- LeanMode contains one ingredient that has been proven to accelerate fat loss, but unfortunately the dosage is too low to be effective. In addition to that, LeanMode contains four ingredients that either barely or don’t work.
- Phoenix, on the other hand, contains nine ingredients that, together, speed up your metabolism and fat loss and reduce hunger. Each are backed by sound scientific research and contained at clinically effective levels.
- If you don’t put much faith in the scientific literature or feel particularly drawn to LeanMode for whatever reason, then it may be the better choice for you.
LeanMode is the number-one-selling fat burner on Bodybuilding.com, boasting an impressive average rating of 9/10 based on feedback from over 2,000 customers.
It doesn’t contain stimulants or proprietary blends and features several popular ingredients generally associated with weight loss like Garcinia cambogia, conjugated linoleic acid, and green coffee bean extract.
My fat burner supplement Phoenix, on the other hand, has a very different formulation designed to to increase metabolic rate, amplify the power of your body’s fat-burning chemicals, and reduce hunger and cravings, and it has over 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon.com and the Legion Store.
So, how do these fat burners compare in terms of bottom-line results? Well, here’s the long story short:
LeanMode is relatively inexpensive, doesn’t contain any harsh stimulants, and features five well-known ingredients purported to accelerate fat loss. Unfortunately, though, none are included at clinically effective levels, and studies show that several of them probably or definitely don’t work.
Phoenix, on the other hand, contains nine ingredients that are backed by sound scientific research and contained at clinically effective levels. Studies show that together, they will speed up your metabolism and fat loss and reduce hunger and cravings.
Therefore, Phoenix simply gives you more fat burning bang for your buck.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Let’s find out why.
- Do You Want Science-Backed Ingredients and Dosages?
- What Does Science Have to Say About LeanMode?
- What Does Science Have to Say About Phoenix?
- The Bottom Line on Legion Phoenix vs. Evlution LeanMode
Table of Contents
Do You Want Science-Backed Ingredients and Dosages?
These days everybody says their formulations are “backed by science,” but what does that mean, really?
Well, it boils down to this:
For a product to fully have science on its side, every ingredient must be proven effective in well-designed, well-executed, and peer-reviewed scientific research, and every dosage of every ingredient must conform to the dosages used in these studies (“clinically effective dosages”).
If a product doesn’t meet these simple criteria—if the majority of its ingredients haven’t been proven effective in high-quality research and if most of the dosages are below the clinically effective levels—then it’s not “backed by science,” and probably not worth buying.
Both Phoenix and LeanMode claim to have scientifically validated formulations, so let’s see how they compare in this regard.
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What Does Science Have to Say About LeanMode?
LeanMode contains five active ingredients:
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
- Green Coffee Bean Extract
- Garcinia Cambogia Extract
- Green Tea Leaf Extract
Let’s take a closer look at each.
500 Milligrams of Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a type of unsaturated fatty acid found in meats, poultry, dairy, and eggs (grass-fed varieties contain the most).
Research shows that CLA can activate certain physiological processes associated with fat burning, indicating that it should help speed up fat loss.
The problem, however, is that while CLA appears to work well in mice, studies show it’s very unreliable in humans. It works as often as it doesn’t, and in some cases, it’s even resulted in fat gain.
Furthermore, even when people do respond well to CLA, its effects are minimal. For example, in one study conducted by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, people who took CLA for seven months gained about 2.3% less body fat than people who took a placebo, amounting to about a quarter of a pound less total fat gain.
Not only is that a rather meaningless effect, it wasn’t even increased fat loss—it was just a reduction in fat gain.
As far as dosing goes, if we only look at the studies in which CLA worked, then the clinically effective dosage is 3.4 grams per day, with larger amounts not being more effective.
Therefore, the 500 mg of CLA in a serving of LeanMode is well below the amount needed to maybe sometimes in some people produce a very slight increase in weight loss.
500 Milligrams of Acetyl-L-Carnitine
L-carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid found mostly in meat and dairy products.
