The Complete Guide to Purple Tea

If you want to know what purple tea is, how it compares to green tea, and what the benefits of drinking purple tea are, then you want to read this article.

Tea has been a staple beverage of humankind for thousands of years. Black, white, green, and oolong, tea comes in countless varieties bringing with it a boost in energy and focus along with a reduction in stress.

Today, tea is synonymous with health and wellness due to the myriad of benefits attributed to its consumption, including:

  • Anti-Oxidation
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-Viral
  • Anti-Cancer
  • Anti-Hypertensive
  • Anti-Allergy
  • Anti-Mutation
  • Reduction of Elevated Blood Sugar
  • Inhibition of Platelet Aggregation
  • Improve Lipid Metabolism
  • Plus, Many More

Recently, a new variety of tea has landed, with some research indicating it may be even more potent than green and black tea, especially in regard to weight loss.

This new tea variety is purple tea, and we’ve got a complete guide to all things purple tea including what it is, how it’s different from green tea, and If you haven’t heard about this type of tea, that’s not surprising.

What is Purple Tea?

So, you haven’t heard of purple tea before?

That’s not surprising; it wasn’t available until a few years ago and only recently has it started to catch on with individuals beyond the ones involved with its production.

Purple tea is a variety of Camellia sinensis (the same tea leaf from which green tea and black tea is made) developed by the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) that is also currently cultivated in Kenya. [1]

Purple tea is grown in colder conditions than traditional tea leaves, typically at elevations between 4,500 – 7,500 feet above sea level. This cooler environment combined with the intense UV rays leads to the development of some rather unique properties in the tea leaves which distinguishes it from tea leaves grown in other regions.

Most notably, the intense UV exposure makes the leaves turn a reddish-purple hue. The reason for this color change is the presence of anthocyanins and polyphenols. In addition to giving the plant, its deep color, these compounds also help protect the tea leaves from damage. [1]

But that’s not all.

Antioxidants, polyphenols, and anthocyanins are important buzzwords in the health and fitness industry due to research noting the importance they play in combating oxidative stress and chronic disease caused by inflammation.

Similar to green and black tea, purple tea is rife with bioactive compounds, the five most prevalent are:

  • EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate)
  • GHG (1,2-di-Galloyl-4,6-Hexahydroxydipheno yl–D-Glucose)
  • Theobromine
  • Caffeine
  • ECG (Epicatechin Gallate)

Here’s a close up of how each of these chemicals looks [1]:

Purple Tea vs. Green Tea vs. Black Tea

 

Purple Tea Has More Antioxidants

Purple tea leaves are processed and prepared the same way as green tea leaves, and, while both plants contain the same five principal compounds, purple tea contains significantly higher levels of the potent polyphenols (GHG, EGCG, ECG) than green, black, or oolong teas. This also means that purple tea has higher antioxidant activity than green and black teas.

Research shows it has a free-radical scavenging rate of 52%, compared with 34% for green tea and 28% for black tea. And, in case you weren’t aware, the more free radicals that are neutralized by antioxidants, the lower the risk of systemic inflammation and chronic disease.

Purple Tea Contains Anthocyanin

Another big difference is that purple tea contains anthocyanin.

Anthocyanin is a type of flavonoid most often associated with blueberries as it is the phytochemical responsible for giving plants and berries their notable deep, dark blue or purple color. Research indicates that anthocyanins may be helpful in the treatment of numerous diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and even cancer. [6]

Blueberries are particularly rich in anthocyanins, but purple tea contains significantly higher amounts of anthocyanins than blueberries — about 1.5% compared to 0.1% for blueberries. [1]

Purple Tea is Lower in Caffeine Content Than Green and Black Tea

Purple tea also differs from other varieties of Camellia sinensis in its caffeine content. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) has analyzed the caffeine contents of the different tea varieties and found that purple tea contains a lower amount of caffeine than green or black tea. [4]

What are the Benefits of Purple Tea?

Weight Loss

In addition to the abundance of free radical-fighting polyphenols, antioxidants, and anthocyanins present in purple tea, the plant is also receiving a great deal of attention for its potential ability to aid in weight loss and cut body fat.

Two small human trials using purple tea extract noted supplement aided weight loss and led to reductions in:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Fat Mass
  • Hip Size
  • Waist Size
  • Subcutaneous Fat Thickness

Subjects in the trials also experienced improvements in body composition and lean body mass. [4,5]

In the first study investigating the potential anti-obesity effects of Purple Tea extract, 11 male and 7 female subjects ingested 100 mg of Alluvia Purple Tea. All subjects had their body weight, body fat mass, waist, and hip sizes, and the subcutaneous-fat thickness of the abdomen and upper arms measured.

After four weeks of using Alluvia Purple Tea, subcutaneous-fat thickness in the abdomen and upper arms (two spots everyone struggles with fat) was significantly reduced. Female subjects also experienced a significant decrease in hip size as well.

The second study involved 10 men and used dried Purple Tea leaves instead of the extract. Men received 1.5-gram portions of purple tea as a hot brewed tea twice daily for four weeks.

In addition to improvements in BMI, body weight, body fat mass, abdominal fat, body fat ratio, muscle ratio, waist/hip size, abdominal fat thickness, researchers also noted a reduction of visceral fat.

This is important as visceral fat is closely linked with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Over the four weeks, the men lost roughly 1.76 lbs. and a little over an inch on their waist.

Several animal trials have also noted that Alluvia purple tea exerts anti-obesity effects and may help limit weight gain during periods of overfeeding.

Researchers believe that one the mechanisms of action behind the significant decrease in fat were due to the inhibition of lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fats for digestion and assimilation. By reducing the effects of lipase, the body’s ability to digest and absorb dietary fat from food is decreased, meaning it may help lower the number of total calories your body gets from the food you eat.

One other way in which Alluvia may aid fat loss is through improvements in fat metabolism. Animal studies indicate that GHG (one of the potent polyphenols is purple tea) up-regulated the expression of CPT-1A (Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase 1A), an enzyme many researchers believe to be the rate-limiting enzyme in the process of β-oxidation — the process by which fat is burned for energy. [1]

Supports Cardiovascular Health

In addition to the decreases in weight, BMI, and waist circumference (all of which promote health and lower risk of disease), subjects also experienced a reduction in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides — indicating that Alluvia Purple Tea extract may confer some cardioprotective qualities as well.

Supports Cognitive Health

Additional animal research notes that Kenyan purple tea significantly improves the brain’s antioxidant capacity. Researchers noted that purple tea anthocyanins could cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), bolstering the brain ability to combat free radicals and oxidative stress. [7]

Purple Tea FAQ

 

Where Does Purple Tea Come From?

Purple tea was initially found as naturally occurring wild mutations of Camellia sinensis in China. Subsequently, a public/private partnership was founded in Kenya to identify and isolate this mutation, then find a way to produce Purple tea in mass quantity.

Purple tea is grown at elevations between 4,500 – 7,500 feet predominantly in the Nandi Hills region of Kenya. The cool environment combined with the intense UV rays of the high altitude led to the formation of anthocyanins in the tea leaves, which gives the plant its distinct purple hue.

Is Purple Tea Caffeinated?

Yes, purple tea does contain caffeine, but not as much as black tea or even green tea. Alluvia purple tea extract contains 4.5% caffeine.

How Do You Make (Brew) Purple Tea?

Purple tea is brewed similar to green and black tea — pour freshly boiled water over loose tea leaves and steep for 3-4 minutes. Purple tea is fairly “forgiving” in that if you let it steep an extra minute or two, it won’t develop the bitterness or astringency familiar with other teas.

Now, if you want to get fancy with your cup of tea….

  • Fill a kettle with a bottle or filtered water and bring to a boil
  • Pour the boiling water into a teapot, and then empty the water into a pitcher or bowl to cool.
  • Place one teaspoon (2 grams) of dried purple tea leaf into the teapot
  • Pour boiling water from the kettle onto the tea leaves until the teapot is half full.
  • Now, pour out this water, while retaining the tea leaves. (This is a “rinsing” of the tea leaves.)
  • Once the water reserved in the pitcher as cooled slightly (~160℉), pour it into the teapot.
  • Allow tea too steep for 3 minutes.
  • Pour tea into the pitcher through a fine mesh strainer.
  • You may choose to drink the tea now or perform a second (and third) infusion using the same temperature of water and steeping time.

Purple tea has a sweet, pleasant flavor and dark color. Many people trying purple tea for the first time describe it as having characteristics of both green and black tea, but without the grassy taste or tannin bitterness.

Where Can I Find Purple Tea Extract?

Chances are pretty good that your local tea shop or grocery store isn’t lining the shelves with purple tea. Now, you can quickly go and order some off the internet, but ensuring that you’re getting authentic, high-quality tea direct from the hills of Kenya can be a bit of a crapshoot.

If you’d rather not waste time sourcing and vetting tea suppliers, but still want to get all the potential health and weight loss benefits of purple tea, our go to choice is Alluvia™ Purple Tea.

Alluvia™ Purple Tea is a standardized extract of purple tea containing 50% polyphenols, almost 10% EGCG, 1.5% anthocyanins, and 7.4% GHG.

SteelFit® Shredded Steel contains 100mg of Alluvia™ Purple Tea — the same dose used in the human studies noting improvements in BMI, body composition, and waist circumference.

Click Here to learn more about Shredded Steel and how it can help support your weight loss goals.

References

  1. Ltd, O. O. & F. C. C. (2013). Purple Tea Extract, 0–34.
  2. Yagi K, Goto K, Nanjo F. Identification of a major polyphenol and polyphenolic composition in leaves of Camellia irrawadiensis . Chem. Pharm. Bull. 2009;57:1284.
  3. Total polyphenols, catechin profiles and antioxidant activity of tea products from purple leaf coloured tea cultivars.” Food Chem. 2013 Feb 15;136(3-4):1405-13.
  4. Shimoda H, Hitoe S, Nakamura S, Matsuda H. Purple Tea and Its Extract Suppress Diet-induced Fat Accumulation in Mice and Human Subjects by Inhibiting Fat Absorption and Enhancing Hepatic Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase Expression. Int J Biomed Sci. 2015;11(2):67-75.
  5. Alluvia Purple Tea Overview. (2014), 914.
  6. Lila MA. Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2004;2004(5):306-313.
  7. Rashid K , et al. “Kenyan Purple Tea Anthocyanins Ability to Cross the Blood Brain Barrier and Reinforce Brain Antioxidant Capacity in Mice. – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information.

How to Calculate TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)

If you want to know how many calories you should eat to build muscle or lose fat, you’ll want to read this article.

“How many calories should I eat?”

This question is asked more often than you would believe, especially by those entering the fitness lifestyle for the first time.

The answer to that question is — it depends.

Do you want to build muscle? Do you want to lose body fat? Or, do are you satisfied with your current physique and you would like to maintain your weight where it is.

