Throughout the course of 2012, the supplements market has become flooded with a brand new weight-loss supplement: green coffee extract (or GCE). Green coffee extract is derived from unroasted coffee. But is it safe? The answer is a resounding we just don’t know.

According to scientists, unroasted coffee is rich in chlorogenic acid – a compound that is degraded during the roast process. Chlorogenic acid “thought” to have health benefits and contribute to weight loss. The health benefits are based on what some might consider shaky evidence. Really, is weight loss worth the risk?

The weight-loss industry sells over $100 million dollars in products per day. So the race to put out the hot new product is fast and furious. At such a rapid clip, how can we be sure these products are safe? Big government? Think again. The Food and Drug Administration has made a number of approval mistakes in recent years. Wonder drugs, miracle cures, and countless diet pills get pulled from store shelves all the time.

Startling Side Effects

According to WebMD, GCE has several scary side effects such as:

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  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Upset Stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Diarrhea
  • Calcium deficiencies
  • Magnesium depletion
  • Worsened bleeding disorders
  • Flushed face
  • Muscle tension
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating

A Warning To Mothers

Are you pregnant or breastfeeding? Forget about green coffee extract. WebMD states that’s there is simply not enough information to know if green coffee extract is safe for babies. Would you rather rest easily knowing that you’re avoiding a potentially dangerous and deadly weight loss supplement, or gamble with the life of your infant child? The research isn’t there, and many doctors remain wary of green coffee extract.

Green Coffee Extract and the Mainstream

Starbucks has released a green coffee extract energy drink laden with sugar. Dr. Oz covered green coffee extract in an entire episode. He deemed it an effective method of weight loss. But is Dr. Oz trustworthy? The episode felt like a thirty-minute infomercial.

How do we know that Dr. Oz isn’t on the take from GCE middlemen? It won’t be until 2013 that Big Pharma will have to disclose which doctors they give gifts and payments to. Big Pharma has paid over $300 million dollars to doctors.

Caffeine: How Much Is In GCE anyway? Answer: It Depends.

According to, green coffee extract might contain any amount of caffeine due to lack of supplement standardization. Manufacturers aren’t required to follow a specific formula, so one bottle of GCE might have outrageously dangerous levels of caffeine while another won’t. This can cause a whole host of medical problems. Perhaps the scariest problem is interactions with other drugs:

Caffeine-based supplements can react with other supplements. For example, taking one with another stimulant (like guarana or mate) can trigger a synergistic effect that could increase blood pressure to dangerous levels. A high caffeine intake can also trigger the loss of calcium and magnesium. And there’s a long list of prescription medications that interact with caffeine, from diabetes and blood pressure drugs to meds used for depression.

What About The Quality?

With roasted coffee, there are standards in terms of quality and acceptability. Poor quality green coffee is ripe with defects such as mold, insect damage, foreign objects, and fecal matter. There is no standard of quality with the ingredients used in green coffee extract. Only the manufacturer can attest to the standards they employ – but are they to be trusted? Is the green coffee used in the manufacturing of GCE dangerous? The answer is anyone’s guess.

The only thing we know for certain is to consult your physician before starting any weight loss plan. Don’t live your life based on fear – if green coffee extract sounds right for you, we recommend you follow these steps to keep you and your family safe:

  • Make sure the manufacturer has a solid reputation in the industry.
  • Ask if they have standards in place for green coffee quality.
  • Ask your doctor!
  • If you’re going for GCE, skip the sugar found in combo drinks.
  • And remember: Losing weight is great, but vanity’s not everything. Cut yourself some slack.
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