Yerba Mate Weight Loss
Does It Work?

Can drinking yerba mate help you shed pounds? A look at the science behind yerba mate weight loss.

Yerba mate is a South American beverage that is now gaining in popularity around the world.

Why are so many people excited about it? The primary reason is the perceived health benefits, including weight loss!

Of course, people will buy just about anything if it might help them lose weight without any effort. Many herbs have been promoted , but only a few, like green tea, have actually been shown to work.

So, what about yerba mate? Does yerba mate weight loss work?

There have been a few promising studies, but as of yet, nothing definitive has been published.

Yerba Mate Weight Loss Study #1:
Burn More Fat

A 1999 study conducted by researchers at the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland reviewed several different “weight loss herbs,” including yerba mate for energy expenditure.

After administering yerba mate to the test subjects, the subjects' respiratory quotient dropped, indicating that their bodies were oxidizing more fat.

The researchers concluded that yerba mate deserved further study as a weight loss aid. However, they noted that none of the supplements given caused any significant increase in energy expenditure - not even yerba mate.

Yerba Mate Weight Loss Study #2:
Reduce Weight Gain

A 2009 study published by researchers from the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil was designed to see if yerba mate could help fight obesity in mice.

The results of this study were more promising: mice fed a high-fat diet and then given yerba mate saw a reduced weight gain, and their cholesterol and blood sugar levels went back to near normal levels.

The researchers concluded that yerba mate exhibits “potent antiobesity activity in vivo” and that is has “a modulatory effect on the expression of several genes related to obesity.”

Yerba Mate Weight Loss Study #3:
Reduce Hunger

A 2001 study from researchers in Denmark looked at the weight loss potential of an herbal supplement that used yerba mate in conjunction with guarana and damiana, and found that the combination decreased the rate of gastric emptying for test subjects, so they felt full longer.

Here's what they said:

The herbal preparation ... significantly delayed gastric emptying, reduced the time to perceived gastric fullness and induced significant weight loss over 45 days in overweight patients treated in a primary health care context.

However, the experiment did not look at the effects of yerba mate alone.


The practice of using yerba mate for weight loss does have some evidence behind it, but there is not enough to be conclusive.

Drinking a lot of just about any beverage in between meals can help keep you from feeling hungry and overeating. If you like yerba mate, go ahead and drink it. The caffeine in the beverage will definitely give you a little pick-me-up.

However, do not expect yerba mate to be a magic bullet. When it comes to weight loss, magic bullets do not exist.

Also, if weight loss is your goal, you might consider drinking green tea instead. There is a lot more evidence to support using green tea for weight loss than there is to support yerba mate weight loss, and green tea has fewer potential downsides, too.


Martinet A, Hostettmann K, Schutz Y (1999). Thermogenic effects of commercially available plant preparations aimed at treating human obesity. Phytomedicine. 1999 Oct;6(4):231-8.

Andersen T, Fogh J (2001). Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a South American herbal preparation in overweight patients. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Jun;14(3):243-50.

Arçari DP, Bartchewsky W, dos Santos TW, Oliveira KA, Funck A, Pedrazzoli J, de Souza MF, Saad MJ, Bastos DH, Gambero A, Carvalho Pde O, Ribeiro ML (2009). “Antiobesity Effects of yerba maté Extract (Ilex paraguariensis) in High-fat Diet-induced Obese Mice.” Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Dec;17(12):2127-33. Epub 2009 May 14.

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