Coffee addicts rejoice – this is your year! 2015 has been hailed the year of the coffee cleanse, thanks to a new ‘superfood’ ingredient: Green coffee extract. Boasting benefits from weight loss to increased energy levels, we ask: what is this new superfood and should you try it?
What is green coffee extract?
Before you start doubling your daily coffee intake, take note: Regular coffee and green coffee bean extract are not the same.
Green coffee bean extract is made from unroasted coffee beans. It is believed that the roasting process – done to the beans that make your morning latte – reduces the amount of chlorogenic acid, the active ingredient that is associated with a tonne of health benefits.
Chlorogenic acid has been touted by advocates as the ultimate weight loss tool. It is believed this natural chemical compound might inhibit the body’s uptake of glucose in the intestine and blood, regulating the metabolism and even resulting in weight loss.
What’s more, a handful of Australian companies have started to use green coffee bean in their products, finally bringing it to our shores.
Meet the next generation of coffee
If your daily latte doesn’t aid in weight loss, increase metabolic rate or come packed with superfoods, it’s not working hard enough, according to new Australian company Coffee Not Coffee. The young brand has amassed a cult Instagram following and has appeared in Harpers Bazaar Germany, not to mention on the accounts of the global blogger set.
Their hero range of coffee includes chlorogenic acid and claims to suppress appetite, boost antioxidant intake and decrease blood glucose and insulin levels. Just to name a few.
They’re not the only ones to champion the power of green coffee beans. Starbucks USA offer a range of Starbucks Refreshers, canned drinks and sachets containing the new superfood. Green coffee bean can also be found in supplement form and taken as a daily pill.
Does it live up to the hype?
“Some of the claims being made about chlorogenic acid seem too good to be true,” says accredited practicing dietitian Gloria Cabrera. “It’s important not to believe everything we hear and do a bit of research before buying expensive supplements.”
One of the landmark studies on green coffee beans was recently retracted after researchers acknowledged that they couldn’t validate the headline claims. The study stated that participants who took a green coffee bean supplement lost 16 per cent of their body fat, and was even endorsed by US celebrity health expert Dr Oz, before being revoked.
“Research done on green coffee beans and weight loss have often been on small populations,” Cabrera points out. “The results look promising but more research needs to be done with a larger group of people for a longer time period,” she says.
Should you try it?
While the idea of slimming coffee might sound enticing, dietitian Katherine Baqleh says products that make big weight loss claims should be approached with caution. “It appears to be just another fad setting people up for diet failure,” she says. “There are concerns regarding safety, dosage and adverse side effects. It’s also unclear the type and amount of the extract needed.”
It’s not all doom and gloom though. If you’re a regular coffee drinker and don’t want to give up on your daily mug, Baqleh says there are ways to make healthier coffee choices. “For the lowest energy content, choose an espresso,” she says. “Be careful of milky coffees with sugar, even if they’re skim-based. They’re considered a snack, not just a beverage.”
Gloria Cabrera agrees that if you’re watching your weight, steer clear of milk drinks and opt for no sugar. “People don’t realise about the kilojoules in coffee,” she says. “Choose a large size, add a few sugars and have several daily and you could be consuming the equivalent of a whole meal!”
Cabrera recommends capping your coffee intake to three cups per day and says it’s important to maintain a healthy balanced diet. “Taking green coffee bean extract but consuming an unhealthy diet with little physical activity is unlikely to do much for weight loss.
“It’s essential to focus on the whole approach rather than hoping a magic pill will be the solution.”
We’ll cheers to that.