Patented process boosts polyphenol content in roasted coffee

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Patented process boosts polyphenol content in roasted coffee

Related tags Coffee

Applied Food Sciences Inc. has obtained a US patent on its technology that allows roasted coffee to retain its full suite of polyphenols.

The technology is a two-step process in which the polyphenolic compounds, including chlorogenic acid (CGA) are extracted from the green coffee beans before roasting using Applied Sciences’ proprietary process.

“Green coffee has been a big sensation of late for its health benefits. What we are able to do is to take those green, unroasted coffee beans and extract those polyphenol compounds without any chemicals. Then we roast the coffee like normal, at a high temperature, but in a controlled condition that is almost like a vaccum and we then quench the polyphenol-rich water back in.  So we still get a full bodied coffee flavor, but when you drink the coffee you get those nutritional benefits,”​ Jackson Zapp, vice president  marketing of Applied Food Sciences told FoodNavigator-USA.

Benefits of CGA

The company developed its water-extraction technology in working with its branded CGA chlorogenic acid weight management ingredient from green coffee beans. The ingredient got a big boost recently when it and Svetol, a competing green coffee bean extract made by Naturex, were mentioned by name on the Dr. Oz Show.  The show has a policy not to mention products by name, by bent the rule in this case because of the large number of inferior products on the market with insufficient levels of chlorogenic acid.

Applied Food Sciences has a string of human studies backing the benefits of this class of polyphenols.

“We’ve been working on this since 2003 in human subjects,”​ said Chris Fields, vice president of scientific affairs for Applied Food Sciences.  “One of the first things we did was a glucose inhibition study and we saw some really interesting things.”

“As we went proceeded through the clinical evolution we realized that a lot of the subjects that were taking the extract for blood glucose management were also having some benefits of weight loss. And the weight loss was specifically from body composition changes and they were actually experiencing some changes in the amount of fat they were storing and metabolizing,” ​she said.

After getting intrigued about the weight loss benefits, Fields said, the company investigated further, conducting a longer-term, randomized, placebo-controlled cross-over study​ in which the subjects acted as their own controls, to try to better account for the wide variability in how subjects tend to respond in weight loss study.  The study included placebo, low dose and high dose phases and washout phases between the phases. The study showed an average weight loss of about 17 pounds in 22 weeks.

Suite of polyphenols

The term chlorogenic acid is a bit of a misnomer, Fields said. There are a number of different acid constituents in green coffee beans that function together in an as yet unidentified way to achieve the observed results.  Also unknown is the precise method of action by which these chlorogenic acids affect weight loss and body composition in humans. 

Some of these constituents remain in brewed coffee, she said.  But many of them are destroyed, and it’s hard to say how many polyphenols remain in a given cup of coffee made from beans brewed in uncontrolled conditions.  Applied Foods’ patented process brings certainty to this equation.

Stomach friendly coffee

Applied Foods sells coffee using the technology as a finished product under the Caffee Sanora name.  It’s available nationwide in a grocery chains such as Krogrer. Unlike the green coffee bean extract which has concentrated levels of chlorogenic acid, Applied Foods makes no weight management claims on the coffee. Rather the HealthyRoast patent applies to the process for roasting coffee while maintaining stomach friendly natural antioxidants. The patent, No. 8,357,419, describes a novel method of enhancing the ability of coffee to protect against irritations of the gastric tract.

But the company also licenses the technology, Zapp said.  It is already either being used or is under consideration by other food companies to boost the nutritional value of finished products, he said.

“The patent is actually for roasting. So anything you roast at a high temperature to gain flavor, such as almonds, could benefit,”​ he said. “What you can do is use this technology to add these beneficial compounds back into the finished product.” 

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