TwinLab’s original Ripped Fuel was a very popular fat burner.
It wasn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it did contain the “good old” ephedra stack (now illegal in the U.S., of course). Those of you familiar with ephedra know that despite the controversy surrounding it, it was quite an effective fat burner. As such, Ripped Fuel gained quite a following of happy users.
The question now is…
Does the new, ephedra-free version of Ripped Fuel pack the same punch as the old version? Is it worth buying at all? Will it help trim the fat? That’s the question I’ll try to address with this review. Let’s get started…
The bulk of the Ripped Fuel compilation consists of 3 ingredients…
1. Citrus aurantum: (also known as bitter orange, synephrine) Up until very recently, synephrine was thought to be the best alternative for ephedra for use in fat burners. However, studies have not bourne out this ingredient’s fat burning capabilities. Check this extract about citrus aurantium (synephrine) from this PubMed abstract…
“An extensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIOSIS, and the Cochrane Collaboration Database identified only 1 eligible randomized placebo controlled trial, which followed 20 patients for 6 weeks, demonstrated no statistically significant benefit for weight loss, and provided limited information about the safety of the herb.”
For more clinical references and more information, see the full synephrine review!
2. St. John’s Wort: reviewed in detail here, St. John’s Wort is commonly recommended as a natural alternative to prescription antidepressants. What’s in doing in Ripped Fuel?
One study (see Current Therapeutic Research, March 1999; Vol. 60, No. 3; 145-153) performed on the combination of synephrine (975 mg Citrus aurantium extract), 528 mg of caffeine and 900 mg of St John’s Wort concluded…
“…the combination of C aurantium extract, caffeine, and St. John’s Wort is safe and effective when combined with mild caloric restriction and exercise for promoting both body weight and fat loss in healthy overweight adults.”
The problem here is that is does not appear that Ripped Fuel contains anywhere close to the amounts of synephrine and St John’s Wort referenced in this study.
It contains the exact amount of caffeine (528 mg) used in the study—per 2 capsule dose, which is recommended up to 3 times per day.
Participants in the study received 528 mg of caffeine per day, not per dose.
So the caffeine element of this product is seriously OVER-dosed—3 times as much, should the full label directions be followed.
3. Guarana seed extract: harvested in Brazil and Uraguay, guarana is a source of caffeine—which is a mild thermogenic with demonstrated benefits for weight loss (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97).
It also has antioxidant and diuretic properties, making an ideal ingredient for fat burners.
As mentioned, a 2-capsule serving of Ripped Fuel contains 528 mg of caffeine, which is a HUGE amount. Taken three times per day, this could even be dangerous for people with underlying heart and / or blood pressure issues.
If you are sensitive to stimulants, this is definitely not be the product for you. Even by cutting the dose in half, it’s still a seriously potent product. And it’s definitely not a product for pregant women, as elevated caffeine consumption has been tied to low fetal birth weight, and moderate doses with an increased risk of miscarriage.
Ripped Fuel also contains smaller amounts of…
… although at such a low dosage, these ingredients account for little more than window dressing.
So what’s the bottom line on the ephedra free Ripped Fuel?
Well, there is a bit of research backing up the effectiveness of the core ingredients of formulation. As noted however, these ingredients are not present in a dose that corresponds to that used in the study. Remember too, that study participants were also on a reduced calorie diet coupled with exercise.
Other ingredients are really only present to “spice up the label.”
At its core, this is a simple, “hit-you-with-a-hammer-and-take-the-top-of-your-head-off” caffeine product. Synephrine works as a stimulant too, and only enhances this “energy” effect (jamming mega-doses of caffeine into their products was a common tactic for supplement retailers immediately after the ephedra ban—they were trying to use caffeine and / or synephrine to provide the same “burst” of energy ephedra users enjoyed so much).
Hard core caffeine addicts and energy drink afficionados will probably love this product. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy shaking and jittering through the day, give this product a wide berth.