Fat burners rank among the most sought after and yet the most controversial dietary supplements in the market. Many people turn to them with the hope that they will melt away all their unwanted body fat while others scoff at them as ineffective and even harmful.
Using fat burners, formulated with natural ingredients, as a part of your get-fit plans can help speed up the process by making you feel more energized and promoting fat oxidation. More than just weight loss, the right fat burners help you get fitter and healthier. Bodybuilders benefit from using fat burners, especially during the cutting phase.
The vast majority of us want to lose weight, get fit and become healthier. Making lifestyle changes that include a balanced diet, exercise and low-calorie intake will have long-term benefits. However, for most people, it is difficult to maintain this change over a period of time. So people turn to fat-burning dietary supplements which they believe would help them achieve their weight-loss goals more easily.
Dietary supplements for burning fat and losing weight comes in the form of pills, capsules, liquids, powders, and bars. Let’s have a look at what fat burners are and how they work.
What are Fat Burners?
These dietary supplements that help metabolize your body fat more effectively. They accelerate metabolism and promote energy expenditure. Depending on their formula, they work in different ways. They encourage the conversion of stored body fat into energy. Rather than using them just for weight loss, they are more effective as a part of a fitness regime. They help you achieve better results from your workouts in a shorter time period.
Manufacturers of these fat burning supplements claim that the ingredients present in their products enhance the process of fat burning. Some of these ingredients such as green tea and caffeine have scientific-based evidence of their weight loss promoting benefits, while many others touted by supplemental makers remain unproven.
How Does A Fat Burner Work?
There are three main ways in which fat burners work. Some raise the temperature inside the cell to burn fat. Some other supplements have components that make cells release fatty acids. Still, others work on the enzyme that controls the production of fat in the body. They boost metabolism and energy levels and curb appetite.
Many different ingredients may be used to make a fat burner. Green tea, green coffee extract, guarana and caffeine anhydrous are some of the most common components of such supplements.
Caffeine aids the increase of metabolism and uses fat as fuel in the body. This energy is released through physical activities and exercises. Stored fat burns by oxidation at the time of exercising. Belly fat, also called adipose tissue, has fatty acids. Caffeine breaks down these fatty acids that enter the bloodstream and is available as energy to the body.
Dietary fibers also rank among the main components of a fat burner. It aids in digestion and bowel movements. Yerba, mate, glucomannan, hoodia gordonii, and other herbs work as appetite suppressants. This may or may not be helpful for you depending upon your eating habits.
Coleus forskohlii, cayenne, pepper and capsaicin helps in burning the calories. Forskolii can decrease body fat and contribute to increase lean muscles. Some supplements may contain vitamins, zinc, and other ingredients to add to the overall health of the individual.
The market has a variety of fat burners on offer. Make sure to research well before deciding to buy one. Check the product label to see which all active ingredients are included. It is important to keep in mind that a fat burner supplement is not a magic pill or potion. It will work best alongside a regimen of proper diet and exercise.
The 5 Ways in Which Fat Burners Benefit Weight Loss
The goal of any weight loss course is to burn more calories than the quantity consumed. Fat burner supplements will help to achieve your weight loss goals sooner; increase energy levels resulting in longer workouts and a sculpted image. We have discussed the basic mechanism of fat burners in the above section. Now let’s dig a little deeper to understand these processes.
1. Thermogenesis Jump-Starts The Fat Loss Process
Fat burner supplements have ingredients that raise the core temperature in the cells, being sufficiently potent to burn calories the whole day. This process is called ‘thermogenesis’. Fat burner supplements have ingredients that cause a metabolic action producing more sweat resulting from the heat. It helps in decreasing the water content in the body.
This method jump-starts the fat loss process. Energy is created that benefits weight loss. A 2016 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, examined dietary supplements with various thermogenic ingredients to confirm that they increase resting metabolic rate (RMR). The researchers recorded that:
“Thermogenic supplements contain a combination of dietary ingredients such as caffeine, green tea extract, and various herbal extracts that have been shown to increase metabolism, decrease body fat, and increase markers of lipolysis.”
Summary: Fat burners have ingredients that induce thermogenesis, which raises the core temperature in cells to jump-start the fat loss process and burns more calories.
2. Thermogenesis Decreases Hunger Pangs
Another aspect of the thermogenesis induced by fat burners is that it works as an appetite suppressant by decreasing hunger pangs and the desire to snack in between meals. The supplement stimulates the central nervous system in this method. The fat burning supplement influences the basal metabolic rate (BMR) that determines the number of calories burned while resting or during physical activity.
Fat burner supplements containing capsaicin can initiate thermogenesis in the cells converting energy to heat. Caffeine/coffee increases the metabolic rate in obese individuals with better oxidation of fat for people who are not obese. Green tea also influences the rate of metabolism. Studies have also noted that capsaicin can reduce hunger pangs and curb appetite.
