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Weight Loss: Is There a Quick Fix?

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It is estimated that over $40 billion is spent on weight loss annually and that figure keeps rising. There have been countless pills, diet and exercise fads, and even natural remedies such as green tea extract, the acai berry and now african mango extract that look promising at first glance for weight loss, but do they really work and are they safe? These are questions you need to ask yourself before taking part in something that may not work and can potentially be harmful.

Let’s take a closer look into the newest weight loss quick fix. A study recently published in the online journal Lipids in Health and Disease found that study participants lowered their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lost an average of twenty-eight pounds by taking an extract made from the African mango (Irvingia gabonensis).

Studies suggest that the African mango may reduce body fat production by affecting genes and enzymes involved in metabolism. What’s most appealing about these findings is that not only did participants lose the weight and lower cholesterol, they were told to make no changes in their diet or exercise routine. Sound too good to be true? It probably is.

First off, a sample size of 102 participants is not large enough to make the generalized assumption that everyone will see these results. In fact, personal testimonials of people who took the extract after the study reported varying results. From what I’ve read, many individuals experienced no weight loss at all and others even gained weight after taking the extract.

This actually makes sense. It’s important to understand that each one of us has different biochemical needs to make our bodies work optimally, which is called metabolic typing. Some people need to eat more protein than carbohydrates; for others the reverse is true and some need a balance of both. The old saying,“One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” is true in more than just the figurative sense.

I’m hypothesizing here but it could be that the people who lost weight had metabolic types that complemented the addition of the oil in this extract to their diets, while those who gained weight didn’t.

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EmpowHER Guest

Weight loss is a complex issue and in my experience as a Registered Dietitian, I have to come to learn that we must inevitably make an overall lifestyle change in order to really reach our weight loss goals. We need to address nutrition, exercise, stress management, and sleep in order to make an overall lifestyl change. In my new book, "How To Eat Fried Chicken and Be Thin Too" I address all of these components and how to incorporate them into your set lifestyle.

August 6, 2009 - 11:14am
(reply to Anonymous)

It would be much more helpful to the EmpowHer community if you could provide some health information, instead of posting just the title of your book (we have a policy of not allowing solicitation on this site). Engaging readers with insightful and research-based facts from your profession could lend itself to more interest and discussion, rather than telling us about "just another weight loss book".

Also, if you would like more credibility, please post as your name or other indicator that you are a professional RD (instead of "anonymous"; we can help you do this). Are we speaking with one of the authors of this book (Brandi Sentz or Kellie Glass?).

What can you tell us about weight loss from a Registered Dietitian perspective?

August 6, 2009 - 1:38pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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