To Your Health
August, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 08)
Share |

Fighting Fat With Coffee?

By Dr. John Maher

If you're one of the millions of people who drinks coffee for that jolt of caffeine to jump-start your day, you're probably tired of hearing about how your caffeine habit is ruining your health.

After all, excessive caffeine intake has been linked to weight gain, increased stress, poor sleep and other health issues. Well, enough of the bad about coffee; here's a little good: Coffee, particularly the fruit of the coffee bean, also contains a health-promoting phytonutrient called chlorogenic acid.

Studies suggest that consuming 3-4 cups of coffee daily (which many people do) reduces the risk of developing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, and is effective in weight management. Whether the coffee is caffeinated or decaffeinated makes no difference. What's to account for these health benefits? Chlorogenic acid appears to impact how glucose is processed, thus helping the body to burn fat and use it as energy. While it is also found in high amounts in cherries and plums, research suggests coffee is chlorogenic acid's greatest dietary source. Of course, levels of this phytonutrient will vary more or less widely in different processed roasted coffee beans. Still, among coffee beans, the dried, raw green bean of the coffee fruit, especially the Robusta bean, is the richest source.

coffee and strawberry - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark An all-natural water-soluble extract of raw, decaffeinated green coffee beans is obtained by a traditional extraction method. This is important in that up to 70 percent of chlorogenic acids can be destroyed by roasting. A high-quality, standardized extract of 400 mg has the chlorogenic content of up to six or seven cups of coffee. Yet it is free of some of the harmful acids in coffee (cafestol and kahweol), and with only 25 percent of the caffeine. Raw green coffee bean extracts also contain quinic and caffeic acid, which possess strong antioxidant power, notably limiting the oxidation of lipids (fats) in the liver.

In a recent clinical study published in the journal Phytotherapie, 50 people 19-75 years of age received 400 mg of green coffee bean extract for 60 days. Participants who received the green coffee bean extract lost 5.7 percent of their initial weight, corresponding to an average weight loss of 11 lbs. The placebo group, which did not receive any coffee bean extract, lost only 2.8 percent of their initial weight over the same time period.

Balancing Blood Sugar, Losing Weight With a Latte

coffee and creamer - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Based on the above information, it is easy to make a latte with significant amounts of coffee antioxidants to support healthy blood sugar levels and healthy weight loss. First, start with a bold or robust coffee. The coffee can be caffeinated or decaffeinated as desired. Then add a milk (dairy, soy, almond or rice milk), blended with whey protein (vanilla flavored and sweetened with stevia) and cinnamon powder. The rationale for this particular recipe is as follows:

  • The strong coffee provides a significant amount of chlorogenic acids, and if caffeinated, metabolism-boosting caffeine.
  • The lean protein from whey has a strong satiating effect. This will be even stronger if the whey protein also provides fiber.
  • Stevia, a natural, zero-calorie sweetener made from crystallized stevia leaves, has produced fair evidence that it helps support healthy blood sugar levels.
  • The herb cinnamon is an "insulin mimetic," meaning it works like insulin. Specifically, it tends to lower insulin resistance that occurs at cell walls, allowing our own natural insulin to get sugar inside cells to burn for energy.

The recipe is as follows:

  • Brew 8 ounces of a strong, robust, bold coffee blend.
  • Blend 8-10 grams of whey protein powder and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon with 2-4 ounces of milk.
  • Stir cinnamon, milk & whey; blend into the coffee.
  • Enjoy hot or cold!

And now you know why coffee is actually good for you! Talk to your doctor for more information, and to receive a free booklet featuring dozens of other "superfood" recipes, e-mail me with your request ( ).


John Maher, DC, DCBCN, BCIM, maintained an active alternative health care and wellness practice for more than 25 years. He is now the vice president of education for BioPharma Scientific and can be contacted at www.superfoodsolution.com.