We think PhD Nutrition have really got the doses wrong here. Lean Degree provides too much caffeine, and the main ingredient – Biter Orange Peel – is totally unproven as a fat burner. Instead of these useless ingredients, PhD could have just dosed the Cayenne Pepper properly! There’s no appetite suppressant either. All-in-all, we think PhD Lean Degree gets too much wrong. There are better fat burners out there, no doubt about it.
Our PhD Lean Degree Review
You’re probably all familiar with PhD Nutrition, especially if you’re from the UK. This brand absolutely dominate in bodybuilding supplement stores. PhD Nutrition products are now sold in most supermarkets, and their online sales are staggering. They built an amazing reputation in the UK; one based on the quality of their products.
Their testosterone supplement – Test Matrix – didn’t quite meet our criteria for a good quality testosterone booster. But their protein powders are very good, as are many of their other bodybuilding specific products.
So what does Lean Degree do?
Why is this fat burner so widely used in the UK?
The PhD Nutrition website doesn’t give us any details about what Lean Degree actually does, how it works, or which ingredients do what.
They just give us vague claims about Lean Degree being a “body sculpting formulation”, helping you to “maximize progress”.
These claims don’t really make any sense. A supplement cannot “sculpt” your body; you do that with training, rest, and diet.
A fat burner can only accelerate fat loss, minimize muscle loss, and boost athletic performance during times of serious caloric restriction.
But this doesn’t really matter so much though. So long as PhD Lean Degree actually helps us achieve the things that we want from fat burners – maximized muscle retention and maximized fat loss – then we’ll be happy.
So, does Lean Degree really work?
Will it cause side effects? Is PhD Lean Degree safe?
How does this fat burner compare to the best supplements on sale right now?
Find out by reading our full PhD Lean Degree review, which you can find below. We put the formula under the microscope, examining the ingredients, doses, combinations, and side effect risks. Have you used Lean Degree? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
PhD Lean Degree Formula
Take a look at the Lean Degree ingredients list:
Right away, we can tell we’re dealing with quite a powerful fat burner.
Not necessarily a good fat burner, but definitely a powerful one.
There are some serious good points to the Lean Degree formula.
It contains a decent serving of Green Coffee Bean Extract (although it is only a 19% extract). It provides a good dose of Tyrosine, and plenty of green tea extract. Taken together, these ingredients will keep you calm and focused during your training despite being sleep deprived and hungry; they will rapidly increase fat metabolism; and they will help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
However, there are serious flaws to this formula too.
The caffeine serving is far too large for our liking. We think everybody is likely to get side effects from 400mg of caffeine per day – perhaps quite serious side effects.
Bitter Orange Peel has absolutely no scientifically-validated effect on body composition. The studies have been done and they have found bitter orange peel, and its active ingredient Synephrine, to be completely unreliable and ineffective as a fat burner.
Phenylalanine has no fat burning properties at all.
ALA and Carnitine are not particularly powerful either.
Overall, PhD Lean Degree is not an ideal fat burner. We think if the manufacturer had chosen a better main ingredient and dosed the caffeine a bit lower, it would be far more competitive.
Let’s go through these points in a little more detail.
- Very good serving of green tea extract
- Tyrosine helps maintain focus while fatigued
- Decent serving of green coffee bean extract
There are definitely some strong selling points to PhD Lean Degree.
It contains some really good ingredients at very good doses. When consumed together, these ingredients can promote productive, focused training, support good blood sugar control, and promote rapid fat metabolism.
Take the Green Tea Extract for example.
Studies have found that green tea extract is able to dramatically increase fat oxidation. One trial even found that supplementation with a high-polyphenol, high-EGCG green tea extract was able to stimulate fat metabolism directly; that is, independently of exercise (source).
This is why EGCG-rich green eta extracts make for such a good fat burner stack ingredient. EGCG promotes fat loss via a completely unique mechanism. Unlike caffeine, which merely boosts energy and supports intense training, EGCG mobilizes fat directly. No other substance can really replace it!
Green Tea is sometimes dismissed as not powerful enough for hardcore bodybuilding supplements. We suggest that these people have never used it themselves, nor have they read the literature. It is a powerful natural fat burner with no known side effects.
PhD Lean Degree provides 500mg of Green Tea Extract per serving. That is an excellent serving by any standards.
To make things even better, PhD have used a 50% polyphenol extract; this means you’ll be getting a lot of fat-incinerating EGCG per serving.
- Bitter orange peel does nothing
- Phenylalanine does nothing
- Caffeine dose too large for most
- Cayenne dose absurdly low
Despite containing some great ingredients – and with generous servings – we think PhD Lean Degree is still worse than quite a few other fat burners currently on sale. The formula simply has too many serious flaws to qualify as a market-leading fat loss aid.
The main problem is the use of Bitter Orange Peel as a main ingredient.
Bitter Orange Peel, or its active ingredient Synephrine, are extremely common fat burner ingredients. They appear in one form or another in hundreds of fat burning supplements – some no longer on the market, many still on sale today.
