by Kimberly Allen, RN
For years I have seen and heard many products on the market today use the words “miracle” and “revolutionary” especially when it comes to weight loss products. First of all when I hear those words I automatically become somewhat skeptical. The latest craze is the green coffee bean extract. So is it all it claims to be and if so why?
Green coffee bean extract skyrocketed in popularity after Dr Oz called it a “miracle” product. After being criticized for calling the green coffee bean extract a “miracle” product Dr Oz decided to conduct his own study. He used 100 female volunteers between 35 and 49 years of age that were over weight , as measured by BMI’s between 25-45. None of the women were pregnant, breast feeding or suffered from any major health conditions like diabetes. Some women received green coffee bean extract supplements while others received placebos. At the end of 2 weeks Dr Oz determined that the women that took the green coffee bean extract lost and average of 2 pounds after 2 weeks. While the women that took the placebo lost 1 pound after 2 weeks. Sorry but that doesn’t sound like a “miracle ” weight loss to me.
So what makes green coffee beans so special? Most everyone on the planet is familiar with the dark brown coffee beans that are ground and brewed t make our beloved coffee. Coffee has become one of the most popular drinks worldwide, in fact there are several specialty stores like Starbucks that, though you can buy other things there, their “bread and butter” is coffee. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants as well as other substances including ligans, quinides and trigonelline as well as chlorogenic acid which are all known to improve glucose metabolism in animal studies, If this is the case then why switch to the green coffee bean? It’s not switching. The dark brown coffee bean that we’ve all come to know and love is actually green before being roasted. The roasting process turns the green coffee bean that rich dark color and flavor that we all know. When the green coffee beans are roasted their antioxidant levels increase, however, researchers have found that one substance, the chlorogenic acid, actually decreases and this is the substance that is believed to be responsible for the “miracle” weight loss.
So what is chlorogenic acid? It is a plant compound that is known to block an enzyme called glucose-6 phosphate that promotes the production of glucose in your liver, Some researchers believe that it is the chlorogenic acid in coffee that is the reason for coffee’s anti-obesity effects. Unfortunately the roasting process that gives us that gives us that great coffee flavor also removes a large portion of the chlorogenic acid. For this reason it’s the green coffee bean that is the better source for chlorogenic acid. However, chlorogenic acid can also be found in other foods including bamboo, peaches and prunes.
In the most recent study published in the “Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity Journal” the extract showed promising results was very small involving only 16 people over a 12 week period. The study was also funded by a manufacturer of green coffee bean extract which has many critics citing problems. Despite the fact that the evidence is so minimal regarding the effectiveness of green coffee bean extract it is flying off the shelves. My biggest concern is is it safe? Supplements are not required to meet FDA standards for safety or effectiveness leaving them wide open to fraud, and I’ve checked the prices on line and they’re not cheap. So how do you know you’re getting the real deal? Always use a reputable health store or web site and buy well known brands. Also when purchasing any supplement look for the seal indicating it has been manufactured by an FDA approved lab.
Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to HealthAndFitnessTalk.com, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.