A new study suggests that green tea could help people to lose weight, if combined with exercise. The research was led by Dr Justin Roberts of Anglia Ruskin University and is published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

The researchers tested a capsule of decaffeinated green tea extract on 14 recreationally-active men, with an average age of 21. Seven volunteers took the green tea capsule each day for four weeks and seven were given a placebo.

Each capsule contained 571mg of decaffeinated green tea extract. This study is the first time decaffeinated green tea has been used in tests focusing on weight loss and performance, removing any potential effects of caffeine.

During the trial the researchers found that body fat reduced by 1.63% compared to the placebo group, while fat oxidation rates increased by 25%.

The 14 participants were required to cycle for one hour, three times per week. Those taking the green tea extract saw their performance increase by 10.9% over the four week period, increasing the distance covered from an average of 20.2km to 22.4km.

Dr Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, said: "It is known that green tea as a drink can have numerous health benefits as it contains a relatively high amount of an ingredient called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate).

"However, to get the dosage required may require close to 6 or 7 cups of green tea a day. The 571mg capsules tested contained a daily EGCG dose of 400mg.

"In essence, our study showed that the use of a green tea extract could potentially help people to lose weight, if combined with exercise. However, we recognise that a larger scale study is now required."