First it was wakame. And then acai berries. Now it’s green coffee beans. Seem like there’s no dearth of superfoods that are fiercely promoted for their weight loss benefits. But do any of these actually work?
As far as superfoods go – both wakame and acai berries come packed with health benefits. But there’s little evidence to support their weight loss claims. Green coffee beans, on the other hand, are proving to be packed with perks.
But before we get into what this brightly colored cup of joe can do for your waistline, let’s find out a little about it.
What are Green Coffee Beans?
Green coffee beans are simply unroasted coffee beans. Being unroasted, instead of being dark brown they are green. They are harvested as usual but then green coffee bean extract is created from the unroasted beans.
While green coffee beans have existed since the beginning of the coffee growing industry, it is just recently that these little green beans joined the list of superfoods along with maca, wheatgrass, camu camu and grapeseed oil to become the subject of great interest for their health properties.
You can make your own green coffee bean extract or you can buy it ready made. Simply take 2 ounces of any green coffee beans. Place them in a small saucepan. Add 1 ½ cups of filtered water. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for fifteen minutes. Cool for an hour or overnight. The longer you let the mixture sit the stronger the extract will be. Strain beans out of liquid and discard the beans.
How Does Green Coffee Extract Work?
Green coffee bean extract is one of the new substances being touted as an effective weight loss supplements. Its main ingredient is coffee beans. The active ingredient in the green coffee beans believed to be responsible for the weight loss is chlorogenic acid. The reason the beans are used in their unroasted form is that the heat from the roasting kills most of the chlorogenic acid.
You can take the extract alone or mixed with food or beverage. Aim to take one ounce morning and night. Adding a teaspoon of manuka honey improves the flavor.
The Benefits of Green Coffee Beans
So why would you even want to take this extract? Well, let us count the ways…
1. Burn More Fat
Studies using lab animals have shown that chlorogenic acid reduces: body weight, fat absorbed from the diet, and fat stored in the liver. Green coffee extract also improve the function of adiponectin, a fat burning hormone.
2. Reduce Hypertension
In lab tests, the chlorogenic acid significantly reduced hypertension within a month of the study. Other studies using different brands of green coffee extract—including homemade extract—produced similar results.
3. Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Studies have shown that the chlorogenic acid in green coffee bean extracts was able to significantly improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels in lab animals, high risk factors for heart disease. While these studies are encouraging, human studies have not been completed as yet. But, if the results are similar to lab tests, green coffee bean extract could be a natural remedy in fighting heart disease.
4. Slow Carbohydrate Absorption
Inhibiting weight gain in lab studies may have been the result of decreased absorption of carbohydrates in some way not related to green coffee bean extract. This is an area for further investigation.
Some studies involving human subjects indicate that green coffee extract was able to reduce the absorption of carbohydrates from the digestive tract. The result is lower blood sugar and fewer insulin spikes. Taking the green coffee bean extract mimicked eating a lower carb diet.
5. Boost Weight Loss
Human studies using randomized controlled trials involved 30 overweight individuals over a period of twelve weeks. One group drank regular instant coffee; the other had instant coffee to which 200 mg of green coffee bean extract had been added. Both groups were instructed to continue their regular patterns of diet and exercise. The group drinking instant coffee with green coffee bean extract lost almost 12 pounds—an average of a pound per week of the study. The group drinking only instant coffee lost less than four pounds.
This means that if you eat a kilogram or 2.2 pounds of food daily adding 10 grams or 1/3 ounces of green coffee extract, within two weeks you will have suppressed the potential weight gain from that food by 35%. This is pretty significant!
6. Body Percentage Fat Loss
Body percentage fat was also markedly reduced by taking green coffee bean extract.
7. A Dose of Anti-Oxidants
Studies have proven that, in addition to weight loss properties, green coffee bean extract also contains the same powerful anti-oxidants as green tea and grape seed oil. Anti-oxidants have played a major role in fighting some cancers.
8. Possible Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease
Further studies are looking in to the possible therapeutic effects of green coffee bean extract on type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists are cautiously optimistic about the results with lab animals and the human trials that have so far been done. Of course more testing will have to be done for FDA approval of green coffee bean extract as a weight loss aid.
About the author: After growing up a perpetually pudgy kid, Jessica discovered real food – and her waistline shortly afterward. When she’s not crafting concoctions in the kitchen, she spends her free time writing about food on Superfoodify.com, making her own deodorant, watching sci-fi, doing headstands, and looking for gluten free food that doesn’t suck.