We recently reviewed the complete nutrition range. The problem with this was simply that the range was so extensive that we couldn’t cover it in a single article (without droning on!), so we’re going to look at a few of the product lines in a little more detail than we have previously. This begins with tone: the “general health” product line that includes 2 main products, ‘tone gold’ and ‘tone fusion’. We will discuss these in their own right, as the opinions expressed in our previous article were specific to the protein powder, pre-workout and cleanse products.
The tone range is designed to appeal to those who simply want an improved figure – this is obvious from the naming, marketing and ingredients. These products claim to target stubborn bodyfat and assist in the weight loss process. We will review the two products individually, but also consider the possible interactions between the two and offer our opinion on how tone may or may not affect the weight loss process.
0 out of 5: expensive, worse-quality fish oil capsules
Tone gold is billed as the perfect accompaniment to weight loss, including a variety of ingredients that do have some scientific backing. These are primarily omega oils (3 and 7), CLA and flax seed oil. The general aim of these ingredients is to improve the fat profile of the body – this reduces a number of metabolic problems such as the development of excessive blood fats (hyperlipidemia), diabetes (type-II) and various smaller worries.
The problem with this supplement, however, is that it is a glorified approach to fish oil. The active ingredients in the product are Omega oils – 3 and 7 – whilst omega 7 is already produced within the body and does not need to be consumed in the diet. The omega 3 is an incredibly important compound that many of us are deficient in or could benefit from. This is definitely an ingredient that adds to the effect of the product, but it does not really justify the $50 price tag: omega 3 fish oils can be consumed in a variety of forms, most notably cod liver oil which contains an amazing combination of ingredients.
Cod liver oil is a mixture of Omega 3 fish oils, krill oil and vitamins A and D. By contrast, tone gold is a mixture of fish oil, flax seed and CLA (whilst Omega-7 sources are included, these are almost entirely irrelevant as they can be synthesised in the body). Fish oil and flax seed oil are both sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but the inclusion of flax seed oil makes no sense! Flax seed is a combination of ALA omega-3s and Omega-6 fatty acids. The problems with this are, firstly, that ALA is the worst form of Omega-3 and can easily be made from the superior long-chain acids found in Fish oil. Additionally, the inclusion of extra Omega-6 oils in the supplement adds no value as it is a pro-inflammatory compound and is already too concentrated in most people’s diets!
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is another form of health fat, generally found in meat and dairy products, and often considered to be the best forms of animal-derived fats after fish oils. However, once again this is a poor quality ingredient and does not seem to have any serious benefits on health or weight loss. Whilst Complete nutrition claims that these are some of the effects of CLA, the science shows no considerable human effects, except for the increase in inflammation associated with reductions in adiponectin. As with flax seed oil, we’re unsure as to why this ingredient has been added!
Overall, tone gold strikes us as an expensive and unnecessarily-complicated attempt at improving fish oil. In reality, it is actually less likely to be effective than cod liver oil capsules despite being around 500% the cost. We can’t understand why this product exists in the first place, nevermind why it has been put to market at an RRP of almost $50! This is utterly ridiculous and our previous positive reviews of complete nutrition’s product line seem to end with tone.
0 out of 5: contains anabolic steroids
The complete nutrition, tone: fusion product is actually incredibly typical of what we see in the market for fat burners and diet aids. The product claims to offer “7 key weight loss ingredients”, which we’ll discuss individually:
- Raspberry ketones
- Green coffee bean
- Green tea extract
- Medium-chain triglycerides
- Conjugated Linoleic acid
1. Raspberry ketones
Despite recent popularity, raspberry ketones are hilariously ineffective at causing weight loss in humans. These are not even derived from raspberries (the amount of raspberries necessary to produce ketones for supplementary doses is astronomical)  and are not able to be consumed in a large enough quantity to improve metabolism. The only studies that actually substantiate the effectiveness of raspberry ketones are on rats and require a huge quantity of ketones per kg, which make human supplementary doses as high as 50-75g per day . This is an unsustainable and huge dosage that complete nutrition’s capsules simply won’t provide. There are no ways to make these effective at present and the research clearly demonstrates that they are an ineffective ‘fad’.
2. Green coffee bean
Green coffee bean extract is another popular supplement ingredient whose effects have been drastically over-stated. The main positive effect of green coffee bean extract is the combination of chlorogenic acid and caffeine content: unsurprisingly, the metabolic effects of caffeine are the greatest contributor to its effects as a “fat burner”, with various antioxidant effects from chlorogenic acid. Caffeine has been shown to improve a variety of bodily functions, primarily metabolism – in the short term and only in hypertensive adults .
3. Green tea extract
As with raspberry ketones, green tea extract doesn’t really do much. The studies that do exist suggest that the main component – EGCG – is associated with some mild fat-burning effects. Mild may be an overstatement, given that it is necessary to consume around 50mg of the stuff in order to metabolise around 5g of fat . This means that the supplementary dose contained in Fusion would result in a daily loss of under 30g (based on the most generous estimates we can provide). This is simply not enough to justify the cost, and it would not work for those who are not already at a caloric surplus: 30g is an incredibly small amount and increases in “fidgeting” (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) can show greater improvements in fat loss over a week!