It serves several vital functions in the body, mostly related to the production of cellular energy. Thus, it’s not surprising that most of the L-carnitine in your body is found in your muscles, which have to be able to quickly generate a tremendous amount of energy.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is a form of L-carnitine that has gone through a chemical process known as “acetylation,” which allows it to pass the blood-brain barrier. ALCAR is often taken as a nootropic, as it’s been shown to reduce mental fatigue and improve cognition in the elderly.
While studies show that supplementing with certain forms of L-carnitine can reduce muscle damage and improve recovery, it’s also often touted as a fat loss aid because it’s involved in the physiological processes that result in fat burning.
Unfortunately, however, research shows that increasing your body’s L-carnitine stores to above-normal levels through supplementation doesn’t increase fat burning.
In other words, supplementing with L-carnitine isn’t going to help you lose fat faster unless you’re deficient in it, which is unlikely unless you’re elderly or don’t eat meat. And even then, it’s questionable if acetyl-L-carnitine would make a difference.
Another potential reason to include acetyl-L-carnitine in a fat burner is to help reduce mental fatigue while dieting, but the brain-boosting effects aren’t well researched in young people. Therefore, it may or may not be able to accomplish this for the vast majority of us who would use it for that purpose.
Since acetyl-L-carnitine hasn’t been proven to burn fat, there’s no clinically effective dosage. For cognitive benefits in the elderly, the clinically effective dosage is two grams per day.
Therefore, the 500 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine in a serving of LeanMode won’t help you lose fat and isn’t enough to enhance cognition or reduce mental fatigue.
500 Milligrams of Green Coffee Bean Extract
Green coffee bean extract is an substance derived from green coffee beans, which contain high amounts of the compound chlorogenic acid.
Chlorogenic acid is a chemical that can reduce blood sugar and reduce the body’s ability to absorb glucose, which explains why research shows that green coffee bean extract can improve markers of blood vessel function and at least temporarily lower blood pressure in people with prehypertension (high-ish blood pressure).
In terms of fat loss, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of the three best studies on green coffee bean extract and weight loss found that they all suffered from some major methodological no-no’s: small sample sizes, improper randomization, and crucial missing data (like how much people weighed before they started taking the supplement).
Another red flag is most of the studies have been funded by companies that manufacture green coffee bean extract (and yes, fake science is alive and well in the supplement space). This is why the authors of the analysis cited above concluded that many of the studies have a high risk of bias.
So, while it’s possible that green coffee bean extract can help you lose weight, the state of the literature shouldn’t inspire much optimism. More research is needed before we can honestly say that it’s a likely bet.
Since green coffee bean extract hasn’t been proven to reliably cause fat loss, there is no clinically effective dosage.
If we assume it does work though, the amount of green coffee bean extract used in studies showing positive results was standardized to provide a certain amount of chlorogenic acid. For weight loss, the “sweet spot” appears to be 400 to 500 mg of chlorogenic acid per day, and for lowering blood pressure, it’s at least 140 mg per day.
The chlorogenic acid content of the green coffee bean extract in LeanMode isn’t listed, so you don’t know exactly how much you’re getting.
That said, the best green coffee bean extracts on the market are no more than 50% chlorogenic acid, so based on the 500 mg of green coffee bean extract in a serving of LeanMode, the most chlorogenic acid it can provide is 250 mg.
Therefore, the 500 mg of green coffee bean extract in a serving of LeanMode may be enough to temporarily lower your blood pressure, but won’t help you lose fat faster.
500 Milligrams of Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia cambogia is a small fruit that has become one of the most popular fat loss supplements on the market.
The pitch for it goes like this:
Garcinia cambogia contains the compound hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which blocks the enzyme ATP citrate lysase, which helps convert carbohydrate into body fat.
Therefore, garcinia could theoretically reduce fat gain, and animal studies back this theory up. For example, HCA has been shown to reliably reduce food intake and inhibit fat creation in mice.
Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out in human research, which has shown that Garcinia cambogia is more or less worthless for fat loss.
That said, there’s one study that garcinia peddlers love because it found overweight women who took it for 12 weeks lost about three pounds more than women that took a placebo. The results were so small and inconsistent, however, that it’s impossible to say that the supplement was responsible for the effects.
