Do Coffee Mannans Reduce Body Fat?

Do Coffee Mannans Reduce Body Fat?


Raise your hand if you’re not thinking about shedding a few pounds. Okay, so now you’re sitting in your office or at home reading my blog, with your hand raised in the air. If you’re lucky, maybe you’re alone in your room or at least no one’s looking at you. You might even look a bit ridiculous, so put your hand back down. Now that your hand is back down, it’s free to click off of this blog post to spend your time more productively.

If you didn’t raise your hand, you may be interested in the results of a recent study on Coffee mannooligosaccharides on body weight in obese men. To be certain, losing weight is pretty simple in theory, but it’s often far more difficult in practice. Though some research suggests that there are some exceptions, for the most part, the old adage about calories in and calories out still applies.

It’s not hard to figure out what happens when you’re living a sedentary lifestyle and consuming too many calories… On the other hand, for those who are exercising regularly and trying to maintain a healthy diet, some may find that they’re not getting the results that they expect.

Calorie restriction in the absence of malnutrition has been heralded by scientific researchers for a having a number of putative health benefits.  Some of the more commonly cited health benefits include increased longevity as well as a reduction in inflammation.

This reduction in inflammation may have potential health benefits including reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, as well as osteoporosis.  Growing up in my family, I was always habituated to feeling like I should “clean my plate.”  Old habits are hard to break even if they’re potentially fatal.

Despite the fact that an ever-growing body of evidence suggests that eating too many calories is bad our health, obesity rates continue to sky-rocket.   ‘Eat less live longer’ is still a hard concept for most of us to internalize after years of worries about starvation and malnourishment.

What’s the connection between inflammation and obesity?  Some researchers speculate that inflammation plays an adaptive reaction to offset the effect of overeating.  In that sense it acts as a regulatory mechanism to maintain energy balance.  However, like many regulatory mechanisms, inflammation appears to be a double-edged sword in terms of its association with obesity.  Though inflammation results in energy expenditure, when inflammation resistance develops over time, this leads obesity.

Connecting maladaptive behavior to adverse consequences is an important step towards making positive changes.  Losing weight and gaining a sense of control over your lifelong accumulating eating habits is never an easy task.  Though many of us are aware that obesity itself is connected to a whole host of health conditions ranging from type 2 Diabetes, the metabolic syndrome, arthritis, to cardiovascular disease, it’s probably helpful to have a ‘bad guy’ to identify in part as the cause.

In our case here, inflammation is the ‘bad guy’ and the silver bullet you’ve got to combat this bad guy is calorie reduction.  ‘Eat less live longer’ should be the new adage that we strive to adopt.

Lose Weight with Coffee Mannooligosaccharides?

Coffee beans contain an indigestible component called Coffee mannooligosaccharides.  Mannooligosaccharide are a type of saccharide polymer which contain a small number of component sugars.  Researchers have been studying coffee  mannooligosaccharides for their prebiotic properties.

Previous studies both in humans and animals have found  coffee mannooligosaccharides or coffee mannans for short to be effective for lowering body fat in human and animal models.

Basically, research suggest that these coffee mannans pass to the large intestine undigested.  At the large intestine, they’re broken down to short-chain fatty acids and lead to the growth of beneficial bacteria.

A recently published study in the Journal of Nutrition explored the effect of consuming a coffee mannan beverage on weight reduction and fat loss in men and women [1].

Study Design:

For this particular study, they used a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled design.  The study itself included 54 men and women between the ages of 19-65 years of age with a BMI range of 27–33 kg/m(2).

The researchers prepared the coffee mannans by using an extraction process starting with regular coffee. Subjects who were randomized to the intervention group consumed a beverage containing 4g/day of coffee mannans in two divided doses for 11 weeks.


The study authors found that supplementation with a coffee mannan beverage resulted in body volume reductions in men, but not women.  For men, total body volume was reduced by 3 +/-1.2% with corresponding reductions in weight, total and subcutaneous adipose tissue.


First, if you’re even moderately excited about the results of this study, consider that there are no coffee mannan products currently available to my knowledge.  However, though future research is needed to answer a number of questions such as the gender role as well as confirm the mechanism on modulating energy balance, don’t be too surprised if products containing coffee mannooligosaccharides become commercially available in the near future.


  1. J Nutr. 2010 Nov;140(11):1943-8. Epub 2010 Sep 22.
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