This ingredient is not spectacularly effective and our general advice is simple: drink more green tea – this includes a wide variety of benefits that the extract does not. The GAMA in green tea improves sleep quality and exercise recovery, improves satiety and is actually more likely to reduce bodyfat through these mechanisms than through EGCG.
4. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
Medium chain triglycerides are a form of fats that are found in high concentrations in oils such as palm oil, olive oil and palm kernel oil. They are generally thought to be the healthiest form of saturated fats and are “readily oxidised in the liver”, contributing to the reduction of fat deposits and the improved processing and removal of excessive calories. This means that they are likely to assist in the reduction of weight gain, but their effectiveness on “burning” fat is limited. Meta-analyses suggest that MCTs can also increase energy expenditure to a modest degree . They may have a positive effect but this seems to be limited – not to mention that a proper intake of MCTs is possible from simply consuming a proper diet.
L-carnitine is most effective through its contribution to the development of ALCAR, which can have huge health benefits to the effectiveness of the mitochondria in cells. The problem with this, however, is that L-carnitine can only have this effect for those who are deficient in bodily carnitines: those who are in healthy ranges will not feel any real fat-burning effects. Those who are already deficient should seek dietary and supplementary interventions, as Carnitine/ALCAR deficiency can increase the risk of degenerative brain diseases during the aging process.
6. Conjugated linoleic acid
As discussed above, CLA is mostly over-rated. The scientific evidence on this product also suggests incredibly inconsistent and unimpressive returns: the main thing we can say about CLA is that it is safe and unlikely to cause any serious problems . This might be sufficient if the product was cheap or contained other, effective active ingredients. However, the other ingredients in Tone’s “fusion” pills are pretty innocuous and the price tag is substantial at $50. This means that “safe” is not enough to convince us of the value of Complete nutrition’s product.
We saved this for last because it’s unique among the ingredients of tone: fusion for two reasons. Firstly, the clinical research sugges8ts that it is profoundly effective in weight loss and fat loss particularly. The second reason that it is unique is rather more concerning: it is the only ingredient on this list that is actually an anabolic steroid. This may seem to be scaremongering but it is important to note that 7-keto-DHEA can have serious effects on the hormonal balance of an individual’s body in the long term, so much so that it is considered to be a banned substance by WADA, the world anti doping agency. If you are an athlete, do not consume this product as it may result in positive drug test results.
This tarnishes any possible benefits that we might derive from tone: if you need to sell your dietary supplement on the basis of the inclusion of possibly-anabolic steroids, your dietary supplement probably sucks. Exogenous hormones can cause serious issues if not properly controlled and there is not sufficient research to determine what the effects of orally-ingesting these might be. The general trend for exogenous hormone consumption is the end-result of hepatotoxicity, or damage to the liver.
The tone range has changed our opinion of Complete nutrition: one of these products is a vastly-overpriced, but less effective, form of fish oil. The other is a mixture of several fad ingredients and a genuine anabolic steroid, which can cause endocrine damage, liver damage and/or result in a failed drugs test. The problem with the latter product is that it demonstrates something of a lack of concern for the safety and health of customers, as well as a general irresponsibility in terms of manufacturing and marketing. All of the other “7 key ingredients” are marketed very clearly, with 7-keto-DHEA being a hidden ingredient and the active ingredient!
In light of these poor business practices and the way that they effect the impact of the supplements on the body, we can’t recommend this product to anyone – Gold is less effective than your local pharmacy Cod liver oil and Fusion is a fusion of ineffective compounds with actual exogenous hormones. Despite our previous moderately-positive review of Complete nutrition products, the tone range scores a whopping 0/5!
 Beekwilder et al (2007): ‘Microbial production of natural raspberry ketone’. Biotechnology journal, 2(10), pp.1270-1279
 Wang, Meng and Zhang (2011): ‘Raspberry ketone protects rats fed high-fat diets against non-alcoholic steatohepatitis’. Journal of medicinal food, 15(5), pp.495-503
 Watanabe et al (2006): ‘The blood pressure lowering effect and safety of chlorogenic acid from green coffee bean extract in essential hypertension’. Clinical and experimental hypertension, 28(5), pp.439-449
 Hursel et al (2011): ‘The effects of catechins rich teas and caffeine on energy expenditure and fat oxidation: a meta-analysis’. Obesity reviews, 12(7), pp.573-581
 St-onge and Jones (2002): ‘Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity’. Journal of nutrition, 132(3), pp.329-332
 Mazidi et al (2017): ‘Effects of conjugated linoleic acid supplementation on serum C-reactive protein: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials’. Cardiovascular therapeutics
 Delbeke et al (2002): ‘Prohormones and sport’. The journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 83(1), pp.245-251
Emily has spent the last 8 years comparing, reviewing and analyzing ingredients in the supplements industry. She has worked extensively with dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers to separate fact from fiction and help people achieve their fitness goals. In her free time she works and enjoys the outdoors with her husband and 2 children.