Does The Green Coffee Bean Extract Work?

Written by Dr. Steve Chaney on . Posted in current health articles, Healthy Living, Supplements and Health

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

 does green coffee bean extract work

Does the green coffee bean extract work? The claims sounded so appealing. You could just take this green coffee bean extract and the pounds would melt away. You didn’t need to exercise or change your diet.

Your first reaction when you heard those claims was probably “Right, when pigs fly. I’ve heard this kind of stuff before. It’s just too good to be true.”

But then you were given a pseudo-scientific explanation about how it was the chlorogenic acid in the green coffee bean extract that was responsible for its amazing properties (What they didn’t tell you was that chlorogenic acid is present in all roasted coffees). You were told that it was backed by a clinical study showing that people lost 17.7 pounds, 10.5% of their body weight and 16% of their body fat in 22 weeks without diet and exercise.

To top it all off you were told that it was endorsed by Dr. Oz on his TV show and provided with a video clip to prove it. After all of that you were probably tempted to say “Maybe…just maybe… these amazing claims might be true.” You may have even been tempted to try it.

Were the claims true? Is green coffee bean extract the miracle weight loss product that everyone has been looking for? Or was it just another bogus weight loss product?

 

Is Green Coffee Bean Extract Bogus?

Evidently the Federal Trade Commission did not consider the claims about green coffee bean extract to be true. The FTC sued one of the companies that manufactured and sold green coffee bean extract for promoting a “hopelessly flawed study” to support the weight loss claims for their product.

The FTC alleged that:

  • The study was too small, at 16 subjects, to provide convincing data.
  • The study contained a number of critical flaws in the design and results of the study. For example, the greatest weight loss actually occurred in the placebo group.
  • The lead investigator in India actually falsified the results.
  • The company knew or should have known that this botched study didn’t prove anything.”

The manufacturer eventually agreed to pay $3.5 million to the FTC to settle their complaint. Basically, the company agreed with the FTC that there was no evidence to back their weight loss claims.

 

How Did Dr. Oz Get It So Wrong?

What about Dr. Oz’s endorsement? In Dr. Oz’s 2012 show segment he called green coffee bean extract “the magic weight loss cure for any body type.” The most puzzling aspect of this whole saga is how Dr. Oz got it so wrong.

After all, he is a trained neurosurgeon. He is Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University. He understands the principles of evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based medicine simply means that it is a physician’s responsibility to check the scientific evidence before recommending a treatment to a patient. Yet he never even looked into the supposed “clinical study” backing green coffee bean extract’s weight loss claims.

In a Senate hearing this past June Dr. Oz apologized. He said: “For my colleagues at the FTC, I realize I have made their jobs more difficult.”

 

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Weight Loss Scams?

green coffee bean extractThere are dozens, if not hundreds, of new weight loss products appearing on the market every year. The FTC is doing its best to police the claims that are being made, but they are clearly overwhelmed. And even when they have an airtight case, it can take years for them to force a company to stop making false claims.

So, how can you protect yourself against weight loss scams? How can you avoid wasting your money on products that don’t work, or may even harm your health? I advise a little healthy skepticism.

  • Be skeptical about the claims. The old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is [too good to be true]” is always good advice.       In a previous “Health Tips From the Professor” I discussed the the FTC’s recommendation for “7 Easy Ways To Spot Fad Diets”. That one is probably worth printing out and keeping handy so that you can review it the next time a new diet program comes out.
  • Be skeptical about the studies. The bottom line is that not all clinical studies are reliable. I realize that it is extremely difficult for a non-scientist to evaluate the validity of clinical studies. My best advice is to go online and see what other experts are saying about the study and the claims. There are a number of “fact checker” blogs online that focus on careful scientific analysis of product claims and the “studies” that support them.
  • Be skeptical about the endorsements. Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of well known doctors who have endorsed bogus product claims on their TV shows or in their blogs. That makes it even more difficult for the layman to separate fact from fiction. My advice is to simply ask the question: “Does their blog or TV show feature something novel, something spectacular, and/or something sensational…every single week?”

