Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that a chemical compound commonly found in coffee may help prevent some of the damaging effects of obesity.
In a paper published recently in Pharmaceutical Research, scientists found that chlorogenic acid, or CGA, significantly reduced insulin resistance and accumulation of fat in the livers of mice who were fed 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," said Yongjie Ma, a postdoctoral research associate in UGA's College of Pharmacy and lead author of the paper. "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."
During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. More than one-third of U.S. adults and approximately 17 percent of children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the annual medical cost of obesity is more than $147 billion.
Aside from weight gain, two common side effects of obesity are increased insulin resistance and the accumulation of fat in the liver. Left untreated, these disorders can lead to diabetes and poor liver function.
To test the therapeutic effects of CGA, researchers fed a group of mice a high-fat diet for 15 weeks while also injecting them with a CGA solution twice per week.