I lost a total of 50 pounds in 8 weeks with SlimFuel! No, not me – that’s one of the testimonials that I noticed when I went to the SlimFuel website. If you have not heard of it SlimFuel is a weight loss supplement that boasts “clinical research” and even a medical advisory panel on its website. Let’s now take a look a SlimFuel, its clinical research and other things to consider so you can make an informed decision about if this weight loss supplement is right for you.
SlimFuel Clinical Research
There is a “clinical study” listed on the SlimFuel website. It’s called “A pilot study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a novel proper weight loss formula”. It involved 20 overweight people and lasted 2 months. Note: the link is to a pdf file.
Notice the word “proper” in the title. Some of the ads I've seen for SlimFuel use the word “proper”. This is marketing hype to make you think the product is better.
As I read the study, these are some of the things that I noticed that I think you should be aware of.
1. This is not a published peer reviewed study. As such, to me, it carries less scientific weight.
2. This is only a pilot study. Pilot studies are preliminary investigations. Pilot studies are often the first step in the research process. Basically, pilot studies are “baby studies”.
3. Of the 3 people involved in this investigation:
- Dr. Gilbert Kaats PhD,
- Debasis Bagchi PhD
- Harry Preuss MD
Dr. Preuss is a consultant for SlimFuel. He is also the only member of the SlimFuel Advisory Board featured on the website. Dr Bagchi is affiliated with Interhealth Nutraceuticals which is the company behind supplements like ZMA, ChromeMate, Citrimax and Zychrome.
4. This study was an “open label study”. This means that both the researchers AND the study participants knew who was getting the placebo or the weight loss supplement. This is a HUGE PROBLEM in my book.
For example, if I knew I was getting the weight loss supplement, I might subconsciously try harder to lose weight. Conversely, if the researchers knew I got the supplement, they might unconsciously give me more attention than those who didn’t get the weight loss supplement. Both of these events might influence the results of the study.
Bottom line: knowledge of who got what in a study is a recipe for disaster if you ask me.
5. The people in the study were paid $2 for each “daily tracking” form completed during the study. The tracking forms recorded calories consumed, the person’s mood and adverse reactions. Since the study lasted 60 days, the people potentially made $120 dollars for the study ($2 X 60=$120) if they completed the forms each day.
While that’s not too bad, check out point #7…
7. Anyone in the study who showed improvements in body composition were paid double ($240). If I understand this correct, it means that people potentially could make $360 from the study ($120 + $240= $360).
In other words, researchers were basically paying people to lose weight.
This is VERY DIFFERENT from what happens in real life (you don’t get paid to lose weight do you?).
When people know that they are getting a weight loss supplement and have a monetary incentive to lose weight, this makes the results of the study not realistic. It’s like being on the Biggest Looser TV show, where the people who lose the most, get the most prizes.
While I understand you need to compensate people for taking part in a study sometimes, I have problems when the amount people make is dependent on whether they lost weight or not.
Based on the points I outlined above, I discount this clinical study as “proof” that SlimFuel works.
It’s odd that the SlimFuel website does not specifically list any ingredients for the product. They didn't when I looked at the website on 7/27/11. I had to read the “clinical study” to find out what was in SlimFuel. If you read the “clinical study” that I mentioned above, you discover that SlimFuel contains:
- Chromium picolinate 200 micrograms
- Iodine 50 micrograms
a 2020 milligram blend of:
- Garcinia extract
- Green tea extract
- Acai berry extract
- Natural caffeine
- 5 hydroxytryptphan (5 HTP)
- Octopamine HCL
How much of each ingredient in this “blend” is in SlimFuel? They don’t tell us?
Lets briefly review each ingredient and see what’s going on.
This is useless for weight loss. Multiple studies have shown repeatedly chromium picolinate doesn't help weight loss.
Why do weight loss companies continue to use chromium which has been shown time and time again to not work? If you search this site you will see a wasteland of other supplements that contain chromium. Why?
The idea here is that iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone which regulates metabolism. If iodine really did help raise metabolic rate then everybody who eats fast food (which has tons of iodine salt) would be skinny.
Iodine is currently one of the “hot” weight loss supplement ingredients. For example, iodine is found in Apidexin.
How to test your iodine levels
As was reported in the book, The Fatigue Solution, by endocrinologist, Dr Eva Cwynar it's possible to see if you are low in iodine. Get some USP tincture of iodine (not the clear version) and paint a 3 inch circle on your skin. The skin will look red/orange when you apply the iodine tincture. If the color disappears in 1-3 hours, you may be lacking in iodine. If, it takes 4-6 hours for the color to go away, your iodine levels are probably OK. Here is tincture of iodine on Amazon.com. Remember, do not drink this brand of iodine! If you feel you are deficient in iodine, go to your doctor for a more accurate test of your iodine levels.
Acai Berry. Unless you are only going to eat acai berry for breakfast, lunch and dinner (which I don’t recommend), this fruit is utterly useless for weight loss. For more info please read my Acai berry review and my review of the Acai Berry Diet.
Of all the ingredients in SlimFuel, I believe the “active ingredients” are:
- green tea (which probably has caffeine)
- 5 hydroxy tryptophan (5 HTP)
- Garcinia cambogia
Let me now elaborate a little on some of these ingredients.
This is also called 5 HTP. It’s a derivative of tryptophan. This product scares me a little. While there is some evidence that 5 HTP might help weight loss, as I reported in my supplements book, in the late 1980s there were cases of a rare blood disorder called “EMS”. In the end, over 30 people died. All of these people had one thing in common – they were taking tryptophan supplements.
Because of its similarity to tryptophan there is some speculation that 5 hydroxytryptophan might cause EMS also.
What caused EMS in the late 1980s is still controversial. Was it an impurity (sometimes called Peak X) or was it tryptophan itself? Nobody really knows.
5 HTP also might have several drug interactions. For example 5 HTP might interfere with antidepressants and cause a very high level of serotonin (“serotonin syndrome”) which can be dangerous.
Because of the controversy about EMS, I would not take tryptophan supplements or 5 HTP supplements until more is known.
For more information see my review of Garcina cambogia weight loss research.
Technically another name for this stuff is “Bitter Orange”. This ingredient –which also goes by the name citrus aurantium – chemically, looks like ephedra.
As such, bitter orange frequently shows up in “ephedra free” weight loss supplements.
More specifically, bitter orange contains octopamine (as well as synepherine). Both Octopamine and synepherine tend to act like stimulants. Bitter orange can raise heart rate and blood pressure. Whether or not bitter orange helps weight loss is controversial and needs more study.
For more on green tea see my Avesil Review. Green tea is found in many other weight loss supplements. Type “green tea” in the search box of this site and they will all appear.
Who Makes SlimFuel?
The company that makes SlimFuel is Athleanmax LLC. Another name for the company is Lean Spa. The address given on the SlimFuel website is 181 Marsh Hill Road Orange, CT 06477. When I google the Athleanmax address I don’t see any buildings, just a highway.
I checked the Better Business Bureau and discover that Athleanmax also goes by the name Nutraslim, UK, Ltd. The address to this company is 420 East Main Street Branford, CT 06405.
The Better Business Bureau rating of Athleanmax is “F”. Check the link as BBB ratings often change. Another supplement called “LeanSpa” also lists the same address as SlimFuel.
What do you think?