Fat burners are one of the most enticing supplements on the market. Can I really just take a pill and lose fat? Leanbean presents an interesting and often compelling case.
Squarely marketed at women, the product aims to be an “all natural” fat burner that’s made of ingredients sourced from plants: a tropical Indonesian fruit, a Japanese root, raspberries, tea, coffee. It’s vegetarian, it’s very low in stimulants, it’s for regular people and athletes alike.
For reasons we’ll discuss below, the product has a bigger emphasis on appetite suppression than a lot of its competitors. Is this the right tactic for women?
It may make sense to be skeptical of these kinds of products, but there’s more to fat burners than meets the eye. Here I’m going to discuss what this product might help you with, what it won’t help you with, and we’ll hear more from this woman’s success story. Her weight loss probably didn’t happen the way you think.
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to speak with your physician before making any significant changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Shop Leanbean direct from the manufacturer here.
Do We Need a “Female Fat Burner”?
First off, this is very clearly marketed as a female fat loss product. If you check out Leanbean’s site they say their reasoning is,
It has been proven that they find cravings harder to resist than men, meaning their temptation to overeat is far stronger.
They go on to state that this is why Leanbean leans more heavily on appetite suppression than other fat burner supplements.
So is this true? Actually, there is evidence to suggest that generally speaking, women may have a harder time skipping meals than men.(1)(2) According to Dr. Helen Kollias, who holds a doctorate is in microbiology in muscle regeneration and a master’s degree in exercise biochemistry and physiology, it may be linked to a hormone called gonadotropin releasing hormone or GNRH, which appears to be pretty sensitive to environmental factors and disruptions in routine.
Men have this hormone as well but because in women it’s involved in ovulation, a process where the body typically follows cycles and schedules, it’s possible that among women, GNRH gets disrupted by big changes to one’s diet and lifestyle.
In other words, because cycles and schedules are a little more intrinsic to the functioning of a woman’s body, it can be a little tougher for women to disrupt their routine and defy that drive we all have to stick to your regular eating routine.
This is just one possible explanation, and by no means does that mean women are more delicate than men (there are a lot of advantages women have over men, like an ability to handle greater training volume). It just suggests that men and women experience different challenges in the weight loss process.
Before explaining the effects of this product, let’s quickly take a look at the ingredients of a 4-capsule serving, which is what you’d consume over the course of a day.
- Vitamin B6 (240% of the RDI)
- Vitamin B12 (256% of the RDI)
- Chromium (300% of the RDI)
- Amorphophallus Konjac (Tuber) (Std. to 90% Glucomannan) (550mg)
- Garcinia cambogia (Std. to 50% HCA) (180mg)
- Green coffee (Std. to 50% Chlorogenic acid) (80mg)
- Green tea (Std. to 50% polyphenols) (160mg)
- Turmeric (200mg)
- Acai berry extract (80mg)
- Cayenne pepper (40,000 SHU) (60mg)
- BioPerine Black Pepper (Std. to 95% Piperine) (20mg)
- Raspberry ketones (8mg)
Other ingredients: Cellulose, hypromellose (veggie capsule), magnesium stearate, silica.
[Learn more about some of these ingredients: 8 all natural fat burners.]
Can Leanbean Suppress Your Appetite?
Glucomannan and Appetite
One of the key ingredients for appetite suppression here is glucomannan. You get about 500mg over the course of a day and it’s a thickener and gelling agent made from the root of the konjac plant in Japan, where it purportedly has the nickname “the broom of the intestines.” Basically, it absorbs water and expands in your belly to make you a bit more full.
There’s a lot of really solid evidence for this effect. One study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that two daily doses of 500 milligrams of glucomannan helped obese people lose more weight than a control group even without making any other lifestyle changes.(3) Now, this and most other studies have patients taking twice what you’ll get in a serving of Leanbean. But we didn’t find any studies suggesting that one 500-milligram dose would be ineffective, and it’s combined with other potential appetite suppressants that we’ll discuss below.
The patients in that study didn’t report any side effects but it’s pretty commonly reported that gluomannan makes you thirstier, which makes sense since it’s a gel-like substance that expands in the gut by sucking up fluid. This isn’t medical advice, but it appears it may be a good idea to drink plenty of water while you’re taking glucomannan. Drinking a good amount of water has a bonus effect of also helping to reduce hunger.