Different goals require different calorie intakes. And, to further complicate the matter every person is different. Even if two people are roughly the same age, sex, height, and weight, and they have a similar amount of lean body mass, the could still have very different calorie needs.

You see there isn’t a one size fits all solution to the common question of “how many calories should I eat?”

But, despair not, as we’re going to show you in this article how to calculate the number of calories you need for your body based on your goals.

No matter if your goal is muscle gain, fat loss, body recomposition, or performance, the information in the article can help you achieve the results you want.

And, it all starts with a little something called TDEE.

What is TDEE?

TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It is the total number of calories you burn in a given day. Your TDEE is determined by four key factors:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate
  • Thermic Effect of Food
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
  • Thermic Effect of Activity (Exercise)

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Basal metabolic rate refers to the number of calories your body burns each day to keep you alive. BMR does not include physical activity, the process of digestion, or things like walking from one room to another.

Basically, BMR is the number of calories your body would expend in a 24 hour period if all you did was lay in bed all day long. This is the absolute bare minimum of calories it takes to ensure your survival.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

When we eat food, our body must expend energy to digest the food we eat. This energy expenditure is referred to as the Thermic Effect of Food, and it involves breaking down the protein, carbohydrates, and fat you consume into the individual amino acids, sugars, and fatty acids that are then absorbed and used to by the body to carry out all of its processes including (but not limited to) building new tissue, synthesizing hormones, producing neurotransmitters, etc.

Research notes that the Thermic Effect of Food generally accounts for 10% of your total daily energy expenditure, but can be slightly higher or lower based on the exact macronutrient composition of your diet.[1]

For example, protein requires more energy to digest than carbohydrates or fat. So, if you’re eating a high protein diet, you will burn more calories, slightly, than if you were to eat the same number of calories, but with a significantly lower amount of protein.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) constitutes the number of calories expended during daily movement that is not categorized as structured exercise. NEAT includes activities such as walking the dog, moving from one room to another, or taking the stairs to your office.

NEAT is highly variable from one person to another and can play a rather large or small role in your overall TDEE depending on how physically active your job or daily happenings are. For example, a waitress or construction worker will have a significantly greater NEAT than an office worker who sits at a desk for 8 hours of the day and spends 2 hours commuting to and from work.

Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA)

Thermic Effect of Activity is the number of calories burned as a result of exercise (i.e. steady-state cardio, resistance training, HIIT, sprints, CrossFit, etc.). Similar to NEAT, thermic effect of exercise is highly variable from one person to another or even from one day to another for the same person, as the intensity of training, length of the workout, and training frequency all impact your weekly thermic effect of activity.

Your TDEE is the sum of these four factors, so to put the above parameters into a math equation for simplicity sake, calculating TDEE looks a little something like this:

TDEE = BMR + TEF + NEAT + TEA

When you add all of these numbers together, you get an estimate of the number of calories you need on a daily basis to maintain your current weight.

Now, let’s take a look at how you can calculate your individual TDEE.

How to Calculate TDEE

Figuring out your total daily energy expenditure begins with calculating your BMR. The reason we’re starting with BMR is that it contributes the biggest portion of your TDEE.

Now, there are a lot of handy calculators readily available on the internet for calculating BMR as well as TDEE. But, the way to truly understand how those fancy calculators work is by understanding the equations powering them.

So, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Calculating Basal Metabolic Rate

Researchers have developed a number of models for calculating BMR, and one of the most popular ones is the Harris-Benedict Equation, which takes into account age, height, and weight.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to calculate your BMR using the Harris-Benedict Equation:

  • Women BMR = 655 + (9.6 X weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in yrs)
  • Men BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in yrs)

As an example, let’s take a 30-year-old male named John who is 6 feet tall and weighs 185 lbs.

So, John’s stats converting from imperial units to metric yields:

Age: 30

Height: 6’0” = 72 inches = 182.88cm (to convert inches to centimeters, multiply your height in inches by 2.54)

Weight: 185 lbs = 84.09kg (to convert pounds to kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2)

Using the Harris-Benedict Equation for men, and plugging the above numbers into the equation gives you:

BMR = 66 + (13.7 x 84.09) + (5 x 182.88) – (6.8 x 30)

BMR = 66 + 1152.03 + 914.4 – 204

BMR = 1928.43

So, as a bare minimum to sustain life and ensure longevity, our example male John would need to consume roughly ~1930 calories.

The next step in figuring out TDEE would be to calculate the thermic effect of food as well as the non-exercise and exercise factors. However, these calculations are extremely tedious and the equations to model the caloric expenditure each requires isn’t the most reliable.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend hours performing more tedious calculations. You don’t even have to use a fitness monitor or rely on those erroneous “Calories Burned” readouts on cardio machines to figure out the rest of the components of your TDEE.

Researchers have determined a set of “activity multipliers, known as the Katch-McArdle multipliers.

To calculate your approximate TDEE, simply multiply these activity factors by your BMR:

  • Sedentary (little to no exercise + work a desk job) = 1.2
  • Lightly Active (light exercise 1-3 days / week) = 1.375
  • Moderately Active (moderate exercise 3-5 days / week) = 1.55
  • Very Active (heavy exercise 6-7 days / week) = 1.725
  • Extremely Active (very heavy exercise, hard labor job, training 2x / day) = 1.9

Going back to our example guy John, let’s assume he trains 3 days per week following a high-frequency full body training program with no additional steady-state cardio or HIIT training during the week. This puts John in the “Moderately Active” category.

To calculate John’s approximate TDEE, multiply his BMR by 1.55. This gives us:

TDEE = 1.55 x BMR

TDEE = 1.55 x 1928.43

TDEE = 2989.07

So, our example guy John needs to consume about 2990 calories each day just to maintain his current weight.

Now, at this point, it’s important we stress that these equations and activity multipliers provide AN ESTIMATE for your daily calorie requirements. That is, your actual TDEE could be a little higher or lower than the number you calculate when you use the formula. But, it should be fairly close, and at the very least, it gives you a rough idea of where to start when figuring out a meal plan and setting macronutrient goals.

Speaking of goals, now let’s look at how you can use your TDEE to enhance your body composition whether it be for muscle gain or fat loss.

Manipulating TDEE for Muscle Gain and Fat Loss

So, how does knowing your TDEE help you gain muscle or lose fat?

While there’s endless debate in the fitness world about the “optimal” way to go about reshaping your body, this much is true:

  • If you want to lose fat, you need to eat fewer calories than your TDEE. Doing so forces your body to draw energy from its fat stores to compensate for the calories you’re not consuming each day. Do this long enough and you will lose weight and body fat
  • If you want to gain muscle mass, you need to eat more calories than your TDEE.To gain weight, you must be in a caloric surplus. Coupled with a rigorous training program following the principles of progressive overload, those extra calories will be put to building new muscle tissue.

Now, let’s see how to put this into practice

For Fat Loss

To lose fat, we typically recommend that using a caloric deficit of 20%. Once again using John as an example, if he wanted to cut fat, his caloric intake would be:

20% of TDEE = 0.20 x 2990 = 598

Daily calorie intake for weight loss: 2990 – 598 = 2,392 calories

At a 598 daily calorie deficit, John would lose a little over 1 pound per week, as 1 pound of fat equals approximately 3500 calories.

Now that we have the caloric intake needed for fat loss, we need to set John’s macros.

Protein: 1 gram per pound of bodyweight

Fat: 0.3 – 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight

Carbohydrates: The number of calories remaining after protein and fat requirements are met.

Going back to our example guy John his daily macros, while eating at a 20% caloric deficit, would be:

  • Protein: 1g / lb x 185 lbs = 185g (Calories = 185g x 4 calories / g of protein = 740)
  • Fat:5g / lb x 185 lbs = 92.5g (Calories = 92.5g x 9 calories / g of fat = 832.5)Note: Fat can range from 0.3-0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Adjust up or down based on your own dietary preferences. If you enjoy eating a higher fat diet, use the 0.5g/lb multiplier, and if you enjoy a higher carb, lower fat diet use 0.3g/lb.
  • Carbs are determined by subtracting your protein and fat calories from the daily calorie total, then dividing by 4 to get the number of carbs you eat per day (as each gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories). Calories left after removing protein and fat Calories = 2,392 – 740 – 832.5 Calories alloted for carbohydrate = 819.5 (which we’ll round up to 820 for simplicity)Now, divide 820 by 4 to get the total grams of carbohydrates John needs to consume each day:820 / 4 = 205g Carbohydrates

Therefore, John would consume the following macronutrient profile to lose fat while preserving lean muscle mass:

Protein: 185g
Fats: 92.5g
Carbohydrates: 205g

Eating at this calorie level should have John losing a little over one pound per week. Now, remember, the TDEE and BMR calculations are estimates. If you find, after performing your own calculations, that you’re not losing weight, then remove another 100 calories from your daily calorie intake and assess progress over the next 2 weeks.

If however, you find yourself losing more than 2 pounds per week, add 100 calories back into your diet. While it might seem great, losing too much weight too fast typically results in muscle loss as well, which is not what you want in the least.

Now, let’s look at how to manipulate TDEE for gaining muscle.

Muscle Gain

Gaining weight, and preferably muscle, requires consuming more calories than your body expends on a daily basis. When combined with a structured resistance training program, a caloric surplus provides the essential nutrients needed to optimize performance and build muscle.

For the longest time, it was preached that in order to get big, you had to eat big too. But, as sports nutrition has developed over the years, lifters and researchers alike have learned that the surplus needed to build lean muscle tissue isn’t a huge as we were once led to believe.

Simply put, the body can synthesize a finite amount of muscle tissue at any given time. That means that eating substantially more than what is required to build new muscle just leads to excess fat gain. Therefore, the trick to minimizing fat gain while trying to build muscle is to use a moderate calorie surplus, giving your body just enough to grow bigger, stronger, and faster, without getting fatter. This approach to muscle gain is known today as lean bulking.

To build muscle and limit fat gain, you need to consume roughly 200-300 calories above your TDEE.

So, using our example guy John again, whose TDEE was 2990. He would need to consume between 3190-3290 calories consistently day in and day out to gain muscle.

When undertaking a mass gaining phase, most coaches recommend that you get your surplus calories from carbohydrates, as they fuel performance in training, enhance recovery, and prevent muscle breakdown. They also help raise insulin levels, which is great for shuttling nutrients into your muscles cells needed for repair and growth.

But, if you find you enjoy more fat in your diet, you can feel free to get the extra 200-300 calories from fat or any mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. There’s no set in stone ideal ratio for gaining muscle once your minimums are taken care of.

Now, if you find that you are not gaining at least 0.25 lb/week, add another 100 calories to the daily caloric intake. If, however, you’re gaining over 1 lb per week, reduce your calorie intake by 100-200 calories. Gaining too much weight too fast usually means that you’re gaining a good bit of fat in addition to muscle, which means you’re eventually going to have to spend more time cutting later on in your fitness journey.

