Green Coffee Beans – Weight Loss Benefits and Side Effects
With so many products available on the supplement market bearing potential safety concerns and side effects, it is no wonder that many people are turning to natural ingredients with the, not always true, notion that they are safer than many man made ingredients. However, many manufacturers have become more aware of this and in a bid to attract more customers now claim that their products contain more natural ingredients. This means that there are now many seemingly natural ingredients on the market, leaving people unable to determine which are scams and which are truly natural.
One of the newer natural ingredients being used in supplements is the green coffee bean, which is becoming increasingly popular in the consumer market in various parts of the world. Green coffee refers to the raw unroasted beans of Coffea fruits. These beans are then usually cleaned and dried then roasted, ground and brewed to produce coffee, however green coffee beans are not roasted and rather are left their natural green colour.
It should be noted that just because an ingredient is natural does not mean that it is safe for all uses. It is important for both our health and our safety that all ingredients, natural or man made, are properly tested. In this article, we will look at the clinical research surrounding green coffee beans to find out its weight loss powers and whether there are any potentially dangerous side effects from the ingredient.
How Do Green Coffee Beans Help With Weight Loss?
There have been many claims by various manufacturing companies that green coffee beans promote loss of weight. Coffee is a notable source of caffeine, which is often found to be a staple ingredient in many diet pills. Caffeine works by slightly boosting your metabolism and helping to burn fat, it also gives a temporary boost in energy and alertness meaning you can exercise for longer. However, green coffee beans’ effects on weight loss and glycemic control have been attributed to its other components. The weight loss properties of green coffee beans are thought to be down to their chemical structure, and the acid they contain. This acid is thought to be the main factor in the supplement’s ability to improve weight loss and researchers believe that the beneficial effects found from green coffee beans can be attributed to this acid.
The acid found in green coffee beans is known as chlorogenic acid, a natural compound found in a wide array of plants. It is a phytochemical and antioxidant found in high concentrations in coffee and is able to encourage the body to burn fat stores for energy. Chlorogenic acid signals to the liver to burn any stored fat first. It slows the processing of sugar into glucose so that there is less of it in the blood, this helps to promote more fat burning and excess glucose does not turn into fat later.
This is because Chlorogenic acid has effects on the metabolism of glucose. Glucose is stored in the liver in a polysaccharide called glycogen, a chain of insoluble glucose molecules. In a process known as glycogenolysis, the enzyme known as glucose-6-phosphatase releases free glucose into the bloodstream, where it circulates to various organs. If glycogenolysis is prevented, then the body gets its energy from fat cells. This reduces blood glucose levels, and reducing the number of fat stores results in weight loss. Scientists believe that chlorogenic acid inhibits the release of glucose from glucose-6-phosphatase, thus preventing glycogenolysis and promoting a reduction in pre existing fat stores. It is also believed that chlorogenic acid slows absorption of fat from food intake and activates the metabolism of extra fat.
The chlorogenic acid found in green coffee beans is not usually present in the roasted coffee beans that we use for making coffee. This is because the roasting process breaks down the acid. For this reason, it is important that while making the green coffee bean capsules the green coffee beans do not get heated to the point where their chemical structure is damaged and the amount of chlorogenic acid in the finished product is severely impacted. It is advised that if you are looking for a green coffee bean supplement you should choose one with at least 45% chlorogenic acid. Pills with less than this amount have not been tested in clinical studies that show weight loss. The recommended dosage is 400mg, three times a day.
Have There Been Any Clinical Studies on Green Coffee Beans?
As green coffee beans are a relatively new ingredient, there has not been much clinical research or testing surrounding them. While some research suggests that they do aid weight loss, there has been a lot of debate concerning the results of green coffee beans, with some scientists arguing that they do not. However, there is no evidence to prove that this is the case.
In a study published in December 2007, scientists took 12 healthy people and gave some of them coffee enriched with chlorogenic acid which induced a reaction in the absorption of glucose of 6.9% compared with the control group. These effects were not seen with normal coffee. In a second comparative randomized, double-blind 12 week study the scientists investigated the effect of chlorogenic acid rich coffee on the body mass of 30 overweight people compared with that of normal coffee. The average losses in mass in the chlorogenic acid enriched and the normal coffee groups were 5.4 and 1.7kg respectively. The scientists concluded that chlorogenic acid appears to have a significant effect on the absorption and usage of glucose in the body and that if used for an extended period of time, chlorogenic acid may result in reduced body fat.
A similar study was conducted in 2009 where an independent market research, comparative, randomised and double blind 4 week study was carried out on 62 healthy volunteers some of whom were given chlorogenic acid enriched coffee while the others were given normal coffee. The research found that the average loss in weight with the chlorogenic acid enriched coffee was 1.35kg and the average in the normal coffee was 0.12kg. The leaders of the study concluded that these results confirmed the findings of the 2007 study, which was that chlorogenic acid may result in a reduction of body fat.
