Roasted coffee beans have a dark color, rich aroma and distinctive flavor. Green coffee beans are bitter and bland by comparison, but they appear to pack a powerful metabolic punch. Researchers have recently observed dramatic, rapid weight loss in people on a daily regimen of green coffee extract. The more green coffee bean extract they consumed, the more dramatic and rapid the weight loss.
The green coffee study
Joe Vinson, a scientist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, has been making frequent headlines recently with his research on the health benefits of common foods. His latest study showed how green coffee beans helped a group of overweight and obese people lose about 10 percent of their body weight in a short period of time.
Vinson recruited 16 overweight or obese young adults who took capsules of green coffee extract or capsules containing a placebo for 22 weeks. The study used a “cross-over” format allowing participants to serve as their own control group. They alternated between a low dose and a higher dose. For six weeks, volunteers took either 700 or 1,050 milligrams of green coffee extract a day or a placebo. After a two-week break, they cycled through to the next phase of the trial.
During the trial, participants weren’t put on diets but their calories were monitored. They averaged about 2,400 calories a day and burned only 400 calories a day exercising—not exactly a weight loss regimen. However, in 22 weeks, the group lost an average of 17.5 pounds, reduced their body fat 16 percent on average and reduced their overall body weight by 10.5 percent. The higher the dose of green coffee extract, the more weight and fat they lost, at a faster rate. Six of the volunteers achieved a body mass index in the healthy range—between 18.5 and 24.9.
It’s not the caffeine
It’s not the caffeine producing the metabolic affect, according to Vinson. He suggests that the chlorogenic acid in green coffee beans inhibits absorption of fat and glucose in the digestive tract. Chlorogenic acid may also reduce insulin levels—a definite improvement in metabolic efficiency. The chlorogenic acid in coffee beans is destroyed when they are roasted.
Using green coffee extract
Green coffee extract is readily available as a naturopathic medicine and antioxidant. It’s extremely bitter and you need a lot of water to wash it down but at about $20 for a month of daily doses, it’s a lot cheaper than any weight-loss medication available over the counter or by prescription.
As a dietary supplement, green coffee extract wouldn’t require FDA approval. However, because chlorogenic acid inhibits absorption in the gut, nutritionists are concerned this could lead to malnutrition, heart arrhythmias and other health problems because vitamins and minerals aren’t being metabolized. Also, of the 250 chemicals found in coffee beans, some have negative effects. It may not be wise to ingest them in high doses. So you may want to wait for further research before taking such a bitter pill.