Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite is a fat burner produced by Muscletech. This is a revamped version of their Hydroxycut Hardcore Pro product, and has been repackaged to fit in with the rest of the performance range.
The changes are not just cosmetic. The focus has switched from including a mixture of many different ingredients to a smaller number with benefits backed by published scientific research.
The change to the Muscletech line is due in part to the controversies the company faced in 2009, when a number of people suffered liver damage due to impurities in Hydroxycut products. Some of these people died, and others required liver transplants. Although the FDA could not find any specific substance responsible for the poisoning, Muscletech recalled all related products and reformulated the line.
The current product aims to give users extreme energy, enhanced focus and powerful weight loss. Let’s see if the product can escape from the shadows of the past and live up to these claims.
Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite is available in two forms, capsules and a powder. These products have some different ingredients, so choosing between them is not just about convenience.
Neither of the products contain prop. blends, so the list of ingredients and quantities are plainly disclosed on the labels.
Starting with the powder form, here are the facts:
A single scoop sized serving contains 1g of carbohydrate, which provides only 5 calories. There are no proteins, fiber or fats.
Active Ingredients (in 1 serving):
* L-Carnitine L-Tartrate 500 mg
* Caffeine Anhydrous 270 mg
* Green coffee extract 200mg
* L-Theanine 100 mg
* Yohimbe extract 28 mg
These are all familiar ingredients which are well known for their thermogenic (and other) effects.
Things get a little more interesting when we take a look at the capsules.
2 capsules provide:
* Caffeine Anhydrous 270 mg
* Green Coffee Extract 200mg
* Coleus Forskohlii 100mg
* L-Theanine 100mg
* Cacao extract 100mg
* Yohimbe Extract 56.3mg
Aside from the usual suspects, there are a couple of entries on this list that deserve a special mention.
Cocoa is not an unfamiliar substance, but I’m covering it here because many readers may wonder why it’s even on the list! Chocolate is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about weight loss. The fat and sugar in chocolate are added ingredients which make fat when eaten. Fortunately, this is Cocoa extract, not chocolate extract – there is not fat or sugar.
Cocoa is actually credited with weight loss properties. Several studies have shown that Cocoa is effective in helping to reduce fat.
There are several elements in cocoa that help with this. Probably the smallest impact comes from the natural caffeine and theobromine which are in cocoa – they are a thermogenic combination, but cocoa does not contain much.
Instead, the flavonoids seem to have the biggest impact. They increase the quantity of apinonectin, which is a hormone which stimulates fat metabolism.
The flavonoids also control the level of cholesterol in the body. A John Hopkins study demonstrated losses of 9% HDL and 6% LDL within 2 weeks of eating cocoa daily.
A 2011 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that cocoa helps to prevent weight gain in the first place. Cocoa suppresses the enzymes responsible for digesting fat. Less enzymes means less digested fat, so this would reduce the impact of fat in a normal diet.
Coleus Forskohlii is a herbal supplement. It has been used for centuries to treat a number of conditions such as Asthma and blood pressure, so we know it’s safe.
Nutritionists are now recommending it as a weight loss supplement. Most famously Dr Oz recommended it. What it seems to do (without the chemistry lesson) is produce a substance which makes an enzyme which makes the body burn fat.
This isn’t just theory. 2 Different studies in 2005 showed that it is effective when used for weight loss.
A study published in the Obesity Research Journal used it on a group of 15 men (another 15 took a placebo). The men who took the Coleus Forskohlii lost weight and had an increase in lean muscle and testosterone.
Another study by the International Journal of the Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrated that when given to 19 women, it reduced weight gain.
So it seems to be effective at stopping weight gain and reducing existing fat.
Flavors, jars and Price Per Serving
The powdered product is available in 2 flavors – blue raspberry and fruit fusion.
There are 2 jar sizes – 5 servings (about 15g) and 30 servings (about 95g).
The capsules are available in 3 different jar sizes – 12 caps, 100 caps and 200 caps.
The larger sizes are more economical. On bodybuilding.com, they are just over 50% of the manufacturer’s list price.
This translates to $25.94 for the largest powder jar (30 servings), making the price of each serving $0.86.
The capsules cost $59.99 for the 200 caps jar, which makes the price per serving just under $0.30.
The product is listed on both bodybuilding.com and supplementreviews.com.
The customer reviews are quite polarised. Most of the product reviews are very positive, scoring 9/10 or 10/10.
There are a number of very low scoring reviews as well. At least one of these reviews was from a customer who had taken a previous version, before the product recall. As this was a different product, this review should not reflect badly on Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite. But it’s clear that people are still worried about the bad stories that came to light in 2009.
Other low reviews indicate side effects such as energy crashes later in the day, and mood swings. These are symptoms seem to be consistent with caffeine intolerance.
It seems that customers are either having a great experience or a terrible one with this product!
I think that on balance this product lives up to its fat burning claims. In fact, it seems that there is very little customer feedback that says it is not effective. However, with some users complaining of side effects, it is clearly not the right product for some people.
As it contains large quantities of caffeine and theanine, this product would be a bad choice for anyone sensitive to these stimulants. These are standard ingredients in most thermogenic products.
For some people, the events of 2009 will cast a shadow over this product line, and cautious consumers may want to steer clear for this reason.
If you do want to try Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite, I recommend that you start with a smaller jar, and follow the instructions on increasing the dosage over several days.
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