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Phenocal says its all-natural diet pill is the best-rated diet pill on the market. They also say you should speak with your doctor before taking their supplement. And they add that the names and pictures on the testimonials that appear on their website are made up and the people pictured/quoted were paid And, they also say that weight loss results on their supplement Phenocal may vary. Oh, and their supplements, and statements about them, are not checked out by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
To be fair, Phenocal isn’t alone in these claims. And like lots of diet supplement companies, Phenocal says its products are manufactured in an FDA-inspected facility and produced under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. That’s probably true, but no one is looking over their shoulder checking the quality or authenticity of ingredients.
Anyway, all the disclaimers may not be deal-breakers; most dietary supplements make similar disclaimers. For people who take pills like these, the questions are pretty straightforward:
- Is Phenocal effective in helping you lose weight?
- Is it a safe weight loss supplement?
- What about Phenocal reviews and side effects?
- Bottom line: does Phenocal work?
Phenocal makes some very specific claims about its powers to make you thin again.
…[a]100 percent natural yet extremely powerful combination of scientifically-researched, proven-effective ingredients [and] the #1 rated weight loss formulation on the market today. …
…turbocharge your weight loss, shrink your waist size, and get an amazing beach-ready body you’ll be proud to show off. …
Whether you need to lose 5 pounds or 50, the unique proprietary blend of key ingredients in Phenocal will kick your metabolism and your body’s calorie-burning potential into overdrive. …
…address all of the key reasons why people have trouble losing weight and get the dramatic results you desire from a single supplement. 
All that said, each claim has the ubiquitous asterisk leading to the fine print at the bottom of each page, which reminds us that despite having made these promises, chances are it won’t happen for you; results not only vary, the before-and-after stories are “not typical.” 
Assuming you’re still interested because it sounds great so far—near-guaranteed weight loss—Phenocal says it delivers a boost to your metabolism, suppresses appetite and increases your energy. Immediately, in fact. And adds that with some 20-plus ingredients you’ll see “noticeable and in many cases remarkable results without unpleasant jitters and crashes.” 
We have heard before that a slow metabolism doesn’t help us chubbies. Phenocal says metabolic rate plays a role in body size and fat storage, so it stands to reason that a person with a higher metabolism will burn more calories than those with a slower metabolism. This is a common theme with so many diet supplements; crank up your metabolism and you’ll have that sought-after calorie deficit. (I’ll take a quick moment to demystify this claim and clarify below.)
How does Phenocal accomplish this? It says its ingredients include a number of important metabolism-boosting extracts, including what they call the “remarkable” Fucoxanthin. We’ll look at this ingredient more closely in a minute, but suffice to say Phenocal claims it’s “nothing short of amazing” in helping burn calories and shedding pounds. 
Phenocal says you’ll feel full even though you’re eating less, and you’ll be less hungry. How? With glucomannan, a soluble fiber sans calories that expands in your belly so you feel full. And not only do you feel as if you pigged out—when that wears off, the hoodia gordonii appetite suppressant kicks in.
There’s also Chromium Picolinate, which “can help regulate insulin levels to specifically address cravings for foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates.” 
Finally, when you add in exercise, the weight disappears more quickly and—Phenocal says—you build muscle. And with all the energy these diet supplements say they provide, you’ll be revved for a kick-butt workout.
But Phenocal claims it uses only natural and gentle stimulant ingredients, to “increase your alertness and help you find the motivation you need not only to get to the gym, but also to complete each and every workout with a high level of intensity.” 
They say that since they don’t overload you with caffeine, you won’t get the jitters or crash. We’ll see about that.
With Phenocal, you can reduce your overall caloric intake and uncover the willpower to cut out diet-killing binges of fatty, sugary, or starchy foods, find a whole new level of energy, and boost your metabolism. 
But note that even Phenocal says while it claims to have an extremely effective formula, it admits their diet pill is no miracle. Phenocal says its ingredients will simply accelerate your progress while dieting and/or exercising, so you’ll see results quicker. And if you really want action, they say, go with their Total Body Balance system, which is basically just two more supplements. 
The idea is that by adding two more supplements in addition to Phenocal—Colopril and Expelis, no doubt uniquely-named “proprietary blends”—the combination of “these three extraordinary formulas will ignite phenomenal weight loss results.” 
The Total Body Balance System™ program jumps starts your weight loss …[focusing] on the body from the inside out, making you not only feel better, but see extraordinary results faster! If you’re tired of dieting, feeling bloated, and not seeing the weight come off, then you need [this product].