My belief is that these experts all start out with good intentions. However, to develop a really big audience and keep them engaged they feel pressured to deliver novel and sensational health news every single week. The reality is that there are not advances every single week that are novel, sensational… and scientifically accurate. Eventually, they feel pressured to sacrifice accuracy for novelty.

That is why my blog is different. I don’t promise you spectacular and sensational news every week, but I do promise you accuracy. I will share the latest headlines, but I will tell you both their strengths and their weaknesses. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to protect yourself against weight loss scams and I tell you how below. Fortunately, what you can always count on from me is I will be honest with you.

So, does the green coffee been extract work?

 

The Bottom Line

    1. According to the FTC the green coffee bean extracts that were so widely promoted a couple of years ago were yet another example of bogus weight loss products. The FTC sued one of the companies that markets and sells green coffee bean extract for promoting a “hopelessly flawed” clinical study to advertise their product, and the company has recently settled with the FTC for $3.4 million.
    2. The only way that you can protect yourself from bogus weight loss products is to be skeptical. I discuss the questions you should ask in more detail above, but in short:
      • Be skeptical of claims that sound too good to be true.
      • Be skeptical of the clinical studies the companies quote to support their claims.
      • Be skeptical of expert endorsements. This product was even endorsed by Dr. Oz on his TV show.

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Comments (5)

  • Mike Lucas

    |

    Great info Dr. Chaney! Thanks!

    MJ & Jenn

    Reply

  • Caroline

    |

    When learning to do Research, I learned to look into studies, whether they were RCTs, the premise, the actual testing, and the P value. I have found Dr. Oz pushes a lot of non-back-upped stuff without any scientific background. Your articles help me to explain the real facts and validates my research and sharing information with them. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Margaaret W. Chaney

      |

      I am cautious but had such faith in Dr. Oz I fell for the offer, big time. So disappointed I don’t even watch him anymore. Sincerely, Margaret

      Reply

  • Amit Dabas

    |

    Lets not blame the Coffee here. A message should not go that all Coffee Bean Extracts are bad. People should be educated to identify between a good and a bad product.

    How to judge a good green coffee – look for the CGA content (chlorogenic acid content). The CGA should be minimum at 45% or more. For an extract and CGA = 50% …. a good dosage to make it potent will be 800mg – 1gm / day. 2 tabs – 1 Am and 1 Pm

    Second, Green Coffee works even better when paired with a good Green Tea. So, 500 mg coffee + 500 mg Green Tea will work even better. Please study – How to evaluate a good green tea 🙂

    Reply

    • Dr. Steve Chaney

      |

      I’m sorry, but if we are talking about weight loss, there is no good evidence that the chlorogenic acid content of green coffee bean extract makes any difference.

      Reply

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Latest Article

Does Protein Supplement Timing Matter?

Posted May 15, 2018 by Dr. Steve Chaney

How Do You Gain Muscle Mass & Lose Fat Mass?

Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney

 

protein supplement timingMost of what you read about protein supplements on the internet is wrong. That is because most published studies on protein supplements:

  • Are very small
  • Are not double blinded.
    • Both the subjects and the investigators knew who got the protein supplement.
  • Are done by individual companies with their product.
    • You have no idea which ingredients are in their product are responsible for the effects they report.
    • You have no idea how their product compares with other protein products.
    • There is no standardization with respect to the amount or type of protein or the addition of non-protein ingredients.

Because of these limitations there is a lot of misleading information on the benefits of protein supplements timing and maximal benefit. Let’s start by looking at why people use protein supplements. Let’s also look at what is generally accepted as true with respect to the best supplement timing.

There are 4 major reasons people consume protein supplements:

  • Enhance the muscle gain associated with resistance training: In this case, protein supplements are customarily consumed concurrently with the workout.
  • Preserve muscle and accelerate fat loss while on a weight loss diet: In this case, protein supplements are customarily consumed with meals or as meal replacements.
  • Provide a healthier protein source. In this case, protein supplements are customarily consumed with meals in place of meat protein.
  • Prevent muscle loss associated with aging or illness. There is no customary pattern associated with this use of protein supplements.

How good are the data supporting the customary timing of protein supplementation? The answer is: Not very good. The timing is based on a collection of weak studies which do not always agree with each other.

The current study  (J.L. Hudson et al, Nutrition Reviews, 76: 461-468, 2018 ) was designed to fill this void in our knowledge. It is a meta-analysis that compares all reasonably good studies that have looked at the effect of protein supplement timing on weight gain or loss, lean muscle mass gain, fat loss, and the ratio of lean muscle mass to fat mass.

How Was The Study Done?

The authors started by doing a literature search of all studies that met the following criteria:

  • The study was a randomized control trial with parallel design. This means that study contained a control group. It does not mean that the investigators or subjects were blinded with respect to which subjects used a protein supplement and which did not.
  • The subjects were engaged in resistance training.
  • The study lasted 6 weeks or longer.
  • Reliable methods were used to measure body composition (lean muscle mass and fat mass).
  • The subjects were healthy and at least 19 years old.
  • There was no restriction on the food the subjects consumed.

The authors started with 2074 published studies and ended up with 34 that met all their criteria. They then separated the studies into two groups – those in which the protein supplements were used with meals and those in which the protein supplements were used between meals.

Both groups were diverse.

  • Group 1 included subjects who consumed their protein supplement with their meal and those who consumed their protein supplement as a meal replacement.
  • Group 2 included subjects who consumed their protein supplement concurrent with exercise (usually immediately after exercise) and those who consumed their protein supplement at a fixed time of day not associated with exercise.

Does Protein Supplement Timing Matter?

 

protein supplement timing workoutsBecause the individual studies were very diverse in the way they were designed, the authors could not calculate a reliable estimate of how much lean muscle mass was increased or fat mass was decreased. Instead, they calculated the percentage of studies showing an increase in lean muscle mass or a decrease in fat mass.

When the authors compared protein supplements consumed with meals versus protein supplements consumed between meals:

  • Weight gain was observed in 56% of the studies of protein supplementation with meals compared to 72% of the studies of protein supplementation between meals. In other words, protein supplements consumed with meals were less likely to lead to weight gain than protein supplements consumed between meals.
  • An increase in lean muscle mass was observed in 94% of the studies of protein supplementation with meals compared to 90% of the studies of protein supplementation between meals. In other words, timing of protein supplementation did not matter with respect to increase in muscle mass.
  • A loss of fat mass was observed in 87% of the studies of protein supplementation with meals compared to 59% of the studies of protein supplementation between meals. In other words, protein supplements consumed with meals were more likely to lead to loss of fat mass.
  • An increase in the ratio of lean muscle mass to fat mass was observed in 100% of the studies of protein supplementation with meals compared to 87% of the studies of protein supplementation between meals. In short, protein supplements consumed with meals were slightly more likely to lead to an increase in the ratio of lean muscle mass to fat mass.

The following seem to suggest protein supplement timing matters:

The authors pointed out that their findings were consistent with previous studies showing that when protein supplements are consumed with a meal they displace some of the calories that otherwise would have been consumed. Simply put, people naturally compensate by eating less of other foods.

In contrast, the authors stated that previous studies have shown that when foods, especially liquid foods, are consumed as snacks (between meals), people are less likely to compensate by reducing the calories consumed in the next meal.

The others concluded: “Concurrently with resistance training, consuming protein supplements with meals, rather than between meals, may more effectively promote weight control and reduce fat mass without influencing improvements in lean [muscle] mass.”

What Are The Limitations Of The Study?

Meta-analyses such as this one, are only as good as the studies included in the meta-analysis. Unfortunately, most sports nutrition studies are very weak studies. Thus, this meta-analysis is a perfect example of the “Garbage In: Garbage Out (GI:GO)” phenomenon.

