The Buzz Around Coffee Bean Extract

Does the latest weight-loss supplement work?
Green coffee beans

By: Karen Cooper, DO

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Marketing slogans tout green coffee bean extract as a miracle supplement for weight loss. But if you’ve spent time looking at supplements, you’ve probably heard that claim before.

Every time a new weight loss product makes waves in the media, the questions start to roll in from patients. Does it work? Is it safe? How much weight will I lose? The buzz around coffee bean extract has spurred similar questions, so let’s look at some of the answers.

What does coffee bean extract do?

The primary ingredient of coffee bean extract is chlorogenic acid, which is abundant in green coffee beans before they are roasted.

Chlorogenic acid prevents the release of glucose in your blood stream by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver. The theory: When our bodies have less glucose available, they tap into stored fat for energy. So you lose weight, and your metabolism shifts toward burning fat.

“No supplement or medication is the end-all, be-all of weight loss. That includes coffee bean extract.”

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Karen Cooper, DO

Women’s Health Institute

Can’t I just drink coffee?

As much as I love coffee, I wish it led to weight loss. But roasting beans changes the chlorogenic acid itself. That’s why nobody is touting your favorite morning beverage as a weight loss supplement. Coffee bean extract also has only a fraction of the caffeine of brewed coffee — a plus if you’re concerned about your caffeine intake.

OK, but does it work?

In a small study published last year, overweight participants lost body weight, decreased their body mass index to within the normal range and reduced their body fat percentage significantly.

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Some participants saw a slight rise in their systolic blood pressure, but it stayed within the normal range. The study used doses of 700 mg and 1050 mg per day, and no bad side effects were observed. The typical daily recommended dose is 800 mg.

It’s worth re-emphasizing that this was a small study. There is not a lot of other data around coffee bean extract, and supplements don’t undergo the same rigorous testing as medications. Just be sure to get your doctor’s opinion before jumping on the bean bandwagon.

Is it enough on its own?

Contrary to the sales pitch, no supplement or medication is the end-all, be-all of weight loss. That includes coffee bean extract.

A smart weight loss or weight management plan will include diet and exercise — positive lifestyle changes you make for yourself. So in addition to any supplements or medications you take on the advice of your doctor, make sure you move more and eat better, too.

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