Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet, and health questions.
Want to know which foods to curb sugar cravings? Or, what should you eat before a workout? Ask Keri anything, HERE!
This week’s question…
“What is green coffee bean extract and why are people taking it?” — Melanie C., New York, NY
Whether you have heard about it from a friend, overheard people talking about it at the water cooler or when changing in the gym locker room, the term green coffee bean extract has probably popped up lately. What is this new “weight loss” pill that seems to be the buzz on everyone’s lips? I know what you’re thinking, and no, green coffee is not the newest earth-friendly Frappuccino. The extract comes from coffee beans that have not been roasted (which is why they are green), resulting in a bean with all of its compounds still in tact (specifically chlorogenic acid). So, is it worth the hype?
Let’s start with this: if you’re holding something that says “newest weight loss miracle pill,” I would advise you to put it down and walk away. But I won’t be so judgmental just yet. Let’s take a closer look at the green coffee bean extract and decide whether the mug is half full or half empty.
In one study presented at the American Chemical Society in San Diego, participants lost 17 pounds in 22 days, and in a Dr. Oz study, participants lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks when taking 400 mg pills 3x/day and keeping food journals. Don’t be so quick to say, “sign me up!” The first study was funded by the makers of a green coffee bean extract supplement (hello, red flag!) and although the Dr. Oz study seems more credible, it’s unclear whether the participants lost weight because of the supplement or simply because they kept food journals. Plus, one pound a week isn’t dramatic weight loss. Regardless, no side effects were reported in either study and it was found that the caffeine in green coffee bean extract didn’t contribute to weight loss, but the chlorogenic acid did! Chlorogenic acid is thought to work by inhibiting the release of glucose in the body and lowering insulin levels, helping to promote weight loss.
So, should you wake up and smell the green coffee? I say no. Although the results of the studies seem promising, the long-term effects are unknown. Plus, ingesting too much chlorogenic acid may raise the risk of heart disease since it elevates levels of homocysteine. Roasted coffee contains trace amounts of chlorogenic acid (ranging from 50-90% less, depending on whether its light or dark roasted) so it does not put you at the same risk. I’m a firm believer in not taking shortcuts. Instead, focus on taking care of yourself: eat empowered, exercise steady, and sleep deep. All of these behaviors will help you lose weight and improve your overall well-being and heart health as opposed to a pill that may hurt it.
-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman
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