A Zero-Carb Fat-Burning Protein Jello

Protein Jelly RecipeThose of you who go to the gym and are looking to maximize the quality of your workouts and/or shed some fat, probably take in BCAAs – branch-chained amino acids. What are BCAAs? They’re essential amino acids that include valine, leucine, and isoleucine. They’re called ‘branched-chained’ amino acids because their molecular structures are branched, in case you were wondering.

According to Dr. Layne Norton (who by the way guest-posted a Protein Brownie recipe here at Protein Pow), “BCAAs are especially helpful for maintaining muscle mass while on a calorie-deficit diet” (bb.com, 2012). Indeed, he writes, “new studies have shown that dieting groups supplementing with BCAAs… increase muscle retention and maximize fat loss much more effectively than non-supplemented groups” (ibid). Charles Paloquin too raves about BCAAs and embues them with all sorts of magical properties (check it). 

BCAAs are commonly consumed before, during, and after training. BCAAs are also consumed by a lot of people who are fans of (intermittent) fasting – as a way to prevent muscle breakdown and stimulate protein synthesis peri-workout when training in a fasted state. 

But enough about BCAAs because that’s not the magical ingredient I was referring to on facebook. No, the magical ingredient is even more solidly-backed by data as an effective fat-burning powerhouse. What is it? I’ll give you four clues:

Clue 1: This ingredient features in a LOT (if not ALL) ‘diet’ supplements out there – including protein powders – because it of its incontestable fat-burning properties. 

Clue 2: It’s an ingredient that many believe should be part of everyone’s healthy diet. 

Clue 3: It’s an ingredient that you’re bound to have in your cupboard (and if you don’t, hey! why don’t you?) 

Clue 4: It’s an ingredient has been linked to a lot of ‘miraculous’ claims, many of them ridiculous but several of them backed by actual research (I’ve included a list of good articles at the bottom of this post).

Did you guess the right answer?

It’s green tea. Yuhoo, green tea. I made this jello (or jelly) with couple of cups of green tea :-) In fact, all it contains is green tea + BCAAs + gelatine. It’s an absolute power-snack! Tasty, filling, BCAA-packed, antioxindant-rich, and mmm… delicious


1 pint boiling water (568ml)
1 bag green tea bag (or two)
2 scoops BCAAs
1 pack unflavored powdered gelatin (11g) I use Dymatize Nutrition Elite Recoup – grape – because I love the flavor and it’s higher in B-vits than other BCAA pows out there but you can obviously use whichever BCAA powder you have around.


1. You make yourself a big cup of tea with a pint (568ml) of almost-boiling water. After a minute, you ‘de-bag’ it, and whisk the tea with the gelatine and BCAAs. Whisk it until everything is well-dissolved and then divide the mixture into four glasses, bowls, or ramekins.

2. Leave it to set in the fridge overnight and… kaPOW! Done. Your very own BCAA Green Tea Jello (or Jelly), ready to be munched before or after your workout or on a rest day after, for example, leg day, when DOMs is wrecking havoc with your ability to walk and you wish you lived in a world where you could get one of these

Macros per serving (out of 4):

6g protein
0 carbs
0 fat

PS: Try this with different varieties of green tea; e.g. sencha, genmaicha (my all time favorite!), kukicha, houjicha, long jing, and gyokuro all work wonderfully well. You can also use flavored green teas like jasmine green tea, mint green tea, citrucy green teas, green teas with honey, with berries, etc!

 Note – some interesting research on the health benefits of green tea

Auvichayapat et al (2008) Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial. In Physiol Behav, 27;93(3):486-91.

Adhami VM, Siddiqui IA, Ahmad N, Gupta S, Mukhtar H. (2004) Oral consumption of green tea polyphenols inhibits insulin-like growth factor-I-induced signaling in an autochthonous mouse model of prostate cancer. Cancer Res, 1;64(23):8715-22. 2004. PMID:15574782.

Azam S, Hadi N, Khan NU, Hadi SM. (2004) Prooxidant property of green tea polyphenols epicatechin and epigallocatechin-3-gallate: implications for anticancer properties. Toxicol In Vitro, 18(5):555-61.

BBC Health News (2005). Green tea ‘may protect the heart. 2005/02/28, http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/4298403.stm.

Chen D, Daniel KG, Kuhn DJ, Kazi A, Bhuiyan M, Li L, Wang Z, Wan SB, Lam WH, Chan TH, Dou QP. (2004) Green tea and tea polyphenols in cancer prevention. Front Biosci, 9:2618-31.

Coimbra S, Castro E, Rocha-Pereira P, Rebelo I, Rocha S, Santos-Silva A. (2006). The effect of green tea in oxidative stress.Clin Nutr, (5):790-6.

Coimbra S, Santos-Silva A, Rocha-Pereira P, Rocha S, Castro E. (2006) Green tea consumption improves plasma lipid profiles in adults. Nutr Res, 26(11):604-7.

Devine A, Hodgson JM, Dick IM, Prince RL. (2007) Tea drinking is associated with benefits on bone density in older women. Am J Clin Nutr, 86(4):1243-7.

Koo MW, Cho CH. (2004) Pharmacological effects of green tea on the gastrointestinal system. Eur J Pharmacol, 500(1-3):177-85.

Siddiqui IA, Afaq F, Adhami VM, Ahmad N, Mukhtar H. (2004). Antioxidants of the beverage tea in promotion of human health. Antioxid Redox Signal, 6(3):571-82.

Zhang et al (2012) Effects of catechin-enriched green tea beverage on visceral fat loss in adults with a high proportion of visceral fat: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Journal of Functional Foods, 4(1): 315–322. 

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