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Hydroxycut Reviews

Posted on November 9, 2019

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Article by Gavin Deguara, ND, Nutr Med.

 

Muscletech have been global leaders in sports nutrition research and development for decades, offering an impressive range of powders, capsules, tablets and bars for the exercise enthusiast.

 

Their Hydroxycut range is one of the most popular in the world, offering several variations in powdered and encapsulated form. Hydroxycut products are formulated with quality ingredients in mind and are designed to enhance fat-loss results of a weight loss program. 

 

When it comes to flashy labels and impressive claims, there aren’t many companies that rival Muscletech. And some of the claims they make are definite attention grabbers.

 

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For the prospective consumer, understanding the validity of such claims can be more than a tricky affair. If you’re not big on trust when it comes to supplementation, you might just roll your eyes and put the product back on the shelf.

 

And that’s completely understandable given that so many products don’t meet even the most basic criteria for a quality product.

 

Though some less skeptical folk may only need a simple reference to research or clinical studies on the label to tip them over the edge and become a long-term customer.

 

After all, the words research and clinically-studied on a label tend to promote trust.

 

But a healthy amount of skepticism can be a good thing. After all, so much needs to be taken into consideration when reading a clinical trial and applying that research to ourselves.

 

Man-Performing-Pull-Up.jpgSure, who wouldn’t prefer to be ten per cent bodyfat all year round and carry an extra ten kilograms or more of muscle mass?

 

But we don’t want to spend our hard-earned dollars without being properly informed. And once we are, hopefully our expectations can become more in alignment with the most recent scientific findings.

 

Sometimes, this can mean a cold slap in the face—a metaphorical one that is—as our beliefs are put through a proverbial shredder. You know, that dream of popping a pill so we can chill on the couch in front of our favourite TV series, literally watching the fat melt away whilst munching on Oreos and Doritos …

 

Yes, it’s a pleasant dream. But a fiction nonetheless.

 

And despite the initial sting of that slap, once the pain subsides, hopefully your knowledge on the topic will be heightened enough so that you can construct a fat-burning program with the proper balance of exercise, diet and supplementation that will provide steady results that are sustainable over decades.

 

This is where most health-kicks and weight-loss programs fall apart. They’re created with to suit us over weeks instead of years. But we have to ask ourselves, is this program sustainable over decades?

 

And if not, what lifestyle habits will we fall back onto once the 6-week hardcore fat-melting program is finished?

 

In the course of our lives, improving our body composition and overall health for decades can make a real difference to our lives.

 

It might help to think of it like this. Feeling good and getting in shape for 6 weeks, compared to the length of our lives, is like feeling good for 112 seconds in every 24-hour period of time.

 

What is Hydroxycut?

Hydroxycut gets its name from old product incarnations when hydroxycitric acid was a major ingredient. This ingredient is no longer used in the hydroxycut range.

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Though the evidence base for this phytochemical as a thermogenic could be stronger, hydroxycitric acid is still sold in Australia in a wide range of products containing Garcinia cambogia.

 

There have been many versions of Hydroxycut products over the past few decades. One of the original formulations contained Ephedra, or Ma huang, which was banned by the FDA in 2004.

 

Today, the products offer a more benign ingredients list, including natural plant extracts, amino acids and caffeine. Despite a colourful history, Hydroxycut products are still a global powerhouse when it comes to popularity and sales.

 

Millions all over the planet see these products as a means to getting slimmer, quicker.

 

Is this the reality though?

 

Or is Hydroxycut a caffeinated placebo packed in flashy container?

 

Let’s dig a little deeper.

 

Chlorogenic Acids and Coffee: Health Trend or Active Ingredients?

Arguably the most important aspect of any product is the active ingredients. This is where the potency, quality and relevancy of the ingredients can be difficult for companies to disguise, no matter how amazing their health claims are.

 

It’s probably worth mentioning also that inactive ingredients can also be of great significance for the health conscious or anyone with chemical sensitivities or allergies. 

 

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Both Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite and Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen contain Coffee. As does Hydroxycut Shred.

 

Now, you might be thinking at this point, why pay for encapsulated coffee when I guzzle gallons of it each day?

 

And that’s a fare point.

