Ever since a well known TV doctor told the world about Green Coffee Extract in 2011, people have been going crazy about Green Coffee Weight Loss. But, in an industry that is so full of ‘miracle cures’ which promise to give you the body you have always wanted, how can you be sure that this new kid on the block is not just another example of a magic pill that doesn’t really work?
Well, happily, there is real scientific evidence to back up the claims made about Green Coffee Extract. In this article I will clearly explain, in simple but accurate terms, what this scientific evidence is and how Green Coffee Extract is thought to aid weight loss.
So, what is Green Coffee? It is simply the name given to coffee before it gets roasted. The coffee we all drink has been roasted, as this improves the flavour. The drawback, however, is that the roasting process destroys some of the beneficial, natural components of the coffee beans. One of these natural components is chlorogenic acid – the active ingredient in Green Coffee Beans – which is responsible for its weight reducing properties. After roasting, coffee can loose up to 70% of its chlorogenic acid compliment. Green Coffee Extract should contain 45-50% chlorogenic acid.
So how does chlorogenic acid help us loose weight? To understand this we first need a bit of background on how our bodies use energy. Our body’s preferred source of energy is glucose (i.e. sugar/carbs). We maintain a certain level of glucose in our blood at all times. When we have lots of sugar in our diet, the excess gets stored in two ways:
1) As glycogen: this is just long chains of glucose molecules joined together. It is stored in the liver and muscles and can be quickly made available when more glucose is needed.
2) As fat: stored under the skin and around the organs. Fat is more of a long term energy store. When we are low on glucose, glycogen is used in preference to fat.
So, if our blood glucose goes down, glycogen is broken down to release more glucose. If that starts to run out fat is then burnt to provide energy. In this way we are able to maintain a fairly constant level of blood glucose.
If we can reduce the amount of glucose available from our diet, or reduce the amount available from glycogen stores, this means our body will be forced to burn more fat. This is what we want when trying to loose weight green coffee extract!
Now chlorogenic acid works in two main ways.
1) It reduces the uptake of glucose from our small intestine. We know this because experiments have been carried out on rats which show reduced glucose absorption in the small intestine when chlorogenic acid is present .
2) It has been shown to inhibit an important enzyme found in the liver which is needed to break down glycogen: glucose-6-phosphatase (G6P). Now this has been shown in the lab, but not yet in a living animal, so how do we know it actually does inhibit G6P when eaten? Well it has not been directly demonstrated, but scientists have shown that chlorogenic acid is absorbed into the blood, via the stomach without getting degraded in rats. So it is reasonable to assume that it arrives at the liver intact, where is can get to work inhibiting G6P.