There are many health claims about many different things on the internet these days, so it’s reasonable to be skeptical about this bold statement. However, we recommend looking at the scientific research for yourself.
A 2005 double-blind study concluded that green tea has a positive impact on both body fat and unhealthy LDL cholesterol. The study focused on Body Mass Index (BMI) and found that the amount of LDL in the blood stream also decreased alongside BMI among the test subjects who drank green tea.
A 2003 study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center specifically focused on the impact of green tea on cholesterol and the results amazed lead author Dr. David J. Maron: “I expected a very slight effect. But what we saw was a 16% reduction in LDL cholesterol.” This study used a green tea extract rather than have the subjects drink freshly brewed green tea. We do not recommend this approach because it may limit some of the other health benefits of green tea, but we bring it up because it may account for the surprising magnitude of the reduction in cholesterol.
A large population of almost 14,000 men and women in a specific area of Japan found that the 87% who regularly drank green tea had lower LDL and total cholesterol than those who did not. The relationship between the amount of tea each person consumed and the reduction in cholesterol is shown in the chart in this summary of that study.
Summaries of Studies
Any individual study, even of a large number of people, can be flawed and reach an incorrect conclusion for a variety of reasons. This is why researchers conduct reviews of multiple studies. One review of several studies, done by the University of Maryland Medical Center, on green tea itself is worth quoting at length:
Research shows that green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol in both animals and people. One population-based study found that men who drink green tea are more likely to have lower total cholesterol than those who do not drink green tea. In another small study of male smokers, researchers found that green tea significantly reduced blood levels of harmful LDL (bad) cholesterol.
These positive impacts continue to be well-documented by “more research,” which researchers always seem to recommend. A systematic review of 20 randomized clinical trials (RCT) released in 2014, involving 1,536 participants, concluded definitively that green tea "results in significant reductions" in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Conclusions from Studies
Definitive studies like these have led reputable organizations such as the AARP to recommend drinking green tea as a way for its members to lower cholesterol. Naturally, we agree.
We think a healthy, reasonable skepticism is an intelligent reaction to claims made by any "super food." It is even more understandable if the website making the claim also sells the product, like we do here:)
Our hope is that this quick summary of the scientific literature on the topic helps you understand why we made our headline so clear. It is an established scientific fact that green tea does reduce cholesterol.