The latest buzz brewing in the nutrition world is the recent link between green unroasted coffee beans and weight loss. A recent study found that overweight individuals lost a significant percentage of their body weight in a short amount of time when they consumed green coffee bean supplements on a daily basis. Let’s spill the beans on this exciting new information.
The University of Scranton in Pennsylvania study, presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, involved 16 overweight or obese individuals who took capsules containing green coffee bean extract. The subjects took low doses of the extract supplement, higher doses of the extract supplement, and placebos over a period of 22 weeks. The subjects took the green coffee bean extract pills 30 minutes before a meal three times a day.
Throughout the study, the participants did not change their eating habits or exercise regimens. On average the study participants lost 17 pounds. This equaled a total body weight loss of about 10 percent. What’s even more interesting is that the participants also saw a 16 percent decrease in total body fat. This is especially promising because the subjects’ average daily caloric intake was around 2,400 calories and they burned an average of 400 calories through exercise. This calorie level alone would not result in the dramatic weight loss that was observed with the supplemented coffee bean extract.
So what compound in green coffee beans makes them such fat incinerators? Researchers explained that they don’t believe it’s the caffeine. The scientists suggest that the beneficial effects of green coffee beans can be attributed to their chlorogenic acid. However, chlorogenic acid isn’t present in roasted coffee beans because it’s broken down during the roasting process. The study’s lead researcher also points out that there were no negative side effects observed from taking the green coffee bean extract capsules.
Does this mean we should all go out and buy green coffee bean extract with the expectation that our excess weight will just start melting off? Not exactly. When looking at results of emerging research, it’s always imperative that we examine the specifics of the studies themselves. We must also look at the entire body of research rather than focus on the results of a single study before we can draw conclusions.
Although the results of this study are rather groundbreaking, it’s important to note that this study did have some limitations. The study involved only 16 people, and the study itself was short. Additionally, the subjects in this study took supplements, which isn’t the same as consuming whole foods. Supplements aren’t regulated in the same way that food is.
The research on green coffee beans is still in its infancy, but the results of this particular study certainly warrant further investigation. Further research, with significantly larger groups of participants that are studied for longer periods of time, is needed before recommendations can be made to general public.
Kari Hartel, RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian and freelance writer based out of St. Louis, MO. Kari is passionate about nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease through a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Kari holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and is committed to helping people lead healthy lives. She completed a yearlong dietetic internship at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL, where she worked with a multitude of clients and patients with complicated diagnoses. She planned, marketed, and implemented nutrition education programs and cooking demonstrations for the general public as well as for special populations, including patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and school-aged children. Contact Kari at KariHartelRD@gmail.com.