Takeaway

Total daily energy expenditure is the number of calories your body burns in a given day taking everything into account from sleep to digestion to exercise. TDEE calculators offer a way for you to figure out a close approximation to the actual number of calories you burn in a day, which you can then use to structure a diet for building muscle or burning fat.

Through proper manipulation and application of your TDEE, you have the power to reshape your body in your own ideal image and never ever have to settle for another cookie cutter meal plan or diet protocol. When knowing how many calories you need to eat for muscle gain or fat loss, you can eat the foods you enjoy while adhering to the calorie and macronutrient goals you set.

The saying goes “with knowledge comes power.” Well, we’ve now given you the knowledge and power to craft your ideal physique. It’s up to you to do the rest!

References

  1. Tappy, L. (1996). Thermic effect of food and sympathetic nervous system activity in humans. Reproduction, Nutrition, Development, 36(4), 391–397. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8878356/

Complete Guide to Evodiamine

Weight loss supplements, a.k.a. fat burners, are some of the most popular supplements on the market. Just about every company in the game has at least one product specifically designed to help you get lean, drop unwanted water weight, and reveal the slim, sexy physique hidden underneath the stored fat.

Most of you know that caffeine is one of the main ingredients in thermogenic fat burners, but have you given much thought about any of the other ingredients that are in your favorite weight loss product?

Probably not.

Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the less frequently used fat loss agents that helps crank up your thermogenic engine in evodiamine.

What is Evodiamine?

Evodiamine is a naturally occurring bioactive alkaloid from a plant called Evodia rutaecarpa. It has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a weight loss aid, where it goes by the name Wu-Chu-Yu. It’s also been used to treat various digestive problems including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, and poor appetite. Evodiamine was also used by Chinese healers as a warming agent or “hot herb”, which speaks to its thermogenic properties.

The Evodia plant belongs to the Tetradium family of trees in Asia, but found predominantly in China, which explains its heavy use in ancient Chinese medicine.

What Does Evodiamine Do?

Evodiamine has been studied extensively, and researchers have documented a number of interesting effects the potent alkaloid exerts in the body.

Increases Body Temperature

The main reason you’ll see evodiamine used in supplements (particularly fat burners) is that it increases body temperature, which helps your body burn more calories and ultimately lose weight. Some research conducted on mice has shown that evodiamine may improve fat loss by 28% and decrease overall weight by 10%. [1]

Animal studies have also noted that evodia can improve resistance to cold, though this hasn’t been replicated in human trials yet. [1,2]

Anti-Obesity Effects

Evodiamine not only helps your body burn more calories, it also may prevent your body from creating new fat cells. Research has shown that evodiamine decreases preadipocyte differentiation.

What does that mean?

Basically, preadipocytes are “infant” fat cells that have to grow and mature into full-fledged adipocytes (fat). Growth and differentiation of preadipocytes are regulated by communication between individual cells or between cells and their external environment. Evodiamine is able to inhibit preadipocyte differentiation by disrupting these communication lines via two different mechanisms [3,4,5]:

  • Activates the MAPK cascade, subsequently reducing insulin-induced phosphorylation of Akt and PPARγ activity
  • Agonizes TRPV1 receptors (vanilloid receptors)

Through these actions, evodiamine reduces the uptake of fat and subsequently increases your body’s natural fat burning mechanisms. Burning more calories and preventing fat cells from maturing provides a two-pronged attack to help you get lean and mean!

Anti-Inflammatory

Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen work by inhibiting a pro-inflammatory enzyme known as COX. Reducing inflammation helps reduce pain and swelling.

Aside from its warming and fat loss benefits, evodiamine was also used as a natural pain reliever, and there’s some research to support that use, as scientists have noted that evodiamine prevents upregulation of COX-2. [6] Moreover, the powerful alkaloid was shown to inhibit another well-known marker of inflammation in NF-kB.[6]

Stimulant Smoother

One of the most interesting things about evodiamine is that it can affect how your body metabolizes certain compounds, such as caffeine. More specifically, evodiamine reduces the exposure of caffeine to the body [7,8], which means it suppresses circulating levels of the stimulant and helps smooth out the stimulant effects of caffeine. Essentially, you get the energy and focus of caffeine, without the jitters or overstimulated feeling.

Some additional research indicates that evodiamine may also help improve cognition. [9]

Benefits of Evodiamine

  • Increases Thermogenesis
  • Relieves Pain
  • Decreases Inflammation
  • Enhances Fat Loss
  • Reduces Appetite

Evodiamine Dosing

Due to the lack of human studies on evodiamine, there hasn’t been an “ideal” or most effective dose; however, fat burners on the market dose it anywhere from 5-100mg, depending on the standardization of the evodia extract.

Now, as to effectiveness, evodiamine has an incredibly short half-life, lasting just under an hour. [11] Evodiamine also suffers from relatively low bioavailability, but the bioavailability can be improved when using a whole plant extract standardized for evodiamine rather than using an isolated evodiamine supplement.

Takeaway

Evodiamine is an underutilized fat burning agent that increases your calorie burn and prevents fat gain in the body. It may also suppress appetite and decrease pain and inflammation. When paired with caffeine, it helps smooth out the harsh “jolt” it can frequently provide, which is why you’ll see evodiamine frequently paired with caffeine in pre-workouts and fat burners.

References

  1.  Kobayashi, Y., Nakano, Y., Kizaki, M., Hoshikuma, K., Yokoo, Y., & Kamiya, T. (2001). Capsaicin-like anti-obese activities of evodiamine from fruits of Evodia rutaecarpa, a vanilloid receptor agonist. Planta Medica, 67(7), 628–633. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2001-17353
  2. Callsen, M. G., Moller, A. T., Sorensen, K., Jensen, T. S., & Finnerup, N. B. (2008). Cold hyposensitivity after topical application of capsaicin in humans. Experimental Brain Research, 191(4), 447–452. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-008-1535-1
  3. Wang, T., Wang, Y., Kontani, Y., Kobayashi, Y., Sato, Y., Mori, N., & Yamashita, H. (2008). Evodiamine improves diet-induced obesity in a uncoupling protein-1-independent manner: involvement of antiadipogenic mechanism and extracellularly regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Endocrinology, 149(1), 358–366. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2007-0467
  4. Pearce, L. V, Petukhov, P. A., Szabo, T., Kedei, N., Bizik, F., Kozikowski, A. P., & Blumberg, P. M. (2004). Evodiamine functions as an agonist for the vanilloid receptor TRPV1. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2(16), 2281–2286. https://doi.org/10.1039/B404506H
  5. Zhang, L. L., Yan Liu, D., Ma, L. Q., Luo, Z. D., Cao, T. B., Zhong, J., … Tepel, M. (2007). Activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 channel prevents adipogenesis and obesity. Circulation Research, 100(7), 1063–1070. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.RES.0000262653.84850.8b
  6. Choi, Y. H., Shin, E. M., Kim, Y. S., Cai, X. F., Lee, J. J., & Kim, H. P. (2006). Anti-inflammatory principles from the fruits of Evodia rutaecarpa and their cellular action mechanisms. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 29(4), 293–297.
  7. Noh, K., Seo, Y. M., Lee, S. K., Bista, S. R., Kang, M. J., Jahng, Y., … Jeong, T. C. (2011). Effects of rutaecarpine on the metabolism and urinary excretion of caffeine in rats. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 34(1), 119–125. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12272-011-0114-3
  8. Tsai TH, Chang CH, Lin LC Effects of Evodia rutaecarpa and rutaecarpine on the pharmacokinetics of caffeine in rats . Planta Med. (2005)
  9. Yuan S, Gao K, Wang D, et al. Evodiamine improves cognitive abilities in SAMP8 and APPswe/PS1ΔE9 transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. 2011;32(3):295-302. doi:10.1038/aps.2010.230.
  10. Liao, J.-F., Chiou, W.-F., Shen, Y.-C., Wang, G.-J., & Chen, C.-F. (2011). Anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious effects of Evodia rutaecarpa (Wuzhuyu) and its major bioactive components. Chinese Medicine, 6(1), 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1749-8546-6-6
  11. Hu CQ, Li F, Yang XW. Simultaneous determination and pharmacokinetic analysis of seven alkaloids and two flavonoids from rat plasma by HPLC-DAD after oral administration of Wuzhuyu decoction. J Asian Nat Prod Res. (2012)

The Complete Guide to Fat Oxidation

Burning fat is big business. One need only look at the gross revenue of the weight loss industry, which just so happens to be a $66 billion dollar a year industry [1,2], for proof that there’s of money to be made helping people lose unwanted body fat.

Over the decades, all sorts of pills, potions, and powders have been released with the single goal of helping the individual who struggles to maintain an ideal body composition. And, for a time, people do experience some success with their individual weight loss ventures – in the short, that is.

You see, as much money as the fat loss industry generates each year, it hasn’t translated to long-lasting results for the consumer. Roughly 70% of the United States population is overweight or obese, with the percentage of 12-17-year-olds who are overweight doubling since 1980.

Additionally, about 95% of people who are overweight or obese that do try a diet end up regaining the lost weight (and sometimes more) back within one year of their attempt at dieting.

Suffice it to say, that the current weight loss system isn’t very effective, regardless of how profitable it is.

And before you blame the industry, you need to realize that both sides are at fault. The consumer can’t stick to his or her diet, and the industry pushes diets that aren’t sustainable and supplements that are quasi-effective at best.

So, since the current system isn’t working particularly well, what can we do to improve fat loss for the consumer and help them drop the fat once and for all?

Educate them.

Like most things in life, the better you understand a subject, the more likely you are to be able to apply its principles and experience success.

So, with that in mind, let’s discuss the ins and outs of how your body burns fat.

Fat Burning = Fat Oxidation

First off, let’s get some terminology taken care of.

When discussing fat burning, what we’re actually talking about from a physiological standpoint is the oxidation of fat.

What does that mean?

As you probably know, fat cells (adipose tissue) are the primary storage site of body fat, and they are in a constant state of turnover, meaning that fat is continuously entering or exiting the cell-based of several factors including hormones, nutrition, and metabolism.[3] The net effect of these factors determines the number of fatty acids that are circulating in your bloodstream as well as how much body fat is stored.

Fat is stored in adipose tissue as triglycerides. These triglycerides are released into the bloodstream via the actions of the enzyme Hormone-Sensitive Lipase (HSL) [3,4] where they can then be burned (“oxidized”) for energy.

This process of stored fatty acids being released into the bloodstream to be used for energy production is known as lipolysis.

What Happens during Fat Oxidation?

