The Ephedra sinica plant (Ma-Huang) has been used in Chinese medicine for 5000 years. In 1887, the Ephedrine8 component alkaloid, the key ingredient in this diet, was first isolated from the plant1. In the 1990's, this Ephedrine component of the plant was confirmed to be one of the most effective weight loss supplements ever discovered30. Numerous studies were conducted, including a massive scale one on 200,000 people in Denmark, which was later confirmed to be statistically accurate in a follow up study done later in 20082. All reports of problems were stochastic in nature, and well within random deviation.
At about the same time, however, meth was a growing problem for government officials. Unfortunately, the host plant, Ephedra, was a key component in its production. In addition, many reported cases of problems with the Ephedra component were being reported, according to officials3. Keep in mind that Ephedra is not the same as Ephedrine. A lot of reported problems were indiscriminately mixing up the terms, causing confusion for millions. Some believe this was done as a means to manufacture consent6 to ban all Ephedra related substances for sake of controlling the Meth epidemic, a completely separate issue.
Then, unfortunately, the blanket ban did happened. The good and the bad were all illegal for much of the early 2000's. It wasn't until recent years that, Ephedrine itself became legal11 once again in all countries.
A lot of people confuse Ephedrine with Ephedra3 even today. Ephedrine is legal11, Ephedra is not (well, technically Ephedra Alkaloids are not26). The next time you talk to someone who claims to be an 'expert' on the matter, ask them if they know the difference. If they don't, they likely are mixing up the facts about the 2 medicines.
That said Ephedrine, is still a controlled medication, much like many other medication. But, it doesn't require a prescription, so from that standpoint, it's relatively safe. Typically, Ephedrine is sold as a decongestant in most pharmacies. However, much like any prescription medication, you should purchase it from within the country you live in, it can be a major hassle to get it across the border! Technically you can get it across, with enough paperwork and signatures, but for the average Joe, you are better off ordering Ephedrine from an on-line retailer within your own country. In addition, the seller requires licenses to ship across the border, and if they don't have them, your order will get confiscated10.
One quirky thing is, retailers and on-line sellers of the product still can't advertise it for weight loss (in Canada at least). I suppose that comes with their license. Luckily, I don't sell the product! So, I can tell you about it, but the stores can't! This is a huge reason why you probably haven't heard much about this diet. Ask any retailer, I am not making this up.
This is also why if you go to an on-line retailer, or any store that sells it, you may not even see Ephedrine listed as a weight loss supplement, you might have to search for it by name to find it listed in some 'other' category. When you find it, the product itself doesn't even say what it's for on it!! Have you ever heard of such nonsense?!
This law is hopefully going to change soon, the reason it exists is all a fiasco of politics, at it's root.
Ever wonder why, despite the proven effectiveness of laser eyer surgery, that so many people who can get it, don't? I have personally had this operation done over a decade ago and consider it the wisest investment in my life.
Let's say contact lenses cost you $200/year. Some of you will say 'oh, well, my health care provider covers this for free, no point in me getting it done'.. but let's be honest, you are still paying this much every year, directly or not. You either pay premiums into this plan, or your job pays you less than you could make if they weren't covering this health benefit for you. One way or another, you are paying for it, face it.
Now, I see laser eye surgery as low as $1200, or even less sometimes. This means that in 5-6 years, if you stopped purchasing contacts, directly or indirectly, you would be able to pay for this surgery, and, be completely independent from eye care, for life.
Suppose you were to wear contacts for 50 years of your life. That is 50 X $200 = $10,000 saved, minus the $1200 you paid for the surgery.. less money in the eye care industry's hands! Some corporate heads and eye doctors are better off, but you certainly are not!
Now ask yourself. From a financial standpoint, do you think the health and exercise industry really wants you to be skinny? Once you are looking your best, do you think you're going to spend as much as you had when you were trying to lose the weight?
Tin Foil Hatting
It might be tin foil hatting, but to a certain degree, I do believe the corporations are less interested in you being totally healthy, and more focussed on how to make as much money out of you as they can in the process. I mean, as long as they provide some benefit to you, like the contact lenses do, you are paying them to improve your health.
The only problem is, it's a crappy deal.. for you!
Exercise equipment, health supplements, diet programs.. it's a multi-billion dollar industry! So many people make a career out of it, can you blame them?
So, from a corporate perspective, the best diet supplement, Ephedrine, coupled with coffee, is like laser eye surgery. It will break your dependency on the industry, or at least give you a better idea on how to better spend your money in it. That said, there are a few other supplements I've found to have scientific merit too, but for the most part, they are highly specialized.
Another reason why Ephedrine is not popularized is its close association with Methamphetamines9, aka Crystal Meth. While it's parent product, Ephedra is used in the production of this dangerous drug, Ephedrine is not. Of course, some folks will spread a lot of misinformation about this, as a scare tactic! I suspect the media wants you to think it's a dangerous drug, even though it is not, so that that media outlet can sell more of its sponsor's 'Ab-monsters'! Use your common sense.. remember how they would scare you with laser eye surgery a decade ago? They don't even try with that one any more! Or, maybe I need to take off my tin foil on this theory..
Another popular misconceptions that certain types like to spread around is the inherent health risks of Ephedrine. It can cause heart attacks and stroke2. This is in fact true, but, what they fail to mention one tiny detail about it.. so does exercising!
Please understand what selection bias7 is, before you judge whether the the media has strong evidence there are risks. Some news reports contradict massive2 studies done by people who are, how shall I say, a little smarter than your average news reporter.
See, the thermogenic effect of Ephedrine30 increases your heart rate and body temperature. This would be like a highly unhealthy person jogging, or even a healthy person going for a jog in blistering heat. Lots of supplements cause health risks in those conditions!
Of course, more people die from being obese and over exerting themselves, than Ephedrine. This, of course, is not something you will hear much about in this debate. Thousands of people can die every year from heart disease, but if a few people die from taking a supplement (they were not following directions in the first place).. it's front page news! Weird how that is eh?
The original Ephedrine tablets were 30mg doses when the EC stack was first tested. Your body can handle 2 30mg tablets per day and safely lose weight. If you look at older news articles, you will see Ephedrine was banned starting in 2004.
When it was re-introduced in, the pills were regulated to now be 8mg each. Though the original problem with heart attacks stemmed from the fact people took excessive doses or failed to follow the instructions (ie, jogging in blistering heat, despite the thermogenic effect30). The idea of reducing the dosage to 8mg was done to help make it more difficult for people to also 'accidentally' ingest more than was expected. This could be the main reason why the FDA thought it safe again, much harder to screw it up. With the Lazy Coffee Diet, you may have noticed that I have taken full advantage of the newer small tablets. They are calibrated perfectly to balance with exactly 1 cup of coffee. You need a 10:1 Caffeine to Ephedrine ratio28 in each dose, and a cup of coffee happens to be in that range. I cannot believe no one has done this before!