How Do Fat Burners Work?
Lots of weight loss supplements make awesome claims, but how do you know they really work?
Each supplement uses a different mix of ingredients, but many include the same main active ingredients.
Here are some of the most common fat burner ingredients:
- Stimulants – Stimulants, such as anhydrous caffeine, green tea extract, guarana, and green coffee extract, are often the main ingredients in fat burners. These are included to keep you energized throughout the day.
- Appetite Suppressants – Appetite suppressants such as glucomannan, yerba mate, hoodia, and others are often included in weight loss formulas. These ingredients are added to help you fight hunger cravings which can disrupt your diet and add more calories to your diet than you actually need.
- Dietary Fiber – Dietary fiber is often added to weight loss pills to support healthy digestion and regulate bowel movements ( 2 ). Dietary fiber is very important for a healthy diet, and it can also go a long way in fat loss. Many people do not get enough fiber in their daily diet.
Other ingredients are included, but the ingredients listed above are some of the most commonly used and widely studied.
The most effective burners will contain a wide variety of weight loss aids, including those described above.
What are the benefits of a fat burner?
As the name suggests, fat burners are designed to help you lose weight and burn fat.
They are commonly used by dieters, athletes, and ordinary people.
Each product has a different formula with various active ingredients – but in general, each product attempts to target one or more of the following aspects of fat burning:
Thermogenesis is your body’s metabolic process in which calories are burned for heat ( 3 ).
Increased thermogenesis can increase the rate of calorie burning even during periods of rest. This can lead to increased weight loss in the long run.
A variety of ingredients are often added to thermogenic fat burners in an attempt to increase thermogenesis.
Forskolin can affect thermogenesis by activating cyclic AMP ( 6 ).
Caffeine and other stimulants can also help increase thermogenesis and metabolic rate ( 7 ).
Metabolism is our basic process for converting food into energy ( 8 ). Your metabolism has a big influence on caloric burns and therefore weight loss.
Some fat burners claim to increase metabolism.
Some fat burners, such as chili peppers, often contain ingredients that can boost metabolism in women ( 9 ).
Additionally, a compound in chili peppers called dihydrocapsiate can potentially increase the rate of resting metabolism by about 50 calories per day ( 10 ).
Caffeine and other stimulants can also have an impact on the metabolism.
More research is needed for more of these ingredients.
Lipolysis is the process of breaking down stored fat for use as energy ( 11 ). The process helps mobilize stored fat tissue, potentially leading to reduced body fat – when combined with exercise and calorie restriction.
Several ingredients in fat burners can contribute to lipolysis.
Capsaicin (cayenne pepper) also plays a role in lipolysis ( 14 ).
Other ingredients may play a role as well, but more evidence is limited.
Having more energy allows you to do more in a day, including more exercise.
Frequent exercise is beneficial for fat loss.
Many ingredients are used, but the most common are stimulants like caffeine, green tea extract, and green coffee berry extract.
Caffeine works by blocking a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which increases the release of dopamine and other energy-consuming neurotransmitters ( 15 ).
Caffeine doesn’t literally give you energy, but it does reduce the perception of exertion making it seem like you have more energy. This can lead to increased athletic performance ( 16 ).
Other ingredients like green tea extract work in a similar way because they contain caffeine.
Some stimulant-free ingredients claim to improve energy levels, but there is less evidence to support these claims.
Stimulants appear to be the most effective in improving energy levels.
Many fat burners also contain ingredients designed to suppress appetite. In theory, this makes it easier to eat a healthy diet and avoid high calorie snacks.
Several ingredients are used, but the most common are glucomannan, yerba mate, and hoodia gordonii.
Glucomannan is an ingredient often used in fat burners. One study has shown that this soluble fiber increased weight loss compared to diet alone ( 17 ).
It is important to note that these ingredients will not lead to fat loss on their own – you have to exercise and eat a healthy diet to see results.
Healthy eating and exercise remain the most important factors in weight loss ( 20 ). Fat burners won’t have much benefit if you don’t combine them with a healthy lifestyle.
Note: Results may vary and are not guaranteed.
Who Can Benefit From A Fat Burner?
