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retractions

Green coffee bean extract isn't a weight loss 'miracle' after all

It was too good to be true: A study touting green coffee bean extract as a phenomenal weight loss drug has been retracted by its authors.

The study was written by Joe Vinson and Bryan Burnham of the University of Scranton, and published in 2012 in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy. One of the study's fans was Dr. Mehmet Oz, who praised the extract on his television show as a "miracle" weight loss aid.

The research was sponsored by Applied Food Science Inc., a manufacturer of the green coffee bean extract. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission reached a $3.5 million settlement with the company, saying their research was "so hopelessly flawed that no reliable conclusions could be drawn from it."

The FTC says the study was conducted in India, and the lead researcher changed the length of the trial, incorrectly identified who was taking the placebo, and altered the measurements of subjects, the Los Angeles Times reports. When the study was over, researchers claimed 16 participants took part, and those who took the extract lost an average of 17.5 pounds in 22 weeks, reducing their overall body weight by more than 10 percent. The FTC says that when the India investigators could not get the study published, AFS hired Vinson and Burnham.

In addition to the $3.5 million, AFS must "have scientific substantiation for any future weight-loss claims it makes, including at least two adequate and well-controlled human clinical tests."