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Magic Beans or just another tall tale?

Green coffee extract (GCE) is having a moment. It was featured on Dr. Oz as a weight loss aid and is available in drinks at Starbucks for people who want the benefits of coffee (caffeine) but who don’t like coffee’s taste. To better understand the hype, let’s take a closer look at our familiar “daily grind.”

Coffee is versatile. It can be an eye-opener in the morning or signal the end of an elegant meal. It is served in cafes, bars, gas stations, and brewed at home. Whenever and however you take your coffee, most of us know it as a brown, black, or very light tan drink. However, coffee starts as a green bean. Traditionally, after coffee is harvested, green coffee beans are roasted to bring out the dark colors and bold flavors coffee is famous for. While roasting develops the signature taste of coffee, it reduces the amount of chlorogenic acids (CGA) naturally occurring phytochemicals in coffee beans with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potentially weight-loss enhancing effects.

Modern science has made it possible to consume the natural energy (caffeine) and chlorogenic acids found in green coffee beans. These phytochemicals are responsible for the media attention given to Green Coffee Extract. Why? The research is limited, but studies in animals suggest that Chlorogenic Acid (CGA) inhibits accumulation of fat and reduces the absorption of glucose (sugar) from the GI tract. Chlorogenic Acids are lost during the roasting process, but preserved in Green Coffee extract. Caffeine levels in Green Coffee Extract are similar to those in roasted coffee. Caffeine stimulates the Central Nervous System, heart muscles, and blood pressure centers and acts as a diuretic (i.e. makes you have to urinate).

Human studies are very limited and often contain methodological flaws so my recommendation is to steer clear of pills, extracts, and supplements promising “magic” results without effort. Instead of spending $40 on a bottle of green coffee extract, put that money towards this healthy routine: you and a friend choose a coffee shop that’s a good walking distance away (10 blocks = 1 NYC mile), walk or jog there twice a week and have a cup o’ joe. Evidence-based research, not media hype, shows that physical activity and social support contribute to sustainable nutrition goals and are part of a healthy lifestyle! Ich dachte daruber

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Sharon Richter, RD
200 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.977.7779

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