The Total Body Balance System™ program consists of three products which help promote optimum health and vitality in several different ways:
Colopril™ – To detoxify and cleanse your body
Expelis™ – For water weight management and homeostasis
Phenocal™ – To support weight loss and boost your metabolism 
Oh, come on. I will say right here and now this is bunk.
You take six capsules a day: three in the morning and three in the afternoon. Each bottle contains 150 tablets, so about a 25-day supply. With each order you get a bottle of Green Tea Super Energizer, an eBook—Matt Powers’ Losing It: Secrets to Weight Loss—and a pedometer. One bottle “regularly” sells at $69.99 but is now $39.99 when you order from the Phenocal website. Not surprisingly, the more you order, the cheaper each bottle gets; $149 for 5 bottles, plus green tea supplement and other “gifts,” all with a 60-day money back guarantee. 
Keep in mind you can also find Phenocal on Amazon ($64.99) and eBay (prices vary by seller).
Phenocal ingredients include the full squad of B vitamins—all essential to good health—but some with many, many times the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). For example, you get eight times the daily requirement of B12, which for some may not be a healthy mix. 
The other near-20 ingredients include cocoa extract, yerba mate, forskohlin, black pepper, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)—which WebMD says may help to actually curb your appetite. Whether or not you lose weight as a result is a different matter. 
Phenocal also contains hoodia, which Phenocal says is “a scientifically proven and very powerful appetite suppressant.” 
There’s also tryptophan (5-HTP), an essential amino acid the body doesn’t produce. It’s used to help people sleep and for mood (it’s that stuff in turkey; you know what I’m talking about: the nap after Thanksgiving dinner). I suspect this is added to help offset the stimulants—albeit so-called natural ones—found in Phenocal. 
Phenocal also contains Fucoxanthin, a chemical found in particular seaweeds and algae, which allegedly increases metabolic rate by raising the body’s core temperature. We’ll look closely at this interesting and potentially beneficial ingredient in a moment. 
And then there’s Chromium Picolinate, which may possibly help regulate your blood sugar levels. This supposedly also decreases your cravings for carbs.
Lastly there’s glucomannan, a calorie-free soluble fiber that doubles its size in your belly so you feel stuffed.
The Science Behind Phenocal
I could find no studies specific to Phenocal. So, as with many supplements, we need to look at the scientific findings about the ingredients.
But let’s start with basal metabolic rate and why this diet pill jazz about metabolism-boosting may mean nothing.
According to a LiveScience.com article from 2012 written by Rachel Mahan, what we call fast or slow metabolism science calls basal metabolic rate (BMR), which translates to the number of calories your body needs while at rest. Mahan says it’s a misconception that slim people have faster metabolisms (higher basal metabolic rates), because more calories are needed for muscle: “A pound of fat burns 10 calories and a pound of muscle burns 30.”
But what matters, Mahan says, are the relative amounts of fat and muscle. In other words, overweight people with more muscle underneath can have higher basal metabolic rates than thin people who have—obviously—little fat, but also little muscle. So this whole metabolic rate stuff is borderline quackery. 
A note concerning the studies we point to: There are literally hundreds of thousands of scientific studies conducted all over the world each year. And researchers are pushed to find new things far more than to confirm or refute what someone else’s study concluded—bit of the same mentality as advertising’s “sex sells” when you’re vying for research grants. As such, you can pretty much find a study to back up any theory you have, good or bad. At Consumers Compare we do try to present as balanced a conclusion as we can, using independently-funded studies or noting when a study is manufacturer-funded. But even we can’t comb through the entire sea of research for one review—it’s vast.
The science on Fucoxanthin is tricky. A study published in the 2011 Marine Drugs journal found that Fucoxanthin may have “promising potential (for) anti-obesity effects” as a functional food. This particular study was focused on people taking antipsychotic drugs which promote weight gain. It concluded Fucoxanthin helped to mitigate weight gain, but it wasn’t not clear whether it did so alone or as part of a combination of factors. It’s just unclear and as such, the Phenocal claims that it’s a wonder drug are way overblown. More study is needed. Then again, it probably can’t hurt; it’s seaweed. 
About hoodia. First, it’s been so widely harvested it’s an endangered plant species. Which is terrible. Second, it is alleged to be a decent appetite suppressant, but research results are mixed on this claim. And lastly, there’s a ton of people who should not be taking it—folks with any heart, blood, clotting, or eating disorders, for starters. So talk to your doctor first. 
