Hydroxycut: What You Need to Know

Hydroxycut Explained

No independent studies have proven that Hydroxycut is an effective weight-loss drug. On blogs about Hydroxycut, user reviews range from "it didn't do anything" to "I lost seven pounds in one week" to complaints about heart palpitations, sweating, headaches and excessive thirst [source: Diets in Review]. So without ephedra, what could be boosting thermogenisis?

Hydroxycut may no longer contain ephedra but its secret still lies in stimulants. In the list of ingredients, you'll find a long line of them, including green tea extract, guarana extract and Garcinia cambogia. Green tea, made from the dried leaves of an evergreen shrub, contains high levels of caffeine and has been used for centuries in China during ceremonies and to stay awake during long meditations [source: Mayo Clinic].

Guarana is a shrub native to Venezuela that has seeds containing double the amount of caffeine in coffee beans. In Brazil, guarana is commonly found in cola-based soda. Large amounts of caffeine like this raise your blood pressure and body temperature, causing you to burn more calories, in theory, and resemble [insert svelte movie or music star here] in just eight weeks. But wait, there's more.

Garcinia cambogia is a fruit indigenous to India that looks like a small pumpkin. Extract from the fruit's rind contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which supposedly inhibits an enzyme that turns extra carbohydrates into fat [source:NTP, Wise Geek]. And it might be this ingredient that's behind the recent FDA warning and product recalls. According to a press release issued by the FDA, the agency received 23 reports of serious liver-related health problems, including the need for a liver transplant and one fatality due to liver failure. Ano Lobb, a public health researcher who has studied dietary supplements -- including Hydroxycut -- for Consumer reports, thinks HCA could be the culprit, since at least one medical journal has linked it to liver-related health problems [source: Alonso-Zaldivar]

Elevated blood pressure, heart palpitations and liver problems aren't the only negative health issues related to Hydroxycut usage. Read on to find out more about its side effects.