Many people enjoy coffee for the energy boost it gives them and its diuretic effects are well known. But researchers were curious about what sort of effects raw, unroasted coffee beans might have on the body’s metabolic chemistry. Their study, whose results were presented at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting, might hold the key to success for frustrated dieters.
In the study, 16 overweight young adults from ages 22 to 26 were given either capsules containing green coffee bean extract or a placebo. Subjects taking the extract lost an average of 17.5 pounds in 5 months and reduced their overall body weight by 10.5% and body fat by 16%, on average. Of the 16 volunteers, six wound up with a body mass index in the healthful range.
“Based on our results, taking multiple capsules of green coffee extract a day — while eating a low-fat, healthful diet and exercising regularly — appears to be a safe, effective, inexpensive way to lose weight,” said University of Scranton chemist Joe Vinson who conducted the pilot study.
The study used a “cross-over” design, which allowed each subject to serve as his or her own comparison group. For six weeks, volunteers swallowed capsules three times a day, ingesting either 700 or 1,050 milligrams of green coffee extract a day or taking a placebo. After a two-week break, they moved, round-robin style, to another arm of the trial.
If green coffee extract were a medication seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration, these results would make it a viable candidate — more than 35% of subjects lost more than 5% of their body weight, and weight loss appeared to be greater while subjects were taking the pills than when they were on the placebo. But as a dietary supplement, green coffee extract does not require the FDA’s blessing. In fact, it is already available as a naturopathic medicine and antioxidant.
And at roughly $20 per month, green coffee extract is much less expensive than any of the weight-loss medications currently available over the counter or by prescription.One minor drawback is that the extract is said to be extremely bitter. According to Vinson, it should be taken with a lot of water.
Vinson, whose research focuses on plant polyphenols and their effects on human health, said it appears that green coffee bean extract may work by reducing the absorption of fat and glucose in the gut; it may also reduce insulin levels, which would improve metabolic function. Subjects did not change their calorie intake over the course of the trial and their physical activity was monitored and recorded. But the more extract they consumed, the more weight and fat they lost. There were no signs of ill effects on any subjects, Vinson reported Tuesday.
The trial was conducted in India and paid for by Applied Food Sciences Inc. of Austin, Tex., a manufacturer of green coffee bean extract. A larger trial involving 60 people is being planned.
Source: LA Times