Fat oxidation can essentially be broken down into three phases:

  • Lipolysis
  • Mobilization
  • Oxidation

Lipolysis = Releasing Stored Fat

Triglycerides are composed of a glycerol “backbone” and three fatty acids. In order for your body to burn the fatty acids, they must first be separated from the glycerol molecule. For this to happen, an enzyme called lipase cleaves the fatty acids from the glycerol via hydrolysis. [3,4]

Mobilization = Transporting Fat for Oxidation

The second phase of fat burning comes in the form of fatty acid mobilization.

After separation and release from the fat cell, the fatty acids then enter the bloodstream where they circulate bound to a protein called serum albumin.

Serum albumin acts as a “taxi” of sorts that helps shuttle the fatty acids to the target cell requiring energy. and enter muscles to be “burned.”

The reason fatty acids require the shuttling actions of albumin is due to the fact that blood is composed mostly of water. As you’ve seen first-hand if you’ve ever whipped up your own salad dressing, water and oil don’t mix together all that well. This is due to the fact that fat is not water-soluble, meaning it doesn’t dissolve in water. [5]

As such, albumin serves as the protein carrier that taxis fatty acids through the bloodstream to the muscle cell when they are needed. Each albumin protein can carry with it several fatty acids. [5]

Upon arrival at the target cell, we enter the final phase of the fat burning process…

Oxidation = Burning Fat for Fuel

As the fatty acids enter the cell, they are stored in the cytoplasm of the cell, which is the thick solution that fills the inner regions of the cell. But, we don’t want the fatty acids to remain in the cytoplasm.

In order for them to be converted into ATP (i.e. burned for energy), they must enter the mitochondria of the cell, which can be thought of as each individual cell’s mini-nuclear reactor that generates the energy required to power the cell.

Now, the actual process of converting the fatty acids to ATP is called beta-oxidation. It’s a multistep process that in and of itself requires a lengthy discussion and deep dive into biochemistry that would put most of you to sleep.

For the purposes of this article, just know that the beta-oxidation is the process by which your body obtains energy from fatty acids.

Fatty acids are shuttled from the cytoplasm into the mitochondria via the actions of a substance called carnitine, which many of you have probably seen in your favorite fat burning supplements, such as Steel Sweat.

Once converted into ATP, the energy can then be used by the cell to power it to perform whatever sort of activity you might be performing (weight lifting, cardio, walking, laying on the sofa, etc.)

But, what happens if there’s no immediate need?

In certain cases (i.e. starvation, fasting, etc.) high amounts of fatty acids are broken down and subsequently flood the mitochondria. Since there’s not a high demand for energy from the muscles, the fatty acids are converted into ketones, where they can then be used by the brain and muscles as a source of energy.

These ketone bodies are rich in energy and the preferred source of energy for people following low-carb, ketogenic, and zero carb diets.

How to Increase Fat Oxidation

Since most people entering the fitness space are wanting to lose fat, it would make sense to discuss what things we can do to enhance fat oxidation and accelerate fat loss.

Reduce Calories

One of these ways is by reducing caloric expenditure, i.e. creating a calorie deficit. When you reduce the number of calories you’re consuming, your body has to make up for the lack of energy (food) you’re ingesting to suffice its energy requirements from pulling from your fat stores.

This is why in order to lose fat, cutting calories is one of the main things you have to do. Weight loss ultimately boils down to energy balance in the body, i.e. calories in vs calories out. To create a negative energy balance, you can decrease the number of calories your intake, and increase the number of calories you “outtake”, which is accomplished through exercise.

Regulate Insulin Levels

Earlier in this article, we discussed the importance of hormone-sensitive lipase in the liberating of stored fatty acids from adipose tissue. There exists another hormone, which you’re probably very familiar with, that opposes the actions of hormone-sensitive lipase called insulin.

Insulin is the hormone in your body that is responsible for driving nutrients into your cells, including muscle and fat cells, which can then be used for energy production.

The main macronutrient that causes insulin levels to rise is carbohydrates and seeing that insulin effectively shuts off the fat burning process, maintaining low levels of insulin is essential to maximizing fat burning.

This is why so many ketogenic, low carb, no carb diets restrict carbohydrate intake. They’re trying to limit the amount of insulin that is released, so that you’re burning more and more fat, rather than glucose.

But, just because we’re trying to burn fat doesn’t mean that we have to avoid any and all carbohydrates.

You can still have your carbs and burn body fat, but it requires some proper nutritional selections on your part.

Simple sugars create larger insulin spikes in the body than complex carbohydrates or protein. If you’re trying to maximize fat burning, you want to opt for things like green vegetables, berries, avocados, as well as proteins, which create lower insulin spikes and promote fat burning.

But, let’s say that a few times per week you still want to have a sweet treat, and still lose fat.

Is there anything you can do?

YES!

And it comes in the form of…

Exercise

As we stated above, increasing your calories out is one of the ways you can tip energy balance in favor of fat loss. This, of course, is accomplished through exercise, and we can maximize fat burning by performing the right types of exercise.

Science has pretty clearly shown that during exercise, your muscles can use both dietary carbohydrate and fat operate as substrates used for energy. [7,8,9] However, there are a few factors that affect which macronutrient your body uses for energy. Factors affect substrate utilization include [10]:

  • Diet

    If you’re consuming a low carbohydrate diet and/or going into your workout fasted, you will burn fat for fuel.

  • Muscle glycogen content

    Your body has a finite amount of glycogen stored in the muscle. Once these stores are exhausted, the body will start pulling from your fat stores for energy.

  • Exercise intensity

    Low to moderate intensity forms of exercise primarily use fat as their source of energy. The higher you go with exercise intensity, the more you shift to burning glycogen and glucose.

    Research notes that maximal rates of fat oxidation are achieved when training at intensities of 59-64% of maximum oxygen consumption in trained individuals and between 47-52% of maximum oxygen consumption in the general population. [6]

  • Duration of training

    The longer you train, the more you deplete glycogen and once those stores are depleted, you will switch to burning fat for fuel.

  • Training status

    The more “fit” you are, the harder you can exercise before shifting from fat burning to glucose burning. Additionally, the more fit you are, the lower your resting insulin levels will be, thus allowing you to burn more fat outside of your eating windows.

Due to these factors, you can begin to understand why most fasted cardio sessions are performed at a relatively low intensity — it maximizes fat burning in the body.

Does that mean you should only perform steady-state cardio when trying to lose body fat?

No, not at all.

There’s something known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is science speak for the “afterburn” effect created by a high-intensity exercise where your body continues to burn calories even after your training session is over.

Steady-state cardio, while it burns more fat during the actual time you’re exercising compared to interval-based cardio, has virtually no effect on EPOC, which means that once you stop performing your steady-state cardio, the calorie burns stop.

This is why you’re still able to lose fat even without performing any steady-state cardio whatsoever. The oxygen deficit created by high-intensity forms of training such as weight lifting or interval training leads to greater overall calorie burning as your body works to restore homeostasis.

Your body uses oxygen to:

  • Regenerate ATP that was burned during the workout
  • Resynthesize of muscle glycogen depleted during training
  • Restore oxygen levels in the blood
  • Repair muscle tissue damaged during the workout
  • Restore core temperature to resting (homeostasis) levels

Each of these actions requires a certain amount of energy to be carried out, and if you’re in a caloric deficit, that energy comes from your fat stores.

This is why high-intensity interval training can aid fat loss even though you’re technically not using fat as a fuel during the actual workout.

The point of this is to say that both steady-state and high-intensity interval training can be used to lose body fat. The mechanisms by which they work are different, but the end result is the same. [11]

Takeaway

Fat burning is a billion-dollar industry, yet very few people actually understand the theory and science of what it takes to burn fat, and even fewer know how to apply it to daily life.

Hopefully, this guide has shed some light on manageable ways to burn more fat in your daily routine, so that you can achieve the body you’ve always wanted.

And, if you need some help burning extra calories and shifting your body towards a greater fat burning environment, check out Steel Sweat.

Steel Sweat is the ideal pre-workout for fasted training. Not only does it include ingredients such as caffeine which help release fatty acids to be burned for energy it also includes several pro-fat burning compounds, such as L-Carnitine L-Tartrate and Paradoxine, which take those liberated fatty acids and burn them for energy.

Steel Sweat can help you burn fat like never before and achieve the results you’ve always wanted and more!

References

  1. https://www.marketresearch.com/Marketdata-Enterprises-Inc-v416/Weight-Loss-Diet-Control-10825677/
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-weight-loss-market-worth-66-billion-300573968.html
  3. Arner, P. (2005). Human fat cell lipolysis: biochemistry, regulation and clinical role. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 19(4), 471–482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beem.2005.07.004
  4. Lass A, Zimmermann R, Oberer M, Zechner R. Lipolysis – A highly regulated multi-enzyme complex mediates the catabolism of cellular fat stores. Progress in Lipid Research. 2011;50(1-4):14-27. doi:10.1016/j.plipres.2010.10.004.
  5. Holloway, G.P., Luiken, J.J.F.P., Glatz, J.F.C., Spriet, L.L., & Bonen, A. (2008). Contribution of FAT/CD36 to the regulation of skeletal muscle Fatty acid oxidation: an overview. Acta Physiologica, 192, 293-309.
  6. Achten, J., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2004). Optimizing fat oxidation through exercise and diet. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 20(7–8), 716–727. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2004.04.005
  7. FRAWLEY K, GREENWALD G, ROGERS RR, PETRELLA JK, MARSHALL MR. Effects of Prior Fasting on Fat Oxidation during Resistance Exercise. International Journal of Exercise Science. 2018;11(2):827-833.
  8. Achten J, Gleeson M, Jeukendrup AE. Determination of the exercise intensity that elicits maximal fat oxidation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;34(1):92–97.
  9. Achten J, Jeukendrup A. Maximal fat oxidation during exercise in trained men. Int J Sports Med. 2003;24(08):603–608.
  10. Venables, M. C., Achten, J., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2005). Determinants of fat oxidation during exercise in healthy men and women: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(1), 160–167. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00662.2003
  11. Zhang H, Tong TK, Qiu W, et al. Comparable Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training and Prolonged Continuous Exercise Training on Abdominal Visceral Fat Reduction in Obese Young Women. Journal of Diabetes Research. 2017;2017:5071740. doi:10.1155/2017/5071740.
  12. Foureaux, G., Pinto, K. M. de C., & Dmaso, A. (2006). Effects of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic rate in energetic cost. Revista Brasileira de Medicina Do Esporte, 12(6), 393–398. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922006000600018

Paradoxine® – The Ultimate Stimulant Free Fat Loss Agent

Burning fat and losing unwanted weight usually involves two things — lots of exercising or eating an insanely restrictive, low-calorie diet. Neither of these sounds appealing to most people, which is part of the reason so many people struggle to lose weight in the first place.

