Pure green coffee bean extract is made from the raw beans, or seeds, that are contained within the red berries of the coffee plant. In normal production, these are roasted prior to going on sale, giving the traditional beverage. The extract, however, is prepared from beans that have not been roasted, in order to preserve certain essential compounds. There has been an explosion of interest in this preparation in recent years, due to its usefulness as a slimming aid and to its antioxidant properties.
Some people have tried using ordinary coffee as a slimming aid, however, its effects are largely due to caffeine, which stimulates activity, but can also cause undesirable side effects as well as withdrawal symptoms. The available evidence shows that the green form achieves much better results, without the side effects, despite containing much less caffeine. It is another, more benign, compound that accounts for the benefits.
The active ingredient is thought to be chlorogenic acid. Despite the name, this compound does not contain chlorine. The name comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “green”, and refers to the green color the acid produces when undergoing certain chemical reactions. Roasting the beans destroys chlorogenic acid, which is why normal coffee does not provide the same benefits.
Various chemical reactions that routinely take place in the human body create compounds called “free radicals”. These are potentially very damaging to cells. They promote aging and can disrupt the structure of DNA, increasing the risk of cancer. Chlorogenic acid belongs to a class of compounds known as antioxidants, which inhibit the oxidation reactions that produce free radicals. It is thought, therefore, that this compound may help prevent cancer and reduce the effects of aging.
The feature of green coffee bean extract that has made the biggest splash is its use in achieving weight loss. A clinical trial involving two sets of volunteers, one using the extract and one not, found that the group given the extract lost, on average, 17 pounds, while the other group showed no significant weight loss. The study has been widely publicized and has resulted in great demand for this product.
So how does it work? It seems that the acid slows down the rate at which glucose is released from the food we eat. Glucose is a simple sugar that is produced by the breakdown of more complex carbohydrate molecules. It provides the body with energy, but when energy requirements are low it is converted to fat. In other words, carbohydrate intake needs to be balanced by exercise to use up the glucose before it turns to fat. Chlorogenic acid makes this easier by reducing the rate at which glucose is produced.
This may have some additional health benefits. It appears to help the body burn up fat more quickly by stimulating liver metabolism. There is also evidence that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Pure green coffee bean extract is made by soaking raw beans rather than roasting them. This ensures that the active ingredients are not destroyed. The extract can be purchased online in capsule form.