The Scoop on Green Coffee

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Green coffee extract and related supplements are no stranger to the weight loss industry, but what exactly are they? Do they actually work? Are they safe? Read on to learn more about what many claim to be the secret to their slimmed down physique.

What is Green Coffee?

Green coffee is the term used to describe fresh, unroasted coffee beans. These beans are the same as those used for regular coffee, but because they have not yet been heat-processed and ground, they are especially dense with antioxidants, particularly one called chlorogenic acid. This is the ingredient that is extracted and has become more formally known as green coffee extract. Several beneficial health effects have been linked to the consumption of chlorogenic acid.

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Potential Health Benefits

Some of the suggested health benefits of green coffee extract include improved blood lipid and sugar levels, as well as improved glucose tolerance. When it comes to weight loss, what is specifically believed to be green coffee’s special talent is its ability to influence how the body absorbs and metabolizes carbohydrates. However, related studies on green coffee and chlorogenic acid’s potential as a weight-loss aid are rather poor. While general findings suggest that green coffee extract can have mild to moderate effects on health, such as those mentioned above, most of these studies struggle to meet the standards of robust, high-quality research. This is primarily due to methodological limitations that include significantly small sample sizes and a lack of long-term observations, both of which are valuable to determining a product’s performance and safety. 

Potential Risks

Green coffee extract is most commonly sold as a dietary supplement in pill or capsule form. These supplements contain crushed green coffee beans that hold significantly high concentrations of chlorogenic acid, among other nutrients. The average capsule or pill contains about 20-50mg of caffeine. While this may not seem significant, it is the recommended dosage of these capsules that makes their consumption concerning. For optimal effectiveness in facilitating weight loss, some manufacturers recommend up to nine capsules per day, totaling about 450mg of caffeine. This exceeds the recommended daily upper limit for Canadian adults, which is set at 400mg per day. The over-consumption of caffeine has been linked to increased heart rates, irritability and insomnia.

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Green coffee supplements are obviously not the only source of caffeine in the average adult’s diet. Regular coffee, certain teas, sodas, chocolate, as well as energy drinks are common sources of caffeine that contribute to one’s daily intake. In addition to those who already consume a significant amount of caffeine from these sources already, individuals with caffeine sensitivities should also take special precautions when taking this supplement. Symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, headaches and acid reflux are very likely to be experienced by those with caffeine sensitivities when taking green coffee supplements.

Bottom Line

Coffee beans are known for being a great source of antioxidants. Since they are minimally processed, green coffee beans are especially high in such powerful compounds that are known for beneficial health effects related to weight loss. However, the effectiveness of their use as a dietary supplement remains unclear, and so do their long-term implications for overall health. Furthermore, their caffeine density is concerning, as most suggested regimens encourage consumption levels that exceed daily recommended intakes.

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Mirieta Selimovska
Mirieta is a Toronto born and raised foodie and aspiring Registered Dietitian. Her motto? All foods fit! It’s no secret that keeping fuelled with food that is both nutritious and delicious can be challenging at times. Lucky for you, Mirieta is here to help inspire your own (realistic!) journey towards improved health. You can find her on Instagram (@thesweetenedpea) or grabbing a coffee wherever the photo-worthy latte art is.