There’s always the option of trying out a fat burner or two, but you run the risk of either wasting your money on a completely useless product, or having it make you feel anxious, jittery, and on edge due to the cocktail of stimulants commonly found in OTC weight loss supplements.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could burn some extra fat without having to take a bunch of potentially hazardous stimulants or spend hours and hours on the treadmill?!

Your prayers might have been answered with Paradoxine®, a patented, standardized extract of Grains of Paradise that provides body re-composition benefits, without impacting your cardiovascular system.

What is Grains of Paradise?

Native to West Africa, Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) is a spice belonging to the Zingiberaceae family of plants that are similar to ginger. The pods of the plant contain reddish-brown seeds that are ground to give the spicy, peppery spice commonly used in cooking today.

Grains of Paradise can be found other several other names, including:

  • Melegueta Pepper
  • Fom Wisa
  • Alligator Pepper
  • Guinea Grains
  • Ossame

Within the seeds of Grains of Paradise, researchers have identified several compounds inside the seeds of the pungent spice that impart a powerful flavor and aroma to foods, but they’re also responsible for the fat-fighting abilities of the spice. Those compounds in particular are:

  • 6-paradol
  • 6-gingerdione
  • 6-gingerol
  • 6-shogaol

There’s a slew of other components present in the seed, but the two you really should be concerned with are 6-paradol and 6-gingerol. Interestingly enough, 6-gingerol is also found in ginger.

How does it work?

To understand how Paradoxine works in the body requires a discussion of the different types of adipose tissue (a.k.a. fat) in your body. There are two types of fat in the body:

  • Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT)
  • White Adipose Tissue (WAT)

White Fat is your body’s energy storage cells. Whatever extra calories aren’t immediately needed by the body are stored as “white” fat and are used when food intake is reduced. [1] White fat cells are large, round cells comprised of one big lipid droplet with a thin rim containing the nucleus and cytoplasm

Brown Fat, on the other hand, is the fat used for diet and cold-induced thermogenesis, maintaining your body’s normal temperature when exposed to cold. [1] The technical term for this is “non-shivering thermogenesis.” Brown fat cells aren’t only different in function than white fat cells, they’re structure is also different. Brown fat cells are comprised of smaller diameter cells, containing several smaller fat droplets compared to the one massive droplet that’s found in white fat.

The magic of Paradoxine® lies in its ability to brown your fat. That is, it transforms your white fat cells into brown fat cells, increasing energy expenditure and boosting weight loss. An added benefit to brown fat is that it can use blood sugar (glucose) and fats, leading to improved lipid levels and glucose metabolism, independent of weight loss! [8]

Paradoxine® Benefits

There have been quite a few purported stimulant-free fat burning supplements over the years, but when you dig down into the research, you see that they’re not actually all they’re cracked up to be.

That’s not the case with Paradoxine®. It actually has human trials demonstrating its effectiveness.

Increased Energy Expenditure

A 2013 study involving 19 healthy men, age 20-32, gave them either placebo or 40mg per day of Grains of Paradise extract. During the course of the four-week trial, researchers then placed the men in an air-conditioned room at 19°C (66.2°F) for two hours only wearing “light clothing” (a T-shirt with underwear). As if that wasn’t enough, they also had the men place their feet onto an ice block wrapped in cloth on and off (4 minutes on, 5 minutes off).

Following this two-hour cold fest, subjects underwent testing which included having their whole-body energy expenditure measured following a 6-12 hour fasting period. Researchers observed that the men consuming Grains of Paradise extract had a significantly greater increase in energy expenditure, seemingly due to the increased brown fat activity, than the group not receiving placebo. [2]

Increased Fat Loss

The other notable human trial on Paradoxine® involved women and measuredthe effects of the extracts on energy expenditure as well as body fat. 19 non-obese women (ages 20-22) were divided into two groups. The treatment group received one 10mg capsule of Grains of Paradise extract 30 minutes prior to each of their three daily meals, for a total of 30mg Grains of Paradise Extract per day. While the other group received a placebo.

At the end of the four-week trial, women again had their body fat and energy expenditure measured, and again the group receiving the Grains of Paradise extract has significantly greater results. Women receiving the extract experienced reduced visceral fat in the lower abdomen and greater energy expenditure while the placebo group saw a modest increase in visceral fat in the same area. [3]

The important thing to note here is that these results were obtained without any extra diet or exercise modifications!

Additional Benefits

Several animal studies have also been carried out using Grains of Paradise extracts and noted it lowered blood pressure, improved lipid profiles, and reduced chemical-induced liver damage (hepatotoxicity). [6,7]

Why Paradoxine®?

You’re probably wondering why we’re suggesting you use Paradoxine® as the preferred choice for a Grains of Paradise extract. The reason, is that it’s the only Grains of Paradise extract backed by any actual human research. It’s standardized to 15% Aframols® & 12.5% 6-paradol, the same grade of extract used in the human trials, and it’s backed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) tests.

Who is Paradoxine® for?

Paradoxine® is ideal for anyone looking for improved body composition and enhanced fat loss from their supplements. It’s perfect to use in a thermogenic pre-workout, or as part of a more comprehensive fat burning formula. Paradoxine® is especially ideal for those stim-sensitive individuals who still want to get some extra fat burning, but don’t want the stims contained in most fat burners on the market.

Paradoxine® Dosage

Typically, Paradoxine® is dosed anywhere from 25-50mg per day, and with the “sweet spot” being in the 40-50mg range. This is where you’ll start to notice the enhanced thermogenic effect of the supplements, in the form of feeling significantly warmer than usual. And expect to be sweating buckets during your workout if your pre-workout contains a sizeable dose of this potent thermogenic. SteelFit® uses 40mg/serving of Paradoxine® in its stimulant free fat burner Steel Core® and 50mg/serving in its cardio enhancing pre-workout Steel Sweat™.

References

  1. Rosenwald M, Wolfrum C; “The origin and definition of brite versus white and classical brown adipocytes”; Adipocyte; 2014;3(1):4-9; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917931/
  2. Sugita, J., Yoneshiro, T., et al; “Grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in men”; British Journal of Nutrition; (2013) 110(4), pp. 733–738; https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/grains-of-paradise-aframomum-melegueta-extract-activates-brown-adipose-tissue-and-increases-whole-body-energy-expenditure-in-men/517F8F0D73864C919E42D502537BA01D/core-reader
  3. Sugita J, Yoneshiro T, et al; “Daily ingestion of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract increases whole-body energy expenditure and decreases visceral fat in humans”; Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology; 2014, 60(1): 22-27; https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv/60/1/60_22/_pdf
  4. Momoe Iwami, Fatma A. Mahmoud, et al; “Extract of grains of paradise and its active principle 6-paradol trigger thermogenesis of brown adipose tissue in rats”; Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical; 161 (2011); 63–67; https://www.docdroid.net/Iog80CU/momoe-iwami-paradise-study.pdf.html
  5. Ilic N, Schmidt BM, Poulev A, Raskin I; “Toxicological evaluation of Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) [Roscoe] K. Schum”; Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2010;127(2); https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3815460/
  6. Adefegha, Stephen A. et al; “Alligator pepper/Grain of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) modulates Angiotensin-I converting enzyme activity, lipid profile and oxidative imbalances in a rat model of hypercholesterolemia”; Pathophysiology; Volume 23, Issue 3, 191 – 202; http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(16)30026-8/fulltext
  7. Semwal R, Semwal D, Combrinck S, Viljoen A; “Gingerols and shogaols: Important nutraceutical principles from ginger”; Phytochemistry; https://www.docdroid.net/TZ53eaP/gingerols-and-shogaols-important-nutraceutical-principles-from-ginger.pdf.html
  8. Kim SH, Plutzky J; “Brown Fat and Browning for the Treatment of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders”; Diabetes & Metabolism Journal. 2016;40(1):12-21; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4768046/
  9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Food and Drug Administration; “Guidance for Industry: Estimating the Maximum Safe Starting Dose in Initial Clinical Trials for Therapeutics in Adult Healthy Volunteers”; July 2005; http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm078932.pdf
  10. Wikipedia contributors; “List of Good Eats episodes.”; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; July 21 2016; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Good_Eats_episodes#cite_note-33
  11. Saito, A; “Acute oral toxicity of capsaicin in mice and rats.”; The Journal of Toxicological Sciences; 1996 Aug; 21(3):195-200; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8887888

The Complete Guide to Thermogenesis

When it comes to weight loss supplements and fat burners, the words “thermogenesis” and “thermogenic” are used extremely frequently. Based on the way these two words are splashed across advertisements, you’re led to believe it’s a good thing to boost, increase, or enhance.

But have you ever wondered what thermogenesis means, or why you would want to increase it?

That’s what this guide is for.

We’re here to explain all the ins and outs of thermogenesis and why you want your fat burner to increase it, especially if you want to drop the fat fast.

What is Thermogenesis?

Thermogenesis is the metabolic process by which organisms burn calories in order to generate heat.

A simpler way to say that is thermogenesis is the body’s way of producing heat. It does this by “burning” calories.

Thermogenics are ingredients or supplements that help increase the production of heat in the body, and as a result, increase the number of calories you expend. This translates to greater calorie burn throughout the day, which in theory, should help you lose weight faster.

There are a number of ingredients commonly touted as thermogenics, which we’ll get to a little later in this article, but first, let’s take a moment to review the different types of thermogenesis that occur in the body.

Types of Thermogenesis

On the surface, thermogenesis seems fairly straightforward — it’s how your body produces heat. But, as it turns out, there’s not just one type of thermogenesis. Science has broken it down into three (or four, depending on the classification scheme) types.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a second to review each of the different forms and discuss what separates them from one another.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) consists of the calories your body burns to carry out essential functions for survival. This includes such things as circulating blood throughout the body, breathing, etc.

Essentially, BMR accounts for the energy to perform vital body processes while you’re at rest. It’s the number of calories your body burns if you did nothing but lay in bed all day long.

Basal metabolic rate is the largest contributor to energy expenditure during the day, [1] accounting for 60-75% of total calories burned.

Diet-Induced Thermogenesis

The second type of thermogenesis is diet-induced thermogenesis. Scientists have defined diet-induced thermogenesis as:

“the increase in energy expenditure above basal fasting level divided by the energy content of the food ingested and is commonly expressed as a percentage” [2]

A simpler explanation of diet-induced thermogenesis would be — the number of calories you burn eating, digesting, absorbing, and transporting nutrients from the food you ate.

Now, here’s where things get interesting with diet-induced thermogenesis. Each macronutrient has a different thermic effect of food, meaning that your body burns different amounts of calories depending on what type of food you’re eating.