Here are the groups of people who can benefit the most:
- Women of All Ages – Virtually all women who want to lose a few pounds of fat could benefit from taking a weight loss supplement. Designed to help burn fat fast, these simple supplements can help you achieve the results you were looking for. Note: Fat burners are not recommended for people under 18 unless recommended otherwise by a healthcare practitioner
- Recent mothers – If you were recently pregnant and now have a small child to care for, it can be very difficult to get back into shape. Not only do you have extra fat left over from your pregnancy, but you now have the full time responsibility of caring for a wonderful little human being. Adding a weight loss supplement to your diet can give you the edge you need to lose baby weight and achieve your fitness goals.
- Aging Women – As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down. It’s a natural process, but it’s harder to stay in shape as you get older. If you notice that your metabolism is slowing down, you may just need to add a pill to your diet to stay in shape.
How to use a fat burner?
Most weight loss supplements come in the form of capsules or tablets. Typically they are taken one at a time throughout the day, most often with 2-4 pills taken at intervals throughout the day.
As always, you should follow the dosage instructions on the product you are taking. Do not exceed the recommended dose.
In general, fat burners are designed for short term use. They are not meant to be taken daily for more than a few months. If you continue to take them after the recommended period, your body will get used to them and they will have no effect. It also increases the risk of negative side effects.
Also, keep in mind that any product containing stimulants should be taken earlier in the day, if possible, to avoid problems sleeping at night. Try to leave a solid 5 hour between your last pill and when you go to bed.
Can I use a fat burner with other supplements?
In general, it is advisable to use other supplements such as vitamins, protein powders, etc. in combination with weight loss pills. However, keep in mind that there are always risks associated with using different supplements at the same time. Talk to your doctor if you plan to take multiple supplements. Never take more than one type of fat burning supplement at the same time.
Additionally, you will want to keep an eye on your caffeine intake when taking stimulant-based weight loss supplements. Excessive consumption of caffeine can cause side effects. Since many fat burners contain caffeine and other stimulants, you should limit your intake of caffeinated coffee, tea, and soda while taking these supplements.
Are There Any Side Effects of a Fat Burner?
As with any supplement, there are potential side effects when using these products.
It is difficult to list all the potential side effects because everyone’s body is different and each product contains different ingredients.
However, here are some of the more common side effects of weight loss supplements:
Most fat burners contain stimulants such as caffeine. For this reason, these products can cause difficulty sleeping.
To avoid this, it is recommended that you do not take supplements containing stimulants later in the day.
Give 5-7 hours between your last pill and bedtime, and you shouldn’t have any problems sleeping.
Since these products contain stimulants and ingredients that can raise your body temperature, they can lead to dehydration.
To combat this, just make sure you drink enough water.
Warning: more serious side effects may occur if you take more than the recommended dose. Never take more than the recommended serving of any supplement.
As with all supplements featured on this site, we recommend that you speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Life can be difficult for a woman!
With responsibilities at home, with kids, with spouses, at work, and around the world, it can be difficult to find time to think, let alone lose weight.
Losing weight can be a difficult task, and finding products that can help can be almost impossible.
In general, women carry more body fat than men – it’s just the way the body is designed ( 21 ).
Women can also have a harder time shedding unwanted fat, especially around the stomach, hips, buttocks, and thighs – for a number of reasons.
For this reason, some women turn to supplements to help them lose those extra pounds.
But, as you may know, building the body of your dreams is not easy. It takes time, discipline, and a lot of hard work.
No magic pill can make you fit and sexy, but there are supplement ingredients that can definitely help you.
Fat burners are supplements designed to help you burn fat. Usually, they do this claiming to increase your metabolic rate, give you more energy, and reduce your appetite.
However, fat burners are meaningless and useless without proper nutrition and exercise.
Importance of diet and exercise
Fat burners and other weight loss products are designed to be used with diet and exercise.
In short, these are not magic pills that will make you lose weight without any effort on your part.
These supplements are advertised to help speed up your metabolism, which can increase the number of calories you burn daily. They are best used in conjunction with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Another aspect of weight loss supplements is the suppression of hunger.
Some supplements contain ingredients designed to make you feel fuller, helping you eat less. For some people, this can be just as important as an increase in metabolic rate.
Finally, most fat burners contain a stimulant, such as caffeine or green tea extract. These ingredients are added to give you energy for the day, which can result in a higher amount of calories being burned.