Weight : Green Coffee Beans and Weight Loss

Bradley J. Fikes

There's a new ally in the war on weight: Green coffee beans.

Scientists at the American Chemical Society convention reported Tuesday that green, or unroasted, coffee beans can cause the obese to lose more than 10 percent of that unwanted weight in less than five months.

The best news of all: There were no side effects, said study leader Joe Vinson. However, Vinson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton, Pa., cautioned that the results need to be confirmed.

"This is a benign, natural material that was used in this study, and it remains to be seen in a larger study whether we can still get that large weight loss," Vinson said at a press conference at the convention, held this week at the San Diego Convention Center.

The study, conducted in India, involved 16 overweight people aged 22 to 26 years. All cycled through three six-week regimens of taking either a high or low dose of an extract from green coffee beans, and a placebo, for 22 weeks.

The low dose consisted of 700 mg of the coffee extract, and the high dose was 1,050 mg. They were administered in capsules.

Participants lost an average of 17 pounds during the 22 weeks of the study. It included an average of a 10.5 percent decrease in overall body weight and a 16 percent decrease in body fat, Vinson said.

By ensuring that each person took a placebo along with a low and high dose in turn, the individual effects could be studied more precisely, Vinson said.

Although previous studies have shown weight loss with green coffee beans, Vinson said this study tested the highest level of the substance, and also was the first to test two doses.

It's unclear how green coffee bean extract causes weight loss, Vinson said. But it is known that the extract doesn't suppress appetite like other weight loss drugs, he said. Calorie intake didn't change during the study.

'"We believe it has to do with glucose absorption, fat absorption and perhaps a decrease in insulin levels," Vinson said.

Vinson said the weight-loss effect is probably caused by a substance called chlorogenic acid present in unroasted beans. Roasting breaks down this chemical, in addition to giving coffee its unique flavor and smell.

Call staff writer Bradley J. Fikes at 760-739-6641.

(c)2012 the North County Times (Escondido, Calif.)

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