If I say, “Green coffee,” you would say… well, I actually don’t know what you would say right now. But I bet after reading this article, you will at the very least say, “Wow!”
So many of us face the challenge of unwanted pounds, and it is more than just a cosmetic vanity issue, it is a threat to our health. Being overweight is linked to many health issues, as well as sapping energy and self-esteem.
There are a lot of ways to tackle the problem, but diets and exercise, while proven, don’t work for many of us. Which brings me back to green coffee, and the fairly amazing hope it may offer those of us who want to lose weight.
What is it?
You may wonder if it is come kind of magic bean, but it is just a regular coffee bean. The green part means it is unroasted. Much like tea, coffee beans start out unprocessed and green. Unlike green tea, green coffee by itself is not something you want to drink. It is very bitter. Roasting coffee beans changes the color and flavor to the familiar smell and taste so many people crave. But ironically, it is the roasting to make it a yummy drink that destroys the weight loss properties of this amazing bean. Because it is so bitter, researchers had to administer it in a capsule form in order to test it on humans. But as a note to how popular the idea of green coffee for health is, Starbucks has introduced a new line of non-coffee drinks that feature green coffee as an ingredient.
How do I use it?
As Dr Vinson said, in order to lose weight you take one capsule before you eat (about 30 minutes) and you do that for your three main meals spread out over the day. That’s it!
Are there side effects?
That is an easy answer – no. One of the great things about this is there are no known negative side effects. Several diet drugs have been removed from the market because of cardiac issues, and others cause a lot of very unpleasant gastric issues. But green coffee, at least according to the results of the first study, is free of any adverse reactions.
How does it work?
A component of green coffee, and the one that scientists feel is responsible for the weight loss properties, is called chlorogenic acid. When you eat food your digestive system breaks down and absorbs all the elements of the food – protein, fat, carbs, etc. Most of us know that fat and sugar can have a lot of detrimental health effects – well, chlorogenic acid seems to prevent that by blocking certain absorption in your system. When you take the green coffee extract before you eat, it boosts the level of chlorogenic acid in your system and lets it do its thing, blocking and helping you ultimately lose weight.
Not much is known yet about how chlorogenic acid works in the human body to mediate weight loss. “The mechanism will be studied in a larger study”, said professor Vinson who leads the research team. He also explained that the reason you have to take it 3 times a day is that the levels in your system will rise sharply after taking it and then fall off again quickly. So, in order to normalize its concentration in the blood, you need to take it before each meal to benefit from it.
So… how do I know it even works?
Skeptics. Actually, asking questions and seeking proof is the smart way to live your life, as there are many diet schemes and magic weight loss pills that make claims out without being backed by sound reasoning, much less science.
So here is the story. Just a few months ago (Spring 2012), a leading chemistry professor, Dr. Vinson, from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, led a study of 16 overweight participants to see how green coffee impacted weight loss. Each one ate a fairly hefty 2,400 calories each day, didn’t eat anything different from what they usually ate, and didn’t add in new exercise. In fact, they weren’t really exercising at all.
Over the course of 22 weeks, each person rotated between 3 phases: A 6-week placebo phase, a 6-week low dose phase, and a 6-week high dose phase. Each phase was separated from the other with a 2-week “wash out” phase. The structure of this experiment allowed researchers to test the green bean and placebo effects on each individual separately. That means, each person acted as his/her own control. This is the most aggressive and reliable scientific approach when testing the effect of a substance on people. It eliminates any factors that could cause the effect other than the testing substance and, in this case, secures that any observed weight loss is caused by the green coffee extract itself. Participants took 3 capsules each day no matter what phase they were in. This way they didn’t know when they were getting the high dose, the medium dose, or the zero dose, which also is good for control purposes.
And over those 22 weeks, everyone lost weight. The average weight loss was 10.5% of total body weight in fact. And that is really impressive – remember, they weren’t doing anything different in their lives, except taking this extract!
All the participants stuck it out the entire 22 weeks – another sign there aren’t any negative side effects that would have caused anyone to want to leave the study.
And just in case you aren’t impressed, let me add that they also measured actual body fat, not just weight. And body fat decreased about 16%. That means the weight they lost wasn’t from precious muscle tissue, but from unwanted fat.
And for critics who think that isn’t a large study, the results were so impressive that a study with about 60 people is in the works.
Well… it won’t give you the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But there is evidence to suggest that that green coffee’s chlorogenic acid may have positive impacts on reducing blood pressure, and in the study, there was a report of reducing heart rate by two beats a minute. So there may be even more positive health discoveries made in future studies about other things this polyphenol can help with.
Dr. Vinson said that purple potatoes also have some chlorogenic acid, so keep your eyes open for news about those in the future, too.
You can find green coffee extract capsules online and in health food stores – and based on the study results, all you really have to lose by trying them is body fat and weight.
About the Author:
My name is Matthew Denos. In my blog I review Diet to Go diet, a meal delivery service for weight loss and offer the best way to get a discount weight watchers membership. I like to present in layman terms important scientific advances that advance our knowledge of staying healthy and fit. I am a biochemist who keeps up with latest research on obesity, weight loss, and diet programs, and am fascinated with findings like the weight loss effect of green coffee.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dallisbroscoffee/2596075125/