Since Garcinia cambogia hasn’t been shown to increase fat loss, there’s no clinically effective dosage. In the study cited just above, the women took 2.4 grams per day.
Therefore, the 500 mg of Garcinia cambogia in a serving of LeanMode won’t speed up fat loss.
250 Milligrams of Green Tea Leaf Extract
Green tea leaf extract is the supplemental form of the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
Many of the health benefits associated with green tea come from polyphenols found in the leaves, which are molecules that protect plants against radiation and various disease-causing microorganisms.
There are many types of polyphenols, and the green tea plant is particularly rich in the catechin variety, and in the most potent one in particular, epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG).
EGCG alone, it turns out, is responsible for most of the health benefits of tea, and that’s why research shows that green tea extract can accelerate fat loss, reduce inflammation, increase antioxidant capacity, reduce blood sugar, and may have anticancer properties.
Let’s zoom in on its fat loss properties.
Studies show that EGCG blocks the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase, which degrades the neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline. These neurotransmitters release fatty acids from fat cells for burning and increase metabolic rate, so by preventing them from being destroyed, EGCG can speed up fat loss.
Furthermore, green tea catechins have been shown to help reduce abdominal fat in particular.
The clinically effective dosage of green tea extract is based on its EGCG content, and clinically effect dosages of EGCG range from 50 to 1,000 mg per day, but 400 mg seems to be the lowest dose that reliably improves fat loss.
The 250 mg of green tea extract in LeanMode is listed as being at least 60% EGCG, which means it contains at least 150 mg of EGCG per serving.
Therefore, the amount of green tea leaf extract in a serving of LeanMode may offer some health benefits, but isn’t enough to significantly impact fat loss.
What Does Science Have to Say About Phoenix?
Phoenix contains nine active ingredients:
- Advantra Z Citrus Aurantium Fruit Extract (6% Synephrine)
- Epigallocatechin Gallate (from Green Tea Extract)
- 5-HTP (Griffonia Simplicifolia) Seed Extract
- Salicin (White Willow) Bark Extract
- Forskolin (Coleus Forskohlii)
- Hordenine HCL (N, N-dimethyl-tyramine)
And here’s how the dosages break down per serving:
834 Milligrams of Advantra Z
Advantra Z, also known as Citrus aurantium fruit extract, is an extract of the bitter orange fruit, which contains the compound synephrine.
Synephrine is a natural chemical similar in structure and function to but less potent than ephedrine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
This is why studies show synephrine increases both basal metabolic rate and lipolysis, inhibits the activity of certain types of fat cell receptors that prevent fat mobilization, and increases the thermic effect of food (the “energy cost” of metabolizing food).
For example, in one study conducted by scientists at Creighton University Medical Center, researchers found that taking synephrine alone increased metabolic rate by 65 calories after 75 minutes, and adding two other natural compounds—naringin and hesperidin (also in Phoenix)—increased that number to a rather impressive 183 calories.
Furthermore, research shows that synephrine works synergistically with caffeine to enhance both caffeine’s and its own fat loss properties.
Synephrine is generally considered to be an appetite suppressant as well because anything that has the ability to increase catecholamine activity can also suppress hunger between meals (a component of the fight or flight response).
Clinically effective dosages of synephrine range from 25 to 50 mg per day, and a serving of Phoenix contains 834 mg of Advantra Z with 6% synephrine, providing 50 mg of synephrine.
Therefore, the 50 mg of synephrine in a serving of Phoenix is enough to safely increase metabolic rate and speed up fat loss.
600 Milligrams of Naringin
Naringin is a type of flavonoid found mostly in grapefruits, oranges, and the skin of tomatoes.
Flavonoids are colorful antioxidants produced by plants to attract pollinator animals and protect against disease and UV rays.
Research shows that naringin stimulates the production the hormone adiponectin, which is involved in the breakdown of fat cells, and activates a type of receptor in fat cells that regulates fat mobilization (the PPARα receptor).
Studies have also found that naringin works synergistically with synephrine and hesperidin, also found in the same types of fruits, to further accelerate basal metabolic rate.