So, let’s take a look at that now:

  • Protein – The most metabolically demanding macronutrient for your body to digest and absorb. [3] Its thermic effect of food is about 20-35%, which means that if you eat a piece of protein that contains 100 calories, depending on what type of protein it is, your body will burn 20-35 calories simply trying to break down that food.
  • Carbohydrate – After protein, carbohydrate is the next most metabolically demanding macronutrient to digest and absorb. Its thermic effect of food is 5-10% of calories consumed. [4]
  • Fat – The least calorie-intensive macronutrient to digest and absorb is fat. It has a thermic effect of food of about 5%.

In total, the thermic effect of food, or diet-induced thermogenesis, accounts for about 10% of your total daily energy expenditure.

Now, most of you reading this don’t eat one single type of macronutrient at a time. Even a whey protein shake, which is mostly protein, still has trace amounts of carbohydrates and fat. So, how do you figure out the diet-induced thermogenesis of a mixed meal?

Let’s use whey protein as an example:

Let’s say your scoop of whey protein contains 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fat.

How do you figure out the thermic effect of food with this?

Simple!

Just use the percentages we listed above for each of the macronutrients, and you’ll have an estimate of how many calories your body expends digesting your whey protein shake.

So, it would look something like this:

  • Protein = 25 grams * 4 calories/gram = 100 calories
  • Carbohydrate = 3 grams * 4 calories/gram = 12 calories
  • Fat = 2 grams * 9 calories/gram = 18 calories

This gives us a total of 130 calories from our scoop of protein.

To figure out how many calories you’re actually getting from this whey protein shake, we’ll apply the percentages we listed above:

  • Protein = 25% * 100 calories = 25 calories burned
  • Carbohydrate = 10% * 12 calories = 1.2 calories burned
  • Fat = 5% * 18 calories = 0.9 calories burned

Thermic effect of food = 25 + 1.2 + 0.9 = 27.1 calories burned

Net calorie yield from whey protein shake = 130 – 27.1 = 102.9 calories

As you can see, due to the thermic effect of food, that 130 calorie protein shake may only deliver 102.9 calories of actual energy.

Based on this simple example, you can see how your food selections can have a significant impact on energy balance (calories in vs calories out). Diets with a higher proportion of protein will inherently require more energy to digest than diets with lower proportions of protein. This is why many coaches and trainers advocate high protein diets, especially during times of weight loss.

Not only do high protein diets lead to a greater calorie burn, protein also is more satiating than either carbohydrates or fats. Eating more protein can help you feel fuller for longer, which is a very good thing if you’re dieting and reducing overall calorie intake each day.

Now, let’s discuss the final factor impacting thermogenesis.

Energy Cost of Physical Activity

The final form of thermogenesis comes from your daily activity. Exercise scientists have further divided this category into two “subcategories”, which is why we said there were four types of thermogenesis at the top.

Those two subcategories are:

  • Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, as you probably guessed, is the calories your body expends during any type of exercise you perform. This includes weight lifting, steady-state cardio (walking or jogging), high-intensity interval training, CrossFit, etc. Basically, any type of structured physical activity that’s more intense than just walking from point A to point B falls under this subcategory.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis describes the number of calories you expend in all other physical activity that isn’t specifically “exercise”. This includes standing, walking from room to room, tapping your finger or foot, fidgeting, etc. This number is highly variable depending on how much you move around during the day. For example, someone who works a physically demanding, manual labor job will burn far more calories during the day than a sedentary office worker who spends 8 hours each day sitting at a desk.

Combining both exercise activity thermogenesis and non-exercise activity thermogenesis gives us our total energy cost of physical activity each day. This number can vary between 15-30% of your total daily energy expenditure [5], depending on how active you are on a given day.

This constitutes all the major contributors to daily thermogenesis. Add each of these three major categories up, and you have your total daily energy expenditure.

Now, let’s look at a few outside factors that could potentially increase thermogenesis.

Thermal Stress

Thermal stress refers to the impact the temperature of the environment has on your body temperature. You see, while we can survive in any number of climates, your core temperature has a very limited range that is considered safe. Go any higher or lower than this range, and things start going very bad, very quickly for you.

The body can only tolerate a drop-in body temperature of approximately 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and a rise in temperature of 5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the average temperature of a person is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, this gives you a “safe range” of about 88.6-103.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that this is the range your body can survive. It’s certainly not optimal to be at the extremes of this range though.

So, what happens if you do start to drift too far away from the typical 98.6-degree core temperature?

Fortunately for you, the hypothalamus has that handled.

When it gets too hot and your core temperature starts to rise, your body will use one of four processes to cool you off:

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Radiation
  • Evaporation

Heat leaves the body via evaporation when you sweat and respirate (breathe). Additionally, your body will also move warm blood to superficial blood vessels (ones closer to the skin). Note that this can lead to a reddish or flushed appearance.

When it’s too cold outside (blizzard in the middle of winter), your body tries to keep warm. It does this by pulling blood away from your hands, feet, face, and directing it towards your core, which keeps your better insulated.

Your body can also increase thermogenesis by shivering, which keeps you warm and significantly boosts metabolism!

In both of these scenarios, your daily thermogenesis (and total daily energy expenditure) is ramped up considerably.

Now, a lot of people will take this thermal stress effect and attempt to train in very hot or very cold environments. While it may seem like a good idea to train in adverse climates, in the effort to create an even greater calorie burn, the truth is, it wouldn’t be all that effective.

You see, when you train in extreme climate conditions, your performance suffers substantially, so while your body might be burning more calories trying to maintain its temperature, your actually not having as effective of a workout as you would be if you were training in a more “normal” training environment.

We’ve just about covered everything that can impact thermogenesis on a day in, day out basis, except supplements.

As we stated at the beginning thermogenic supplements make up a huge portion of the weight loss supplement market, but…

Can Supplements Actually Increase Thermogenesis?

YOU BET they do!

Sports nutrition scientists have discovered several supplements that do increase thermogenesis, and research confirms as much. These thermogenic supplements increase energy expenditure, helping you burn more calories each day (even while you rest!) and lose fat faster.

Let’s take a look at some of the best thermogenic supplements on the market.

Best Thermogenic Supplements

Paradoxine®

Paradoxine® is a patented extract of Grains of Paradise, a pungent West African spice that belongs to the ginger family. Paradoxine® stimulates the brown fat on your body, increasing thermogenesis and energy expenditure that help support weight loss. [6,7]

Ginger Root

Commonly seen in Asian cooking, ginger is another pungent spice loaded with metabolism-boosting compounds. These compounds are called gingerols, with 6-gingerol being the one most well known as a “thermogenic”.

6-gingerol activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ (PPARδ), which increases thermogenesis by “browning” white fat, similar to how Paradoxine works. [8,9,10] This leads to greater calorie burn during the day, and ultimately faster fat loss.

CapsiAtra®

One of the newest thermogenics to burst onto the scene is CapsiAtra®, a patented extract of sweet peppers standardized for dihydrocapsiate, a close relative of capsaicin. As you might know, capsaicin is the pungent alkaloid naturally present in chile peppers that gives them the tongue-numbing bite.

The difference between CapsiAtra® and capsaicin is that CapsiAtra® doesn’t come with the unpleasant GI upset and off-putting “burning” sensation that capsaicin does.

As far as effectiveness, human studies using the novel thermogenic supplement note it can help you burn an extra 50 calories per day via increasing fat oxidation and energy expenditure. [11]

Evodiamine

Extracted from Evodiae Fructus, a member of the Tetradium genus of plants, Evodiamine is another potent that is similar to capsaicin. As such, evodiamine is itself a strong thermogenic, and on top of that, it’s also been shown to inhibit fat uptake. [12,13]

This means that not only can evodiamine help you burn more calories during the day, but it may also help prevent you from absorbing some of the fat calories from your meals too!

Now, you could try to source all of these ingredients yourself and formulate your own potent thermogenic fat burning supplement, but that tends to involve a lot of time, effort, and expense.

We’ve already done the research and development for you and created the perfect thermogenic for your fat loss needs in Steel Sweat!

Steel Sweat — The Ultimate Thermogenic Supplement

If you’re looking to enhance thermogenesis, increase calorie burn, and accelerate fat loss, there’s no better place to look than Steel Sweat.

Steel Sweat™ contains a powerful matrix of proven thermogenic agents including Paradoxine®, Ginger root, Evodiamine, and CapsiAtra®, along with several other performance-enhancing, fat-melting ingredients such as caffeine and L-Carnitine L-Tartrate.

Each serving of Steel Sweat™ will help boost performance during your cardio sessions, spiking your metabolism and burning calories like never before. Steel Sweat also works well as a lower stim fat-burning pre-workout on your resistance training days as well. The lipolytic agents present in Steel Sweat help burn fat for fuel, thereby sparing your glycogen stores for the really intense lifts during your workout.

Steel Sweat™ is ideal for any training scenario and can help you lose fat faste, while achieving your performance goals. Just be ready for the heat wave that ensues. No other supplement creates the burn

References

  1. Sabounchi NS, Rahmandad H, Ammerman A. Best Fitting Prediction Equations for Basal Metabolic Rate: Informing Obesity Interventions in Diverse Populations. International journal of obesity (2005). 2013;37(10):1364-1370. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.218.
  2. Westerterp KR. Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2004;1:5. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-1-5.
  3. Halton, T., Hu, F. 2004. The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23(5): 373-85
  4. Nair, K., Halliday, D., Garrow, J. 1982. Thermic response to isoenergetic protein, carbohydrate or fat meals in lean and obese subjects. Clinical Science 65: 307-312
  5. Berardi, J., Andrews, R. 2013. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition 2nd ed. Precision Nutrition, Inc. pp 101-102
  6. Sugita, J., Yoneshiro, T., et al; “Grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in men”; British Journal of Nutrition; (2013) 110(4), pp. 733–738;
  7. Sugita J, Yoneshiro T, et al; “Daily ingestion of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract increases whole-body energy expenditure and decreases visceral fat in humans”; Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology; 2014, 60(1): 22-27;
  8. Wang, S., Zhang, C., Yang, G., & Yang, Y. (2014). Biological properties of 6-gingerol: a brief review. Natural Product Communications, 9(7), 1027–1030.
  9. Misawa, K., Hashizume, K., Yamamoto, M., Minegishi, Y., Hase, T., & Shimotoyodome, A. (2015). Ginger extract prevents high-fat diet-induced obesity in mice via activation of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta pathway. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 26(10), 1058–1067. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.04.014
  10. Saravanan, G., Ponmurugan, P., Deepa, M. A., & Senthilkumar, B. (2014). Anti-obesity action of gingerol: effect on lipid profile, insulin, leptin, amylase and lipase in male obese rats induced by a high-fat diet. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 94(14), 2972–2977. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.6642
  11. Galgani JE, Ravussin E. Effect of dihydrocapsiate on resting metabolic rate in humans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010;92(5):1089-1093. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2010.30036.
  12. Wang T, et al. Evodiamine improves diet-induced obesity in a uncoupling protein-1-independent manner: involvement of antiadipogenic mechanism and extracellularly regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Endocrinology. (2008)
  13. Zhang LL, et al. Activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 channel prevents adipogenesis and obesity. Circ Res. (2007)

How to Break a Weight Loss Plateau

All fat loss journeys start off the same way — you’re steadily dropping pounds each week and all you’ve really done is cut back on the amount of “bad” foods you’ve been eating all the time. The number on the scale keeps falling and weight loss seems all too easy. All of a sudden after a few weeks of enjoying this “effortless weight loss” everything comes to a grinding halt — the scale number stopped going down, you’re not losing fat anymore, and you’re wondering what in the world possibly went wrong!

