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African Mango Extract: Diet Miracle or Fraud?

There’s a huge amount of buzz right now about African Mango Extract following Dr. Oz’s promotion of it last year on Oprah. The supplement, from the rare African mango found in western Africa, supposedly allows users to lose huge amounts of weight with minimal changes to diet and exercise routine. One claim you’ll hear a lot is that participants in a trial lost on average 28 lbs in two and a half months. Is this possible? Can African mango extract live up to the hype?

Maybe not.

The first thing to remember is that this only represents one study from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon and published in Lipids in Health and Disease. I think that it’s safe to say that if one study yields shocking results, it’s best to wait for more studies before placing too much stock in it. Moreover, some commentators have noticed some irregularities in the study’s abstract, which you can read here. Specifically, concerns have been raised about the increasing pace of weight loss the participants experienced- four pounds in the first months and ten pounds in the last two weeks- as well as some problems with the numbers for the placebo group, which don’t always seem to add up.

The best reason to be skeptical though is that the claims are just too fantastic. Real sustained weight loss involves difficult changes in diet and exercise, and while I don’t doubt supplements can help, there is no miracle cure. It probably doesn’t hurt to take African mango extract, but I would save my money and stock up on veggies instead.

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