Javita coffee launched in 2011 with the introduction of its energy-plus-mind instant coffee. With ingredients such as South American estate-blend coffee (100 percent Arabica and Robusta), green tea, bacopa monnieri herb and gotu kola herb, the company says the coffee helps jumpstart the drinker’s brain and supports learning and memory.
In 2012, the company released its burn-plus-control instant coffee. The list of ingredients includes those commonly associated with healthy metabolic activity, such as garcinia cambogia extract and yerba mate extract combined with coffee.
Shayna Hefetz, who learned about the coffee from an uncle who lost 30 pounds in his first six weeks drinking Javita, leads a team of more than 20 distributors who sell Javita in Maryland. She said the coffee helped her lose 20 pounds in less than two months.
She began drinking the coffee in early May, and by summer, she said, clothing she wore in April and June was practically falling off.
“I had this one favorite skirt — it was a skirt I bought at the Gap when I was in 10th grade — and it’s actually got room in it,” she said. “I couldn’t button it six months ago.”
For Hefetz, Javita’s real benefit was its ability to suppress her cravings.
“I used to be a carboholic,” she said. “When I’m drinking the Javita burn-plus-control, I don’t think about carbs anymore.”
The change, she said, has been dramatic. Many of her customers are people she knows, who have seen her transformation.
“People see me and they say, ‘Wow, whatever you did, I want to do that, too,’” said Hefetz.
The biggest advantage of using Javita over any of the other alternatives available, said Darryl Anderson, vice president of marketing at Javita, is that it does not require a major lifestyle change.
“You’re already drinking coffee,” said Anderson. “Instead of changing your habits, change your coffee.”
This isn’t the first time a coffee has been promoted to have additional benefits. In 2010, the FDA issued a warning about Magic Power Coffee, an instant coffee marketed as a sexual-enhancement supplement. The agency informed consumers that the coffee contained a chemical similar to the active ingredient in Viagra that can cause extremely low blood pressure when combined with some prescription drugs.
In 2011, the FDA warned consumers against a weight-loss supplement called Lose Weight Coffee after a lab analysis found sibutramine, a controlled substance that was removed from the U.S. market in 2010 because of links to high blood pressure and increased heart rate. In a news release, the agency told consumers to “stop using this product immediately and throw it away.” On the same day, the FDA also issued a warning against Leisure 18 Slimming Coffee, another weight-loss coffee found to contain the dangerous drug.
There have been no FDA warnings about Javita.
“There’s not any one particular product that’s going to make you burn fat or magically lose weight,” said Diana Sugiuchi, a registered dietitian nutritionist and licensed nutritionist at Baltimore’s Nourish Family Nutrition.
Sugiuchi said she is often skeptical of many of the products she sees advertised as a quick fix for weight loss.
“A lot of these supplements [are] really expensive and the placebo effect is extremely powerful,” she said. “If you think that by drinking this coffee or taking this pill your appetite is going to be reduced, it probably will be.”
In place of spending a bunch of money on a magic fix, Sugiuchi recommends her clients increase their muscle mass by strength training, drinking enough water, reducing stress and getting adequate sleep.
Heather Norris is a JT staff reporter — firstname.lastname@example.org