 

After all, coffee has taken the Western culture by storm, not just for the fact that it snaps us out of somnambulism each morning, but because you can get all sorts of awesome varieties, like caramel flavoured with whipped cream and marshmallows on top.

 

But if you’re reading this article because you need to lose a few pounds, please discard that mental image—in fact, jam it in the shredder.

 

Black coffee without sugar tastes so much better anyway, right? Though there are always natural zero-calorie sweeteners like organic stevia, monk fruit or thaumatin to take the edge off.

 

Though a regular cup of hot brewed coffee does provide an appreciable amount of antioxidants, even more so than cold brew coffee (go figure), and natural anti-inflammatory effects, the question remains: what about the chlorogenic acid content 1?

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After all, aren’t these supposed to be the be-all and end-all of fat-fighting natural compounds?

 

And if we take plenty in through brewed coffee, why take a supplement?

 

At first it was believed that chlorogenic acids weren’t absorbed well through the human gastrointestinal tract, and therefore significant metabolic benefits were unlikely. However, it has been recently shown that approximately 1/3 of all consumed chlorogenic acids are absorbed 2.

 

It has also been demonstrated that we may not need to absorb chlorogenic acids in order to gain the benefits anyway.

 

So that’s definitely a win-win when it comes to the not-so-humble beverage called coffee.

 

When it comes to the chlorogenic acid content of each cup of coffee, a stark and undisputable fact remains: every cup of coffee is different.

 

The amount of chlorogenic acids in coffee depends on how long the coffee has been roasted, the type of coffee bean, the health of the coffee plant and geographic location, soil fertility and preparation method of the finished product, amongst many other determinants.

 

To really know the content, we would need to test each cup of coffee before we drink it. And that’s after it’s brewed and in the cup, ready to drink.

 

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However, if you’re into averages and approximations (which can be handy), research indicates that every 100ml of coffee contains approximately 50-200mg of chlorogenic acids. This excludes espresso, which has a much higher content per 100ml due to it being a concentrated finished product (though we drink less volume of course) 2

 

Though chlorogenic acids are believed to be the major reason why regular coffee drinkers have a decreased all-cause mortality rate, the questions still remains … are they in fact the compounds responsible for triggering fat-loss 3?

 

Or is there something else in coffee that makes it so special?

 

Research does indicate that coffee drinking helps to keep us trim … but are we advanced enough yet to say that we definitively know why 4,5?

 

This has been a nagging question amidst a vast array of inconclusive research that never really focused on providing this type of answer. Fortunately, a couple of interesting research papers were recently published, one of which focused on this very question.

 

Let’s celebrate with a cup of black coffee, shall we?

 

A journal called Nutrients published a paper by Watanabe et al showing that chlorogenic acid enriched coffee versus regular coffee led to greater visceral and abdominal fat loss, and a lower total bodyweight 6. This was a 12 week double-blind study.

 

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After drinking 1 cup of coffee daily for 12 weeks, subjects in the treatment group lost 9cm2 of visceral fat, versus 1cm2 in the placebo group. In addition, the enriched coffee drinkers lost 13.8cm2 of abdominal fat versus 2cm2.

 

It’s worth noting that the placebo group wasn’t a true placebo in this study, which only adds to the potential benefits of chlorogenic acids in this case. Placebos are typically used to indicate the power of mind during a particular study. Then the placebo derived benefit can be deducted from the treatment group benefit (if any) to arrive at what we believe to be the actual benefit of the treatment itself.

 

And believe it or not, the placebo effect is a very real and scientifically verifiable phenomenon. We could certainly start on an incredibly deep philosophical and metaphysical tangent here.

 

Usually, what is considered to be an inactive substance is used as a placebo, like a capsule filled with maltodextrin. However, in this study actual coffee was supplemented, which contained some naturally occurring chlorogenic acids, caffeine and many thousands of other phytochemicals, which likely led to the slight reduction in visceral and abdominal fat in this group.

 

All in all, this was an interesting piece of research finally shining some light on a topic that has had health researchers and clinicians yearning for clarity over for many years.

 

And yes, I do yearn.

