The Brutally Honest Truth about Supplements for Fat Loss

Raspberry_KetonesAre you looking for ways to instantly boost your fat loss? Who isn’t!

Supplements have been touted as fitness and fat loss boosters for decades. But do they really work?

The truth might surprise you :)

Warning: Reading this in-depth post will change the way you think about supplements forever!

Using Supplements for weight loss? Don’t Trust Main Stream Media for Suggestions.

I’m always on the look out for the best ways to get fit and lose fat. Recently on my google plus community page, several members were asking about a new weight loss supplement – raspberry ketones. Most people heard of this supplement from the Dr. Oz show. In fact, his website is the first result when you search for raspberry ketones on Google. I busted out my detective kit (a cup of tea and fresh google search page) and went to work.

What did I find? Well a whole bunch of advertisements for raspberry ketone supplements but not much information on their effectiveness for fat loss.  I was stuck with nothing solid until I noticed a small detail. One of my go-to supplement companies did not offer raspberry ketones in their supplement line up.

Curious about this discovery, I reached out to Now Foods asking if they sold or were planning to sell raspberry ketones. The response was shocking. Let me reveal to you the truth about raspberry ketones for fat loss:

“Raspberry Ketones – Buyer Beware!

By now many of you have been subjected to a barrage of consumer requests for Raspberry Ketones, the newest weight loss supplement craze started by Dr. Oz. With demand continuing to grow for this product, NOW looked into this new ingredient with the idea of introducing a NOW version to meet our customer’s demands. As always, NOW conducts an exhaustive investigation of any potential new product, with many people and departments involved.

The claimed property of raspberry ketones is the stimulation of norepinephrine-induced lipolysis (fat burning), which has been shown in both cell and mouse studies. In the animal studies, mice ate the ketones at levels up to 2% of body weight. To put that into perspective, a 150-pound person would have to eat a full 3 pounds of raspberry ketones per day to match that level.

As of this date, there have been no human clinical studies on raspberry ketones and weight management, and as a result there is no data to support an effective human dose that’s affordable or in a reasonable serving size (1).

Raspberry ketones are actually sold as a flavoring agent; either natural or artificial. Since the natural material from raspberries is extremely expensive, “raspberry ketones” are either synthetically produced or extracted as a constituent flavor chemical present in other sources. The synthetic process cannot be called a “natural flavor”. Scientists have also bioengineered (GMO) bacteria (E. coli) to produce raspberry ketones by a natural fermentation process. The starting material for “natural raspberry ketones” is reported to be anise seeds, rather than raspberries (2, 3).

There is no human scientific data supporting Raspberry Ketones fat burning claim. Bottom line, we didn’t feel good about selling a product that had minimal research and a deceptive name/source. We determined to pass on the immense fad dollars and will focus our diet efforts on green tea extract and other products supported by sound research.

1 Morimoto C, Satoh Y, Hara M, Inoue S, Tsujita T, Okuda H. Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sci. 2005 May 27; 77 (2): 194-204. Epub 2005 Feb 25. PubMed PMID: 15862604.

2 Smith, L. R. (1996). “Rheosmin (“Raspberry Ketone”) and Zingerone, and Their Preparation by Crossed Aldol-Catalytic Hydrogenation Sequences”. The Chemical Educator 1 (3): 1–18. DOI:10.1007/s00897960034a

3 Beekwilder J, van der Meer IM, Sibbesen O, Broekgaarden M, Qvist I, Mikkelsen JD, Hall RD. Microbial production of natural raspberry ketone. Biotechnol J. 2007 Oct; 2 (10): 1270-9. PubMed PMID: 17722151.


What does this mean? If your taking raspberry ketone supplements, you are probably consuming anise seeds fermented with a genetically engineered e-coli strand. Yuck. Even if you’re cool with paying a lot of money for artificial flavoring, research is lacking solid evidence on the effectiveness of “raspberry ketones” for weight loss.

This is one of the reasons I started;  to be a responsible, honest, trustworthy  source of information for people looking to get fit and lose weight.

How to dodge mainstream media mind tricks 

You’re probably wondering, are there any good guys left in the supplement industry? As with any industry, there are both good guys and bad guys. The key is knowing how to separate the two. Here is what to look for so you’re not caught up in the next big supplement scam!

  • First and for most, ask a professional (doctor/nutritionist) about any supplements before you start taking them.
  • USP and ISO symbols on supplements are based on the minimum standards of the FDA. The FDA requires these standards for all supplement companies.  It’s still better than nothing to have a second agency verify minimum FDA requirements.
  • NPA GMP Certification is a different story. Their quality standards exceed the requirements of the FDA. This is currently the only certifying organization that has better standards than the FDA for supplements.
  • Stick with well researched supplements. I know its tempting to jump to the next weight loss supplement trend. But 9 out of 10 times it’s probably a scam or its like raspberry ketones, limited proof of effectiveness and made with questionable ingredients.
  • If you see SCAM next to the supplement you’re searching in Google, that’s a red flag! Testimonials of other consumers can help your avoid questionable products. If you don’t see much, ask around in places like the G+ Fitness & Weight Loss Community!

Are supplements the answer to faster fat loss?

This is the biggest question of all, but before I answer that, let me tell you a quick story about a visit with my doctor!

This year my wife an I stopped by the doctor’s office for a routine check up. It turns out eating health really pays off! We were perfectly healthy (thank God). But this time, we asked a question my wife was always wondering about:

Do I need to take any supplements or a multivitamin?