More recently, another study on green coffee beans was published in January 2012, where researchers followed a group of 16 clinically overweight adults who were given a special green coffee bean extract of chlorogenic acids at different dosages for 12 weeks. The subjects lost an average of almost 18lbs – 10% of their overall body weight and 4.4% of their overall body fat.
Although there has only been a limited amount of studies carried out on green coffee beans, no evidence has been collected to suggest that they are unsafe to use. It appears that they do aid weight loss, however due to the small amount of test subjects used in the studies this cannot be confirmed for certain. As there is still debate over the effectiveness of green coffee beans in weight loss, more testing is needed.
Who Are Green Coffee Beans Right For?
Not all supplements and ingredients are suitable for everyone. More often than not in instruction leaflets, you will find warnings of excluded groups who are not advised to take the substance. There are different reasons for this but generally, the excluded groups are outlined to avoid causing them harm. Some ingredients can affect medication or pre-existing medical conditions and some can potentially harm unborn babies or infants. It is important that you know whether you can take a certain supplement and that these warnings are clearly marked.
If you are a healthy adult, over the age of 18 who wants to lose weight, then a weight loss supplement with this ingredient could be the supplement for you. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take this supplement as it is relatively new and, to date, there has not been enough testing to deem it safe for them to use. It is important to remember that green coffee beans do contain caffeine and so they may affect some pre-existing medical conditions. For example, caffeine can make anxiety disorders and bleeding disorders worse. It can also increase pressure in the eye and so those with glaucoma are not advised to use this supplement.
Are There Any Side Effects That Come From Green Coffee Beans?
Side effects are something that many potential supplement users worry about when choosing a product and it is always useful to know of any before trying the supplement. Many of the supplements that can be found on the market today claim to contain natural ingredients that are free from side effects. However, it is important to remember that natural ingredients can still carry side effects.
So far, based on the limited research that has been conducted by various groups, there seem to be no dangerous side effects from green coffee beans and so it appears to be safe. However, as there is so little research and clinical testing behind the supplement, this cannot be assured. As this is a new supplement, there is also no research into the long-term use of green coffee beans and so long-term use cannot yet be deemed safe.
Although there have been no reports of any serious side effects from green coffee beans, it must be remembered that they contain caffeine, similar to regular drinking coffee. There is not a high amount of caffeine found within the average dose of green coffee beans, but it can still result in some side effects that are related to caffeine.
Caffeine can cause many non-serious but equally uncomfortable side effects in some people, including insomnia, restlessness, stomach upsets, nausea and an increased heart rate. While these side effects are not serious, they can still cause discomfort and interrupt everyday life and so users should still be made aware of them before trying the supplement. As previously mentioned, caffeine can also have effects on pre-existing medical conditions such as anxiety and bleeding disorders, glaucoma and osteoporosis – the thinning of bones. It is recommended that sufferers of these conditions contact their doctors before taking green coffee bean supplements. There has not been sufficient research to show evidence that green coffee beans are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to consume, therefore they are advised not to use the supplement until there has been further testing to assure their safety.
Are There Any Customer Reviews on Green Coffee Beans?
Possibly one of the best ways to know how well green coffee beans work for real people wanting to lose weight is to look at the customer reviews of those who have already tried it. As we have seen, there has been debate over how well green coffee beans actually work in aiding weight loss, particularly due to the fact that there have not been many clinical trials conducted to prove for certain that they work.
The most beneficial evidence for potential users is no doubt the customer reviews, where they can hear from others who have tried the supplement over an adequate period of time and see how it worked for them. It will then become apparent whether green coffee beans help to shed body weight or carry any uncomfortable side effects.
On the forum myfitnesspal.com, one user claims that within a week they lost 2lbs without undertaking any extra exercise or changing their diet. Another user says that green coffee beans do not ‘leave you feeling jittery’ like coffee can often do. There are other reviews that also back up these comments, which is encouraging as to their reliability. However, there are also reports from users who say that within two weeks they still have not noticed any weight loss effects from their green coffee beans. A few also complain of side effects such as diarrhoea but there is no notion as to how long this consumer had been using the green coffee beans for or what dosage they were taking. Despite a small amount of doubt over the effectiveness of green coffee beans, the response is generally positive.
Even when taking note of other people’s experiences with a supplement, it is important to remember that everyone reacts differently to different products and their ingredients. While some people may experience slight side effects others may not, and one user may lose weight quickly from a supplement while it may not work for another. Customer reviews are that of a personal nature and the results mentioned cannot be guaranteed or proven at this point.
So should you try using green coffee beans in order to help with your weight loss?
There does not seem to be a definite answer to this question due to the small amount of scientific research and testing surrounding the coffee beans. While some clinical tests found green coffee beans to carry no serious side effects, there was no solid evidence to suggest that it definitely does aid weight loss. That said there is no evidence to prove that it definitely does not and there are also many positive customer reviews that claim green coffee beans have aided significant amounts of weight loss.
Until more testing has been conducted in order to prove this power, it is still uncertain as to how well they actually work.
See below for a list of diet pills that contain green coffee beans:
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