I received an email about a month ago asking me to verify the claim of whether mango is a diabetes buster. Well, I can’t really verify claims, but what I can do is to offer my two cents worth as a trained food science professional.
According to the journal article published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers from both Oklahoma State University and North Carolina State University suggested that the inclusion of freeze-dried (FD) mangoes in the diet of experimental mice were able to show improvements in terms of glucose tolerance and overall lipid profile.
Now, if this really is the case, that would be wonderful for one main reason. Mangoes are very abundant in the tropical regions of the world like Malaysia. If mangoes are really diabetes busters, this would be a huge deal for mango farmers in these regions.
However, I am presenting my skepticism based on a couple reasons:
- I can never overstate that this is an animal study. Most people do not realize the vast amount of experimental biological studies that failed to transpose comparable results (if not the same) from mice models to human beings. So in order for us to fully conclude that mangoes indeed help counter diabetes in humans, a similar study will have to be done with humans. With this mice study, we can only at most say that mangoes are potentially effective in regulating glucose levels.
- What surprises me is that mice fed with a diet supplemented with FD mangoes were able to show improvements in glucose tolerance considering the high levels of naturally occurring sugars in mangoes. It sounds almost too good to be true. The British Journal of Nutrition is a highly regarded publication, but I still have some doubts about these findings based on the inconclusive information on what is occurring at a biochemical level. Because the researchers are still unclear of the biochemical cause for this change in the mice, I believe that further studies should be conducted before we reach the conclusion that mangoes are diabetes busters.
Author: Ben Yeap, M.S., Coalescence Food Scientist
What do you think?