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Coffee Chemical Could Offset Diseases Related to Obesity

Update Date: Nov 14, 2014 11:39 PM EST

Drinking coffee could offset obesity-related diseases in people who are overweight, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Georgia found evidence that a chemical in coffee could help prevent obesity-related diseases. The latest study revealed that the coffee chemical chlorogenic acid (CGA) significantly reduces insulin resistance and accumulation of fat in the livers of mice on a high-fat diet.

"Previous studies have shown that coffee consumption may lower the risk for chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease," lead researcher Yongjie Ma, a postdoctoral research associate in UGA's College of Pharmacy, said in a news 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."

The latest findings are important as obesity can increases the risk of insulin resistance and the accumulation of fat in the liver, which can lead to diabetes and liver problems.

"CGA is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation," said Ma, who works in the laboratory of professor Dexi Liu in the department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. "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."

"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."

The findings are published in the journal Pharmaceutical Research.

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