Summary: The thermogenic ingredients in fat burners, such as capsaicin, also helps support your weight loss efforts by reducing hunger pangs.
3. Fat Burners May Suppress Appetite
Hunger pangs and appetite are two different factors that seriously influence your fat loss efforts. The genuine feeling of hunger pangs, or better-termed hunger pains, occurs when the hormone ghrelin signals the body to release stomach acids for digestion. The hunger pain is felt when these stomach acids attack your stomach lining in the absence of food. This causes you to eat and satisfy your body’s needs. As mentioned above, fat burners help reduce hunger pangs and you can go for longer between meals and avoid snacking.
Appetite, on the other hand, is the ‘desire’ to eat. You may experience food cravings and the desire for specific foods such as ice cream, chocolate or chips, even if you are not hungry. In fact, you may have just eaten a large meal just an hour ago. Depending on the ingredient formula, some fat burners suppress these food cravings and appetite, thus helping you reduce your calorie intake.
Thus some fat burners may work as appetite suppressants. Glucomannan, a soluble fiber, can bring about weight reduction in people who are overweight. Stimulants like caffeine also have properties that suppress appetite. The soluble fiber in fat burners restricts calorie consumption.
Summary: Fat burners contain soluble fiber and stimulants like caffeine that suppress appetite and help with weight loss by reducing calorie intake.
4. Fat Burners May Promote Lipolysis
Lipolysis is the process wherein fats and lipids are broken down into fatty acids. This is essential to act on tissues with stored fat. Caffeine can influence the levels of epinephrine in the blood that may contribute to the breakdown of fat in the bloodstream. Capsaicin may also help in the lipolysis process.
Manufacturers of fat burner supplements add ingredients to increase energy levels in the consumer. Caffeine anhydrous, green coffee berry extract, green tea extract, and guarana are some of the stimulants in fat burners that promote lipolysis.
Caffeine causes dopamine to increase by inhibiting adenosine, a neurotransmitter. The individual feels alert and energetic because of the stimulant. It enhances endurance and the outcomes of exercises. Some supplement makers claim that their products give energy even though it does not contain stimulants. However, evidence to such effects is absent.
Summary: Ingredients, such as capsaicin in fat burners, promote lipolysis, the process by which fats and lipids are broken down into fatty acids.
5. Fat Burners May Block Receptors in Fat Cells
Yohimbine is extracted from the bark of a tree native to Africa, called Pausinystalia johimbe. In theory, Yohimbine blocks the receptors in fat cells leading to fat and weight loss.
This ingredient was studied in soccer players and was found to reduce body fat over a 3-week period. The study conducted by the Institute of Sports Medicine, Sports Academy, Belgrade, Serbia, and Montenegro investigated the effects of yohimbine supplementation on body composition and exercise performance.
20 top-level male soccer players were administered a placebo or a dose of 20 milligrams per day in two equal doses for 21 days. It was observed that the percentage of body fat decreased significantly in the group administered yohimbine. No side effects were reported by any of the users.
Summary: Fat burners include ingredients such as yohimbine which work by blocking receptors in fat cells, leading to fat loss.
Who Can Benefit From Using Fat Burners?
- All adult men may benefit from a fat burner supplement. It makes it easier for the consumer to lose weight.
- Bodybuilders, weightlifters and those desiring to have a fit body can benefit from these supplements. It helps in toning the muscles as bodybuilders and weightlifters consume a high nutrient diet.
- Fat burner supplements become beneficial to those who follow a bulk/cut training program.
- Testosterone levels and metabolism dips as age catches on. Weight gain in the absence of a diet change and exercise will become apparent. During this phase, a fat burner supplement will help in building lean muscles and staying in shape.
Some Factors To Consider Before Buying Fat Burners
It is important to research the brand and manufacturer of the fat-burning supplement. Make sure it is a recognized company and trusted product as many fake products have flooded the market as a result of the huge demand for such supplements. Consider these factors before deciding on which fat burner to buy and consume, to ensure its effectiveness and safety.
- List of Ingredients – Checking the list of ingredients is an important step in deciding which product to take to help in losing weight. The number of natural ingredients as compared to other components in the supplement should be carefully verified. You should look for natural ingredients such as green tea extract, caffeine, yohimbine, cayenne, pepper, black pepper and green coffee bean extracts, raspberry ketones, and/or garcinia cambogia in them.
- Caffeine content – While caffeine is among the best stimulants that is available, you should check the amount present in the product. You would not want to lie awake at night because your product is overloaded with caffeine.
- Avoid proprietary blends – The amounts of ingredients remain unknown if the brand has proprietary blends. Its best to avoid such brands, especially if you are stacking with other nootropic or bodybuilding dietary supplements.
