Update 3/10/20. Does green coffee bean help people lose weight? That’s a question a lot of people are asking since seeing this weight loss supplement on the Dr. Oz show. If you’ve been wondering about this also -or wondering if it's a scam – let me try to help you make sense of things by looking at the green coffee bean weight loss research. I believe that only by reviewing it according to its research can we cut through the hype that permeates most websites and magazines about this product.
What is Green Coffee Bean?
Green coffee beans are coffee beans that have not been roasted. Roasting green coffee beans not only changes the color of the coffee beans but also removes a compound called chlorogenic acid (say klor-oh-jen-ick acid).
It's the chlorogenic acid that is at the heart of green coffee bean weight-loss claims. Roasted coffee beans have little chlorogenic acid.
When supplements contain “green coffee bean extract”, chlorogenic acid is the extract they are referring to. Like many plant chemicals, chlorogenic acid also has antioxidant properties. Another extract of green coffee beans that is probably also used in supplements is caffeine.
Foods that naturally contain chlorogenic acid include:
- Sunflower seeds
So, if you are eating these foods, you are getting chlorogenic acid already.
How Does It Work?
The research so far tends to say that chlorogenic acid (an extract in the green coffee bean) disrupts an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphatase, which is involved in how the body used glucose (sugar). I think things might be more complicated than this so I will leave the question of “how it works” to others.
Green Coffee Bean Weight Loss Research
There is research on green coffee beans and weight loss. Below are summaries of some of those studies. While many of the studies involve lab animals, where possible, human research will be highlighted also.
In a mouse study researchers noted that a green coffee bean extract reduced blood triglyceride levels. However, the researchers also noted that neither chlorogenic acid or caffeine by itself was able to reduce reducing body weight gain or fat accumulation in the belly.
In another clinical study researchers compared different types of coffee in 30 healthy, normal-weight people. The study lasted 3 months (12 weeks).
The supplement they used was called Svetol
People drank 5 cups of Slender Coffee – or regular coffee – per day for 3 months.
Results: People drinking Slender Coffee lose about 12 pounds compared to placebo coffee (compared to 3.5 pounds with the placebo coffee).
In addition, those drinking Slender coffee people lost more body fat, but body fat was measured using bio-electric impedance which might not be as reliable as other methods.
In a review paper that looked at 3 previous investigations, it appeared that overweight people who use green coffee bean extract have significantly greater weight loss than people who used a placebo. That’s good, but the researchers went on to say that the degree of this effect was “moderate” and that the “clinical relevance is therefore not certain.” The researchers go in to say that “the size of the [weight loss] effect is small.”
In other words, the researchers were saying that while a moderate amount of weight loss seemed to be occurring, it's hard to tell for sure because of the lack of good, quality studies.
In another clincal trial, conducted in India, titled Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects (this study has been retracted. See update below). involved just 16 people and lasted 22 weeks (5.5 months) and involved 16 overweight men and women.
This was a pretty small study. This was an investigation of a green coffee bean supplement called “GCA” made by Applied Food Sciences (appliedfoods.com) who funded the study. All subjects received the same treatments (for 6 weeks each) in a double-blinded, random order. The treatments were:
- Placebo (not specified) given 3x per day
- 350 mg GCA taken 3x per day (1050 mg total)
- 350 mg GCA taken 2x per day (700 mg total)
A period of 2 weeks separated treatments to let the compounds wash out of the body.
As an aside, I noticed that Applied Food Sciences is based in Texas. With all of the universities and labs in America, why did they go to India to test their product?
- When used for 6 weeks, people lost about 2 kg (about 4 lbs) when taking 1050 mg of green coffee bean extract and about 1.5 kg (about 3 lbs) when using 700 mg of the extract. Both of these were deemed statistically significant (that’s good).
- A decrease in body fat by about 1% as well as Body Mass Index was also seen in both the 1050mg and 700 mg doses. Both values were deemed statistically significant.
Green Coffee Study Retraction
Update: In 2014 CBS News reported that this study has been retracted (taken back) because the researchers stated that they could not verify the results of the study. It turned out that researchers in India did the actual data collection in the study -not the researchers whose names appeared on the paper.
For more on this controversy, see these links:
In this study, researchers published Lipolytic activity of svetol®, a decaffeinated green coffee bean extract. This was a study of human fat cells. Basically, fat cells were incubated in green coffee bean extract (the product was Svetol) for between 2 hours and 8 days to see if the extract helped release fat stores.