Technically speaking, you’ve done absolutely nothing “wrong”, but you have hit the inevitable weight loss plateau, just like millions of other people have during their own fat loss journey. While that might not seem comforting in the least bit, then maybe this will — plateaus were meant to be BROKEN, and with these five tips, you’ll have a number of ways to break through your plateau and re-ignite your fat loss once again!

5 Ways to Shatter Weight Loss Plateaus

  • Re-calculate calories

    The reason you’ve hit a weight loss plateau is that unfortunately your metabolic rate slows down as you lose more and more weight. The simple truth is that your body uses a certain number of calories to maintain your original starting weight. As you lose weight, your body carries less mass, and in response, your metabolism downshifts to accommodate the reduced caloric demand. Research shows that for every pound of weight you lose, you’re burning 6.8 fewer calories on average. [1]

    To compensate for your lower energy needs, you’ll have to recalculate your macros and caloric needs each day. A good guideline to follow when dieting is to re-evaluate your caloric needs every few weeks as the weight continues to drop, and in all likelihood, you’ll have to reduce calories further to continue losing weight.

    However it’s important to not drop calories too far, too fast as that could lead to another fat loss plateau. That brings us to the next plateau buster, which can be used in lieu of or in tandem with reducing calories.

  • Increase Exercise Intensity or Frequency

    If you don’t want to drop calories any further or are so low that you can’t really afford to lower your calories, another option to restart fat loss is to increase the intensity and / or frequency of your exercise routine. Remember, weight loss comes down to calories in versus calories out. By increasing your caloric burn each day through exercise, you’ll rev up your metabolism sparking new fat loss.

  • Cycle Calories

    Calorie cycling is a style of eating where you alternate between high and low-calorie intakes for different days of the week. This method of eating is especially useful when trying to burn those “last five pounds” and often only used when all other plateau-busting measures have been exhausted. By alternating your daily intake, you’re preventing your body’s metabolism from getting too accustomed to a set intake, and thereby stopping your by from lowering its metabolic rate and instilling a weight loss plateau. In other words, think of calorie cycling as “metabolic confusion” for your body. By constantly changing things up, your body never really adapts to one set intake.

  • Manage Stress

    Dieting is a stressful enterprise, and sometimes, it gets a bit too much for even the most even-keeled individuals. When you’re stressed, you increase production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can trigger food cravings like you wouldn’t believe. On top of that having chronically elevated cortisol levels can promote fat gain, especially in women, and make it incredibly difficult to build or maintain muscle mass. [2,3]

    Therefore, finding ways to reduce or control stress is essential to maintaining steady weight loss. If you find you’ve been at a plateau for over 2 weeks, consider re-evaluating your situation in life. Are you more stressed than usual? Are there other factors outside of dieting stressing you out?

    If so, find ways to work around or improve the factors causing you stress, and once they’re addressed, watch the fat loss continue on at a steady pace!

  • Take a break

    As strange as this may sound, sometimes your body and mind just need a break and “reset.” Dieting for prolonged periods of time is taxing to your body and mind, and no amount of tip or trick will break the weight loss plateau.

    If you’ve tried everything else and still can’t figure things out, try eating back at maintenance calories for a week or two, then restart your diet eating at a caloric deficit and you’ll be surprised to find out that weight loss has started all over again. Sometimes, the body just needs a break from the stresses of dieting to readjust, reset, and reignite its fat burning mechanisms.

References

  1. Schwartz A, Doucet E. Relative changes in resting energy expenditure during weight loss: a systematic review. Obes Rev. 2010;11(7):531-547. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2009.00654.x.
  2. Moyer AE, Rodin J, Grilo CM, Cummings N, Larson LM, Rebuffe-Scrive M. Stress-induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women. Obes Res. 1994;2(3):255-262.
  3. Warne JP. Shaping the stress response: interplay of palatable food choices, glucocorticoids, insulin and abdominal obesity. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2009;300(1-2):137-146. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2008.09.036.

What is Visceral Fat?

There comes a time in every person’s life no matter how hard they train, how well they eat, or how genetically-gifted they may be, when they need to lose weight, or more specifically fat. But, what gets lost in the fat loss frenzy is the fact there are two types of fat in the human body.

When people typically think of losing fat, they’re almost always referring to subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous means “under the skin” and it’s the type of fat that’s all over your body directly under your skin. It’s the type of fat that’s part your unwanted jiggles and unsightly wiggles when moving. Subcutaneous fat is the fat discussed when bulking, cutting, and recomping. But, there is an even more insidious fat that resides deep down in our bodies, that brings much more severe consequences that just a squishy figure.

We’re talking about visceral fat.

Visceral Fat 101

Visceral fat is the fat that’s stored around the organs primarily located in the abdominal cavity, i.e. the liver, pancreas, and intestines. Whereas you can see, touch, and even pinch subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is a silent killer that lines beneath the abdominal wall, making it harder to see and even tougher to burn off. And while subcutaneous fat might give you a lackluster physique, it’s not nearly as life-threatening as visceral fat is. In fact, high amounts of visceral fat are associated with increased risks of developing heart disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and dyslipidemia.[1,2,3]

Science has yet to uncover the reason visceral fat is so much more harmful than subcutaneous fat, but one theory that’s gaining traction is that visceral fat release fatty acids and pro-inflammatory compounds into portal vein, where these compounds enter the liver.[4] This “infects” the blood and causes problems with steatosis (adipose degeneration) and insulin resistance, which leads to further health complications.

How to Lose Visceral Fat

While visceral fat sounds like pretty scary stuff, fortunately, research has shown that it responds pretty well to standard protocols used to burn off unwanted subcutaneous fat.[5,6,7] Some of the ways you can limit or reduce visceral fat accumulation on your body is:

  • Remove all trans fats from your diet
  • Lift Weights
  • Perform High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Limit alcohol (i.e. no heavy drinking or “binges”)
  • Reduce stress (cortisol)
  • Get sufficient sleep each night

You can also enhance your body’s fat burning abilities by using the right supplements, such as Steel Core™ features proven ingredients such as Grains of Paradise (Aframum melegueta) (Paradoxine®) which is a spice belonging to the ginger family that stimulates brown adipose tissue, boosting metabolism and increasing thermogenesis while decreasing visceral fat in the lower abdomen.

Takeaway

Fat, no matter which kinds, isn’t just ugly, it’s downright detrimental to your health. The good news, is that it’s relatively easy to lose. All you have to do is put in the work, in the form of proper diet, exercise, and recovery and you can limit the amount of fat on your body and promote a leaner, stronger physique and a better quality of life!

References

  1. Klein S, Fontana L, Young VL, et al. Absence of an effect of liposuction on insulin action and risk factors for coronary heart disease. N Engl J Med. 2004;350(25):2549-2557. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa033179.
  2. Hamdy O, Porramatikul S, Al-Ozairi E. Metabolic obesity: the paradox between visceral and subcutaneous fat. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2006;2(4):367-373.
  3. Matsuzawa Y, Shimomura I, Nakamura T, Keno Y, Kotani K, Tokunaga K. Pathophysiology and pathogenesis of visceral fat obesity. Obes Res. 1995;3 Suppl 2:187S-194S.
  4. Rytka JM, Wueest S, Schoenle EJ, Konrad D. The Portal Theory Supported by Venous Drainage–Selective Fat Transplantation. Diabetes. 2011;60(1):56-63. doi:10.2337/db10-0697.
  5. Rice T, Hong Y, Perusse L, et al. Total body fat and abdominal visceral fat response to exercise training in the HERITAGE Family Study: evidence for major locus but no multifactorial effects. Metabolism. 1999;48(10):1278-1286.
  6. Dutheil F, Lac G, Lesourd B, et al. Different modalities of exercise to reduce visceral fat mass and cardiovascular risk in metabolic syndrome: the RESOLVE randomized trial. Int J Cardiol. 2013;168(4):3634-3642. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2013.05.012.
  7. Irving BA, Davis CK, Brock DW, et al. Effect of exercise training intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2008;40(11):1863-1872. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181801d40.

HIIT vs. LISS – Which Form of Cardio to Perform?

There is an endless debate going around the fitness community about which form of cardiovascular training is superior – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Low Intensity Steady State (LISS). Proponents on both sides of the aisle aggressively defend their style of cardio as the best.

We’re here to explain the differences between the two, and which form you should be using to maximize your gains in the gym.

Low Intensity Steady State (LISS)

Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) is a low-intensity cardio workout usually calling for 30 to 60 minutes of exercising at approximately 60% of your maximum heart rate, a.k.a. Your “fat burning” zone. Advocates of LISS promote the idea that training in this manner promotes greater fat burning, increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles, and accelerates recovery.

The advantages of LISS is that it’s safer for out of shape trainees and comes with less strain on your joints, ligaments and connective tissue, and therefore a lower risk of injury. Additionally, LISS is easy to do basically anywhere. You can go walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or if you’re at the gym, you can use the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike.

The downsides to LISS is that it’s incredibly time-consuming and something your body adapts to overtime, meaning that in order to get the same calorie burn from it, you’ll have to eventually increase the amount of LISS that you do. Plus, when dieting, LISS is more catabolic as opposed to high intensity interval training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a more demanding form of cardio training that alternates between periods of all-out maximum effort and low-to-moderate effort. Maximum effort intervals generally fall between 10-45 seconds, while the low-to-moderate “rest” intervals last between 30-60 seconds. These rest periods allow for complete replenishment of the Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate (ATP-CP) system.

The advantages to HIIT is that it’s incredibly time-efficient and great for not only stimulating muscle fibers in a similar manner as to that of weightlifting, but also enhances muscle building and preserves muscle better during periods of dieting. Compared to LISS, you’ll experience a greater metabolic boost for longer periods of time and burn a lot of calories for very little time.

The disadvantages to HIIT is that you cannot perform it every day like LISS. It’s simply too taxing to your body and CNS and can inhibit recovery and muscle-building if done too often. Moreover, not everyone is in good enough physical or cardiovascular condition to handle HIIT and there’s a greater risk of injury too., by doing high intensity work you are activating muscle fibers and anytime you activate muscle fibers you are primed for growth

Which Form is Superior?

