Green coffee extract may well be nature's miracle weight-loss ingredient. It also happens to be the only weight-loss supplement that's been studied on national television.
In an unprecedented experiment, Dr. Oz tested green coffee extract among 100 overweight women in his audience, giving the supplement to half the group and a placebo to the rest, for two weeks. The ladies were asked not to change their eating or exercise habits, to take one pill 30 minutes before each meal, and to keep a food diary.
The results? On average, those taking green coffee extract lost two pounds in two weeks, whereas those on the placebo lost only one pound. Why did the placebo takers lose weight? Several earlier studies have shown that simply keeping a food diary increases weight loss, but the diary was an important part of this experiment-to ensure that participants didn't cheat by going on a diet. And since everyone recorded everything they ate, it created a level playing field for comparing the extract to the placebo.
A Scientific View
Although a TV test may seem unorthodox, this one rigorously followed the usual scientific protocols for a double-blind trial-and it's the largest study of green coffee extract to date. Earlier studies had a combined total of just 158 people, but like Dr. Oz's audience, those people lost weight without changing their diet or exercise regimen.
In addition to helping you lose weight, green coffee extract may also help keep it off. A study published in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity : Targets and Therapy monitored participants' weight four months after they stopped taking the supplement and found that 14 of 16 people didn't regain any weight. The exact reason for such a low rate of weight regain isn't yet fully understood, but it is encouraging. "You may have reset your body mechanisms as a result of taking this supplement," says Joe Vinson, PhD, professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton, Pa., and lead author of the study.
How It Works
In their raw state, green coffee beans naturally contain substances known as chlorogenic acids, which are part of the polyphenol family of plant compounds that delivers numerous health benefits in addition to weight loss. "Polyphenols are in every plant because they make the plant bitter, less prone to having a predator eat it, and they prevent against oxidative damage and the sun," says Vinson. When we consume polyphenols from plant foods or supplements, they protect our bodies.
The specific polyphenols in green coffee extract aid in weight loss by slowing absorption of carbohydrates, sugar, and possibly fats in the digestive system. They also inhibit an enzyme used by the liver to form blood sugar. In one study designed to measure this effect, people who took green coffee extract before ingesting pure sugar experienced a lower spike in blood sugar than normal, which, in turn, can lead to reduced fat storage and cravings.
How to Benefit
If you want to test the weight loss benefits of green coffee extract for yourself, supplements are the way to go. When coffee is roasted, most of the active chlorogenic acids are destroyed, so roasted beans won't produce the weight loss results see in studies. And unroasted, green coffee beans are very bitter and, as Vinson puts it, "completely unpalatable," so drinking green coffee or snacking on the beans really aren't options.
On product labels, look for extracts that have been tested in studies. These are either Svetol or GCA (Green Coffee Antioxidant), standardized to contain at least 45 percent chlorogenic acid. The Supplement Facts panel should include the name of the extract and the percentage of chlorogenic acid.
Research shows that the optimum dose for green coffee extract is 350-400 mg, taken 30 minutes before each meal (three times per day). No jitteriness, upset stomach, or other side effects have been reported. Using a lower dose-or taking the supplement less frequently, such as only twice per day-can still be effective, but produces slower weight loss.
Both Vinson and Oz also recommend keeping a food diary to make sure you maintain your usual eating routine-that way you can really see if the supplement is working for you. Free online food diaries and smart phone apps are available at various web sites, including www.myfitnesspal.com and tracker.dailyburn.com.
In addition to helping you lose weight, green coffee extract may also help keep it off.
Paradise Herbs & Essentials
Green Coffee Svetol
Extracted from decaffeinated, Robusta-variety green coffee beans, this formula is made using a process that guarantees a full spectrum of active constituents.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
This formula is made Svetol green coffee bean extract, and also includes the added weight-loss-promoting power of raspberry ketones.
Svetol Slimming Green Coffee Bean Extract by Euro Pharma
This company uses specially-selected beans rich in chlorogenic acids, key compounds that support metabolism.