Cayenne Pepper and Appetite
Cayenne pepper is another ingredient that seems to be effective at curbing the appetite. This is an something that’s been seen in a lot of research, like a 2014 study published in Appetite that found capsaicin, an active ingredient in cayenne, decreased the desire to eat after dinner.(4) And there are other ingredients in Leanbean with similar effects.
Green Tea and Garcinia cambogia
The green tea might lower appetite because it might interact with dopamine and norepinephrine while the Garcinia cambogia could do the same by interacting with serotonin, according to data published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.(5)(6)
I do need to make it clear that it’s not necessarily that there’s a complete consensus in scientific circles on this. There’s plenty of evidence, especially with Garcinia cambogia that these ingredients don’t help with appetite suppression at all.(7) But there’s still promising research nonetheless.
But isn’t all the hype around this product’s ability to burn fat?
Does Leanbean Burn Fat?
LeanBean’s commercial says it has ingredients are meant to quote “get your metabolism moving.” How does that work?
Cayenne Pepper and Fat Loss
Practically every fat burner out there contains a hit of cayenne pepper to help with raising your metabolic rate. But how much does that actually help? A 2003 study in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that a dose of chili pepper elevated metabolic rate by roughly 12 percent for 30 minutes.(8) Sounds promising, but if you burn 2000 calories per day that’s just an extra 5 calories.
A larger study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition saw that on average a chili pepper extract helped people burn an average of 50 more calories a day.(9) But that’s less than half a tablespoon of olive oil.
Still, these effects can add up over time, and you’ve also got to look at the other ingredients.
Garcinia Cambogia and Fat Loss
Garcinia cambogia, a tropical Indonesian fruit, gets a lot of hype for its purported fat loss abilities. There is some evidence that it actually does help to reduce belly fat accumulation, like a 2003 study of 39 people in Current Therapeutic Research.(10) Split up into an HCA group and a placebo group, it found the HCA group had “significantly reduced visceral, subcutaneous, and total fat areas compared with the placebo group” after 16 weeks.
But there are important caveats: some studies have found no effect on body fat with HCA, plus most that have found such an effect were using at least 1000 milligrams a day.(11) Leanbean has 90 milligrams in a daily serving.
Raspberry Ketones and Fat Loss
Then there’s the raspberry ketones, which gets a lot of publicity for its apparent fat burning abilities. The issue here is that these results are mostly seen in some in vitro studies and a few on rodents, and those that have been performed on rodents used enormous amounts of the stuff. Leanbean cites one on their website, published in the peer-reviewed journal Planta Publica, that saw fat loss among rats using hundreds of times more raspberry ketones than the amount included in Leanbean, going by the bodyweight of the rodents.(12) There aren’t really any great studies on humans.
Green Coffee Bean Extract and Fat Loss
The chlorogenic acid in the green coffee bean extract may help with fat loss as well — the most widely cited study was published in 2007 in the Journal of International Medical Research — but doses in the very few studies that have found this were in the 120mg to 300mg range, whereas Leanbean uses 40mg per day.(13)
But we’re not saying Leanbean is useless for fat loss and it seems possible that all the ingredients together may have a synergistic effect. It just helps to take a closer look at the studies actually being cited.
Leanbean Testimonial and Success Story
But let’s forget about the theory for a second. We don’t need to look at studies, right? This is a product used by thousands of people. Does it work or not? Leanbean connected us with one of their customers who had significant success on the product so we could ask her what actually happened.
Margarita Nguyen is an Australian chaplain based in Melbourne who was struggling to lose her pregnancy weight. In an interview with us, she said that Leanbean helped her lose almost 19 pounds over two months.
First she went to her doctor and got some blood tests to make sure the supplement was safe for her and her hypothyroidism — and checking with your physician before taking this is a great idea even if you don’t have any preexisting medical conditions.
“I actually went down two kilos in two weeks and I dropped down two sizes in my dress size from the work I’ve been doing,” she says. “I wasn’t full crazy gymming, I was just doing those interval running exercises on the treadmill for about twenty minutes.”
It’s important to note that during this period of taking Leanbean she was doing intermittent fasting (only eating during an 8-hour window) and was consuming 1,200 calories per day. And she only restricted her calories down this much once she started taking Leanbean. So could it have just been the calorie restriction? Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean Leanbean didn’t help.
