Researchers from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia found that green coffee reduces the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The study, published in the Journal of Functional Foods, looked at the effects of green coffee bean extracts in vivo, in particular, on weight gain, blood pressure, and inflammation.
“Green coffee could be a cost-effective functional food to reverse or prevent metabolic syndrome, as it contains caffeine, chlorogenic acids and trigonelline,” they wrote in their report.
The link between green coffee and metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a set of conditions that is characterized by high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, and high levels of triglyceride and fasting glucose. This can lead to the development of more serious diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Individuals who have this condition exhibit an apple or pear-shaped body form. Based on data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Exam Survey (NHANES), around 24 percent of American adults – 47 million in 2002 – were affected by it.
For this study, the Australian researchers looked at whether green coffee can help improve biomarkers for cardiovascular and liver health. The term “green coffee” refers to unroasted coffee beans: This gives the beans their eponymous color, in comparison to their more popular, roasted counterparts.
Green coffee, well-known among health advocates for its health benefits, has been on the rise in popularity in recent years, thanks to exposure from popular media as a “magic, miracle pill,” as well as articles and studies that explored its anti-obesity properties. It contains caffeine and chlorogenic acid. The latter, in particular, is believed to prevent or reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. In a 2010 rodent study, chlorogenic acid was also linked to improved glucose levels in diabetic rats.
Earlier studies that investigated the benefits of consuming green coffee, especially for those with metabolic syndrome, are available. However, these are lacking when it comes to its benefits against cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and liver conditions. In the current study, the researchers hypothesized that green coffee would “attenuate metabolic, cardiovascular and liver parameters in high-carbohydrate high-fat diet-fed rats.”
The study was conducted on 72 male rats. In the course of 16 weeks, the rats were divided into six groups fed with a specific category of food. These categories were:
- Corn starch diet alone
- Corn starch diet with 5 percent green coffee (in the last eight weeks)
- Corn starch diet with decaffeinated green coffee (in the last eight weeks)
- High-carbohydrate, high-fat diet alone
- High-carbohydrate and high-fat diet with 5 percent green coffee (in the last eight weeks)
- High-carbohydrate and high-fat diet with decaffeinated green coffee (in the last eight weeks)
After analysis, the results affirmed the previous studies on green coffee. Rats that received the green coffee exhibited a much healthier constitution than those who only fed on corn starch and high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet alone. Those that consumed green coffee had lesser weight gain, more normal systolic blood pressure, and even less inflammation in the heart and liver. This means that green coffee is not only beneficial for those pursuing weight loss but also for those who hope to achieve a healthier body overall.