- A consultation with a medical expert cannot be overemphasized. The risks involved and benefits from ingesting a fat burning dietary supplement have to be discussed with a medical provider, especially if you are taking any prescribed medications or have a medical condition.
- Drug Interactions – People with medical conditions should be extra cautious as these products can interact with other medications. According to a survey it was found that less than one-third of adults in the United States take advice from a medical practitioner on the use of fat burners.
5 Natural Ingredients that Promote Weight Loss
It is vital to know about some of the natural ingredients in fat burner supplements. Listed below are some of the most commonly used ones:
Caffeine, found commonly in coffee, cocoa beans, and green tea, is the most popular ingredient in fat-burning supplements. Whatever controversies may surround fat burners, there is no doubt that caffeine boosts metabolism and promotes fat burning.
Experimental studies have shown that caffeine can increase metabolism by up to 16% over a period of one or two hours. A study from the 1980s had noted that resting metabolic rate increased by 3-4% when study subjects were administered a dose of 100mg orally, over a time frame of 150 minutes. Their energy expenditure also increased when 100 mg of caffeine was given to them every 2 hours for a 12-hour period. This effect, however, seemed to be more evident in leaner people than the obese study subjects.
You can try drinking a few cups of coffee a day and see how it affects you. But keep in mind that your body may develop tolerance to these effects over the long term if you are a regular coffee drinker.
Summary: Caffeine intake can increase your metabolism and energy expenditure thus helping you burn more fat as fuel.
2. Protein Powders
A protein-rich diet is very advantageous for fat burning, but a balance is advisable. Protein can help in checking appetite and promote metabolism. It aids in preserving muscle mass.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity observed the effects of replacing carbs with protein in the fat-reduced diets of their obese study participants. The study conducted over a period of 6 months used 65 healthy, overweight and obese subjects. The researchers noted improvement in weight loss and also an increase in the proportion of subjects achieving significant weight loss.
The rise in the number of subjects adhering to low-fat diets in the weight reduction program and achieving notable weight loss was attributed to the freedom they had in choosing protein-rich and complex carbohydrate-rich foods which leads them to choose more lean meat and dairy products.
A 2015 study from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark investigated the relevance of increasing dietary protein content, while reducing carbohydrate intake and the significance of choosing between low GI (Glycemic Index) and high GI carbs for weight control.
932 obese families participated in this trial. Their diet varied in protein content and GI. The researcher observed that their participants not only lost weight, the combination of high protein and low glycemic index also proved to be effective in inhibiting weight regain. Positive changes were observed in their blood pressure, and blood lipid levels, as well as, reduction inflammation.
It’s important to keep in mind that protein supplements are not meal replacements. They should be included as part of a nutritious meal plan with complex carbs and healthy fats.
Summary: Increasing your protein intake while lowering carb intake has been found to promote weight loss. Consumption of adequate protein suppresses appetite, reduces food cravings and increases metabolism.
3. Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract not only gears up the rate of metabolism but also inhibits fat absorption. It has the capacity to break down fat and glucose speedily. Green tea extracts are rich in compounds that burn fat.
Consumption of fresh green tea compounds of catechin (270 to 1200mg per day) has indicated a reduction in body weight and fat. It is popularly believed among researchers that the green tea catechins affect the sympathetic nervous system and increases energy expenditure upscaling the oxidation of fat. Caffeine present in green tea along with catechins contributes to this effect.
The extract is obtained from the concentrated form of green tea. Its benefits can be reaped by consuming 250 mg to 500 mg of green tea a day, which is equivalent to 3 to 5 cups of green tea per day.
Summary: Green tea extracts are rich in compounds such as catechins and caffeine, both of which enhance fat burning.
4. Dietary Fiber
Soluble fiber makes one feel full and suppress appetite which, in turn, promotes the usage of stored up fat for energy. Studies have indicated that soluble fiber can control appetite. It increases the level of hormones that give the fullness feeling and reduce the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
A trial was undertaken to measure the metabolizable energy (ME) content of 9 diets with different amounts of fat and fiber. The diet varied in energy intake and dietary fiber. The trial was taken up by 17 volunteers for 2 weeks. Food intake was measured and urine and fees collected during a 5 day period. Combustible energy, protein, fat, total dietary fiber (TDF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) were calculated. ME and digestibility were calculated. It was observed that high fiber intake reduced fat and protein digestibility.
Soluble fibers may help by reducing the number of calories absorbed from food. As it may be difficult to obtain all the soluble fiber that is needed, it may be helpful to use a soluble fiber supplement.
Summary: Soluble fiber makes one feel full and suppress appetite which, in turn, promotes the usage of stored up fat for energy.
Yohimbine is an alkaloid obtained from the bark of an African tree called Pausinystalia Johimbe. It is known to act on the expansion of blood vessels, improving blood flow throughout the body.
