4 Best Fat Burners
In our culture, losing weight is a big business. Americans spend more than $2 billion annually on weight loss pills. But do these “fat burners” work? And more importantly – are they safe?
And if they are safe – which ones are the best?
To better understand fat burners, let’s look at how they work, their composition, and some healthier and safer fat-burning alternatives.
What are fat burners?
Fat burners are dietary supplements that contain natural or artificial compounds and are designed to reduce fat mass.
Fat burners are usually used by people who:
- Have already tried to lose weight, but it was not successful, or weight loss through exercise and changing eating habits and lifestyle seemed too complicated;
- Does not want to change anything either in eating habits or in lifestyle, but wants to reduce his weight “quickly and effortlessly”;
- Believe in magic or think that the benefits outweigh the risks even if fat-burning supplements are unsafe.
How do fat burners work?
Despite its name, fat burners do not burn fat cells and under their influence, the fat does not melt into the air like smoke.
Fat burners do it differently:
- They speed up metabolism so that the body consumes (burns) more calories;
- They reduce the absorption of fats or carbohydrates, i.e. reduces the number of calories taken in;
- They reduce appetite – you eat less and thus take in fewer calories.
At least that’s how it goes in theory.
As you can see – it’s about the same calories again. Nothing new is revealed here – in order to lose weight, you have to either spend more energy (calories) or somehow get the body to absorb it less.
Read about energy balance and how our metabolism works HERE.
Do Fat Burners Work?
Some of the ingredients in fat burners are really associated with minor weight loss in studies. But most of these additives have not been tested in scientific studies.
To understand whether it is possible to reduce weight with fat burners and, if so, how much weight loss we can hope for – let’s look at all three, theoretically possible, scenarios for the operation of fat burners.
Speeding up the metabolism
Can metabolism be accelerated?
Yes, it is possible, and quite simply – by actively playing sports and increasing your muscle mass.
Can you speed up your metabolism (use more energy/calories) while sitting on the couch?
Yes, You can.
Theoretically, there are two possibilities:
1 Thermal effect of food (TEF). The idea is as follows – in order to process the food eaten, the body needs energy. In other words, the more you eat, the more energy you need to recycle what you eat. Unfortunately eating more usually means you also take in more calories. So it doesn’t work.
The second option is to eat foods for the processing of which the body consumes the most energy, for example, the tough meat of old cattle – 😊
The thermal effect of food does not have strict values, but the approximate amount of energy/calories consumed as a result of processing is:
- Proteins: 20-35% of the total energy contained in proteins;
- Carbohydrates: 5-15% of all energy contained in carbohydrates;
- Fat: ~ 5% of the total energy contained in fats.
Eating a balanced diet uses about 10 percent of the energy contained in the food ingested to process food, i.e., eating a medium-sized apple (~100 calories) – 10 calories are used to process the apple, but 90 for other needs of the body.
2 Thermogenesis, or the production of heat in your body.
Thermogenesis is part of the normal metabolic process – our bodies can function effectively in a very limited temperature range of +/- 36.6 °C, i.e. energy consumption can be increased by “forcing” the body to warm up or cool down, for example:
- Staying in a cold environment insufficiently dressed;
- Eating and drinking cold foods;
- Staying in a hot environment or using fat burners that increase body temperature and causes sweating.
However, “sitting half-naked in the snow”, eating frozen vegetables or often drinking something cold is neither healthy nor pleasant. Increased sweating is not exciting either 😊.
Reducing the absorption of fats and carbohydrates
The idea is simple – if fats and carbohydrates are not absorbed in the intestines, we will not be able to accumulate them in our body and we will simply remove them with faeces.
The molecules of fats and complex carbohydrates are too large to “pass” through the intestinal walls, so they need to be broken down. This work is done by enzymes.
Carbohydrate or fat blockers inhibit this process in one of two ways:
- Blocks enzymes/enzymes that are necessary to break down fats and/or compound carbohydrates (but they do not interfere with the absorption of simple carbohydrates – table sugar, sugars in fruits and milk products, sugar in sweetened drinks, etc.);
- Binds to carbohydrate or fat molecules to form compounds that the enzymes in the intestine are not able to break down.