The clinically effective dosage of naringin, when used in conjunction with synephrine and hesperidin, is 600 mg per day.
Therefore, the 600 mg of naringin in a serving of Phoenix is enough to increase metabolic rate and speed up fat loss, and especially because it’s paired with proper dosages of both synephrine and hesperidin.
400 Milligrams of Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)
As you know, epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) is a catechin found mostly in green tea that blocks the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase, which degrades adrenaline and noradrenaline.
We recall that these neurotransmitters release fatty acids from fat cells for burning and increase metabolic rate, so by preventing them from being destroyed, EGCG can speed up fat loss.
Furthermore, green tea catechins have been shown to help reduce abdominal fat in particular.
EGCG also increases the effectiveness of another ingredient in Phoenix, 5-HTP. 5-HTP must travel to the brain and be converted into serotonin to work, and EGCG prevents it from being converted in the blood, which would confer no benefits.
Clinically effective dosages of EGCG range from 50 to 1,000 mg per day, but 400 mg seems to be the lowest dose that reliably improves fat loss.
Therefore, the 400 mg of EGCG in a serving of Phoenix is enough to speed up fat loss and enhance the effectiveness of 5-HTP.
150 Milligrams of 5-HTP
5-HTP is a compound involved in the metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in foods like milk, meat, potatoes, pumpkin, and various greens. 5-HTP is converted into serotonin in the brain, which is one of the principal neurotransmitters involved in feelings of happiness.
5-HTP is often taken instead of L-tryptophan as it can cross the blood-brain barrier (whereas L-tryptophan can’t), and it’s considered safer than oral serotonin supplements, which can cause heart disease in rats.
Research shows that, when taken with food, 5-HTP increases feelings of fullness and can help control food intake. Furthermore, studies have shown that 5-HTP can help reduce cravings for carbohydrates in particular.
Clinically effective dosages of 5-HTP range from 150 to 500 mg.
We intentionally chose the low end of this range for Phoenix because of the inclusion of hordenine, which magnifies 5-HTP’s effects by increasing the activity of serotonin in the brain.
Therefore, the 150 mg of 5-HTP in a serving of Phoenix is enough to reliably raise serotonin levels in the brain and increase feelings of satiety, which can help reduce appetite and cravings.
150 Milligrams of L-Tyrosine
L-tyrosine is an amino acid found in many high-protein foods such as poultry, fish, dairy products, and nuts.
As a supplement, it can reduce stress and improve mood and cognitive function, but only seems to confer these benefits during times of extreme stress such as prolonged cold or altitude exposure. It hasn’t been proven to do the same under normal conditions.
While unlikely, it’s possible that chronic stress, like low-calorie dieting and intense exercise, could deplete L-tyrosine levels over time. Studies on mice, for example, show that chronic stress can lower L-tyrosine levels, and that supplementing with L-tyrosine reverses these effects.
We included L-tyrosine in Phoenix in case this does indeed happen in humans. In other words, the L-tyrosine in Phoenix doesn’t guarantee any benefits, but it does guarantee you won’t develop a tyrosine deficiency while dieting.
Therefore, the 150 mg of L-tyrosine in a serving of Phoenix isn’t enough to reduce stress or improve cognition, but is enough to prevent an L-tyrosine deficiency while dieting, which is why it’s there.
120 Milligrams of Salicin
Salicin is an anti-inflammatory agent found in foods like berries, olives, and mushrooms, as well as the bark of the white willow tree.
Like aspirin, salicin is metabolized into salicylic acid in the body, which inhibits the production of prostaglandins. This, in turn, enhances the metabolic effects ephedrine and ephedrine-like compounds such as synephrine.
For example, aspirin combined with ephedrine causes 50% more fat loss in mice than ephedrine alone.
There aren’t many studies on salicin for this purpose, but it’s reasonable to assume it functions in much the same way as aspirin.
The clinically effective dosages of salicin range from 100 to 200 mg.
Therefore, the 120 mg of salicin in Phoenix is enough to amplify the effects of synephrine and further enhance fat loss.