“The fasting could only happen because I was using that Leanbean supplement,” Nguyen says. “Normally when I fast I find it really really difficult but when I started taking Leanbean I found it was really easy to fast for 16 hours when normally I would struggle really badly.”
It’s hard to know how much the supplement helped her “burn more fat” and it’s always tough to work out how strong the placebo effect is, it does seem that in this instance it helped to curb her appetite.
While Leanbean doesn’t contain stimulants, she also felt that she was better able to maintain energy levels, although she did report she was thirstier than usual, an effect that may have been caused by the Glucomannan.
So, when people ask her if they can just lose weight with a fat burner, what does she say?
“When someone asks you a question like that you have to reframe it for them,” says Nguyen. “You can’t just take a fat burning supplement and expect to lose weight when you’re still having like ten Snickers a day and lounging on the couch all day, it doesn’t work like that. I had to do the exercise, and I had to work on the nutrition, and I had to take a fat burner that was safe for me, the safest on the market. And for me that was Leanbean.”
Prices can change a lot, but on average a bottle will cost you between $50 and $70 for a month’s supply, so that comes to roughly $2 per day. You can also get a discount if you order 3 or more bottles.
It’s hard to compare that price with different fat burners because they vary so much in their ingredients. For example, very few have of their competitors contain glucomannan, which might be the most effective ingredient here.
If you’re looking at websites that sell fat burners, most top sellers are closer to a dollar per day so it’s fair to say that Leanbean is relatively pricy, but most of the top sellers focus more on stimulants and cayenne pepper than the kind of ingredients you get in Leanbean.
- Vegetarian friendly, no artificial ingredients
- One pill per serving
- Seems effective at blocking appetite
- Black pepper for absorption
- Money back guarantee
- Some reports of slight, short-term stomach discomfort after taking it
- Some ingredients might be a bit low, like the raspberry ketones
- You might need to increase water intake
- A little pricier than other fat burners
- No calories on label
Leanbean definitely has some interesting research supporting its fat burning properties, but if you’re eating more calories than you burn it’s not going to make much of a difference. What this product appears to do, though, is potentially reduce your appetite and maintain energy levels to make calorie restriction an easier feat to accomplish.
You still need to put in work as far as calorie control and exercise goes. Here is where Leanbean may help you succeed.
1. Kumar S, et al. Intermittent fasting dietary restriction regimen negatively influences reproduction in young rats: a study of hypothalamo-hypophysial-gonadal axis. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e52416.
2. Wang GJ, et al. Evidence of gender differences in the ability to inhibit brain activation elicited by food stimulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jan 27;106(4):1249-54.
3. Walsh DE, et al. Effect of glucomannan on obese patients: a clinical study. Int J Obes. 1984;8(4):289-93.
4. Janssens PL, et al. Capsaicin increases sensation of fullness in energy balance, and decreases desire to eat after dinner in negative energy balance. Appetite. 2014 Jun;77:44-9.
5. Ohia SE, et al. Safety and mechanism of appetite suppression by a novel hydroxycitric acid extract (HCA-SX). Mol Cell Biochem. 2002 Sep;238(1-2):89-103.
6. Jurgens T, et al. Can green tea preparations help with weight loss? Can Pharm J (Ott). 2014 May;147(3):159-60.
7. Kim JE, et al. Does Glycine max leaves or Garcinia Cambogia promote weight-loss or lower plasma cholesterol in overweight individuals: a randomized control trial. Nutr J. 2011 Sep 21;10:94.
8. Chaiyata P, et al. Effect of chili pepper (Capsicum frutescens) ingestion on plasma glucose response and metabolic rate in Thai women. J Med Assoc Thai. 2003 Sep;86(9):854-60.
9. Galgani JE, et al. Effect of dihydrocapsiate on resting metabolic rate in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;92(5):1089-93.
10. Hayamizu K, et al. Effects of garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid) on visceral fat accumulation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2003 Sep;64(8):551-67
11. Heymsfield SB, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1596-600.
12. Park KS. Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Planta Med. 2010 Oct;76(15):1654-8.
13. Thom E. The effect of chlorogenic acid enriched coffee on glucose absorption in healthy volunteers and its effect on body mass when used long-term in overweight and obese people. J Int Med Res. 2007 Nov-Dec;35(6):900-8.