You may have heard of green coffee bean —it's been touted for its weight-loss properties recently—but what exactly is it? And can it really help you lose weight?
Green coffee bean simply comes from the unroasted seeds (or beans) of the coffea plant, which are then dried, roasted, ground, and brewed to produce coffee products. Mehmet Oz, M.D., of the Dr. Oz Show, decided to find out, so he conducted his own experiment by enlisting 100 women who were overweight or obese. Each woman received either a placebo or a green coffee bean supplement and was instructed to take 400mg capsules three times per day. According to Dr. Oz, the participants were instructed not to change their diet and also to keep a food journal to record everything they ate.
What is Green Coffee Bean?
You’ve probably heard about the long-standing health debate on drinking coffee. Researchers go back and forth on whether the popular brew is good for you. There is also controversy about the use of green coffee beans. They became well-known as a weight loss supplement after being featured on “The Dr. Oz Show.”
Green coffee bean comes from coffee beans that haven’t been roasted. Coffee beans contain compounds known as chlorogenic acids. Some believe these compounds have antioxidant effects, help lower blood pressure, and help you lose weight.
Roasting coffee reduces chlorogenic acid content. This is why drinking coffee isn’t thought to have the same weight loss effects as the unroasted beans.
Why Not Just Drink Coffee?
When coffee seeds or “beans” are roasted, their antioxidant levels increase, but one natural substance called chlorogenic acid decreases. This chemical is thought to block fat accumulation, boost weight loss, curb carb absorption, and help regulate post-meal blood sugar levels. In addition, green coffee beans do not taste or smell like coffee, a supposed benefit for those who don’t enjoy java.
Does it Work?
Honestly, the evidence is pretty scant. One 2012 study made a big splash when it found that subjects who consumed 1,050-mg and 700-mg doses lost about 16 pounds in six weeks compared to a placebo group. However, the study was criticized because it involved such a small number of subjects—only 16—and it was funded by a green coffee bean manufacturer. An independent analysis of three randomized clinical trials that included a total of 142 participants concluded that the effect of green coffee beans is only moderate at best, and the studies were poorly conducted.
Benefits of Green Coffee Beans:
1. May Help with Weight or Fat Loss
Green coffee seed first gained popularity when some studies found that it has the ability to help induce weight loss. While it’s certainly not a quick-fix way to reach a healthier weight, research suggests that chlorogenic acid is highly absorbable once consumed and helps the body burn glucose and stored body fat for energy. It may also reduce inflammation (a root cause of diabetes and other metabolic problems), slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream and help regulate the release of insulin, which brings glucose into the cells.
2. Can Help Normalize Blood Sugar
Scientists say that the positive effects of green coffee bean on blood sugar have to do with its ability to lower inflammation, aid in reaching a healthier body weight and potentially curb cravings for inflammatory foods. At the same time, it may be helpful for lowering glucose levels and potentially increasing energy. While caffeine may have positive effects on metabolic functions, even green coffee bean products that have been decaffeinated seem to still be beneficial.
Green coffee may be able to help normalize blood sugar levels, sometimes significantly, which in turn can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found evidence that “decaffeinated green coffee bean appears to reverse [high-fat diet]-induced fat accumulation and insulin resistance by downregulating the genes involved in adipogenesis and inflammation in visceral adipose tissue.”
3. May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Many studies have shown that green coffee beans can be effective in lowering blood pressure. A study of 17 hypoglycemic patients revealed that after taking green coffee beans extract, 13 out of the 17 students experienced reductions in blood pressure levels. The participants took about 800 milligrams of extract daily, which is a dose that’s considered on the high side but seems to be very effective in lowering blood pressure. Other research shows that lower doses, between about 50–140 milligrams, may also be beneficial for decreasing blood pressure in adults when taken for four to 12 weeks.
4. Has Anti-Aging Effects Due to Containing Antioxidants
In studies where green coffee bean was assessed, many antioxidant properties have been identified that can help slow various effects of aging. As mentioned above, chlorogenic acid is said to be responsible for most of these antioxidant properties of the green coffee bean. While there isn’t a standard recommended intake/value for antioxidant consumption in humans, some experts believe that when a person takes 400 milligrams of green coffee supplements daily (typically broken out into two to three doses), he or she will get a significant portion of the daily antioxidants that a person should aim to obtain from diet.
5. Can Help Improve Energy levels
Coffee is known to help people feel less tired and increase energy levels because it contains the stimulant caffeine. Caffeine is actually considered a drug and worldwide is the most consumed psychoactive substance there is.
According to the American Psychological Association, caffeine has significant effects on “psychomotor and cognitive performance, psychological well-being, blood pressure, and diagnostic and therapeutic applications, as well as athletic performance.” When you consume a drink containing caffeine or obtain it from taking a stimulating supplement/product like a green coffee bean, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it travels into the brain and blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. At the same time, levels of neurotransmitters called norepinephrine and dopamine increase, leading to changes in cognition, including increased focus, motivation, and often positive outlook.