The New Thermogenics

Every week on my radio show I tell people that these thermogenic formulas ARE NOT a miracle weight loss solution.  What I can say about them is they're selling better than any category of nutritional supplements I've ever seen.  The word, "Thermogenic" has nothing to do with "fat burning magic."  "Thermo" signifies "heat," and "genesis" signifies "the beginning."  Remove the mystery from the word and you come to understand, thermogenic means "capable of initiating heat."

They use the words "clinically proven" to sell many of the thermogenics.  That's founded in truth.  There has been extensive study on caffeine and ephedrine in the treatment of weight reduction, and much of the research appears to prove this drug combination effective.  The best selling thermogenic formulas are combinations of those two drugs, often in their herbal forms.  Recent research, however, seems to suggest that the weight loss achieved through caffeine ephedrine dosing has less to do with metabolic boost than it does with calorie deprivation.  If you understand the mechanisms behind the drugs, you'll understand why weight loss is common, although may not be the ultimately desired effect.

Caffeine suppresses appetite.  Ephedrine alters nuerotransmission the brain to further suppress appetite.  Of course if you back off on eating you'll lose weight.  Both drugs are stimulants.  That means your heart rate is elevated, and with the dosages recommended on the thermogenic bottles, it's elevated non-stop.  Of course you burn more calories, but that's not necessarily the healthful way to achieve that end.  Caffeine and ephedrine also have diuretic effects so water loss is inevitable.  These factors combine to create the illusion that these products "work."  The worst part, from the uneducated consumer's point of view, is the fact that these products are addictive.  Many people start taking them thinking they'll "melt fat," and wind up continuing to take them because they feel "weak and tired" when they stop.  That's a sign that your own adrenal system is backing off.

With all of the cautions on the table (there have been ephedrine related deaths), I believe there is an efficacious way to use these products, but they're not for everyone.  When I work with physique athletes who need to shed additional fat in the final weeks prior to a competition, the added heat can supply a supportive caloric burn, since these people are dieting . . . but their diets revolve around eating large quantities of proteins with ample fats and carbs.  Use thermogenics repeatedly and you fast develop a tolerance so I suggest, for those individuals who are free from risk factors and understand the true value of these products, limiting use to 3 days per week.  Never ingest more than 50 mg of ephedrine in any given day.  Never use them for more than four consecutive weeks without taking eight weeks off to protect adrenal function.

Do you need these products?  Of course not.  As many products that are overhyped and abused, these products can meet a need.  It's when marketing rolls their perceived appeal over to the masses that dangers and risks abound.

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