Every few years new supplement hits the market that, for a time, is hailed as a miraculous solution to weight loss. The most recent key player is this ever-changing arena is green coffee extract, which spiked in popularity when Dr. Oz called it “The green coffee bean that burns fat fast.” He further stated that no diet or exercise was necessary. And that all sounds pretty great but, what’s so special about green coffee and does it really work?
What Is It?
Basically, green coffee is coffee that hasn’t been roasted. Roasting coffee beans cause many changes to their chemical composition and dramatically decreases the levels of chlorogenic acid or CGA. This polyphenol has been attributed all sorts of benefits, with supporters claiming that it will stimulate rapid weight loss, prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure. These statements are, in part, based on the fact that coffee drinkers are statistically less likely to develop the aforementioned health problems.
Because of these claims, CGA is found in scores of weight loss supplements and is the active ingredient in green coffee extract.
Does it Work?
It’s all well and good to know what a supplement is but, really, the most important question is “Does it actually work?”
There have been several, small studies testing the supposed benefits of green coffee extract, producing interesting results. One study did show that green coffee extract has potential to lower blood pressure and other even demonstrated modest weight loss from the supplement. However, when citing these studies, WebMD was careful to note that they were both “preliminary and poor quality.”
A more recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that CGA supplementation, even in very high doses did nothing to lower the risk of obesity or diabetes in mice that were fed a high-fat diet. Startlingly, the mice that were given CGA were more likely to develop fatty livers, as well.
It’s important to remember that this study used CGA alone, rather than a standard green coffee extract. However, since CGA is the key ingredient in green coffee extract, these findings shed serious concern on the usefulness and safety of the supplement.
Warning and Considerations
Ultimately, green coffee extract is still coffee and still contains caffeine, which could be at the root of, or at least a major contributor to, the purported health benefits. Caffeine, though, can also cause many health problems and should be used cautiously.
Always discuss any supplements with your doctor before beginning self-treatment.