 

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The term chlorogenic acids actually refers to a group of natural plant compounds, all categorized under this umbrella term, which are:

  • 5-caffeoylquinic acid
  • 3-caffeoylquinic acid
  • 4-caffeoylquinic acid
    • 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid
    • 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid
    • 4,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid
    • 3-feruloylquinic acid
    • 4-feruloylquinic acid
    • 5-feruloylquinic acid

 

In a way, chlorogenic acids can be compared to estrogen. There is no actual hormone called estrogen. It’s a collective term that refers to a wide range of estrogenic hormones, such as estradiol, estrone and estrial, plus a plethora of metabolites.

 

Fortunately, there’s no pop quiz at the end of this article. These chlorogenic acids have been listed simply for the sake of clarity and in case you are doing some reading and come across some weird-looking words relating to coffee.

 

And on a side note, recent research indicates that the fat-loss effects of chlorogenic acids may be initiated by beneficial changes in the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract. This change has been shown to be a reversal of a high-fat diet mediated dysbiosis.

 

In case that’s as clear as a glass of mud, the chlorogenic acids triggered the growth of beneficial bacteria and suppressed the growth of harmful strains, the metabolic effects of which science is only beginning to understand.

 

Can our microbiome influence body fat levels? You bet.

 

Who would have thought the words chlorogenic acid could be earnestly written so many times in one article. It could have been abbreviated, but if you’re skim reading, there’s nothing worse than having to go acronym hunting-one of the author’s pet hates when reading journal articles.

 

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Green Coffee or Roasted: Does it Really Matter?

Lets get right to the point here, as long as the product is standardised to chlorogenic acids and it contains enough to get the job done, then no.

 

As much as we all like things of a green nature, which makes it sound environmentally friendly, progressive and healthy, there are plenty of benefits to be found in quality roasted coffee.

 

Though it’s still worth noting that researchers have demonstrated that Green Coffee contains around double the chlorogenic acids of its roasted counterpart 7

 

However, the most convincing piece of research to date for coffee and fat loss was done with chlorogenic acid fortified roasted coffee—not green coffee.

 

And that’s not to say green coffee doesn’t possess a great deal more benefits than roasted coffee. However, when it comes to fat-loss alone. Quality roasted coffee extracts and fortified products will help you get the job done.

 

Muscletech Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite vs Next Gen

These two product have been mainstays in the Musctech range for a long time. Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite and Next Gen both contain an identical amount of chlorogenics acids in each capsule, at 45mg.

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Though due to a larger 3 capsule serving size with Next Gen, a standard serve of this product does contain 45mg more chlorogenic acids.

 

It’s worth noting also that the chlorogenic acids in Next Gen are derived only from roasted coffee, while Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite offers theirs from both green coffee and roasted.

 

When it comes to caffeine, Hardcore Elite contains 305mg in every 2 capsule serve, while Next Gen offers 300mg in each 3 capsule serve. This puts Elite high on the caffeine per capsule list.

 

Muscletech Hydroxycut Next Gen does have the added benefit of containing Green Tea that offers 67.5mg of EGCG per 3 capsules. EGCG is a proven weight loss accelerator, making this ingredient a definite advantage over Elite.

 

To confuse matters even further, Elite contains Cayenne, Coleus and Cocoa, while Next Gen offers Ornithine, Skullcap, Dan Shen and Ginger.

 

Though to simplify a somewhat confusing matter, you can’t beat the benefits of standardised Green Tea over these formula additions, particularly when considering the scientific evidence base.

 

Muscletech Hydroxycut Next Gen does appear to be a higher quality product compared to Elite when it comes to supporting fat-loss. This is based on a similar chlorogenic acid content per capsule, and the inclusion of standardized Green Tea in Next Gen.

 

Hydroxycut Shred

This product is a pleasant-tasting powder with a small 6.7g dosage, making it easy to wash down without guzzling gallons of water.

 

Muscletech-HydroxyCut-Shred.jpgHydroxycut Shred offers a solid 90mg of chlorogenic acids in each serve, which comes from the 200mg of coffee. While it does contain Green Tea, the EGCG content is not stated, making it hard to know the potency of this ingredient.

 

A major benefit of this thermogenic powder is the inclusion of a clinical dose of L-Carnitine Tartrate, at 1,500mg per serve. It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into detail on this nutrient, but let’s just say it is a helpful nutrient.

 

And the older we get, the more it seems to help, supporting muscle energetics, lean body mass, muscle soreness and more ...

