Quick weight loss

Only 16 people? That’s still enough to get your own book contract these days!

In a study presented Tuesday at the American Chemical Society’s spring national meeting in San Diego, 16 overweight young adults took, by turns, a low dose of green coffee bean extract, a high dose of the supplement, and a placebo. Though the study was small, the results were striking: Subjects lost an average of 17.5 pounds in 22 weeks and reduced their overall body weight by 10.5%.

If green coffee extract were a medication seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration, these results would make it a viable candidate — more than 35% of subjects lost more than 5% of their body weight, and weight loss appeared to be greater while subjects were taking the pills than when they were on the placebo.

But as a dietary supplement, green coffee extract does not require the FDA’s blessing. In fact, it is already available as a naturopathic medicine and antioxidant.

One thought on “Quick weight loss

  1. Not only was the study so tiny as to probably have no statistical significance (significance level wasn’t mentioned in the LATimes; I haven’t seen a transcript of the talk), but it was “paid for by Applied Food Sciences Inc. of Austin, Tex., a manufacturer of green coffee bean extract.”

    So far, this is snake oil. And, unlike snake oil, it could even be harmful. Also from the article:

    “This is certainly a provocative study,” said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, a physician and biochemist at New York University. But he said nutrition experts would want assurances that green coffee beans do not cause “malabsorption” within the human gut — a condition that would lead to weight loss as well as malnutrition, heart arrhythmias and other problems because vitamins and minerals are not passing through the intestine.

    “Dr. Arthur Grollman, a pharmacologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, said coffee beans contain about 250 different chemicals — some with positive and others with negative effects on human health. Though Vinson identified polyphenols and chlorogenic acid as the agents that appear to promote weight loss, Grollman said that claim needed further study. In the meantime, he said, consuming an extract that contains both good and bad chemicals in dense concentration seems an unwise thing to do.”

    You’re right, though. Sixteen people should be enough for a book contract. Possibly also a TV show.

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