The logic employed by manufacturers is that synephrine looks like ephedrine when you draw the molecule’s structure.
The problem with this reasoning is that something can look similar when drawn as a diagram and behave in a completely different way in the body.
Here is an example of two molecules that look similar on paper, but which behave very differently in the body:
Anyone who thinks that synephrine must behave like ephedrine because of structural similarities should definitely be warned about the differences between drinking water and hydrogen peroxide before they make a big mistake!
In any case, there is no good evidence that synephrine acts as the powerful fat burner it is made out to be.
Every study thus far presented as evidence for synephrine’s efficacy as a fat burner has either used multiple different substances at once (substances known to enhance fat loss), or they’ve been funded by shady supplement companies.
Until we see a robust, independent, non-industry funded study showing synephrine alone having a meaningful effect on fat metabolism, we will continue to think of this stuff as complete and utter garbage.
Unfortunately, PhD Lean Degree uses Bitter Orange Peel Powder as a main ingredient. Not only is this basic fruit powder low in synephrine anyway, but even if it were pure synephrine the effects would be non-existent.
PhD Lean Degree would be a much better supplement if the Orange Peel Powder was dropped and those milligrams given to a proper, proven fat burner like green coffee bean extract or cayenne extract.
This brings us neatly onto another problem with Lean Degree – the tiny Cayenne Pepper serving.
Cayenne pepper extract is a fantastic natural fat burner. It rapidly raises your internal body temperature, producing a heat response. It makes you sweat your breathing rate increases, your blood vessels dilate, and your heart rate increases. All of this costs a lot of calories.
Consuming capsaicin regularly throughout the day – be it from cayenne peppers, habanero extracts, or capsicum peppers – will push up your resting metabolic rate 24/7. This puts you in a relatively deeper caloric deficit without you having to drop more food from your diet.
However, to produce a sufficient heat response to make a difference to your physique over time, you need to use a large enough dose of capsaicin.
Lean Degree does not contain anywhere near enough capsaicin to make a difference to your physique, your rate of fat loss, or your resting caloric expenditure.
Each serving provides just 0.4mg of Cayenne Pepper Extract – A PATHETIC DOSE!
To give you some context, all good fat burners that use cayenne pepper extract provide 100-200mg per serving.
Some powerful thermogenic fat burners contain more than 200mg of chili extract.
The 0.4mg of Cayenne extract we get from Lean Degree is a joke. You will not feel any kind of burn from this dose, and your physique will not benefit form it either.
Lean Degree Side Effects – Is It Safe?
This is where the biggest problem with Lean Degree comes into play – the health risks.
Lean Degree is not a completely safe fat burner. It contains a very large dose of caffeine which will invariably cause side effects in the vast majority of users regardless of personal tolerance levels.
We can’t really overstate this – consuming 400mg of caffeine per day will have a physiological effect on you. Some of these physiological effects will be good; heightened focus, drive, and energy. But others will be bad.
The likely side effects of consuming this much caffeine per day include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of focus
These side effects can be quite severe at doses above 350mg per day.
To put that into context, an average Americano contains about 60-80mg of caffeine. So 400mg is like 5 Americanos.
That is a lot of caffeine no matter how you are or how much coffee you think you can handle.
Please take the time to calculate your existing caffeine intake and to appraise your tolerance levels. Can you really afford to start consuming an extra 400mg of caffeine per day? For 99% of you, we think the answer is going to be “no”.
You must be aware of the following facts while reading our fat burner reviews:
- This is not intended to be medical advice
- We are not medical doctors
You must do your own research carefully and consult multiple sources before deciding to use a fat burner. If you have any concerns at all – or any pre-existing conditions which may be relevant – it is vital that you talk to your GP, or at least a qualified medical professional. Do not take medical advice from strangers online, and do not believe everything that supplement manufacturers tell you!
If you want to avoid caffeine entirely, we recommend checking out our top rated stim-free fat burner -> click here.
Lean Degree Review Summary – Is It A Good Fat Burner?
We keep finding ourselves very disappointed with PhD Nutrition products. It seems to us like these guys can make a top quality protein powder, but when it comes to more specialist bodybuilding supplements, they just don’t have the knowledge required to make a market-leading stack.
We think there are far better fat burners on sale right now than PhD Lean Degree.
Its formula is heavily reliant on Bitter Orange Peel Powder. Not only is the supposed active ingredient in bitter orange peel totally unproven, but we aren’t even sure if we get all that much from Lean Degree – whole fruit powder is not particularly rich in synephrine.
For this reason, most fat burners use enriched extracts, not whole fruit powder.
In any case, the fact that Lean Degree uses a completely unproven substance as its main ingredient is a serious flaw.
We also get a ridiculously large dose of caffeine. This is bound to cause side effects in the vast majority of users.
There are more flaws in this formula. We’ve detailed them above. But the dangerous dose of caffeine and the use of bitter orange peel are enough to put us off this fat burner entirely.
If you want good value for money, we strongly recommend checking out a few different supplements. PhD Lean Degree just doesn’t cut it for us.