Can Hydroxycut help you lose weight? A detailed review

There are many popular supplements for weight loss.

One of them is called Hydroxycut and has existed for more than a decade.

This article takes an objective look at Hydroxycut and reviews the science behind it.

What is Hydroxycut?

Hydroxycut works

Hydroxycut is a brand of weight loss supplements.

They offer several products: pills, capsules, shakes and gummies.

Its most popular product is a pill that is simply called "Hydroxycut", sometimes with the words "Pro Clinical" attached.

As of today, the active ingredients are:

  • Caffeine

  • Lady's mantle extract (Alchemilla vulgaris)

  • Wild olive extract (Olea europaea)

  • Extract from Komijn (Cuminum cyminum)

  • Wild mint extract (Vaccinium myrtillus)

It also contains calcium, vitamin C and some other minor ingredients.

The company also has another product called Hydroxycut Hardcore, which contains different ingredients in total, which include green coffee bean extract, yohimbine and an even high dose of caffeine.

Most of their other products have the same active ingredients and should have similar effects.

Summary Hydroxycut produces a series of supplements to lose weight. Most of them contain caffeine and a mixture of different herbs.

How does it work?

Hydroxycut is basically a mixture of several different ingredients that are supposed to lead to weight loss.

Caffeine is definitely the most potent of all.

Numerous studies show that caffeine can increase metabolism by 3 to 11% and increase fat burning by around 10 to 29% (1, 2, 3, 4).

However, keep in mind that this is a short-term effect and that people develop tolerance to caffeine (5).

There are no good studies showing that caffeine leads to long-term weight loss.

In addition, the effectiveness of all active individual herbal ingredients in Hydroxycut to lose weight has not been investigated.

One study in 78 overweight people found that taking three capsules of komijn extract every day for two months led to a significantly greater weight loss than a placebo (6).

The Komijn extract caused a weight loss similar to that of the drug orlistat120.

Another study tested the four herbs found together in the Hydroxycut pills: the lady's mantle, the wild olive, the komijn and the wild mint.

In this study, the herbal combination reduced the body weight gain in chickens by approximately 20% and significantly increased the metabolic rate in rats (7).

However, keep in mind that what works in test animals does not always work in humans. The study also used very high doses. Therefore, the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

Summary There is some evidence that caffeine can increase metabolism and increase fat burning. The other active ingredients in Hydroxycut have been shown to increase metabolism in rats and reduce weight gain in chickens.

What do the studies say?

Unfortunately, there is no human study that directly tests the Hydroxycut itself.

However, one study tested the four main herbal ingredients, without the caffeine.

This 12-week study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 34 overweight or obese people.

Participants took the herbal extract or a placebo half an hour before meals.

They were not told to diet or exercise, but were only asked to eat three meals a day and avoid snacks.

These were the results:

The group that took the herbal mixture lost 21 pounds (9.5 kg), compared to only 1.8 pounds (0.8 kg) in the placebo group.

The body mass index (BMI) of the herbal mix group went from 31 to 28 or from obese to overweight, while it barely changed in the placebo group.

The study reported no adverse effects, neither minor nor serious.

According to this study, the main study cited by Hydroxycut in its marketing materials, the herbal ingredients in Hydroxycut can lead to significant weight loss.

The "clinically proven" seal on the company's flagship product is based on this research.

However, keep in mind that this is only a small study of 12 weeks and that future studies can lead to a different conclusion.

Summary A study on the active herbal ingredients in Hydroxycut showed that it caused a weight loss of 21 pounds (9.5 kg) in only 12 weeks.

What's up with Hydroxycut Hardcore?

There are no studies on Hydroxycut Hardcore.

However, many of the active ingredients have been studied individually.

The main ingredient is green coffee bean extract, which has been tested in numerous studies.

Some have shown that it can lead to weight loss, while others found no effect (8, 9, 10).

The other main ingredients, yohimbine and cayenne pepper, have also been investigated and shown to have a minor effect on weight (11, 12, 13, 14).

Again, no single study has been done on the exact formulation in Hydroxycut Hardcore. But since the individual ingredients have shown some promise, it is likely to work.

Summary No study has directly tested Hydroxycut Hardcore, but the active ingredients have shown some effectiveness as aids for weight loss.

Numerous cases of toxicity

Hydroxycut used to contain ephedra, a powerful stimulant.

Later, the FDA banned ephedra because it caused serious side effects.

It is believed that about 155 deaths were caused by supplements containing ephedra, including Hydroxycut.

In 2009, Hydroxycut was withdrawn from the market due to numerous reports of cases of hepatotoxicity (liver poisoning) and other serious adverse effects (15).

But in 2010, they returned to the market with a new formula. Most of the dangerous side effects of Hydroxycut were due to the older formulations.

That said, there have been some reports of dangerous side effects in recent years, with the current formulation (16, 17, 18).

A search for "Hydroxycut" in Google Scholar or PubMed will not find anything about the supplement that actually works, but dozens of reports of dangerous side effects.

Since Hydroxycut has a history of using ingredients in its products that have caused serious side effects, it seems to be a good idea to be very careful with this particular line of supplements.

Summary There have been numerous reports of dangerous side effects with Hydroxycut, but most were due to older formulations.

Side effects, dosage and how to use it

The current formulation of Hydroxycut can cause several side effects, most due to caffeine.

This includes insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea and other related symptoms.

Hydroxycut Hardcore may be even more problematic in this regard because it is higher in caffeine.

For this reason, people sensitive to caffeine should avoid using Hydroxycut or, instead, take the caffeine-free version.

The higher your dose, the greater the risk of side effects.

It is recommended that people increase their dose slowly, starting with 1 tablet, 3 times per day and going to 2 tablets, 3 times per day after four days.

However, keep in mind that dosage recommendations vary between different products. Therefore, read the instructions carefully and do not exceed the recommendation.

You can develop tolerance to some of the substances in Hydroxycut such as caffeine. Therefore, you can obtain better results by cycling the product, for example, 4 weeks of lighting, 4 weeks of rest, etc.

Should you take Hydroxycut?

If you read consumer reports on forums and message boards, you will notice that for every person who succeeds with this supplement, another person says that it had no effect.

This seems to be the case with most weight loss supplements: some people succeed with them, others do not.

At the end of the day, Hydroxycut can be useful as a tool to burn fat in the short term, as long as you are also eating healthy and exercising.

But, as with any other method of weight loss, it will not lead to long-term results unless it is followed by a lasting change in lifestyle.

Losing weight is a marathon, not a race, and there are no shortcuts, unfortunately

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