addressed by Phil Kaplan on 9/20/2001
Note: This was written in 2001, before the FDA took action
to prevent ephedrine from being sold in dietary supplements.
There is still a great deal of mystique and controversy regarding
ephedrine-based fat burners, so allow this to serve as one
fitness expert's pre-ban view. Since the ephedrine issue,
Xenadrine, as many similar products, was released in an "ephedra-free"
I saw the Xenadrine TV commercial.
First it claims that Xenadrine was proven to speed
weight loss 38 times that which you can achieve with diet
and exercise alone.
amazing. 38 times!
As the commercial continues, it introduces us to a
woman who tells of her results in only 12 weeks!
I decided to do some math.
Since the American Medical Association recommends,
for those seeking weight loss, a sensible1-2 pounds of weight
loss per week through diet and exercise, and the American
Dietetic Association agrees, I believe itís fair to assume
that people are losing 2 pounds per week through diet and
exercise alone. Math
time. Letís see,
if someone uses Xenadrine, rather than 2 pounds per week,
theyíll multiply weight loss by 38, that means you can lose
76 pounds per week.
In 12 weeks, you can shed 912 pounds!
happens to be an efficacious product.
Itís not the product thatís at fault.
Itís the marketing for it.
I have used thermogenics with athletes and people who
already understand the importance of supportive nutrition
and eating to facilitate enhanced liberation and burning of
stored bodyfat. It's just not as simple as taking a
pill. In the Fat Burning phase of my 17-Week Body Transformation
Program, I teach people to make nutritional modifications
that allow the body to better access fat stores for fuel.
For three consecutive days, by minimizing intake of starches
and increasing protein consumption, glycogen (stored muscle
fuel) stores are depleted and fat utilization is increased.
A thermogenic product, usually a combination of caffeine and
ephedrine, can help to increase body temperature, bringing
about increased caloric burn, and can kick up fat release
slightly. The catch is, you have to eat! Getting
the high protein meals into your body on those three days
has a thermic effect which is amplified by the thermogenic.
Without the effect from food, and of course the greater fat
utilization through intense exercise sessions, the thermogenic
is going to be ineffective. Xenadrine is one of the
most potent thermogenics on the market. So again, it's
not the product that's at fault, but the marketing of it.
someone takes Xenadrine, or any thermogenic, they can expect
their appetite to be reduced. Stop eating and you're
going to lose weight, but that's not healthful nor is it long
term. When I work with athletes using thermogenics,
they are told not to trust their appetite during the days
of usage, but rather to "eat by the clock," predetermined
meal sizes. Starvation in any form will inevitably result
in a metabolic slowdown. The ads lead people to believe
that "the pill" has a dramatic effect. Yes,
the ads do mention diet and exercise, but when consumers hear
"38 times the weight loss" they naturally assume
that the diet and exercise are secondary. It's also
important to note that caffeine and ephedrine have a diuretic
effect, so if you're judging your progress by your pounds
(a huge mistake), you can easily be fooled by water loss into
thinking "it works!"
can be dangerous, especially if taken in large dosages or
if ingested by anyone with blood pressure, thyroid, circulatory,
or prostate issues. If ever I include a thermogenic
as part of a fat loss program, it is after careful screening
to be certain risk factors aren't present. It's also
important to note that I limit use to three times per week,
no more than 25 mg of ephedrine in a 4-hour period, and no
more than 50 mg of ephedrine in a day. I also limit
use to four consecutive weeks and highly encourage an 8-12
week minimum of non-use before considering resuming thermogenic
and caffeine are addictive, and that's why the marketing of
these products pays off in such huge financial dividends for
the product sellers. Extended use can also cause the
adrenal system to back off, leaving users weak and tired without
their "fix." By controlling use, limiting
dosages, screening potential users, and laying out definitive
guidelines, I have never had a single negative incident with
any of my customers or clients. With that said, I've
met vast numbers of people who attempted random supplementation
without guidance and wound up with undesired side effects.
There have been a significant number of deaths from random
use of these products.
challenge for the consumer lies in separating hype from truth.
Since a product that causes water loss, appetite suppression,
and the illusion of energy is so easy to hype, truth rarely
finds its way to the weight loss wanting consumer tempted
by these offerings.
actually opted to sell thermogenics at the On-Line
Superstore at times. Why? A number of reasons.
Firstly, as I mentioned, they can play a role in speeding
fat release with educated use. Secondly, since people
are buying these formulas under the guise of "miracle
fat loss," I realize I'm protecting people by providing
them a careful dose of reality prior to their purchase.
Any time I opted to carry thermogenics, I did so with a complete
explanation of risk and guidelines. My trainers will
tell you that I discourage them from selling thermogenics.
In fact, most people who call my offices asking for Xenadrine
or a similar product wind up with a book, tape, or program.
I found it important, at times, to include "fat burners"
in my inventory since so many people seeking "Fat Loss"
think a supplement is the answer. When a customer contacts
us in search of a "fat burner," my staff is well
trained to identify the reality. They are actually in
search of fat reduction, and the solution lies in the Synergy
between supportive eating and exercise. Supplements
do not get people fit. They can only play a role.
While many supplements are oversold by non-threatening, the
thermogenic formulas do come with potential for harm.
So 38 times the
fat loss? Just another creative twisted interpretation
of information to pump up product sales. Please, don't
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