Almost every day a patient will ask me something about green coffee bean extract, ‘Dr. Rosenberg, what’s all this I hear about green coffee extract being good for weight loss?’ Or,’ I tried to buy some green coffee bean extract but it seems they can’t keep it on the shelves!’ ‘Can’t I just drink a lot of coffee and lose weight?’, and ‘Will it really help me get rid of this belly fat?’ It’s true, using green coffee bean extract to lose weight has been talked about everywhere lately from the internet to Dr. Oz to television commercials. That’s why I’d like to tell all my readers about it here.
Green Coffee Bean Extract – What’s All the Buzz?
There’s a lot of weight loss supplements available on the market today. Let’s face it, most of them don’t work any better than you sticking to the diet and exercise regimen that comes packaged with them. And, very few of them have been clinically studied with bona fide results. Yet, green coffee bean extract is one that has been clinically studied with very successful, positive results.
First, let me tell you how green coffee bean extract works. Green coffee beans are the raw coffee bean before they are roasted. They are a very potent source of chlorogenic acid which helps burn fat. It does this by inhibiting the enzyme switch that signals the liver to release glucose. Less glucose release means less insulin release which switches your body into fat burning rather than fat storing mode.
In a 22 week double blind placebo study that was done by the University of Pennsylvania, participants studied using green coffee bean extract lost an average of 17 lbs, had a 10.5% decrease in overall body weight, and a 16% decrease in body fat. And, they accomplished this without changing their diet or exercise routine, doing nothing different but taking the green coffee bean extract. In addition, there were no reported side effects.
On Dr. Oz’s popular television show, he randomly did a green coffee bean extract test on 2 audience test subjects. Again, without changing their diets or exercise routines, taking only the green coffee bean extract, one lady lost 6 lbs in a week and the other lost 2 lbs in a week.
And, to answer one of my patients questions, ‘can’t I just drink a lot of coffee and lose weight?’ Well, no, not really. Although roasted coffee does contain some chlorogenic acid, and caffeine has been a weight loss aid for some time, roasted coffee alone doesn’t have the same weight loss power as green coffee bean extract. Why? Roasting green coffee beans to make them suitable for coffee-brewing greatly decreases the amount of the chlorogenic acid they contain.
Additionally, green coffee bean extract contains ferulic acid – a compound that helps lower blood glucose. However, coffee manufacturers are coming up with ways to add the chlorogenic acids back to coffee after roasting. These new polyphenol-retaining coffees contain about 172 to 334 mg of chlorogenic acid versus about 92 mg of current brewed coffees.
Is There a Downside to Green Coffee Bean Extract?
Although no side effects were reported in the clinical studies done in Pennsylvania, and people taking it have reported no side effects, other researchers have concerns about more long-term side effects. According to a recent Newsmax magazine article on green coffee bean extract, Green Coffee Bean Extract New Diet Craze – Does it Work?, one of the concerns of Cathy Wong, N.D., a naturopathic doctor, is possible elevated homocysteine levels which can lead to heart disease. Yet, research as far back as 2004, published in a hypertension journal [Green coffee bean extract improves human vasoreactivity, Hypertens Res, 2004 Oct;27(10):731-7], reported that study participants given a drink containing green coffee bean extract (GCE) showed lower homocysteine levels than the placebo control group who were given nothing.
Another concern is that green coffee bean extract may interfere with blood sugar control – though too high or too low was not noted. In a Life Extension Magazine report [Suppress Deadly After-Meal Blood Sugar Surges, February 2012], it was noted that green coffee bean extract was found in a placebo-controlled study to reduce after meal blood sugar surges by 24% in 30 minutes. They also cite another study in which the blood sugar of participants dropped 32% when taking after-meal green coffee bean extract. Green coffee bean extract targets an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphatase which signals the liver to release more glucose, especially after meals. The extract inhibits this enzyme from allowing so much glucose to be released.
In addition, in the Newsmax magazine article, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Andrea Giancoli, expressed her concern that the research on GCBE is limited. “We really don’t know enough about green coffee as a supplement to really know what happens long term,” she said.
My Recommendations About Green Coffee Bean Extract
The research I’ve read to date about green coffee bean extract is encouraging. I feel it could be a beneficial aid to people trying to lose weight – especially those with metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) that makes it so hard for them to lose weight. And, people with that condition tend to store a great deal of dangerous belly fat. If green coffee bean extract can help reduce at least some of that belly fat, I’m all for it.
Keep in mind though, that no supplement, or diet pill, to date is a magic bullet. I feel that you should continue to try and lose weight by eating healthier, more nutritionally dense foods, through eating less, and exercising more. In the short term, green coffee bean extract may give you a helpful boost in your weight loss efforts. An extra 1-2 lbs a week loss from green coffee bean extract, in addition to your own healthier lifestyle changes, could be just what you need to get out of stall mode with your weight loss goals. Until more is known about green coffee bean extract, I caution you, though, to not rely on it completely. Limit it to short term use for now.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Natural Health News
Green Coffee Bean Extract: New Weight Loss Craze – But Does It Work? http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/headline_health/Green_Coffee_Bean/2012/07/13/461873.html
Green coffee bean extract improves human vasoreactivity, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15785008
Suppress Deadly After-Meal Blood Sugar Surges, http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/feb2012_Suppress-Deadly-After-Meal-Blood-Sugar-Surges_01.htm
photo credit: i-newswire.com