These researchers noted that short-term (2 hours) fat loss might be due to “residual caffeine traces” (odd, since Svetol is said to be decaffeinated) and that long-term (8 day) fat release was not due to caffeine but rather was attributed to Svetol.
While this is interesting, it is basically just a test tube study. Also, for those who are curious, the lead researcher of this study has an association with a supplement company that makes green coffee extract supplements.
Green Coffee and Blood Sugar
Its possible people with diabetes have heard that green coffee supplements might help them reduce blood sugar levels. In a test tube, study researchers note that the green coffee supplement called Svetol appeared to have blood sugar-lowering effects. A mouse study, published in 2012 also appeared to show improvements in blood sugar control. This study also involved the Sevetol supplement. In a study, involving 60 healthy women, higher chlorogenic acid (thought to be the active ingredient in green coffee) levels were associated with lower blood sugar.
What Is Svetol?
Svetol is a proprietary green coffee supplement made by a French company called Naturex. Their address in the US is 375 Huyler Street South Hackensack NJ 07606. This is the only green coffee bean supplement I've seen research on. While I remain skeptical of green coffee, if you're looking for a dietary supplement, I'd go with the one with the research.
How Much Green Coffee Do You Take?
I don't think there's enough human research. Most supplements have 200-400 mg per 1 or 2 capsules. some studies have used this dosage too.
Green Coffee Bean Side Effects
Studies generally don't report any serious side effects but here are some things to think about if you try this supplement. This list is not complete.
- Start with less for the first week
- Always look at the back labels of the weight loss supplements you use to see the list of ingredients they contain. If the research is to be believed, only green coffee bean extract should be needed. Nothing else.
- Investigate the companies whose products they use to make sure you are only getting green coffee bean extract. In this 2011 report, titled Adverse drug reactions of a slimming product contaminated with sibutramine , a green coffee bean supplement was found to be spiked with an illegal weight loss drug called sibutramine. Sibutramine (also known as Meridia) was removed from the US market because it's been linked to heart attacks and strokes.
- Also, as far as I can tell, all the human green coffee studies conducted to date have used “healthy people.” I am not aware of any study that has tested green coffee bean supplements in people with health problems or who take various medications. To be safe, those with health conditions should speak to their doctor or pharmacist.
- One rat study noted that green coffee extract lowered blood pressure. Whether this applies to people or not needs better research. Those taking medications for high blood pressure should consult their doctor.
- Stop taking green coffee supplements at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
- Speak to your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
- A small study noted that high doses (2000 mg) of chlorogenic acid increased homocysteine levels in men and women. While controversial, homocysteine may play a role in heart disease. It is unknown if green coffee bean supplements raise homocysteine. People with heart disease who take green coffee bean supplements should speak to their doctor about their homocysteine levels first, just to be safe.
Does Green Coffee Bean Work?
There is no doubt that green coffee bean has some weight loss research. There is also no doubt the weight loss proof is a lot less than what most would have you believe. Most f the research involves lab animals. If you're going to try it the supplement that has been clinically studied is called Svetol. That said I remain skeptical.
What do you think?
Hi Joe, Just wanted to get my ‘2 cents’ in about green coffee bean extract. I am not taking to lose weight but to keep my blood sugar levels in normal range. About 5 years ago I was diagnosed borderline diabetic. After some research decided to go with the coffee bean.
For 4+ years now, I have been taking 2 capsules daily which = 1600 mg. with 50% chlorogenic acid. This is keeping my glucose serum levels just within normal range. I also exercise daily.
I have not lost weight, that was not the goal, but I haven’t gained weight either. However, I’m going to take a look at your supplement list that may help with weight loss. Not that it matters, but I am 70 years old.
Thanks for your web site. My “go to” place.
Joe Cannon says
Hi Linda, thanks for saying that and I am SO glad green coffee beans have been helping to maintain your blood sugar levels. Research has shown coffee can help blood sugar so I’m really happy to hear the same thing is happening with the supplements 🙂
Ruby Williams says
Do not take anymore money from my account without my permisson.
Hi Ruby, you are contacting the wrong website. No worries. If you tell me the name of the company you are trying to reach, I can get you their contact information.
Andrew Bernard says
What do you think about Coffetrim? It contains green coffee bean extract.
Andrew, I’m not impressed with green coffee bean extract. The research is shaky.
I am 105kgs and my height is 5’6 n I am 20 years and I want to lose 35 KGS in this year is it possible with green coffee if yes then how much time it will take to lose 35kgs ? Plz to answer me
Niharika, until they do better studies, I have no faith in green coffee for weight loss. Here is a list of things that have evidence:
weight loss supplements with evidence
Hi I am Morg. I am Overweight. At the age of 20 yrs old. Im just 4’11 ft and my weight is when i last check it, Its 70kg. I dont know how to lose weight faster. Please help me :'( What can you advice me to take?
