mango with a leaf and a slice

Often when weight loss clients are first starting on their journey, their attention is on what they might remove from their diets. As a weight loss professional, what if you turned this approach on its head – and encouraged your clients to include extra nutrition in their diet as an approach to improve their overall health?

In May 2014, a research study was published in Nutrition and Metabolic Insights investigating whether mango supplementation as a dietary intervention can reduce body fat and improve blood glucose levels.

Why supplement with mangoes?
It all comes down to bioactive compounds. Bioactive compounds are found in fresh fruit and vegetables and include substances such as carotenoids, tocopherols, ascorbic acid and dietary fibre.

Although bioactive compounds are not essential for regular body function, they can positively impact on a person’s health. It has also been shown that bioactive compounds can have beneficial effects on body weight and blood glucose control.

Mangoes are a rich source of bioactive compounds and (in studies of mice) have been shown to positively influence body composition and improve blood glucose and lipid levels. However, until now, there was no known investigation to understand if similar results could be achieved amongst people who are obese.

Study design
Men and women aged between 20 to 50 years old, with a BMI of between 30 to 45 were invited to participate in the study. In total, four measurements were collected – pre-screening, at baseline, and at 6 and 12 weeks after commencement of the study. In total, 13 men and 9 women participated in the study.

Participants were provided with freeze-dried, ground mango pulp in 10g doses, which was stored in the freezer prior to consumption. Each person received a supply of the powder and was advised to consume one package daily in any form (but not cooked, heated or baked). They were asked to maintain their normal dietary and exercise habits and keep a food diary during the trial.

20 subjects completed the study: after 12 weeks, no changes were observed in overall body weight, hip or waist circumference, or percentage of fat mass and lean mass. However, in male participants, hip circumference was reduced by an average of 3.3cm (no change for female participants) and after supplementation, BMI was higher for female participants, but with no change for men.

For both male and female participants, blood glucose levels were significantly reduced (by 4.1mg/decilitre). While insulin levels for men increased, no change in insulin levels was seen amongst the female participants.
Mangoes, body composition and blood glucose levels
This study demonstrated that mango supplementation does not affect body composition (as it did in animal studies) however it does have a positive effect on blood glucose levels. It also flags that men and women may respond differently to mango supplementation.

In a nutshell – mango does appear to have some benefits for people who are obese in terms of blood glucose control – but further investigation, with larger study populations and longer evaluation periods is necessary to confirm these findings.

Evans, S. F., Meister, M., Mahmood, M., Eldoumi, H., Peterson, S., Perkins-Veazie, P., Lucas, E. A. (2014). Mango Supplementation Improves Blood Glucose in Obese Individuals. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, 7, 77–84.