 

Hydroxycut Shred goes beyond simple weight loss and offers nootropic support, with ingredient like Teacrine, theanine and tyrosine. This means, with regular and consistent use, you may experience improved mood and focus, which should make it easier to get some less than desirable eating habits under control.

 

And let’s face it. It’s really easy to develop less than desirable eating habits!

 

Hydroxycut Shred offers a unique range of thermogenic and nootropics, making this a rare product to support not only weight loss, but mood and cognition as well.

 

 

Hydroxycut Comparison chart

 

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         MuscleTech-Hydroxycut-Hardcore-Elite.jpg

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Serving size

3 Caps

2 Caps

6.7g

Roasted Coffee

500.4mg

255.3mg

200mg

Green Coffee

      rcLxML7Ri.png

200mg

        rcLxML7Ri.png

Total Chlorogenic Acids

135mg

(declared, may contain more)

90mg

(declared, may contain more)

90mg

Green Tea

225mg

     rcLxML7Ri.png

222mg

Total EGCG

67.5mg

-

N/A

TOTAL CAFFEINE

300mg

305mg

250mg

Carnitine (tartrate)

      rcLxML7Ri.png       rcLxML7Ri.png

1,500mg

Cocoa

-

100mg

100mg

Coleus

-

25mg

100mg

Other Exclusive Ingredients

Ornithine, Skullcap, Dan Shen, Ginger

Cayenne

Tyrosine, Choline, English Walnut, Teacrine, Theanine, Kelp, Grains of Paradise, Satsuma Orange

 

 

Optimising Your Daily Chlorogenic Acid Intake

Let’s take a look at how you might be able to reproduce the results of the Watanabe et al 6 clinical trial whilst using a Hydroxycut product.

 

In this study, the treatment group consumed 369mg of chlorogenic acids per day for 6 weeks in a single cup of coffee.

If you’re taking 3 capsules of Next Gen daily, then you’ll need around 2 more cups of regular strength coffee to hit the daily required amount of chlorogenic acids.

 

On the other hand, if you’re using one serve of either Hydroxycut Shred or Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite, it would be ideal to try 3 cups of coffee in addition to these supplements.

 

This is based on the assumption that one standard cup of coffee contains an average 100mg of chlorogenic acids.

 

Just watch out for the caffeine content, as following this system will be taking your caffeine intake up quite high. If you are sensitive to caffeine or are unsure of your tolerance level, always begin at a very low dosage and work upwards from there.

 

Conclusion

Muscletech are one of the few sports nutrition companies that put plenty of time and effort into creating quality formulations. In addition to a quality diet and exercise program, the Hydroxycut range offers real benefits for anyone wanting to lose body-fat.

 

If you’re looking for some Carnitine in your thermogenic, then Hydroxycut Shred is the product for you. Otherwise, Next Gen is the best encapsulated product, due to its standardised Chlorogenic Acid and EGCG contents.

 

The entire Hydroxycut range is fairly caffeine loaded. So if strong stimulants are not for you, then a stim-free weight loss product would be a better option, like L-Carnitine powder or Capsaicin.

 

We can’t deny that caffeine is itself a fat-burner, just as are all sympathetic nervous system stimulants. This makes its inclusion in the Hydroxycut range, at the higher end of most people’s daily tolerance, an important part of the formulation.

 

References

  1. Rao NZ and Fuller M. Acidity and Antioxidant Activity of Cold Brew Coffee. Scientific Reports. 2018 Vol 8
  2. Farah A and Lima Jde. Consumption of Chlorogenic Acids through Coffee and Health Implications. Beverages 2019 Vol 5;11
  3. Cano-Marquina A et al. The impact of coffee on health. Maturitas 2013 Vol 75;1 p.7-21
  4. Onakpoya I et al. The use of green coffee extract as a weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials. Gastroenterology research and practice. 2011
  5. Lee A et al. Coffee Intake and Obesity: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients 2019 Vol 11;6 
  6. Watanabe T et al. Coffee Abundant in Chlorogenic Acids Reduces Abdominal Fat in Overweight Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, COntrolled Trial. Nutrients 2019 Vol 11;7
  7. Perrone D et al. Comprehensive analysis of major and minor chlorogenic acids and lactones in economically relevant Brazilian coffee cultivars. Food Chem 2008 Vol 106 p.859-867