What Is Green Coffee and Is it Worth the Buzz?

Unroasted, or green, coffee has chlorogenic acid that's been linked to weight loss and other health benefits. People are touting green coffee — as a drink, extract or supplement — as a health cure-all. We don’t like quick fixes or miracle foods, but we do enjoy looking at the latest food trends and seeing if there is any truth to them.

Roasting coffee reduces the chlorogenic acid as well as caffeine in the bean, so making drinks from the green bean will help you ingest more. Proponents of the bean claim the acid in the coffee helps you lose weight and lowers blood sugar. Short term, small, poorly controlled studies showed evidence that green tea extract may help weight loss. A different small study showed that, as a supplement, it reduced untreated high blood pressure. Extensive studies may back up these finds, but it seems early to jump on the bandwagon.

It’s hard to find information about the drink or extract from places that aren’t selling it, which is a red flag to us. A site that says the extract will lower LDL sounds credible but doesn’t offer any research to support the claim. Chlorogenic acid, from coffee or otherwise, is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects. Larger studies have shown the acid may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Studies have shown that regular coffee might not be beneficial to cholesterol but is an appetite suppressant.

Take note of something important: green coffee has more caffeine than regular, roasted coffee. It can cause headaches, diarrhea and jitteriness for people who are sensitive to caffeine. Outside of side effects, there may be other risks. There isn’t anywhere near enough research to know if it interacts with medications. In a mouse study, green coffee extract damaged the subjects’ bones.

At the end of the day, reviewing what information we could find, it seems like the beans won’t do you harm. However, it is early days on the research. The general consensus has, thus far, been that it won’t harm you. If you would like to try it, speak to your doctor and get their advice based on your personal medical history.  

Banner image: Dan Bollinger, Wikimedia
September 30, 2019
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