Written by Taylor Smith | Healthy-Mag.com
Weight loss pills—we dismiss them out of hand, largely because we think they’re too good to be true. If there were some magic pill that could help us lose weight, obesity wouldn’t be a worldwide epidemic projected to be the number one cause of death around the world by 2015, would it?
Some are claiming that we’re closer than you might think to that magic weight loss pill and that we have the color green to thank for it.
Green tea is well documented for containing large amounts of a powerful antioxidant called polyphenols, which has been shown to help fight cancer, heart disease and bad cholesterol. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Green tea has been extensively studied in people, animals and laboratory experiments” and studies suggest that green tea may be helpful at treating a number of health conditions from bladder and stomach cancer to obesity.
A study from Japan indicated that taking 690 mg of catechins, believed to be the active fat-fighting agent in green tea, for 12 weeks reduced body fat. This study supports the popular idea that green extract can boost our metabolism and help us burn away that extra fat.
Another popular, although less studied, health food is the green coffee bean, which, according to a preliminary study published by Dovepress scientific research journal, helps reduce the body mass index (BMI) of overweight individuals over a 22-week period. These 16 individuals (eight men and eight women) all had similar diet and exercise patterns. All 16 participants showed statistically significant weight loss, many of them moving back into the normal BMI range. Furthermore, 14 of the 16 participants were able to maintain their weight loss after the completion of the study.
Skepticism remains, however, and continues to surround nutraceuticals like green tea extract and green coffee bean extract. As it stands, there is only one FDA approved over-the-counter weight loss aid, and it does not make use of the active ingredients in green tea or green coffee bean extracts.
The fact that these supplements and weight loss aids are not yet FDA approved is important. The proponents of green tea and green coffee bean extract will tell you the FDA is on the payroll of the big pharmaceutical companies, so they don’t want the public to have access to these miracle pills. On the other hand, the FDA counters that there’s not enough scientific evidence to support these rather lofty claims.
In fact, most researchers who study the effects of green tea and green coffee bean extract are quick to report that there remain gaps in clinical evidence and that further research is necessary. Dr. Vinson, head author of the study published by Dovepress, admits, “There have been few human studies with green coffee extract,” while others agree that we simply do not know enough about the nature of these nutraceuticals to substantiate any claim for weight loss.
Furthermore, the FDA issues warnings on an almost weekly basis about dietary supplements and weight loss aids that contain hidden ingredients that are sometimes banned in the US for being damaging to our bodies. Countless others have been warned for making false or otherwise unsubstantiated health claims.
So, what does this mean? Simply put, the jury is still out on green tea and green coffee bean extracts. It is entirely possible that supplementing a healthy diet and regular exercise with one of these fat-burners could help you achieve your weight loss goals. Yet, these weight loss aids might do harm as well.
Because green tea and green coffee bean extracts almost always come with caffeine, the possibility for complications with other medications is a real hazard. Some people unwittingly stick to their normal dietary habits, which may include lots or coffee or soda, and end up taking in too much caffeine. This can affect heart rhythm or sleep patterns and result in many other potential side effects.
If there’s any take away from the green tea and coffee extract debate it’s that there’s no easy fix to obesity. Neither green tea nor green coffee bean extract claim to make people skinny with no effort on their part. They might help you lose weight, but only if you’re already moving. They won’t do the work for you. If you’re looking for a little extra help, it might be worth a try, but just remember, there’s no substitute for eating right and regular exercise.