Hi Morg, well the first thing Id say is that you really should not try to lose weight fast. The weight did not come on fast and it should not be lost fast. While in the beginning, its normal for you to lose 5 or more pounds in the first week or so, eventually the weight loss will taper off to less (0.5 to 2 pounds per week). When it slows down, that’s when you know you are losing fat and not just the water that is in your body.
I dont believe green coffee bean supplements are the answer for you.
Are you doing any exercise? If not, start with something easy like walking for 30 minutes a day (or whatever you feel you can do). Build up to doing that most days of the week. Also try to reduce the food you are eating by a little bit.
Here is a list of things that have evidence that they can help weight loss
Its not really about supplements. Its about changing how much you move and how many calories you eat. I hope some of this helps. Keep me posted on how you are doing.
I am 22 nd my height is 5’4… I am 75 kgs….I need to reduce 20-25…I have ordered green coffee should I start taking this? Nd if yes what else I have to do side by side to reduce?
Hi Naina, while I think green coffee bean is mostly marketing hype when it comes to weight loss, you might prove me wrong. Here is a list of things that have evidence that they can help people lose weight: https://joe-cannon.com/what-weight-loss-supplements-work/
Hi, I am 27 my weight is 90kgs, I want to lose upto 25kgs will green coffee work for me. I am also take medication for hypo-thyroid. Kindly suggest me.
Hi Tina, right now I’m not a fan of green coffee for weight loss. I want to see better human studies on it. Here is a list of things that I feel have some evidence
Remember to take a look at the other things I mentioned in that link too. They can also help weight loss.
Niharika Priyadarshini says
Hey, i’m 164cm in height and 70kg in weight. I need to loose weight. I consume 1200 calories per day and also hit the gym 4times in a week. Should i take Green coffee bean extract so that i can lose weight fast. Plz anyone reply.
Hi Niharika, I don’t think you should. Until better studies are done, I think you should save your money on green coffee bean supplements.
Hi, My age is 25 and my weight is 56. can i use the product Green Coffee. And also mention if any side effects after using it. Because i am planning for a baby…
Hi Anjali, your weight is 56 what? kilgrams? I want to see more studies on it. If I were betting, Id say it probably wont work. I did list some side effects in the review. I dont feel women who are pregnant/nursing should use it. here is a list of things I feel have some evidence:
If possible, starting an exercise program before you get pregnant may also help you:
Im 30 years old, my weight is 68kg. My height is 5 feet 7 inches, and recently diogonised with hyperthyroidism. I feel too tired to do any exercise n having 9 to 5 desk job. Can you please suggest how can I lose 10kgs
Hi Srinjana, do you mean hypo-thyroidism? That could cause you to be tired a lot. Did your doctor suggest anything to help like levo-thyroxin? Your BMI is about 23 which in the “normal” range. I dont feel Green coffee bean supplements are best for you because I’m not convinced they work.
I m.priya . I m 34 yrs old My weight s 105 kgs I know it’s obesity.
I want to reduce weight will green coffee helps me to reduce weight. I don’t have time to hit gym. Pls help I would like to our purchase green coffee product I got to know abt this product
Hi Priya, At this time I dont think green coffee bean will help people lose weight. I say this based on the research I’ve seen. I think we need better studies to see if it really works or not. Here is a list of weight loss supplements that I believe have some evidence that they can work: http://www.joe-cannon.com/what-weight-loss-supplements-work/ The link goes to my personal website.
I dont think you need to hit the gym to lose weight. Do you have time in your day to take a walk? if yes, Id say do that as opposed to spending money on a gym. While exercise has many benefits, most people dont do enough of it to burn a bunch of calories to help them lose weight. In other words what we eat -and do not eat – plays a bigger role in weight loss – than exercise does. Exercise can help but exercise alone – without changing how much we eat – probably wont help most people lose weight.
Hope that helps Priya. Any other questions, just ask 🙂
I’m taking green coffee bean extract on top of a healthy/low calorie diet and run about three times a week. My calorie intake is below 1000 a day and most days I take in 600-700 calories. I’m 28 years old and weigh about 150lbs. I’ll let you know what my results are in a bit if anyone is curious.
