Over the years, I’ve reviewed many fat-burning supplements that contain green coffee as an active ingredient. It might have some use as one of the many components in those supplements. But, the question I’d like to answer today is whether green coffee can help with weight loss on its own.
To reach the bottom of this query, I examined any piece of scientific literature I could find regarding green coffee and weight loss. Here’s what I found!
What is the difference between coffee and green coffee?
In their raw form, coffee beans are actually green. They’re then roasted to create the light to dark brown beans that most coffee drinkers know and love. So, any coffee that’s brewed from coffee beans before they’re roasted is called green coffee. From what I’ve seen, this term is also used for the extract of raw coffee beans which is often used in weight loss supplements.
Green coffee and weight loss — Scientific evidence
After thorough research, I came across three primary ways green coffee might have a connection with weight loss. These are:
Preventing fat accumulation
Research shows that coffee anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of coffee get weaker as it is roasted to a higher degree. This is because it loses many of its nutrients and beneficial compounds during the roasting process.
One such compound is Chlorogenic acid. It’s fairly abundant in raw coffee beans with each cup of brewed green coffee containing anywhere between 70 and 350 mg of Chlorogenic acid.
From what I’ve seen, this compound can regulate glucose and lipid metabolism in your system. In other words, it can slow down the absorption of glucose and lipids in your intestines during digestion. This can, in turn, prevent excess fat accumulation and lead to weight loss.
A 2006 study also confirms this correlation between green coffee and fat accumulation. It concluded that green coffee intake can actually reduce fat accumulation and prevent weight gain by activating fat metabolism in the liver.
That said, this study was conducted on mice — leaving no way for me to confirm if green coffee has similar benefits for humans.
Increasing energy expenditure
The Caffeine content of green coffee can boost thermogenesis and increase your energy expenditure.
For those unaware, energy expenditure can be defined as the amount of energy your body burns during a certain period of time. So, by increasing your energy use, Caffeine can prompt your body to compensate by converting more fat into energy.
In my experience, combining high energy expenditure with a calorie deficit diet can lead to noticeable weight loss in most individuals.
Increased energy and power
As I just mentioned, the Caffeine in green coffee can increase your energy expenditure. This has a side benefit of making you feel more energetic. In addition to that, multiple studies also show how Caffeine intake can increase workout performance and endurance in most users.
Keeping all of this in mind, we can extrapolate that Caffeine can help you spend more time in the gym — accelerating your weight loss progress.
Evidence against the weight loss effects of green coffee
I’ve already mentioned how the study that shows the ability of green coffee to prevent fat accumulation involved animal subjects — making it inconclusive for humans. This also calls the whole premise of using green coffee for weight loss into question and a 2010 meta-analysis provided the answer. It analyzed the results from three different trials and concluded that the effects of green coffee on humans are not as clear as they should be. While the studies analyzed in this meta-analysis do show the weight loss benefits of green coffee, the studies themselves have poor methodological quality.
Is green coffee effective for losing weight?
Despite my best efforts, the answer to this question is still unclear. There is some scientific evidence that demonstrates its effectiveness in preventing weight gain and even boosting fat reduction. Unfortunately, the methods used in these studies are not as reliable as I’d like to see.
That said, even if we assume that these trials are accurate, green coffee is still not a complete weight loss solution for you. You’d likely have to pair it with a calorie-deficit diet and rigorous exercise routine to see any significant benefits.
Potential side effects
The amount of Caffeine you can extract from green coffee is actually less than regular roasted coffee; 20-50 mg instead of 100 mg. However, if you have a low Caffeine tolerance, consuming green coffee in any form can still cause issues like insomnia, nausea, increased heart rate, and nervousness.
Considering everything I’ve seen, green coffee sits somewhere in the middle when it comes to weight loss benefits.
Its Caffeine content is already well-known for its ability to increase your energy expenditure and performance in the gym. There is also a possibility that the Chlorogenic acid in green coffee can prevent weight gain.
That said, I’d still like to see more conclusive and thorough scientific trials before I label green coffee as a viable weight loss solution.