Coffee houses have recently introduced a new cold beverage. Currently available in either lime or raspberry flavor, it is offered as a way to recharge and refresh. One of the key ingredients in this new beverage is green coffee
bean extract (GCBE). In some circles, the use of green coffee bean extract for weight loss is becoming popular.
There is a group of scientists in Scranton, Pennsylvania, who have been conducting research since 1998 into the benefits of drinking hot beverages like coffee and tea. In Spring 2012, they presented results indicating that the compound in GCBE that aids weight loss is a chemical cousin of chlorophyll. It is called chlorogenic acid. Subjects in their study experienced an overall loss of 16% body fat.
The mechanism by which chlorogenic acid is thought to promote weight loss is through slowing the rate of glucose absorption, forcing the body to utilize stored fat instead as an energy source. When the body start to break down its fat stores for energy, weight loss does happen faster. Skeptics attribute this effect to caffeine rather than chlorogenic acid. GCBE only contains half the caffeine as a strong cup of coffee.
Patients seeking cheap and easy ways to lose weight have been keeping their doctors busy for centuries. Greek physician, Soranus of Ephesus, could legitimately be described as the world's first bariatric specialist. Bariatrics is the study of weight loss. For his patients, he prescribed exercise, massage, heat, purgatives and laxatives. Perhaps surprisingly, these became the mainstay of treatment for over a thousand years.
By the late 1930s, amphetamines became popular as effective appetite suppressants. Unfortunately, these turned out to have dangerous cardiotoxic and addictive side effects. Following a spate of deaths in the 1960s, their use as a weight loss aid was discontinued.
For a while in the 1990s, a drug called Fen-Phen was fashionable with physicians and their patients as a treatment for obesity. It was named after its two active ingredients, fenfluramine and phentermine. This, too, proved dangerous and was withdrawn from the market in 1997 because of its connection with pulmonary hypertension and damage to heart valves.
Ephedra was the next trend in weight loss at the beginning of the 21st century. It is tantalizing to speculate that this was named in honor of the good doctor Soranus, from Ephesus. Eventually, Ephedra became linked with high blood pressure, stroke and deaths and was banned from use.
However promising the emerging data concerning green coffee bean extract for weight loss may appear to be, GCBE should be used with caution. All drugs are 'dirty' and have harmful side effects at high doses or over time. Drinking water in too high a concentration can be fatal. Green coffee bean extract contains thousands of different chemicals. Not all of them have been as thoroughly characterized as caffeine and, to a lesser extent, chlorogenic acid. Some of the GCBE preparations currently available over the Internet contain as much as 800 milligrams of Superior coffee
extract. People considering using this dietary supplement as an aid to losing weight should certainly consult their medical adviser. Enjoying the occasional refreshing, revitalizing iced beverage should be harmless to most people.