Chlorogenic acid is the active ingredient in green coffee bean extract thought to assist in weight loss. The supplement is among the most popular weight loss aids in today’s market.
According to a recent Gallup poll, more than half of Americans say they want to lose weight. (1)
No big surprise there, since nearly two thirds of Americans classify as overweight or obese, and carrying extra pounds is considered a leading public health problem in our country. (2)
You may well be one of those contributing to the annual outlay of $60 billion on weight loss products (3), which includes gym memberships, exercise equipment, supplements, and specialty foods.
We all want to get something for the money we spend, especially when it comes to weight loss aids that claim to help drop numbers on the scale.
Let’s see if green coffee bean extract merits a slot in your budget.
The Magic Ingredient: Beyond Caffeine
Human studies confirm caffeine boosts metabolism, causing the body to burn more calories, so that’s a good place to start if you enjoy coffee. (4)
Incorporating green coffee bean extract in your diet plan could boost the effectiveness of caffeine while adding other health benefits.
Chlorogenic acid takes coffee’s effect on metabolism to another level by inhibiting the absorption of carbohydrates in the digestive system. This mutes the body’s insulin response, which results in keeping blood sugar levels lower. (7)
- Body weight reduction
- Less absorption of dietary fat
- Less fat stored in the liver
- Raised levels of adiponectin, the fat-burning hormone
- Reduced absorption of glucose
There’s no guarantee the substance has the same effect on humans, but other health benefits noted in animal studies included lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (10), both of which are risk factors in developing cardiovascular disease.
Weight Loss Studies
A small randomized, controlled trial working with 30 overweight participants during a 12-week period showed promising results for supplements containing green coffee bean extract. (11)
One group drank coffee with 200 mg of green coffee bean extract added, while the other group drank regular coffee. No one was asked to make any changes in diet or exercise.
Those taking the extract dropped nearly 12 pounds, while the control group was down 3.7 pounds over the three months.
The control group experienced a reduction in body fat percentage of less than 1%, while the others measured a significant change at 3.6%.
A longer study of 22 weeks involved 16 overweight participants. In this group, two separate dosage levels of green coffee bean extract (1050 mg and 700 mg) were used, along with placebos. Subjects took a two-week break between changing dosage or, in some cases, taking a placebo. (12)
The largest amounts of weight loss occurred during the time periods when participants were taking green coffee bean extract.
Average reduction was just over 8 pounds, and body mass index measurements dropped enough to shift some participants from pre-obesity to normal ranges. Decreases in body fat averaged close to 5%.
Other studies have been conducted by companies who profit from the sales of green coffee bean extract, a common practice that should inspire caution when reviewing the results since the methodology isn’t as rigorous or standardized. (13, 14)
While longer studies with more participants will determine if green coffee bean extract can be a significant boon to anyone looking to drop extra pounds, chlorogenic acid may be in the running for improving health in other ways.
The substance possesses strong antioxidant properties, and may have positive effects on blood vessel health. (15)
The muting effect of the chlorogenic acid on glucose absorption could be helpful in managing symptoms of diabetes.
While the safety profile of green coffee bean extract is generally good, respiratory reactions may occur in people with allergies. (18) If you know you’re sensitive to coffee, consider skipping the risk of using the extract.
When caffeine is consumed in large amounts, it can cause side effects like rapid heartbeat, nervousness, insomnia and anxiety. Pregnant women and children shouldn’t use caffeine, including green coffee bean extract. (19)
Chlorogenic acid can exert a laxative effect in some individuals, causing diarrhea. Dosages of chlorogenic acid usually run between 120 and 300 mg, which translates to somewhere between 240 and 3000 mg of green coffee bean extract.
Should You Try Green Coffee Bean Extract?
The idea that weight loss success can be achieved with a supplement like green coffee bean extract is appealing, especially for those who haven’t reached their goals through dieting alone.
Since one of the strengths of chlorogenic acid is to reduce the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar, many people might see this as a way to support weight loss efforts while still being able to eat refined carbohydrates and other foods high in sugar content, all of which spike insulin levels and contribute to fat storage.
While it’s true these are “fun” foods to consume, controlling the damages inflicted by ingesting them isn’t the most effective approach.
Making changes in lifestyle is the only proven method for maintaining normal weight and improving overall health. For most people, this means cutting back or eliminating the foods that cause blood sugar problems and weight gain, replacing them with whole, nutritious choices, as well as engaging in regular exercise.
If you decide to give green coffee bean extract a try, a great selection of capsules in various strengths is available; like many supplements, the cost will often run around a dollar a day for recommended dosages.
Instructions usually say to take one serving about half an hour before each of three meals daily. Use caution and start with a single dose daily if you’re the sensitive sort.
Summary: Green coffee bean extract might be helpful for short term weight loss, but over the long term, taking any supplement in hopes of keeping weight off isn’t the best idea.