Does Green Coffee Bean Extract Help Weight Loss?

Abstracted by Tatjana Djakovic, MS, from "Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects in the January 18, 2012 issue of Diabetes Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy
Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that has more than doubled since 1980.  In 2008, 1.5 billion adults 20 year of age and older were overweight, which places an enormous economical burden on society.  (1) In addition, obesity is one of the major risk factors for a number of chronic conditions which include: cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Coffee is of potential interest to researchers, because it is a well known stimulant that has proven to result in weight loss in a few studies and which ultimately decreases the risk of debilitating chronic illnesses. (2)
A recent 22-week crossover study aimed to investigate the effect of green coffee bean extract, which contains high chlorogenic acid, on reducing body weight, body mass and body fat percentage in pre-obese, otherwise healthy individuals.  Previous research indicated that chlorogenic acid inhibits an enzyme known as amylase in the gastrointestinal tract that chemically breaks down starch into sugars and increases their absorption.  The ability to inhibit this enzyme reduces sugar absorption and thus decreases total caloric intake. (3)
The study involved 16 subjects (8 male and 8 female) aged 22 to 46 years with an average body mass index (BMI) of 28.22 kg/m2 at the beginning of the study, which placed them in the overweight (pre-obesity) category. The green coffee extract (GCA®)* contained a total of 45.9% chlorogenic acid. 
The subjects took a high-dose green coffee extract (GCA®), of 350 mg of GCA® three times daily (1050 mg), a low dose, 350 mg of GCA® twice daily (700 mg) or a placebo that consisted of 350 mg of inactive substance taken three times daily.  The subjects continued this for a period of 6 weeks, followed by a 2-week washout period (a period of time in which no treatment is given) before the next treatment period began. Therefore, over the course of 22 weeks there were three treatment periods: weeks 0-6 followed by a 2-week washout period, weeks 8-14 followed by 2 weeks of washout and finally weeks 16-22 for the final treatment. The subjects were examined at weeks 0,6,8,14,16, and 22 of the study. Each group received each of the treatment levels.
Throughout the study, the subjects remained on their regular diet and their caloric consumption did not change significantly.  Despite consuming the same amount of calories, the subjects in the study that took the green coffee extract (GCA®) had significant weight loss reductions.  There was a 10.5% decrease in weight (from an average of 169.07 lb ± 17.44 lb to 151.35 lb ± 17.2 lb), a 10.3% decrease in body mass index (from 28.22 kg/m2 ± 0.91 kg/m2 to 25.25 kg/m2 ± 1.19 kg/m2), and a 15.8% decrease in percent body fat (from 28.13% ± 4.95% to  23.69% ± 4.95%).  All of the associations were significant because the p value was less than 0.0001, signifying that the results did not occur by chance alone.
Within the three groups, the subjects in the high dose group began weight at 72.86 kg and ended at 70.82 kg and the low dose group began at 71.25 kg and ended at 69.71 kg. The placebo group started at 72.15 kg and ended at 72.47 kg, which was a slight increase in weight. The GCA® group participants’ body mass index shifted from a pre-obese state to a normal weight, which shows promising results for healthy weight loss.  It is also important to note that none of the subjects reported any side effects or adverse side effects from using GCA®.(4)
*GCA® stands for Green Coffee Antioxidant and is the trademarked green coffee bean extract owned by Applied Food Sciences, Inc., and contains 45.9% chlorogenic acids.
Tatjana Djakovic, MS, graduated from Roosevelt College in 2011, with concentration in biochemistry.  Her research was in determining antioxidants and macronutrients in herbal teas.  She is originally from Gospic, Croatia and currently resides in Carol Stream, IL.
1.       World Health Organization (WHO). Fact Sheet 311. Geneva: WHO; 2011.
2.       Lopez-Garcia E, van Dam RM, Rajpathak S, Willett WC, Manson JE,vHu FB. Changes in caffeine intake and long-term weight change in men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83:674–680.
3.       Narita Y, Inouye KJ. Kinetic analysis and mechanism on the inhibition of chlorogenic acid and its components against porcine pancreas alpha-amylase isozymes I and II. J Agric Food Chem. 2009;57: 9218–9225.
4.       Vinson, Joe A., Bryan R. Burnham, and Mysore V. Nagendran. "Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects."Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy 5 (2012): 21.
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