Glucomannan is a fiber derived from the konjac root, and some studies show it may aid in healthy digestion and overall bowel health and may help regulate lipids (fats) and blood sugar. The idea here is satiety; you just don’t feel as hungry as you normally might, and it may block a few calories from being absorbed, so there’s that. But, there’s insufficient evidence. Sound familiar? 
Of all the many so-called weight loss ingredients out there (herbs, roots, algae, and chemical compounds), only green tea, green coffee, CLA and bitter orange may—I repeat, may—have a slight or modest effect on weight loss. But that’s about it. Essentially everything else claiming to be the elixir is either ineffective or hasn’t been studied enough. Period. So drink green tea, maybe take a CLA supplement if your doctor says it’s okay, and possibly bitter orange—also known as Spanish oranges; as the name suggests, they’re bitter as opposed to really sweet. 
Word on the Street About Phenocal
The Phenocal reviews on Amazon.com are pretty dismal. Of sixty-six reviews, it earned a less-than-spectacular 2.2 stars. 
Why? Forty-four percent of all reviewers had similar one- or two-word reviews, like:
“Wasted money.” 
The one reviewer that took the few minutes to actually explain was “Pikake K” (Sept 2015, 1 star), who says:
I read a lot of reviews before purchasing Phenocal, and as a lifelong yo-yo dieter I have tried everything. After a week I don’t see that it’s made a significant difference in appetite suppression or my energy level. Disappointing overall. I would not recommend purchasing this and I certainly won’t again. 
There were a handful of people who lauded Phenocal. Like “The 1” (Feb 2016, 4 stars), who says Phenocal “works great.”
I have high blood pressure so I don’t take the amount you’re supposed to. But I can tell you that it does work. It has curved my appetite and given me much energy. Also I can look in the mirror and tell that I have lost body fat. Jeans fitted much looser very soon after started taking it. Most of all, I think it is a safe product, unlike many others. 
An “Amazon Purchaser” (Sep 2016) who gave it 3 stars says they dropped pounds, but was it the Phenocal that was the secret weapon?
Lost weight. Seven pounds in 2 weeks. Not sure if it was the tablets or the exercise and clean eating. (You) have to do all three to be successful. Too pricy though. 
I usually don’t find products on eBay, and if I do I rarely—if ever—find reviews, so I was surprised when I found these for Phenocal.
“Grift426” (Apr 2017, 2 stars) posted a review with the headline: “Gobble 6 pills a day….for nothing.” Yes, this review cuts right to the chase:
I have been swallowing these huge pills (you must take 3 in morning and 3 mid day) and have not lost any weight. (I am 56 and really wanted to finally get rid of this extra 30 lbs I’ve been carrying around for almost 5 years). I am not eating alot and I am active. They make me feel somewhat more energetic but that’s about it. Sorry. 
And within just a couple of weeks of each other, two separate reviews shared simply-stated, though polar opposite, reviews on Phenocal.
One reviewer, “weinerlover1” (May 2017, 1 star), says that Phenocal simply “Does not work. It does not work.” But a couple of weeks later, “KrisD60**” posted another review and says Phenocal gets 5 stars, calling it, “Good. A good thing.” And nothing more. Hmmm. 
Is Phenocal Worth a Try?
Definitely not. It’s not just the ingredients, of which perhaps one or two may possibly have some tiny, teeny effect on weight loss.
And it’s not just the admission by Phenocal that the reviews and testimonials on its website’s “Success Stories” page are by paid people and/or those whose names and images are not real.
And it’s not even the price, which is absolutely ridiculous.
And it’s not even that you have to take six enormous tablets a day, plus you still must eat clean, healthy, portion-controlled foods and exercise regularly.
This is it for me: Looking at the label, I am struck by the claim that Phenocal is the “cornerstone of any healthy lifestyle program for those seeking a natural approach to health and vitality.” 
I cannot imagine that a physician, dietician, nutritionist—or even your mom, employing basic common sense—would concur that shoveling six capsules, packed with stimulants and who knows what, down your throat every day is in any way a “a natural approach to health and vitality.”
Just eat better! Eat whole, healthy portion-controlled foods and exercise more. Yes, it will take time to lose weight using this tried-and-true method—perhaps months or maybe even years—but come on, be honest: that weight didn’t appear overnight. You worked at it. So you have to work at it to make it disappear. But Phenocal is not, in my opinion, a good choice to help.
So What Really Works?*
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*Individual results will vary.