100 Milligrams of Hesperidin
Like naringin, hesperidin is a type of flavonoid found in citrus fruits that can can reduce inflammation in blood vessels and decrease markers of cardiovascular disease.
Studies show that it also stimulates the production of adiponectin and activates the PPARa receptor in fat cells (like naringin). It works synergistically with synephrine and naringin to further raise basal metabolic rate, as well.
The clinically effective dosage of hesperidin, when used in conjunction with synephrine and naringin, is 100 mg per day.
Therefore, the 100 mg of hesperidin in a serving of Phoenix is enough to amplify the effects of synephrine and naringin and further increase metabolic rate, and thus speed up fat loss.
50 Milligrams of Forskolin
Forskolin is a molecule found in the Indian herb Coleus forskohlii, and it’s long been used in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine to treat heart and respiratory disorders.
Forskolin increases blood plasma and intracellular levels of the molecule cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate), which functions as an intracellular “message relayer” vital to various biochemical processes including the regulation of glycogen, sugar, and lipid metabolism.
cAMP and ATP—adenosine triphosphate, the most basic form of cellular energy in the body—interact in a very simple yet powerful way in the cell:
When ATP is high, it indicates a plentiful energy state and tells the body to store nutrients and build tissues, but when cAMP is high, it signifies a lack of ATP and thus tells the body to produce energy by burning fat reserves.
Forskolin influences this relationship by activating the enzyme adenylyl cyclase, which converts ATP to cAMP. This initiates ATP-producing processes in the body, resulting in energy expenditure and fat bruning.
This, in theory, should accelerate fat loss, and that’s exactly what has been seen in human research.
For example, in one study conducted by scientists at the University of Kansas, people who took 25 mg of forskolin twice per day for 12 weeks lost about two pounds more than people who took placebo.
The same study found that forskolin can raise testosterone levels as well. The effect was too small to make any noticeable physiological difference (about 17%), but hey, we’ll take it.
The clinically effective dosage of forskolin isn’t entirely clear at this point, but 25 to 50 mg of per day has been shown to be effective. We also know that forskolin’s effects are amplified by synephrine.
Therefore, the 50 mg of forskolin in a serving of Phoenix is enough to speed up fat loss (and especially considering it also contains synephrine).
25 Milligrams of Hordenine
Hordenine is a molecule produced naturally in the body and found in certain foods including barley, millet, and sorghum.
It inhibits the activity of the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which breaks down certain neurotransmitters related to fat burning, including adrenaline.
In this way, hordenine allows fat-burning chemicals to remain in your blood for longer periods, resulting in more fat mobilization.
Unfortunately, hordenine is currently under-researched and therefore we can’t say for sure how well it may or may not ultimately help with fat loss, but we’ve included it in Phoenix as a “non-essential” ingredient because we believe there’s enough evidence to justify the decision.
Hordenine isn’t used clinically, but the nonclinical effective dosage ranges from 25 to 75 mg per day.
Therefore, the 25 mg of hordenine in Phoenix is enough to enhance the fat-burning effects of adrenaline and possibly speed up fat loss.
The Bottom Line on Legion Phoenix vs. Evlution LeanMode
As far as fat burners go, you can do worse than LeanMode.
It doesn’t contain any stimulants or proprietary blends, so it won’t give you jitters or mess with your sleep and you know what you’re getting for your money.
LeanMode also contains one ingredient that’s been proven to accelerate fat loss (green tea leaf extract), but you should know that the dosage is too low to be effective. Unfortunately, LeanMode also contains four ingredients that either barely or don’t work (conjugated linoleic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, green coffee bean extract, and Garcinia cambogia).
Phoenix, on the other hand, contains nine ingredients that are backed by sound scientific research and included at clinically effective levels, and that together can speed up your metabolism and fat loss and reduce hunger and cravings.
So in the end, the choice is yours.
If you don’t put much faith in the scientific literature or feel particularly drawn to LeanMode for whatever reason, then it may be the better choice for you.
If you want a 100% natural fat-burner with scientifically proven ingredients and dosages and nothing else, though, then Phoenix is for you.