Generally speaking, there isn’t one “best” form of cardio for all populations. Both have their place in a proper muscle-building, fat-shredding training program. HIIT is superior for fat loss and muscle retention during dieting and saves a lot of time. LISS is a great “alternative” to use in between resistance training sessions and HIIT session to still get some extra calorie burn without impairing CNS and muscle recovery. Plus, it’s also good from increasing blood flow to previously worked muscles and is an ideal form of “active recovery” to be used on rest days.

In the end, a combination of both HIIT and LISS can be used to promote body re-composition. How you blend the two ultimately boils down to your individual training and recovery capacity as well as your nutrition and performance / physique goals.

What is Carbohydrate Partitioning?

In an ideal world, all the calories you eat on a daily basis would go to purely building muscle. Unfortunately for most people the calories you do eat each day lead to some muscle gain, and some fat gain too.

On the flip side when it comes to dieting, you’d preserve all of your lean muscle mass and lose only fat. Again, this isn’t an ideal world, and you’re bound to lose a bit of muscle when you diet, though there are certain things you can do (such as eating a high protein diet) that can mitigate the muscle loses while dieting.

The calories you do eat, or more specifically, the carbohydrates, you’re consuming aren’t going all towards building muscle, some are being used to increase your fat stores as well.

We’ve got some tips and tricks on how to manipulate your body’s partitioning of carbohydrates and other important macronutrients so that next time bulking season hits, you can maximize muscle growth while minimizing fat gains.

Carbohydrate Partitioning 101

Carbohydrate partitioning is the physiological process by which the body decides what to do with the energy you obtain from the carbs you eat. Basically, where does your body “put” the carbs you’re eating following meal time.

When you eat (fats, proteins, carbs), the calories from those foods are either immediately used for energy or stored for later use. Ideally, you’d prefer those nutrients be used to fuel performance and / or muscle growth rather than build up fat reserves. Genetics play a large role in how your body partitions nutrients, as well the interactions between the brain, CNS, liver, gut, and muscles. These interactions are governed by the various hormones in your body and the associated signals they send to each part of the body. The most important of all these hormones is insulin.

Going back to our ideal world, we’d prefer to have high insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and low (or poor) insulin sensitivity in fat cells, which would drive more calories into muscle and less towards fat. This is especially important when trying to bulk or gain muscle. Conversely when dieting, we’d want to be a little insulin resistant.

Several factors go into controlling insulin sensitivity, and a large part of that is genetics, for better or worse. While there’s nothing you can really do about your genetics, there are a few other tricks you can utilize to enhance your body’s insulin sensitivity, setting the stage for maximum muscle gain and fat loss.

Ways to Enhance Carbohydrate Partitioning

  • Exercise

    Intense exercise is by far one of the best ways you can enhance insulin sensitivity. Muscular contractions improve insulin sensitivity, as does being glycogen depleted, which occurs as a result of exhaustive exercise. For this reason, timing the bulk of your carbohydrate intake around your training window (pre, intra, and post workout) can do wonders for your natural carb partitioning abilities. Muscular contraction itself improves insulin sensitivity, facilitating glucose uptake into the cell.

    Just be sure the rest of the day to limit your starchy / sugary carb intake and focus more of fats, proteins, and fibrous veggies so you still hit your macros.

  • Optimize your Fat Intake

    Inflammation negatively impacts insulin sensitivity, and is a key indicator of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The average person’s diet overly emphasizes omega-6 fatty acids and lacks omega-3 fatty acids (found primarily in fish). Such a gross imbalance of these essential fatty acids leads to a chronic inflammatory state, which torpedoes your insulin sensitivity and leading to a host of other health issues, mentioned previously. In fact, it’s believed that the average person has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 20:1, when ideally it should be 1:1.

    To start restoring some balance to your life invest in a high quality fish oil supplement and start eating cold water fish like Wild Alaskan Salmon, Albacore Tuna or Mackerel more frequently.

  • Relax

    Being stressed all the time elevates cortisol levels and wreaks havoc on your autonomic nervous systems (ANS). Without getting into the nitty gritty, when your ANS is out of whack, there is an imbalance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems which leads to fatigue, high blood pressure, disrupted sleep, increased protein breakdown, and insulin resistance. None of these are good for optimizing insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle.

    By chilling out and de-stressing, you promote optimal function of the ANS and promote a healthier insulin response across your body.

Supplement Ingredients to Enhance Carbohydrate Partitioning

After you’ve put the other tips from this list into action, you can invest in a nutrient-partitioning supplement that enhances your body’s nutrient intake and protein turnover, such as Steel Core™.

Ingredients such as Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) helps shift glucose into muscles and away from fat cells, increasing energy and reducing stored fat. ALA, when consumed with Carbohydrates, will partition those carbohydrates to muscle tissue and away from fat tissue. The distribution of nutrients towards muscle and away from fat either maintains or increases lean muscle and decreases body fat.

Simple BCAA Gummy Recipe

It’s Halloween Time! Stay on track with your fitness goals with this simple BCAA gummy recipe to curb your sweet tooth without the extra calories.

Not just for Halloween, BCAA gummies are also a great pre, intra, or post workout snack year-round to prevent muscle loss and enhance muscle repair and growth. Each serving contains 24 grams of protein and a full serving of BCAAs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Scoop of your favorite Steel Fuel BCAAs
  • 3 Packets of Knox Unflavored Gelatin
  • ½ Cup Hot Water
    • Tip: Use a coffee machine such as a Keurig to dispense hot water quickly without having to heat it on a stove.
  • Candy Mold or Ice-Cube Tray
  • Make Them Sour:
    • ½ Cup Superfine Sugar
    • 5 TSP Citric Acid Powder

Directions:

  1. Mix together 3 packets of gelatin, Steel Fuel BCAA, and hot water together until powered is fully dissolved.
  2. Pour mixture into either a candy mold or ice cube tray.
  3. Freeze for 20 minutes or until gummies can be removed easily.
  4. Carefully pop your gummies out of their mold and enjoy.
  5. To Make Them Sour: Combine ½ a cup superfine sugar with 5 tsp citric acid powder. Lightly sprinkle over BCAA gummies.

What Are BCAAs and Why Are They Important?

Spend any time talking to trainers at the gym or browsing the aisles of your local supplement shop, and you’ll hear recommendations from numerous people stating how vital BCAAs are to your training. The problem is, you have no clue what a BCAA is, or what it really does.

Sit back and take a deep breath, you haven’t missed out on any gains or gained any fat by not using them during your workout, but you could be missing out on some key muscle-building and recovery benefits by not using them while training. That’s where this no-nonsense guide to BCAAs comes in handy.

After reading this, you’ll know all the ins and outs of BCAAs and what they can do for you!

What are BCAA’s?

In the body, there are 20 amino acids used to synthesize proteins. String enough of these proteins together and you build muscle. The 20 amino acids can be grouped into two categories: essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids (EAAs) are the nine amino acids must be consumed through the diet, since the body cannot produce them. Non-essential amino acids are ones which the body can synthesize.

BCAAs, short for branched-chain amino acids, are a special subgroup of essential amino acid comprised of leucine, isoleucine and valine. The BCAAs get their name from the unique “branch”-like structure they possess. Together, the three BCAAs account for roughly 35% of your muscle mass, which is part of the reason why they’re so important!

BCAAs can be found in whole foods, particularly animal protein, of which dairy and meat are the most plentiful.

What do BCAAs do?

Due to their unique structure, the BCAAs can perform a rather neat “trick” in the body. Basically, rather than get sent to the liver for processing, the BCAAs are sent directly to your muscles where they are oxidized (“broken down”) for use as energy during ATP production. The BCAAs are converted into glucose, pyruvate, and various other intermediates required by the body, where they increase the availability of carbohydrates and protect muscles against exercise-induced catabolism (muscle breakdown).

Perhaps even more important than providing energy to your muscles, is the fact that BCAAs stimulate muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth). So, not only are these three mighty amino acids great for preserving your muscles while dieting and training, they also help your muscles to grow bigger and stronger!

You’re probably thinking that you should be consuming BCAAs all the time, well, that’s not ideal either, as your body needs all 9 essential amino acids in order to build proteins, and consuming only the three BCAAs would mean you’re lacking in 6 other important amino acids. Plus, the other EAAs compete for the same receptors in your body as the BCAAs, so if you’re overloading on the BCAAs, you’re essentially bottlenecking your muscle building abilities.

It is important to maintain a steady stream of amino acids before, during, and after training though, as this provides the energy your muscles need to perform as well as prevent muscle loss and enhance muscle repair and growth.

When to use BCAAs?

BCAAs are most important to use for hard-training athletes who may be at risk for catabolism due to the intense nature of their workouts or those following a very low calorie diet. This essentially breaks down to three classes:

  • Resistance-Training (Weightlifters): Resistance training is the key to getting bigger and stronger, but to do so requires you to breakdown your muscles so that they repair and grow. Using BCAAs before, during, and after your training provides the energy your muscles need to perform as well as stave off excessive catabolism, which could lead to significant muscle breakdown, i.e. lost gains.
  • Endurance Athletes: Endurance athletes train for hours on end without getting in any form of nutrition, setting them up massive muscle loss. But, consuming some form of BCAA supplement while training prevents this breakdown and helps preserve lean muscle mass.
  • Dieters: During periods of reduced calorie intake, your body is at an increased risk for muscle loss. In an effort to make up for the lack of calories you’re consuming, the body will cannibalize itself to get the required energy it needs to keep functioning. Consuming BCAAs (and ample protein) while dieting staves off catabolism, and ensures that you’re only losing fat and not muscle.

BCAA Benefits

  • Stimulates muscle protein synthesis
  • Increases lean mass
  • Prevents catabolism
  • Improves endurance
  • Enhances mental performance
  • Accelerates recovery
  • Reduces soreness

Wrap Up

BCAAs are absolutely essential for optimal performance and muscle growth. Without these three amino acids, your ability to build muscle will be severely limited. But, with BCAAs by your side, your performance, growth, and recovery will be better than ever before.

References

  1. Md. Monirujjaman and Afroza Ferdouse, “Metabolic and Physiological Roles of Branched-Chain Amino Acids,” Advances in Molecular Biology, vol. 2014, Article ID 364976, 6 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/364976
  2. Blomstrand E, Ek S, Newsholme EA. Influence of ingesting a solution of branched-chain amino acids on plasma and muscle concentrations of amino acids during prolonged submaximal exercise. Nutrition. 1996;12(7-8):485-490.
  3. Howatson G, Hoad M, Goodall S, Tallent J, Bell PG, French DN. Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2012;9:20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-20.
  4. Blomstrand, P. et.al. “Administration of Branched-Chain Amino Acids During Sustained Exercise – Effects on Performance and On Plasma Concentration of Some Amino Acids.” European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology (1991), 83-88, Accessed November 20, 2014, doi: 10.1007/BF00235174