Ingredients to Beware Of
As anybody who has read our reviews will know – there are many ingredients which have a dubious clinical pedigree, or have been thoroughly debunked in tests.
If that was as bad as it got that would still be bad. It’s not as bad as it gets though, it gets much much worse.
Some of the ingredients you’ll find in fat burners and pre-workouts are outright dangerous. Encountering these ingredients is far more common than you’d think.
We’ve done a quick summary on some of the most common ingredients to watch out for:
DNP is old school. In much the same way that smallpox was old school. It was designated as ‘not fit for human consumption’ as far back as 1938, so we are not publishing some breaking scoop here by telling you it’s bad news.
Despite the dangers being known about for 80 years, unscrupulous people still sell it and unwitting consumers still consume it.
It can raise metabolic rate by up to 50%, and usage results in dramatic weight loss. But at a terrible price. It can cause severe overheating, dehydration, vomiting, a racing heartbeat and eventually death.
DANGER CLASS: EXTREME
Ephedrine has been in the news many times in the last few years, normally in relation to sports. It works by stimulating the heart, lungs and nervous system. The resulting increase in metabolic activity causes the body to consume calories and burn fat.
It is potent though, and taking it puts a huge pressure and strain on the body, even amongst healthy young people. Side effects of Ephedrine include strokes, heart attacks, tachycardia, seizures, paranoid schizophrenia, nausea, and vomiting
Whilst recent crackdowns have reduced its availability in regulated western markets, it can be easily obtained online from unregulated vendors in South East Asia.
DANGER CLASS: DANGEROUS
Aspartame is a synthetic sweetener which is widely used in the food industry. The place you are most likely to encounter it is in diet sodas but it also commonly features in flavored powder supplements.
There are over 90 documented side-effects from aspartame, and it is estimated that over 75% of adverse reactions to food additives can be attributed to aspartame.
From depression and insomnia through to heart palpitations and even death, it can also worsen symptoms of serious medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and epilepsy.
Some nutritionists refer to aspartame as a ‘chemical poison’ (depending on the manufacturer a small percentage may even contain the poison methanol), and it’s not difficult to find reams of heated online discussion about it.
The bottom line is that there’s no reason to be using it – there are perfectly safe natural sweeteners and they are used in the best fat burners and best pre-workouts.
DANGER CLASS: MODERATE
Also going by its aliases bitter orange extract and citrus aurantium, synephrine is commonly found in fat burners and pre-workouts.
Synephrine isn’t necessarily dangerous on its own, the severe side effects occur when it is there in large dosages and combined with caffeine in large dosages. Which is obviously a problem.
Not only is caffeine use (and over-use) in the form of coffee consumption widespread and considered completely normal, many of these fat burners and pre-workouts which contain synephrine also contain large amounts of caffeine. So anything using a proprietary blend containing both synephrine and caffeine is an absolute no-no.
Why? Because you have absolutely no idea how much of each you are taking.
When we say ‘severe side effects’ we are talking about heart attacks and death.
The link between synephrine and heart attacks / ischemic strokes was made as far back as 2005 following the case of a man who started supplementing with synephrine a week before his attack.
And in 2009 a legal case was launched by a 24 year old who suffered a severe heart attack after using Nutrex Lipo-6x, a fat burner which at the time contained a large amount of synephrine.
DANGER CLASS: DANGEROUS (with caffeine)
Also referred to as Yohimbine, this natural tree bark can assist with appetite suppression and is therefore commonly found in fat burner supplements. There have been some very positive studies done on Yohimbe in relation to its ability in curbing hunger, and dosed correctly we here often treat it as a positive in a formula.
The trouble is that many manufacturers obscure the amounts they include in a ‘proprietary blend’ which means we have no idea how much of this is in the mix. Depending on your bodyweight there could easily be too much.
Consuming too much of it can cause side-effects such as gastrointestinal distress, anxiety and hypertension.
DANGER CLASS: LOW