Green Doesnít Mean Lean

Coffee bean extract may not be all itís ground up to be

BY CATHY BREITENBUCHER’s not easy being green — green coffee bean extract, that is.

There’s no debating that an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid can be extracted from unroasted (“green”) coffee beans. But is it the quick-fix weight loss solution that TV’s Dr. Oz and the supplement industry claim it is?

“It’s human nature to look for an easy answer,” says Megan Baumler, director of the graduate dietetics program at Mount Mary University.

“The answer is easy, but it’s hard to achieve — that is, to not eat more calories than we need. The obesity problem in this country is not going to be solved by using green coffee extract.”

A 2012 study often cited by proponents recorded improvements in the weight, body-mass index, body fat and heart rate of subjects who took daily, 350mg doses of a GCBE supplement. But that study featured too small a sample (16 patients) and too short a timeline (22 weeks) to draw sweeping conclusions, says Baumler.

Meanwhile, other researchers have looked at a variety of ways green coffee bean extract affects the body. One study indicated that the extract could be beneficial to the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Others focused on the extract’s impact on insulin resistance, but conflicting results turned up.

Caffeine in the extract is “a concern” according to Baumler.

And then there’s the price tag — one GCBE supplement advertised on the Internet retails for $39.99 for a 40-day supply.

“The bottom line is there is limited research, period, in either direction,” says Baumler, “so we’re not going to make widespread recommendations. Up


With cold weather settling in, a steaming cup of coffee sounds mighty tempting. Better still, experts say it might even be good for you.

Both regular and decaffeinated coffee are loaded with antioxidants that have been linked to a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, for instance.

“One to four cups a day seems to provide various health benefits, including decreased risk for liver cancer, stroke and heart failure,” says Mount Mary University’s Megan Baumler. “Beyond four or five cups, you may increase your risk for heart failure.”

But, experts warn, loading up your coffee with sugar, sugar-laced flavorings or cream quickly turn that cup of joe into a fattening treat. And, caffeine is not recommended for pregnant women and people with high blood pressure.

By the way, did you hear the word “cup?” Baumler, a registered dietitian, reminds us that a cup is 8 ounces, not a Starbucks “Tall” (12 ounces) or your typical travel mug (16 ounces).