caffeine and others might interact with certain drugs.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

July 08, 2024

Written by

Kirsten Nunez

Fact checked by

Raagini Yedidi, MD

About the medical reviewer

Raagini Yedidi, MD, is an internal medicine resident and medical reviewer for Ro.

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