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Green doesn't mean lean
Coffee bean extract may not be all itís ground up to be

By CATHY BREITENBUCHER

December 2013

Itís not easy being green ó green coffee bean extract, that is.

Thereís no debating that an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid can be extracted from unroasted ("green") coffee beans. But is it the quick-fix weight loss solution that TVís Dr. Oz and the supplement industry claim it is?

"Itís human nature to look for an easy answer," says Megan Baumler, director of the graduate dietetics program at Mount Mary University.

"The answer is easy, but itís hard to achieve ó that is, to not eat more calories than we need. The obesity problem in this country is not going to be solved by using green coffee extract."

A 2012 study often cited by proponents recorded improvements in the weight, body-mass index, body fat and heart rate of subjects who took daily, 350mg doses of a GCBE supplement. But that study featured too small a sample (16 patients) and too short a timeline (22 weeks) to draw sweeping conclusions, says Baumler.

Meanwhile, other researchers have looked at a variety of ways green coffee bean extract affects the body. One study indicated that the extract could be beneficial to the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Others focused on the extractís impact on insulin resistance, but conflicting results turned up.

Caffeine in the extract is "a concern" according to Baumler. And then thereís the price tag ó one GCBE supplement advertised on the Internet retails for $39.99 for a 40-day supply.

"The bottom line is there is limited research, period, in either direction," says Baumler, "so weíre not going to make widespread recommendations.

 


This story ran in the December issue of: