Chlorogenic Acid: The Weight Loss World’s Latest Miracle?

December 4th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

Green Coffee BeansHe’s America’s most popular doctor, with millions of “patients” taking his advice via the TV airwaves. We’re talking, of course about Dr. Oz. Well lately, the good doctor is touting yet another magic pill—this time the “Magic Weight Loss Cure for Every Body Type.”

A recent study in India—sponsored by the product’s manufacturer, incidentally–involved 16 overweight individuals. Participants lost 17.5 pounds in 22 weeks, on average, taking the green coffee bean supplement without changing anything else in their lifestyle. This weight loss effect has been attributed to a natural phytochemical, Chlorogenic Acid, found in generous amounts in green coffee beans.

No Side Effects?

Part of the trouble here (beyond this being a very small-scale study): The exact effects of chlorogenic acid on the body haven’t been well researched. We are told there are “absolutely no side effects.” Of course, however, such a small recent study simply doesn’t warrant such a conclusion. And let’s keep in mind too that historically diet pills have brought a plethora of side effects (ever heard of Fen-Phen?) It is known that chlorogenic acid can modulate or suppress the immune response, though it’s not yet clear how. The effect of chlorogenic acid on the immune system does seem to be dose-dependent.

Green Coffee Beans

The primary dietary sources of chlorogenic acid are coffee and tea, whether regular or decaffeinated. Green coffee beans typically contain 6% to 7% of this component with roasted coffee beans having less, as the roasting transforms chlorogenic acid into other molecules. Chlorogenic acid makes you lose weight by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream after a meal. But don’t be so quick to hop on the green coffee bean bandwagon. What some scientists neglect to remind us is that coffee beans in any form contain caffeine which is not only a highly addictive psychoactive stimulant, but one which overtaxes energy reserves by being very hard on our adrenal glands.

Green coffee beans are extremely bitter. You can’t just munch on them as you might sunflower seeds. So the extract of the bean comes conveniently packaged in pill form, sold to the magic-craving public.

Ever noticed, by the way, the bitter taste many diet pills and other diet products have? Read the package directions, and you’ll nearly always see advice to wash these bitter pills down with umpteen glasses of water. What they don’t tell you is: Drink about ten glasses of water a day, and you’ll lose weight even without the pill!

There is a Better Way

But back to those sunflower seeds…I mention them because they are rich in chlorogenic acid, too. And so are blueberries. You can’t go wrong eating these and a vast array of other raw plant-based foods that taste delicious and come endorsed by Mother Nature herself as ways of optimal eating for humans. Regularly supplement such good, natural foods with whatever kind of movement brings you joy. You probably already know hot yoga is my favorite, but it doesn’t whether it’s yoga, dancing, jogging, weightlifting, walking or gardening. Combine good eating and good exercise and you’ll have a duo of true and proven ways to reach your weight loss goal while maintaining and improving your overall health.

Too Easy?

For some in our culture, this advice feels too old-fashioned, too commonsense. As the fat epidemic burgeons—more than 1.4 billion adults worldwide are obese, the World Health Organization tells us—people look more and more for Oz-style magic. And there’s nothing more appealing, to miracle seekers, than a pill.

How Do Weight Loss Pills Work?

Weight loss pills work (when they work at all) in one of three main ways…

  • speeding up the metabolism,
  • suppressing appetite, or
  • interfering with the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients.

All three of these methods are of course also messing with the body’s existing natural ability to regulate itself. If there’s a miracle here, it lies not in some pill, capsule or superfood, but rather in the well-regulated body itself.

It all comes back to the missed opportunity of raw, natural plant foods. You’ll do well on raw foods, I promise! Add in good exercise, and you’ll find a clear way to weight loss now and to healthy living from now on. Check out my video Raw Food Weight Loss for more info.

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