December 10, 2012
By David Blyweiss, M.D.
In This Issue:
- The fad that’s also a fact
- Clearing up the confusion about insulin
- Why blood sugar control means better weight control
The Little-Known Blood Sugar Bean
I’m not a fan of food and supplement fads. I usually prefer to let the dust settle – and double-check the science – before I weigh in.
But today’s topic is too important to put off any longer.
Now, the target of this fad has become so popular because it is effective in the battle that millions of Americans are losing – controlling their weight. While this is an important benefit, it’s not the main reason I want to share it with you today.
Rather, it’s how effective it is at controlling blood sugar that has me so excited about it.
I’m talking about green coffee bean extract. But no, it’s not exactly the same as the coffee beans you grind and brew every day. From a health perspective, it’s much, much better.
One of the biggest problems with managing your blood sugar is how long you can have a problem and not know it. In fact, if you include sugar and grains in your diet – or eat even a moderate amount of processed foods – your diabetic clock is likely already ticking.
It’s a sad, scary fact…but it’s true. So anything that helps to control your blood sugar naturally deserves some enthusiasm.
The thing about blood sugar is that it’s complicated.
Sure, you want to eat fewer foods that cause your blood sugar levels to spike or fluctuate too far in either direction. But you’re human. And that doesn’t work 100% of the time.
That’s what makes green coffee bean extract so exciting. It can help, even when your diet isn’t perfect. Because it controls how your body processes sugar.
Green coffee bean extract is made from the coffea canephora bean. It contains chlorogenic acids, just like “regular coffee” does – but a 270% higher concentration. This is significant because chlorogenic acid has two very important functions related to blood sugar.
First, it blocks the absorption of sugar in your intestine. Second, it stops your liver from producing glucose after a meal.
This one-two punch can keep you from having those swings from being hyper- to hypo-glycemic from meal to meal.
Here’s the other important factor in controlling your blood sugar: insulin.
When your blood sugar is consistently high, or even when you have swings from high to low, your body produces more insulin to handle it. Insulin is the hormone that helps convert glucose or blood sugar into energy.
But too much of a good thing is a problem – in the same way that an imbalance of any hormone is a problem. Your body simply doesn’t respond to it anymore, resulting in what’s known as insulin resistance.
This is where blood sugar management problems become dangerous.
Too much insulin with ongoing insulin resistance directs that excess glucose into fat instead of energy. It triggers the creation of high triglycerides, which causes liver and heart problems. It throws off your body’s sodium balance, which can help cause high blood pressure. And eventually, can do damage to your kidneys and your vascular system.
Which is what makes green coffee bean extract more compelling to me as a fact, than a fad. Because it helps regulate some of the root causes of the metabolic disorders that have become an epidemic in this country: blood sugar, hyperlipidemia, blood pressure, and yes, weight loss.
Here’s the big secret that Functional Medicine physicians know, that the rest of the medical community doesn’t…
Once you address these root causes, your overall health can’t help but improve. But if you just treat the symptoms, or the downstream problem, true health can still remain elusive.
Blood sugar is a prime example. Elevated blood sugar increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, neuropathy, and retinal damage. And more than a third of the American population is estimated to be pre-diabetic.
Many people with blood sugar issues are also overweight, have high blood pressure, and produce cholesterol that clogs their arteries.
Too often, each of these symptoms is treated individually – with this or that pill – but the underlying issue remains unresolved.
I mention this here because you will see green coffee bean extract being hailed as a miracle weight loss supplement. And it certainly does help shed the pounds. But I also want you to understand how it does this, and why it is different from the many other “miracle” weight loss approaches we’ve seen in the past.
If you are on any medications for blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol, be sure to monitor your levels if you decide to try green coffee bean extract – and back off the pharmaceuticals as needed.
And know that not all green coffee bean extracts are alike. Make sure to get yours from someone you trust so you know that the quality is top notch.
I recommend 200 mgm. twice a day before your heaviest meals. And remember, your body responds positively when you make better choices in what you eat.
Vinson JA, Burnham BR, Nagendran MV., Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, linear dose, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a green coffee bean extract in overweight subjects. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012;5:21-7. Epub 2012 Jan 18