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New Green Coffee Bean Supplement: A Wonder Diet Drug?

By: Karen Cicero

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Losing weight without eating less or exercising more -- well, that’s just my dream. So a couple of weeks ago when I heard Dr. Oz call green-coffee supplements a “miracle pill to burn fat,” I had to get details, for you and me.

I admit I had no clue what green coffee even was. Turns out, it’s just unroasted coffee beans -- you know, before Starbucks gets its hands on them!

Researchers at the University of Scranton rotated giving men and women 700 milligrams (mg) of the coffee bean supplement, 1050 mg of the supplement and a placebo (fake pill) during the 22-week study. The participants weren’t asked to change their diet or exercise habits. Despite consuming an average of 2,400 calories per day (that’s way more than I usually eat), they lost 7 to 26 pounds, averaging a 17-pound drop.

The researchers think chlorogenic acid -- a compound that affects the metabolism of sugar -- may account for the weight loss. It’s in green beans, but breaks down during the roasting process.

Still, the results sounded a little too good to be true. I wanted to get a second opinion from Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “Is the supplement safe?” I asked Katz.

“This is an extract of 'unripe' coffee beans and is safe, to my knowledge -- with caffeine being the only real concern,” he told me. “But I think the net effect on weight will be very modest at reasonable doses … and at high doses, the side effects of caffeine will prove limiting. No magic here!”

Bummer! The researchers at the University of Scranton are planning a larger, more carefully controlled study, so I think I’ll wait for the results of that until I bite, I told Katz.

“Better use of feet and forks are still the best bets,” he reminded me, meaning that exercising and controlling your portions are still the way to go when you want to lose weight. And then he left me with this silly music video, Unjunk Yourself, and I had to share it with you. Dr. Katz and three of his kids made it to promote healthy eating and exercise for tweens and teens. I watched it with my 9-year-old daughter and we had a mini-dance party. That was more fun than those green-coffee supplements any day.

For more great health and lifestyle content, visit me here at Completely You

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/chictype

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Karen Cicero

is Completely You’s Need to Know blogger. A health journalist and magazine editor with more than 15 years of experience, she has contributed to such publications as Prevention, SELF and Health, and she has edited the dental column for Heart & Soul magazine.

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