by Neil Anderson
If you are like the rest of us, you are always open to some extra help when it comes to fat-loss. One of the reasons you come to GPP is to get the most effective and efficient program possible to achieve optimal health. For most of us, this includes fat-loss. So, where do thermogenic fat-loss aids (pills/liquids you take to help lose weight) fit into our program, if at all? Some of the more popular brand names for these are: Lipo-6, Hot Rox, Syntrax, Hydroxy Cut. Do they work? Or, are they simply scams which are harmful to both our health and our wallets?
As you can expect, the official GPP stance on fat-loss aids is: There is nothing you will ever need to comsume that is a substitute for quality nutrition and completely effective exercise. This is where you head should be at all times along your journey to optimal health. This being said, the question remains...can a fat-loss aid help you somewhere along the path to optimal health?
Everyone is different, and the word "help" is very broad. It is our experience that fat-loss aids can be relied upon for support in some instances. It is also our experience that when used as a substitute for proper nutrition and effective exercise these aids will ALWAYS fail.
We all know those who swear by them. Some of these people (most do not) even exhibit optimal health and look terrific. This may be due to some real physiological affect (the studies on these things are "junk science" at best), or it may be due to another psychological process (this has my vote). If, for whatever (healthy) reason, you decide to try a fat-loss aid here is some info that may help you decide if these are for you.
Before we get into it, we think it is important that you do the following:
1) Use common sense when choosing whether or not you will use a thermogenic aid.
2) Never consume anything that may harm you.
3) Do your research. Be sure you know exactly what it is you are taking and how that will effect you specifically.
4) Be sure you know that what is on the label is also in your product.
5) Realize that "aid" does not mean "substitute."
There are many different categories of fat-loss aids on the market. The most popular of these, by far, are the thermogenics. Of these, there are also more brand names than you can list.
Thermogenesis means, "to produce heat." This category of fat-loss aids is devoted to increasing your bodies core temperature. The theory here is; increased body temp = increased calorie burn. This is generally accomplished by stimulating your central nervous system through variants of caffeine (guarana, green tea, yerba mate) and ephedra (synephrine, ma huang).
Pros: short-term energy boost, feeling of euphoria, appetite suppressant & diuretic effect (also a Con).
Cons: may have harmful side effects including: heart attack, increased blood pressure, stroke, heart palpitations, dehydration, depression, anxiety & other psycologic conditions. If you have a known heart, vascular, or psycological condition - these are NOT recommended.
The problem, as you can see, is the harmful side effects can be potentially devastating. The worst thing about these central nervous system stimulants and their side-effects is; it is impossible to know if you will suffer from them until you actually - DO!
Most thermogenics have proprietary blends to differentiate themselves from the others. These "other ingredients" may include vitamins (Mainly the B's and C), minerals (like chromium, calcium, manganese & Zinc) Herbs & Spices (garlic, paprika & chilies) and Fiber. Of course, what they tell you is that purpose of their specific proprietary blend is to improve your chances of being successful. What they probably mean is, "If we don't do SOMETHING to differentiate our plain old stimulant from the rest of the pack, we have a harder time selling this to you." The cool thing is that due to this, some of these companies have discovered some chemicals and compounds found in nature that may actually be helpful (articles on these to be found on this site).
So, do they work? Yep. We've seen people lose weight while using them when combined with proper nutrition and completely effective exercise. We have NEVER seen thermogenic aids work without these.
Are they a scam? Well, if you buy a product to help you lose weight, and you did so safely... then, no. It is not a scam, right? Not so fast. Many of these products are marketed to you in scheisty ways. Beware of products making claims of easy results with little effort. Usually, the more flagarant the claim, the more scheisty the product and deal is going to be. While many manufacturers are well meaning, scientific agencies who are simply trying to help you in exchange for a small profit, many companies are pure scammers. Not only will they sell you a bogus product, but sometimes they will rope you into expensive financial deals unrelated to the product. Look for fine print in the deal (this usually occurs on the internet). If there is fine print, you can be assured that the deal will be a scam (it may actually cost you hundreds more) and that the product is very likely bogus.
A thermogenic fat-loss aid may help you. It may also harm you. The harm may affect more than just your health. If you decide that using a thermogenic fat-loss aid will help you, we suggest finding a reputable health food/supplement store that gives money-back guarantees on the quality and quanties of it's products. Many of the smaller, locally owned shops have passionate, expert, nutritional professionals that can help you sort through products and match them to your specific needs. We also suggest you find products with fewer ingredients meant for very specific purposes. That a supplement can help you lose weight is suspect enough without adding to it the implication that any ONE product could have the type, quality and quantity of ingredients in one dose that you may need for an endeavor as important as weight loss is to you.