Sounds pretty effective.
However, studies show that the effects of nutrient blockers in real life are negligible, for example:
- A study that studied a powerful carbohydrate blocker found that although it can inhibit 97% of enzymes, it did not allow only 7% of carbohydrates to be absorbed;
- Another study found that carbohydrate blockers do not allow only part of the carbohydrates ingested to be digested — blocking 50-65% of the enzymes needed to digest carbohydrates at best. Accordingly, absorption was blocked by even less than 7% of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate blockers, in addition to blocking the digestion of carbohydrates, can also affect some hormones that:
- Creates a feeling of hunger and satiety;
- Slows down the emptying of the stomach after eating.
Some animal studies have found that phytohaemagglutinin in carbohydrate blockers causes a significant decrease in food consumption. However, this effect lasts only a few days and when the use of carbohydrate blockers was stopped, the rats ate up to 50% more than before to compensate for the “shortage” and returned to their previous weight.
This effect has not been sufficiently studied in humans, but a recent study found that a concentrated, standardized bean extract reduces the feeling of hunger, possibly suppressing the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
In other words, more research is needed to be able to say something conclusively in this regard.
The most common fat burners ingredients
Please note that the ingredients listed in the table have in most cases been studied in combination with other substances, or have not been studied at all and there are no supportive clinical trials for this effect or are very few and have poor methodological quality, or have been conducted exclusively on animals.
In other words, the information provided on the effects of fat burner ingredients should be taken very critically.
African mango (Irvingia gabonensis)
Inhibits adipogenesis and reduces leptin levels.
Increases satiety and slows down the absorption of glucose.
Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium L.)
The active ingredient is synephrine. Increases energy consumption and lipolysis, and acts as a mild appetite suppressant.
Caffeine (as added caffeine or from guarana, cola nuts, yerba mates or other herbs)
Stimulates the central nervous system, and increases thermogenesis and oxidation of fats.
Increases lipolysis, and reduces the absorption and accumulation of fat.
Capsaicin and other capsaicinoids
Increases energy consumption and lipid oxidation, increases satiety and reduces energy consumption.
Increases the oxidation of fatty acids.
Binds dietary fats in the digestive tract.
Increases muscle mass, promote fat loss and reduces hunger levels and cravings for fat.
The active ingredient is Forskolin. Improves lipolysis and reduces appetite.
Increases lipolysis, reduces lipogenesis and promotes apoptosis in adipose tissue
Increases energy consumption and oxidation of fatty acids, suppress the differentiation of adipocytes and the accumulation of lipids
The active ingredient is hydroxycitric acid. Inhibits lipogenesis, and suppresses appetite.
Increases the feeling of satiety and prolongs the emptying time of the stomach.
Green coffee bean extract (Coffea arabica, Coffea canephora, Coffea robusta)
Inhibits fat accumulation, and modulates glucose metabolism.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) and green tea extract
Increases energy consumption and fat oxidation and reduces lipogenesis and fat absorption.
Acts as a filler in the intestines delaying the emptying of the stomach and increasing the feeling of satiety.
Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii)
Changes the intestinal microflora, affecting the extraction of nutrients and energy from food.
Increases lipolysis and energy consumption.
Changes lipid metabolism.
No direct exposure has been established, but there is an association between low vitamin D levels and obesity.
White beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Interferes with the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates, acting as a “starch blocker”.
Yohimbe (Pausinystalia yohimbe)
The active ingredient is Yohimbine. Has a hyperadrenergic effect (increases adrenaline levels).
Are fat burners safe?
As for the side effects, fat burners are considered safe. However, it should be taken into mind that fat burners are classified as dietary supplements. It means that they, like food, are automatically considered safe until proven otherwise.
In other words, the manufacturer does not need to prove their safety, as well as whether they work as stated by the manufacturer.
In fact, nutritionists have many objections to fat burners because they are not regulated and therefore contain/may contain questionable and even dangerous ingredients.
If you are considering taking these supplements, be sure to discuss them with your doctor first, as the components of fat burners can interact with medications and cause serious health problems.
The effectiveness of fat burner supplements is still questionable. Although they are often used to promote weight loss – there is no reliable evidence (clinical trials funded by independent sources) that they can effectively help reduce weight.