For example, let’s start by looking at what the term “protein supplement” meant.

  • Because the studies were done by individual companies with their product, the protein supplements in this meta-analysis:
    • Included whey, casein, soy, bovine colostrum, rice or combinations of protein sources.
    • Were isolates, concentrates, or hydrolysates.
    • Contained various additions like creatine, amino acids, and carbohydrate.
  • As I discuss in my book, Slaying the Food Myths, previous studies have shown that optimal protein and leucine levels are needed to maximize the increase in muscle mass and decrease in fat mass associated with resistance exercise. However, neither protein nor leucine levels were standardized in the protein supplements included in this meta-analysis.
  • Previous studies have shown that protein supplements that have little effect on blood sugar levels (have a low glycemic index) are more likely to curb appetite. However, glycemic index was not standardized for the protein supplements included in this meta-analysis.

protein supplement timing workout peopleIn short, the conclusions of this study might be true for some protein supplements, but not for others. We have no way of knowing.

We also need to consider the composition of the two groups.

  • Protein supplements used as meal replacements are more likely to decrease weight and fat mass than protein supplements consumed with meals. Yet, both were included in group 1.
  • Some studies suggest that protein supplements consumed concurrent with resistance exercise are more likely to increase muscle mass than protein supplements consumed another time of day. Yet, both are included in group 2. We also have no idea whether the meals with protein supplements in group 1 were consumed shortly after exercise or at an entirely different time of day.

This was the most glaring weakness of the study because it was completely avoidable. The authors could have grouped the studies into categories that made more sense.

In other words, there are multiple weaknesses that limit the predictive power of this study.

What Can We Learn From This Study?

Despite its many limitations, this study does remind us that protein supplements do have calories. This is of relatively little importance for people whose primary goal is to increase lean muscle mass.

However, most of us are using protein supplements to lose weight or to increase our lean mass to fat mass ratio. Simply put, we are either trying to lean out (shape up) or lose weight. And, we want to lose that weight primarily by getting rid of excess fat. For us, calories do matter. With that in mind:

  • If we are consuming a protein supplement immediately after exercise or between meals we probably should make a conscious effort to reduce our daily caloric intake elsewhere in our diet.
  • Alternatively, we could consume the protein supplement with a meal, but time the meal so it occurs shortly after exercise.

 

The Bottom Line:

 

A recent study looked at the optimal timing of protein supplements consumed by subjects who were engaged in resistance exercise. Specifically, the study compared protein supplements consumed with meals versus protein supplements consumed between meals on weight, lean muscle mass, fat mass, and the ratio of lean muscle mass to fat mass. The study reported:

  • Protein supplements consumed with meals were less likely to lead to weight gain than protein supplements consumed between meals.
  • Timing of protein supplementation did not matter with respect to increase in muscle mass.
  • Protein supplements consumed with meals were more likely to lead to loss of fat mass.
  • Protein supplements consumed with meals were slightly more likely to lead to an increase in the ratio of lean mass to fat mass.

The authors pointed out that their findings were consistent with previous studies showing that when a protein supplement was consumed with a meal it displaces some of the calories that would have been otherwise consumed. Simply put, people naturally compensate by eating less of other foods.

In contrast, the authors said that previous studies have shown that when foods, especially liquid foods, are consumed as snacks (between meals), people are less likely to compensate by reducing the calories consumed in the next meal.

As discussed in the article above, the study has major weaknesses. However, despite its many weaknesses, this study does remind us that protein supplements do have calories. This is of relatively little importance for people whose primary goal is to increase lean muscle mass.

However, for those of us who are using protein supplements to lose weight or to increase our lean mass to fat mass ratio, calories do matter.  With that in mind:

  • If we are consuming a protein supplement immediately after exercise or between meals we probably should make a conscious effort to reduce our daily caloric intake elsewhere in our diet.
  • Alternatively, we could consume the protein supplement with a meal, but time the meal so it occurs shortly after exercise.

For more details, read the article above:

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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