The doctors responded – no! There was no need for us to take supplements or multivitamins. It’s always awesome to get good news from the doc! We reviewed our blood test results and found healthy levels of all our essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.

We told the doctor that we recently switched to an all fruit smoothie for breakfast and that we have been working on improving our diet by introducing leafy greens and healthy fats. Our doctor was convinced that our diet had a significant impact on our nutrition levels. This goes to show that you really are what you eat!  (way overused metaphor but it’s true :)

You could get the very same answer from your doctor if your willing to take a step towards fresh, and nutritious whole foods. Here are a couple of things you can do:

  • Have a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
  • Make a kick-ass salad full of fresh greens, tomatoes, avocados, even some nuts or seeds!
  • Get protein that’s raised humanly, free range, cage free, antibiotic free, hormone free and fed a natural vegetarian diet!

So are supplements the answer to faster fat loss? They may help but they are definitely not “the answer”. A healthy diet will boost your fat loss more than any amount of supplements. Whole foods are the new fat loss boosters! Plus, real food tastes a lot better than swallowing pills :).

The Loan Warrior


With that said I think its important to keep an open mind towards supplements for fat loss, especially those that have extensive research tied to them. For example, there is 1 supplement that has been thoroughly studied and shown to increase your fat burning power.

Enter EGCG.

EGCG has been thoroughly researched and proven to aid in your bodies fat elimination (fat burning) process. I first learned about EGCG from the PAGG chapter in the book The 4-Hour Body written by Tim Ferris. I started taking EGCG before meals and I have to say that I did notice and increase in my fat loss. During that time, I lost my first 20 lbs with a kettlebell, a better diet, and EGCG.

What is EGCG? It’s a type of catechin found primarily in green tea and is a potent antioxidant.

What about the whole food approach, can I just drink a lot of green tea instead of taking supplements? You can definitely drink green tea to get some EGCG in your system but only a small amount is found in a single cup. You would have to drink a whole lot of green tea to truly experience the fat eliminating benefits of EGCG and by that time you might be jittering from caffeine overload. That’s why a supplement works best in this situation.

What brand do you use? I use the Now Foods EGCg and from the recommendation of Tim Ferris, I take about 325 mg before breakfast, lunch and dinner. I normally do this for one month out of the year as I approach beach body season.

Are there any other supplements you trust? There are a few others that have pretty solid data like BCAA supplements & Omega-3’s. Both of which are essential nutrients (our bodies do not produce them but need them) and can also be found plentiful in a healthy diet.

The big take away: The best way to boost your fat loss is with fresh, tasty whole foods! If you looking for more fat burning power, EGCG may help. Other than that, save your money for something nice like new clothes! Your gonna need them if you exercise and stick to a natural whole food diet!

Over to You!

I hope this was helpful :). Before you go, make sure to sign up for our newsletter below. We will never spam you, send you advertisements or any other funny business. Just free information to help you get fit, lose fat, and have fun!

Oh, and if you know someone planning to buy raspberry ketones, make sure to share this post with them!

Thanks for reading :).

EGCG Research:

J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Aug;26(4):389S-395S.

The effects of epigallocatechin-3-gallate on thermogenesis and fat oxidation in obese men: a pilot study. Boschmann M, Thielecke F. Source: Universitary Medicine Berlin, Charité Campus Buch, Franz-Volhard-Center for Clinical Research, D-13125, Berlin, Germany. Notes for this Study: 300mg of EGCG for 2 days was able to increase the degree of fat oxidation in obese men without affecting overall metabolic rate.

J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Aug;26(4):396S-402S.

Can EGCG reduce abdominal fat in obese subjects? Hill AM, Coates AM, Buckley JD, Ross R, Thielecke F, Howe PR. Source: ATN Centre for Metabolic Fitness, School of Health Sciences University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia. Notes for this Study: Moderate consumption of EGCG can improve the health status of overweight individuals undergoing regular exercise by reducing HR and plasma glucose concentrations.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):778-84.

Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. Venables MC, Hulston CJ, Cox HR, Jeukendrup AE. Source: Human Performance Laboratory, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Notes for this Study: Green tea extract was able to _acutely_ reduce insulin secretion and improve insulin sensitivity (13%) when supplemented at a dose of 890mg total catechins, giving 366mg EGCG; study conducted in otherwise healthy young men. Fat oxidation rates were also increased by 17%.

Obes Res. 2005 Jun;13(6):982-90.

Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate inhibits adipogenesis and induces apoptosis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Lin J, Della-Fera MA, Baile CA. Source: 444 Edgar L. Rhodes Center for Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-2771, USA. Notes for this Study: These results demonstrate that EGCG can act directly to inhibit differentiation of preadipocytes and to induce apoptosis of mature adipocytes and, thus, could be an important adjunct in the treatment of obesity.

Shixian Q, VanCrey B, Shi J, Kakuda Y, Jiang Y. Green tea extract thermogenesis-induced weight loss by epigallocatechin gallate inhibition of catechol-O-methyltransferase. J Med Food. 2006 Winter; 9 (4): 451-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 17201629.


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  1. Emily says

    Antioxidants are always better than so-called ‘supplements.’ Why? Because the jury is still out on whether your body absorbs supplements. Many doctor will tell you your body just flushes them out in your urine!

    EGCG sounds very interesting. Definitely going to research it more. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Jennifer D. says

    EGCG sounds great! I don’t handle caffeine well at all so I’m glad to see there’s none of that bouncing off the walls associated with this.

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