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Editor's Note: Matthew Papaconstantinou is a biologist with a keen interest in natural healing and weight loss remedies. He maintains a blog about best diets to lose weight fast and offers promotion deals for Nutrisystem food, a clinically studied weight management and meal replacement program. Matthew worked as a research fellow at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis for 6 years.
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Lean & Green
I have to be honest with you. I’m really not one for new-fangled weight-loss techniques. Diet fads, new and “totally safe and effective" miracle pills, and the latest workout crazes come and go. When it comes to weight loss, I’m all about simplicity. I know that the only sure bet is good old-fashioned healthy eating and exercise.
Can you sense a “but" coming?
Because I have one. A but that is. Ironically, that does fit two ways here, doesn’t it?
It happened when I saw a very recent study that has been done on green coffee. Suddenly, it seemed like this one really might be a way to really supplement a healthy eating and exercise routine—a diet that simply fits into your day. The weight loss effects of green coffee, which look truly amazing, have spurred the attention of the media, and have excited me and the scientific community.
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What is Green Coffee?
Green coffee is easy to explain and understand—hence my attraction to it. I love simplicity and I also love coffee. Everything about it. The smell of coffee beans, picking out my favorite blend, wrapping my hand around a steaming mug in the morning, that first luxurious sip.
Green coffee is simply coffee in its all-natural, original state—fresh from the branch on which it came, unaltered in any way. The coffee that so many people worldwide have come to know and love comes from roasted coffee beans. Coffee processors (or whoever those people are that make the miracle of coffee) take the beans and roast them at high temperatures to bring out the rich flavors, aromas, and deep colors of “regular" coffee.
However, it’s been discovered that the roasting process also destroys an important component of the coffee bean—chlorogenic acid.
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And Why Do I Care About Chlorogenic Acid?
Chlorogenic acid is a naturally-occurring phytochemical found mainly in fruits, vegetables, and coffee. In fact, it is the most plentiful polyphenol in the human diet. A number of studies have documented chlorogenic acid’s anti-carcinogenic and anti-oxidant properties. But what is particularly interesting to me is that this biologically active substance affects the way our body absorbs glucose.
Specifically, there is evidence that chlorogenic acid decreases the rate glucose passes from our digestive tract to the blood circulation, what is known as “glucose transport". In other words, the entrance of glucose into the bloodstream, after consuming a chlorogenic acid-rich meal, is delayed. This is important because gradual absorption of glucose means no sugar spikes in the blood.
When sugar enters the blood, pancreas produces insulin. Insulin stores sugar into the cells. Excess sugar is converted into fat and stored in the fat cells. Sugar spikes make insulin less effective leading to obesity and diabetes.
Curbing blood glucose increases (sugar spikes) is a fundamental approach in all medical and commercial weight loss programs because small fluctuations, as opposed to sharp rises, in the blood glucose fight food cravings, feelings of energy depletion, and the formation of visceral fat—this insidious intra-abdominal kind of fat that envelops your internal organs. Visceral fat is associated with the development of metabolic syndrome, a group of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
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Chlorogenic Acid is Good for Weight Loss
So let’s take it from the top. High blood sugar in the body = lots of fat. Chlorogenic acid = normal blood sugar = fat-blocker!
Chlorogenic acid and its unique ability to slow sugar absorption also frees the body up to use its existing fat stores for fuel—a key to weight loss.
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Yeah? Prove it.
Well, I can’t prove it. But Professor Joe Vinson and his team, from the University Of Scranton, PA, certainly have made an impressive start. Dr. Vinson recently found that by giving overweight study participants—eight men and eight women— ground green coffee in the form of three pills a day (one before each meal), he observed an average weight loss of 17.6 pounds. Total weight loss of the participants equaled almost 10% of initial body weight, with—and this is crucial—an average of 16% decrease in body fat. This shows participants weren’t just losing water weight or even losing muscle. The green coffee actually worked to help participants lose fat.
The other part of the study that I liked was the fact that Dr. Vinson had participants keep their normal diet and exercise routines (or lack thereof) and merely added the green coffee. So without altering their daily routine in any way, they were still able to lose that much weight. Let’s be real—17 pounds in 16 weeks is pretty darn good. It follows the recommended weight loss schedule of about a pound a week.
And the side effects? You know, after the sales pitch for a drug on TV, when a sweet voice casually mentions that there is a risk of heart palpitations, dizzy spells, stroke, and death?
Not here. This weight-loss supplement is just unroasted coffee beans, ground up and extracted into pills. The total caffeine content of the recommended daily dose of three pills (again, one before each meal) barely equals the caffeine content in half a cup of regular coffee. Green coffee is not a stimulant. So your side effect might be . . . wanting more coffee?
Again, I have to remind you that I’m really not one for the latest weight-loss craze. But a coffee pill? With an organic compound (already in abundance in the fruits and vegetables I eat) that can just help me stabilize my blood sugar, no matter what I do? Popped before each meal with no side effects?
I just might have to rethink my stance. Dr Vinson is currently studying the weight loss effect of green coffee beans in a larger group of people. His goal is to confirm the safety and clarify the mechanism of action of the green bean.
- Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net