Dr. Oz has really been promoting weight loss supplements on his show recently. His motivation seems to be a good one: if Americans shed some pounds it may have a big impact on our health as a nation since obesity can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, gallstones, and arthritis. Occasionally, it seems like Dr. Oz is exaggerating the usefulness of certain supplement, but two of his weight loss suggestions do seem worth taking a look at.
Green coffee bean extract is starting to gain a lot of anecdotal support for assisting weight loss, and has one small favorable study. The active component in green coffee is called chlorogenic acid, and while it is highest in green coffee beans, it is also found in other foods including apples, blueberries, and prunes. It is present in roasted coffee, but another compound produced when coffee is roasted partially inhibit the activity of chlorogenic acid. The initial small study done on green coffee bean extract showed that participants lost between 13 to 20 pounds over 12 weeks. Another study demonstrated that green coffee bean extract slightly lowered blood pressure, whereas coffee tends to temporarily increase blood pressure because of its higher caffeine content.
Another popular weight loss supplement is African mango. In a study were participants took African mango or placebo 30 minutes before lunch and dinner, those on African mango reduced their calorie intake by 12% compared to those getting the placebo. This correlated to a 6% loss in body fat, while the placebo group only saw a 2% loss in body fat. African Mango is thought to mostly work as an appetite reducer by being a fiber source, but emerging evidence might indicate other fat burning mechanisms. Because of its fiber content, African mango is also gaining support for improving cholesterol and blood sugar. For both African mango and green coffee bean extract, larger follow-up studies are needed to confirm the initial finding, but in the meantime, these seem like safe options to try along with a weight loss program that includes improved diet and increased exercise.
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