Tae, you will lose weight with that calorie intake no matter what supplement you take. I dont feel eating 1000 cal a day is healthy. Id rather you eat 1800 calories a day. My fear is that on such a low calorie diet, you start to lose muscle. Once you lose muscle fibers, they dont come back. You said you were 150, how tall are you?
Thanks for the response! I’m right at 5’10, thin boned, and naturally 135-140 lbs. I bulked/gained some weight after taking a prescribed antidepressant (Zoloft) along with college. The doctor said it could be one of the side effects when I was prescribed it but I felt the reward of feeling better was worth it.
I got out of the military in 2010 and even on top of the exercise five days a week, I never hit 150 lbs. Army physical fitness test (APFT) scores were always high 270/300.
Hi Tae, I calculated your body mass index (BMI). At 5’10” and 150lbs your BMI is 21 whcih puts you in the normal range. That doesn’t tell what your body fat is, which is a limitation of BMI. Are you clothes fitting well or are they tight?
I just started noticing some dress pants fitting a little tighter than normal. Had to actually go purchase some 32’s because my 30’s just felt uncomfortable. If my BMI is 21 and is in normal range, I may reconsider and up my calorie intake. Any other words of advice? I know it’s hard to gauge a situation just based on words via the web. I just feel like my PT scores (in the reserves now) going down reflected my weight gain.
Tae, BMI is just a general measurement. It doesn’t always reflect body fat. It’s possible to have a low BMI and high body fat and the other way around too. Question: Are you able to consult with a dietitian (RD or LD) about this? I have to think the reserves has nutritionists that can give you some specific advice about what you are experiencing.
Hi I m 25. My weight 59. I want to lose weight and I m doing exercise 3 to 4 times a week. But no result. whether green coffee extract helps me to lose weight?
Hi Saranya, did you say you weigh 59 lbs? My guess is that was a typo. Personally, until I see better studies, I dont feel green coffee extract works. That said Here is a list of things that I feel does have evidence http://www.joe-cannon.com/what-weight-loss-supplements-work/ This link goes to my personal website. I hope it helps.
Sorry for typo mistake. I m 59 kg
Saranya, oh ok 59 kg (130 pounds). that makes more sense 🙂
Hi, after reading all the comments, I decided to take green coffee bean. However I am not sure will it work for me. My age is 33 and my weight is 75. Please share your Expert comments.
Priya, I hope it works for you and I will look forward to learning what happens. Do let me know.
Sure Joe…..I will
I’m disabled with a genetic connective tissue disorder that makes even walking painful, so being able to exercise is out. I’ve tried various diet plans that included cutting calories, giving each plan a solid month to prove itself. But despite strict adherence, I’ve never been able to lose more than a couple of pounds at the end of the month, so I gave up.
Then two weeks ago I was given a bottle of Green Coffee Bean extract as a promotional at the health food store, so thought I’d give it a go. As I said, that was two weeks ago and I’m already down 8 pounds. The only thing I’ve done differently over these past two weeks is take the Green Coffee Bean extract. I’m still eating take-away meals (pizza, etc., ), and drinking my daily mocha lattes just like always, not depriving or starving myself just to lose a pound, like before.
And this is all right before my T.O.M., when I usually bloat and gain a few pounds. Does it work? Based on the past two weeks, it seams to for me. Will it work for you? I don’t know. But since it can’t hurt, it’s at least worth a try, isn’t it?
RL, thanks for sharing. While I am happy for you, I remain skeptical of green coffee bean weight loss supplements. I can’t find any good proof they work especially when people still eat pizza and other fast foods. While its possible that you subconsciously ate less during this first 2 weeks (I can’t know either way, its just a guess), my advice is to not eat pizza etc going forward.
Hi I am 25 and my weight is 70kg…..I want to loose up to 12 kgs….will green coffee work for me….M unable to go for any workout or walk due to my hectic office schedule…plz advise
Hi Kita, my opinion is right now I dont see any evidence that green coffee helps weight loss. When it comes to weight loss, remember that its what we eat that plays the biggest role putting on weight. So picking better (lower calorie) foods is the best thing. Exercise helps preserve muscle during weight loss (once a muscle cell is lost, it doesn’t come back) which is one of the main reasons Id encourage you to do something. Id bet you could squeeze some physical activity into your hectic office schedule (taking the steps vs the elevator or taking a longer path to get to meetings for example). That said, here is a list of things that I feel have some evidence http://www.joe-cannon.com/what-weight-loss-supplements-work/
I have to lose weight . I am 83 now. Will green coffee extracts work and will it cause any side effects?
Hi Hemamalini, I dont think green coffee is the answer. I dont think it works. what are you doing now to lose weight?