Why Endurance Athletes Should Avoid Green Tea

EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses how drinking green tea or consuming products with green tea extract can impair adaptations to endurance exercise and decrease carbohydrate absorption in runners, cyclists, and OCR athletes.

Video Transcription:

Green Tea Impairs Carbohydrate Absorption In Runners And Cyclists

I'm a little teapot short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout. Good morning, family of fast. Matt Mosman, the Chief Endurance Officer over at EndurElite. What comes to your mind when I say green tea? I'm guessing you're probably thinking things like healthy, antioxidants, may prevent certain diseases, but what if I told you what also comes to my mind is impairs adaptations to endurance exercise and can inhibit carbohydrate absorption. Would you be like, "Hmm, should I really be drinking green tea?"

Now, full disclosure, there are definitely many health benefits to consuming green tea, but as an endurance athlete, I would be a little bit cautious of consuming green tea or products containing green tea extract before and after endurance exercise, and here's why.

It Impairs Adaptations To Endurance Exercise

From previous videos, we know that green tea can decrease the inflammation response after endurance exercise, and that's not necessarily something we want to do because decreasing that inflammatory response can actually impair adaptations to endurance exercise.

So if you wanna see that video, go on over to the YouTube channel and you can check out all the science behind that.

It Impairs Carbohydrate Absorption

But something came across my desk the other day that I found really interesting and it was a study that showed drinking green tea in conjunction with a meal, actually decreased carbohydrate absorption. And here's kind of the quick and dirty on the study. The researchers took a group of 25 people and they split them into a group that received the green tea and a placebo group.

Now, the green tea group got 4 grams of green tea containing 258 milligrams of something called EGCG, which is a bioactive plant polyphenol found in green tea. So, green tea group, placebo group. They had the subjects either drink the green tea or the placebo and then consume a carbohydrate meal, which was actually cornflakes because, man, cornflakes are awesome, that contained 37 grams of carbohydrates.

So, after they drank the green tea, consumed the carbohydrates, they monitored the subjects over the next four hours. And basically, what they did is they hooked them up to a device that measured breath hydrogen and 13 C02 concentrations. Now, this sounds overly fancy, but basically what this determiner, what this device did was measure how much of the carbohydrate was being absorbed by the body.

So, after the four hour period, they analyzed all the data and what they found is the group that consumed the green tea before having the higher carbohydrate meal, had higher concentrations in the breadth of hydrogen and 13 CO2 which indicates malabsorption of carbohydrate.

Now, this number is pretty fascinating. They found that the group that consumed the green tea extract, the carbohydrate absorption was impaired by a whopping 30% compared to the placebo group. So very, very significant.

The Bottom Line On Green Tea And Endurance Athletes

So what's really the take-home point for endurance athletes here? If you're one of those endurance athletes that has a cup of green tea in the morning with your breakfast and then you go out for a run, a bike ride a little bit later, I would probably stop that right away because that is affecting how many or how much carbohydrates your body can absorb.

And then when you go out to exercise, if there's a 30% decrease, that's that much less carbohydrate that can be used during endurance exercise, which we all know carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel during running, cycling, OCR, and other endurance activities. And on the same token too, I would probably avoid having green tea immediately after exercise so it doesn't impair adaptations.

So, as an endurance athlete, I would again avoid taking or drinking green tea or consuming products that contain green tea extract altogether because it is gonna impair carbohydrate absorption and less carbs to the body, basically, is cheating your endurance gains.

So, that is about all I have for green tea. I honestly would just skip it and drink coffee instead before endurance exercise, but I'm American and I like coffee. If you have a green tea-loving friend, please share this video with them. If you want other videos like this, head on over to the EndurElite YouTube channel or the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com. Get social with this on Instagram and the EndurElite Training & Nutrition Club Facebook page. And until next time, my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.