Yohimbine frees up stores of adrenaline by blocking alpha 2 adrenergic receptors in the body. This provides a surge in energy levels which is used up as fuel. In this manner, more fat gets burned.
A study in 2006 focused on finding out the effects of yohimbine supplements on the body composition of professional soccer players. 20 athletes were given tablets that contained 20mg of yohimbine in 2 equal doses for 21 days. The placebo group ingested similar-looking pills that contained cellulose. Body fat percentage notedly reduced in the yohimbine group.
Fat mass was significantly lower than the placebo in the post supplementation examination. There were no side effects attributed to the use of this supplement. No changes in exercise performance indicators were noted between trials.
The study suggested that yohimbine was a suitable supplement for fat loss among elite athletes. More studies will help to regulate yohimbine as a supplement for fat burning.
Summary: Yohimbine, obtained from the bark of an African tree, enhances blood circulation and boosts energy levels by burning body fat.
Side Effects and Safety Profile of Fat Burners
Many myths about fat burners are doing the rounds, despite these studies. The fact is that most of the fat burner supplements have no side effects. However, they are not free from risks; they have just been exaggerated.
In a 2015 study from the MusclePharm Sports Science Institute, Denver, USA researchers attempted to verify the safety of multi-ingredient thermogenic supplements that are used for increasing energy expenditure and maximizing fat loss.
The study used 23 test subjects and some of them were given thermogenic supplements containing caffeine, green tea extract, and cayenne powder for a period of 28 days. The supplement was recorded as being safe for consumption as blood samples of test subjects were normal and no adverse side effects were noted throughout the trial period.
People suffering from heart ailments may feel stressed with the consumption of stimulants that are present in these supplements. It is best to consult your doctor before starting on a course. No exercise or physical activity can cause mood swings because of the caffeine in the product. The consumer should expend the rise in energy or it could make them aggressive. This can be avoided through daily exercises.
A consultation with a medical expert will help to prevent any kind of allergic reactions to the ingredients present in the fat burner supplement. People with a sensitive digestive system may experience stomach issues because of the presence of caffeine. It would be better to choose a supplement that does not contain caffeine.
Summary: Natural supplements for weight loss are usually safe and successful in reducing weight without the risk of addiction or adverse side effects, especially when combined with an active lifestyle and a healthy diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should You Take A Fat Burner?
Fat burners containing caffeine should be taken early in the day, rather than later in the day, so you do not have trouble falling asleep. Fat burner supplements that do not contain caffeine can be taken at any time. For the best results, it is best to follow the specifications given on the product label.
For How Long Should Fat Burners Be Taken?
An off-cycle after 8 to 12 weeks of intake would be good for the body. The body should not get used to the main ingredients as it will not be beneficial. Some bodybuilders reduce their off-cycle time period by many weeks.
Can Other Supplements Be Stacked With Fat Burners?
There should not be any issues in combining other supplements with fat burners. A protein powder or multivitamin supplement alongside a fat burner would not cause any adverse reactions. However, it is better to consult an experienced nutritionist or your physician to ensure no drug interactions occur.
Consuming a higher dose than what is recommended could cause side effects. A combination of fat burners may also result in undesirable reactions. It is advisable to reduce the number of coffee drinks while using a fat burner that contains caffeine.
Is Anxiety One Of The Side Effects Of A Fat Burner?
Fat burners may contain various stimulants which can cause anxiety when ingested in large doses. The quantity of each ingredient will be given in the label of the product, so check to see if you are overdosing on stimulants by stacking on other supplements or drinking too much coffee.
Is it Better to Take A Fat Burner or Protein Powder?
A 2012 study noted that a low protein diet increases the chance of regaining body weight. Lean chicken, fish, and plant-based protein contain fewer calories and can be added to the diet. A protein powder supplement helps in building muscles.
Choosing between the two depends on the health goals that have been set. Combining the two different supplements may prevent muscle loss while losing body fat.
The Final Note
Losing weight can be one of the toughest things to accomplish. It becomes more so for people who have busy lifestyles. A well-balanced diet and sufficient exercise constitute healthy living. But time is usually inadequate to do all the necessary things to reach the goal of losing weight.
Fortunately, fat burner supplements are formulated to give men the extra impetus in their pursuit of losing weight. With an extra dose of energy and other health benefits, it is a powerful tool for men to improve their health and lifestyle. Many people do not believe that a fat burner supplement will aid in losing weight, while others are of the idea that it will miraculously burn away all fat from their body.
The supplemental industry earns around $2.1 billion from manufacturing weight-loss dietary supplements. So there are plenty of people selling these supplements out there. You have to do your research before deciding on which brand to buy. How effective a fat burner is, depends on its formula and your fitness, as well as, diet routine.