An article in the Air Force Times by Allison Pattillo used advise from Andrea Lindsey, senior nutritionist at the military’s Human Performance Resource Center, on caffeine, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and green tea “to separate the helpful from the hype,” as Pattillo put it.
Caffeine, is commonly used as a stimulant and marketing claims say it provides appetite suppression and increased fat burning. Research has shown drinking caffeinated coffee or tea may slightly boost weight loss or prevent weight gain, but they said no evidence suggests increased caffeine consumption will result in significant or permanent weight loss. They recommend taking less than 600 mg a day in pill form, beverages and gum, and note a 12-ounce (tall) regular Starbucks coffee contains about 260 mg of caffeine. They warn that while caffeine is GRAS (generally recognized as safe), doses greater than 600 mg may be unsafe and can cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, tolerance, habituation and psychological dependence.
CLA may reduce body-fat mass, according to some studies, but they write it has shown only a minimal effect on body weight or body mass index (BMI). CLA can come in pill form and also occurs naturally in foods such as milk, cheese, beef and lamb, and an effective dose comes in the range of 1.8 to 7 g per day for weight loss in obese patients. The most common side effects, they write, are upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea and fatigue.
Green tea contains 2 percent to 4 percent caffeine per cup, which certainly helps its position as a weight-loss product, but it also is known to improve mental clarity and to treat stomach disorders. The flavonoids and polyphenol epigallocatechin gallat (EGCG) also help boost its healthy supplement status. However, Pattillo and Lindsey said the research is mixed and more studies are needed. The combination of green tea and caffeine has shown to decrease BMI and increase weight loss. As a beverage, the dose range is large, from one to 10 cups each day, but they note three cups has 240 mg to 320 mg of the active polyphenols. The side effects here include nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, pain and diarrhea; more than five cups per day may cause additional adverse side effects caused by the caffeine, they wrote.
Air Force Times:
Are there supplements that can help your body utilise more fat for fuel? The answer is yes. This certainly helps as part of a weight management plan. My job is to help you find the best ‘fat burning’ supplement.
Taking a fat-burning product without first having in place a properly structured exercise program that includes plenty of aerobic exercise, and a well-balanced eating plan is a complete waste of time. That’s because the effect of even the best of these formulations is relatively small compared to exercise and diet; moreover, some of the commonly used ingredients in these products only exert any (small) effect when combined with exercise.
Ingredients that may be useful include:
- Caffeine (from various sources including guarana). Caffeine doesn’t appear to increase fat burning per se, but it can help to significantly prolong endurance exercise and reduce the perception of effort, encouraging longer workouts, thereby increasing fat oxidation.
- Conjugated Linoleic acid or CLA for short – a naturally occurring fat for which there is plenty of evidence of fat-burning enhancement;
- B-vitamins – involved in all aspect of energy metabolism;
- Citrus Aurantium an extract from oranges;
- Green Tea extract – research has demonstrated increased 24-hour energy expenditure, but it is unclear if brewed green tea leaves will do anything similar. Research on rodents also suggests improved fat use and endurance but not yet supported in humans. Research is ongoing.
Ingredients for which evidence is either lacking, very patchy, or which should be avoided for other reasons include:
- L-carnitine – very popular as L-carnitine is known to help the transport of fatty acids into cells for oxidation. However, numerous large and well controlled studies have found no benefits for taking L-carnitine;
- Ephedra/Ephedrine – naturally occurring alkaloids found in plants; effective but banned by sporting bodies such as the IOC and with the added risk of potentially fatal side-effects;
- Hydroxy Citric Acid (HCA) – a small molecule found in low concentrations in some plants, especially fruits; early studies in rodents looked promising, but very little evidence to date of any benefit in humans;
- Pyruvate – no substantive evidence to support this supplement’s role as a fat loss agent
UltraMeal Rice or UltraMeal Whey (Metagenics) shakes – 2 scoops twice daily
Ultra CLA (Metagenics) – 2 soft gels daily
Green Tea 600 (Xymogen)- 1-2 capsules daily
Protein Fusion or UltraMeal Bars are excellent snacks as well.