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Hydroxycut: A Candid, Personal Experience and Review

Updated on September 12, 2010

For better or worse, Hydroxycut is arguably the most well-known fat burner supplement on the market today. MuscleTech’s flagship fat burner has quite the sordid past, having experienced two product recalls over the years. However, despite the unfavorable press from those events, Hydroxycut continues to dominate magazine ads, informercials, and Internet searches, as curious consumers dig for real and practical information beneath the marketing hype.

This article is a bit different from the Hydroxycut reviews that you may encounter from typing “Hydroxycut” in a Google search or on a marketing website. I’m only touching briefly on Hydroxycut’s history and ingredients list, since there are plenty of other places out there to find that information. Truthfully, it’s hard for anyone to know how the blend of extracts and powders in Hydroxycut really functions; all we can say is that Hydroxycut has generated enough buzz to rest at the top of the fat-burning supplement heap.

The bulk of this review deals with my personal experience and results with taking Hydroxycut, answering the two biggest questions that I think cross anyone’s mind when considering whether to take a fat burner:

  • Does it really work?
  • What are the side effects (if any)?

If you’re impatient to get through my personal diatribe, you can skip down to the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) summary at the bottom of this page. However, for those of you wanting some candid, practical thoughts on how Hydroxycut affected my body and fat loss endeavors, read on…

A VERY brief history and science lesson on Hydroxycut

I’m not even sure when Hydroxycut was first introduced into the market, but for years, it has been featured in full-page (sometimes even multi-page) spreads in workout magazines as the premier supplement for enhancing people’s fat loss and achieving a leaner, more defined body. Back in 2004, when the FDA banned ephedra, Hydroxycut and all other ephedra-based supplements were pulled from the shelves. Hydroxycut was re-introduced shortly after as a suite of ephedra-free products still designed to help people shed the extra pounds. Then, in 2009, 14 products in the Hydroxycut family were voluntarily recalled by MuscleTech, due to bad press over a possible link between Hydroxycut and fatal liver damage. Again, the product was re-engineered and re-introduced into the market, this time with a new blend of ingredients not associated with causing liver damage.

Hydroxycut is marketed as having a unique, proprietary blend of ingredients designed to increase your body’s fat-burning mechanisms, boost energy levels, and even serve as an appetite suppressant. Among those ingredients are caffeine (for both energy and fat loss) and a host of exotic fruit, seed, and leaf extracts (many with ties to age-old Eastern medicine). I honestly do not know nearly enough about the science behind these ingredients to understand how Hydroxycut achieves these objectives. Suffice it to say that a lot of research and development efforts have been invested into this product, and both the manufacturers and thousands (perhaps millions) of consumers stand by the claim that Hydroxycut works.

Why I wanted to try out Hydroxycut

I consider myself to be a fitness-oriented, health-conscious individual. I normally workout 5-6 days a week with lots of weight training, cardio sessions, and ab routines incorporated into those workouts. I also cook or prepare almost all my meals (i.e., I rarely eat out), sticking to a combination of good carbs, lean proteins, and lots of vegetables and fiber. As a result, I do consider myself to be in good shape.

However, the area around the middle of my abdominals has always been a troublesome place for me to keep the fat off. It seems that this “spare tire” area is the last place my body sheds the fat. My hope was that Hydroxycut would help boost my endeavors to get those rock-hard, defined abs we often covet, since it seemed like I was doing everything I could on my own to get there.

My personal experience with Hydroxycut’s effectiveness and side effects

I noticed immediately upon taking Hydroxycut the following effects:

1.) I definitely had more energy. I don’t drink coffee or caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, so I was a bit leery of being really jittery from taking Hydroxycut. However, while I did notice I had more energy throughout the day and at the gym, I never felt that “caffeine rush” that sometimes leads to nervousness or restlessness. I have read that it can have that kind of effect on other people, however.

One thing I did notice about that extra energy was that if I took my Hydroxycut too close to bedtime, I’d have a hard time being tired enough to fall asleep at the normal hours. Taking Hydroxycut at least about 4-5 hours before bed seemed to fix that issue.

2.) I was less hungry, but only a little. The biggest difference I noticed here was having less cravings for food in between meals. I already plan for regular snacks between meals anyway, but before taking Hydroxycut, I found myself oftentimes wanting to even snack between snacks. That craving seemed to subside while taking Hydroxycut, giving some credibility to the appetite-suppressant claims.

3.) I was even more of a sweaty mess at the gym. You may have heard the term “thermogenic” when it comes to fat burners. The idea is that, like the term implies, Hydroxycut causes your body to passively burn more calories than normal, which “creates heat” and raises your core body temperature. I definitely noticed more sweating at the gym, although not to any degree that I felt like it was inconvenient.

4.) I had to pee—a LOT. Hydroxycut did exhibit some diuretic properties when I took it. I was going to the restroom much more often than usual (mostly within the first couple hours of taking a dose). The instructions specifically recommend getting at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. I shot for at least 10-12 glasses, just to make sure I wasn’t getting dehydrated.

Luckily, Hydroxycut didn’t seem to cause diarrhea. That would have been a deal breaker for me.

5.) Above all, I was losing fat noticeably more quickly than normal. I can honestly say that after just the first week of taking Hydroxycut, my midsection was already looking a lot leaner and more defined. I had only lost about 1 pound of weight, according to the scale, but I rely far more on appearance and “feel” than weight. It’s certainly possible that the extra time I was able to spend in the gym from the increased energy led to more muscle mass (and consequently, more body weight).

The first few weeks provided the most noticeable benefit, but I find that to be fully acceptable, even expected. As you get leaner, it’s natural that your body has a harder time shedding the additional fat.

To me, the accelerated fat loss was well worth the extra planning to compensate for the minor inconvenience of the abovementioned side effects. I also do not consider Hydroxycut to be something to take every day of your life, like vitamins. It’s a product for helping you get to a certain point in your fat loss, and then not taken again after you’ve reached that goal. So you don't necessarily have to deal with those side effects permanently. (Certainly, I’ll cycle back onto Hydroxycut periodically for a brief period if I feel the need to trim up a bit more again.)

TL;DR: The Nitty Gritty Summary on Hydroxycut

The Good: Definitely helps shed excess fat, heightens energy levels for working out and general activity, provides nominal appetite suppression to help curb cravings.

The Bad: Increases sweat from physical activity, diuretic properties mean drinking lots more water to prevent dehydration, increased energy can lead to insomnia if taken too close to bedtime.

Bottom Line: Hydroxycut isn’t an easy shortcut to a better body (no product is), but it does legitimately help you more quickly burn off excess fat. The side effects are noticeable, but very manageable (at least, they were for me), so long as you plan accordingly. Also, this is probably not a supplement you should take long-term, but rather as a way to help you meet a certain fitness goal, and then cycle off of, maintaining your body fat levels via regular exercise and good eating habits.

Hopefully, this review has provided some real answers to your questions around Hydroxycut, rather than simply pushing for you to buy the product without sharing a holistic perspective on how it can affect your body.


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    • Stina Caxe profile image

      Cristina Cakes 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      I decided to try this and I am just starting day 6. I have definitely noticed some of the same side effects you spoke of. I usually eat my meals later in the day because I am so busy with my kids, but I noticed I can't sleep at night now and I have to pee like a pregnant woman!

      I am definitely not as hungry though. I eat three very small meals a day and I am perfectly satisfied with that. So far I really like it, I hope it lasts!


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