My Doctor Told Me To Drink Less Yerba Mate March 08 2014, 9 Comments

One of the most ironic things that have ever happened to me was when my doctor told me recently that I had to stop drinking so much yerba mate because it was making me lose too much weight. To give some context to the irony, I run a business selling yerba mate. To add to that, I have never really believed in these weight-loss claims made by American marketers about yerba mate. I certainly think differently about it now.

I am male (1.68m), 24 years old and weighed about 64 kg's since matric which is a very healthy weight for my height. Last month when I visited the doc the reading on the scale showed only 55 kg's. I told him about my gluten-free diet. He was not convinced about that causing so much weight-loss, then I mentioned yerba mate, which he was familiar with as a weight-loss medium and told me I should cut down significantly my yerba mate consumption.

The interesting part is that I have been drinking yerba mate for 6 years but I have only lost the weight over the last 6 months or so. The reason for the sudden weight-loss is that I have been on a diet completely free from gluten ( protein found in grains such as wheat) since July 2013. The common things you stop eating when going gluten-free are bread, cake, muffins, pies, pizza, pasta, scones, cookies, beer, oats, wheat cereals (most of them are wheat based) and sauces with wheat thickeners etc. In the past I only ate these treats occasionally anyway, so it would have been fair to expect a small adjustment in weight, but losing 9kg's which was almost a 5th of my body mass was a shock.

I cut my consumption of yerba mate, I increased my consumption of fatty fish and high carb rice and I am up to 57.5kg's after 2 weeks. I am expecting my weight to balance at 60kg's within the next 2 months. At that point I'll start drinking more mate again and keep up the good fats and organic carbs. 

Yerba mate can indeed make you lose weight, however it only seems to work properly if you follow a semi- or completely gluten-free diet. Somebody asked me yesterday, "Does this mean that people who are already on a gluten-free diet should not drink yerba mate?" My answer was, "If you make sure you are getting sufficient carbs and natural fats from other sources such as rice, salmon and red meat you can and should drink mate occasionally, 3 to 4 times a week". In reality, many South Africans would probably want to lose some weight. If that sounds like you then why not try a gluten-free diet and drinking a few tea cups of mate per day, or one traditional mate per day? Do it for 3 months and let me know how much weight you lose. My name is Jovi and I'm the owner of YMSA. Email me on yerbamate[at]