When it comes to losing weight, a lot of people get frustrated because diet and exercise just don't seem to work. That has quite a few people talking about a supplement called Green Coffee Bean Extract.
Just like it sounds, the supplement comes from the green coffee bean, and it's taken on new life, thanks to celebrity endorsements.
It's not the caffeine that makes it work -- rather, it's an active ingredient, a chemical compound, found right in the coffee bean, called chlorogenic acid.
"Green coffee beans are unroasted coffee beans and this ingredient, chlorogenic acid, is higher in unroasted coffee beans," explains Paula Bickford, Ph.D, USF Health.
Bickford says a leading study showed mixed results. Two groups of testers lost weight. A third group on a placebo, dummy pill, also dropped some weight.
Jeffrey Burns says when combined with smaller portions, the supplement helped him lose 30 pounds. He now takes a higher dose of green coffee bean extract.
"The weight was mostly centered around my stomach. They just put me on the oral diabetic medicine," Jeffrey says. "Now I can put my shoes and socks on better, I can bend over better. I just feel better."
Rachel Copas tells FOX 13 her experience was very different.
"I've gone so far as to ask to have gastric bypass surgery done. My triglycerides, my cholesterol and blood pressure were up," she explains.
She hoped Green Coffee Bean Extract would help.
"It didn't work. I gained weight on it," she said.
Rachel stopped taking the supplements, and saw her doctor, who prescribed weight loss medicine. That medicine, along with exercise, has helped her drop two dress sizes.
As for the supplement, Bickford says she believes in natural supplements, and has developed other products. After reading the research about Green Coffee Bean Extract, she also decided to give it a try.
"Unfortunately, I got really bad headaches from it. So one of my concerns: there was one side effect that some of the subjects had a little bit of increased blood pressure," Bickford explained.
"I just think that there's more research that has to be done before everyone goes out and just says it's definitely going to work for me."
But that research might never happen. Supplements aren't required to go through the same rigorous testing as a prescription drug. In the meantime, many consumers base their decision to try supplements on word of mouth.
Rachel and Jeffrey had very different results using Green Coffee Bean Extract, but are still motivated to lose their weight, and stay as healthy as possible.
"I want to be here to watch my children grow up and get married so I've got to do it for them. I'm all they've got," Rachel said.
"Keep trying. Don't give up. I know it's cliché, but if I can do it, anybody can do it," Jeff added.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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