First, let’s start by saying that green coffee beans aren’t necessarily “green,” which is to say organically grown. You may be able to find beans that conform to your eco-friendly standards, but in general you should assume (unless otherwise noted) that these coffee beans and their extracts are labeled as green due to the fact that they are raw. The idea here is that they retain greater potency, and studies have been conducted to determine whether these extracts can help people to lose weight. As you may or may not know, your average cup of Joe has long been thought to help you to lose weight in two ways. For starters it is a diuretic, so it could help you to shed water weight (a temporary solution at best). But it could also curb appetite for those who have trouble fighting off cravings. Of course, if you’re the cream and sugar sort, coffee as a drink is probably best avoided while dieting. But can green coffee beans, or more importantly, their extract, help you to lose weight?
According to studies, the answer is yes. One published in January of 2012 in a journal called ‘Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity’ (available through DovePress.com) showed incredible results. Sixteen subjects with a BMI of over 25 (considered to be obese) were followed for twelve weeks and given daily doses of green coffee bean extract. Some took 700 milligrams per day while others took a dosage of 1050 mg. By the end, researchers discovered that the subjects had lost an average of 18 pounds, which amounted to an average of 4.4% loss of body fat and 10% loss of overall weight. What you might be more familiar with, though, if you watch ‘The Dr. Oz Show,’ is the similar study his staff conducted (along with consulting experts) for a segment last year.
Dr. Oz’s experiment followed 100 female subjects, age 35-49 with BMIs over 25, for only two weeks, with some being given a placebo and others receiving 400 mg green coffee extract capsules to take three times a day (for a total of 1,200 mg). The participants were not made aware of which pills they were receiving. They also had to keep food journals and they were asked not to change their regular diets during the study. The results were that the women on the extract lost an average of two pounds per subject while the women on the placebo lost an average of one pound (likely due to awareness of their food intake).
So it seems pretty clear that green coffee beans have the potential to help you lose weight. But before you rush out and buy them, slow your roll for just a minute. There is one small problem. This type of extract falls under the category of herbal supplements. As such it is unregulated by the FDA. You can celebrate vitamins that are FDA approved (so you know that labeling is accurate), but supplements are another story. However, there are a couple of ways to hedge your bets here. First, you want to look for a bottle with ingredients listed (yes, you may find some with no list provided). Next you should go for a minimum of 45% chlorogenic acid extract (sometimes listed as GCA – green coffee antioxidant – or Svetol). This has been deemed the minimum amount of the green coffee bean extract needed to boost weight loss potential (as per available studies). And if eco-friendly products are a must, don’t rely on words like “natural” or “pure” that have no legal definition (and could mean almost anything). Instead, look for the word “organic,” which does have a specific legal meaning.