Does the coffee in a Starbucks’ eggnog latte balance out the 460 calories and 21 grams of fat in the drink?
Wishful thinking, but new research suggests that a compound in coffee might help prevent some of the damaging effects of obesity.
Researchers at the University of Georgia found that chlorogenic acid, or CGA, significantly reduced insulin resistance and the accumulation of fat in the livers of mice fed a high-fat diet. The study was published in the journal Pharmaceutical Research and noted on sciencedaily.com.
"Previous studies have shown that coffee consumption may lower the risk for chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,"Yongjie Ma, a postdoctoral research associate in UGA's College of Pharmacy and lead author of the paper, said in a university release. "Our study expands on this research by looking at the benefits associated with this specific compound, which is found in great abundance in coffee, but also in other fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, tomatoes and blueberries."
They found that CGA was not only effective in preventing weight gain, but it also helped maintain normal blood sugar levels and healthy liver composition.
"CGA is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation," said Ma. "A lot of evidence suggests that obesity-related diseases are caused by chronic inflammation, so if we can control that, we can hopefully offset some of the negative effects of excessive weight gain."
Chugging gallons of coffee daily, however, is not the answer for America’s widening masses. "We're not suggesting that people start drinking a lot of coffee to protect themselves from an unhealthy lifestyle," said Ma, who is also a member of UGA's Obesity Initiative. "But we do think that we might be able to create a useful therapeutic using CGA that will help those at risk for obesity-related disease as they make positive lifestyle changes."