Side effects are and some are quite unpleasant.
Let’s start with thermogenic fat burners – those that promise to speed up metabolism.
Possible side effects include:
- Constipation, abdominal pain;
- Increase in blood pressure and acceleration of heart rate (a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases);
- Fat burners containing 400 mg of caffeine or more can cause palpitations, anxiety, headaches, anxiety and dizziness;
- Several studies have reported a link between this type of dietary supplement and severe intestinal inflammation, which in some cases was dangerous enough to require surgery;
- There are also reports of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), liver damage, and even liver failure in otherwise healthy adolescents and adults;
Carbohydrate blockers can also cause, let’s say so – inconvenience. The cause of side effects in most cases is the release of gases in the intestine, which leads to side effects such as:
These side effects are usually not severe and disappear with time.
People with diabetes who take insulin should consult a doctor before using carbohydrate blockers, as there is a possibility that they can cause a decrease in blood sugar.
More common side effects of appetite suppressants are:
- Dry mouth or change in taste;
- High blood pressure or acceleration of heart rate;
- Nausea and vomiting;
In rare cases, appetite suppressants can also cause liver damage.
Appetite suppressants can also interact with medications, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
Other side effects:
- Allergic reactions. One of the most common side effects of fat burners is an allergic reaction to the ingredients contained in them, which often manifests itself in the form of itching of the skin and a feeling of dryness in the mouth;
- Insomnia and other sleep problems. Natural fat burners such as caffeine and green tea extract are powerful stimulants. They help to maintain vigour and activity of the body and mind. This is good for fat burning, but it has a bad effect on the quality of sleep. Lack of sleep also affects the normal metabolism in the body;
- Fat burners affect appetite and metabolism. Although these changes are minor, they can lead to significant changes in behaviour – nervousness and mood swings.
Who should avoid fat burners?
Two factors should be considered here – your current state of health and the interaction of fat burners with the medications you take.
Fat burners should not be used by persons with:
- Cardiovascular problems;
- High blood pressure;
- Hepatic impairment;
- Hyperthyroidism (increased thyroid function);
- Increased sensitivity to caffeine or other stimulants;
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- If you drink alcohol often or smoke regularly.
4 best fat burners for weight loss
Different fat burners use different approaches. Their components vary, but the effect is negligible or non-existent.
However, there are 4, even very effective and proven in practice fat burners.
The importance of water for fat burning is often forgotten, but without enough water, fat burning is impossible.
In addition, water is easily accessible and much cheaper than dietary supplements. It also has no safety problems associated with many fat burner ingredients, has no side effects, and the effect on fat burning is 100% proven.
In addition to “burning” fat, water has other advantages:
- Water stimulates metabolism;
- Water helps suppress appetite;
- Water reduces calorie intake;
- Water “gives energy” during movement training.
Read more about the effects of water HERE.
2 Physical activity
Prolonged, low and medium-intensity physical activity, such as cardio workouts, is the best way to burn fat.
In addition – being physically active increases your muscle mass. This means that the amount of energy needed to maintain your body will also increase.
In other words – your body will consume more and more energy/calories/fat without doing anything, even while You are sleeping.
Read more about the importance of physical activity HERE.
3 Changing eating habits
Being overweight usually occurs when we eat too much, or more precisely if we consume more calories/energy than our body can spend.
Moreover, it is not about the amount eaten, but about what exactly we are eating.
- One chocolate candy contains about 60 calories;
- A woman of average height without excess weight needs about 1600 calories a day.
Eating 10 chocolate candies, you will get almost half the amount of energy you need, but you probably won’t feel full yet. You will continue to eat as usual (lunch, dinner, etc.). As a result, you will get much more calories than your body needs, which will be stored in reserve as fat.
But if you learn to eat in a balanced way – there will be no hunger, cravings for sweets and unhealthy snacks will decrease and you will most likely eat much fewer calories and the body will have nothing left to store.
Read more about healthy eating HERE.
Read about how nutrition affects mood HERE.
4 Healthy sleep
Sleep is very important because during it our body recovers, and the brain puts in order what we learned during the day.
The better we sleep, the better we feel.
How does it relate to fat burning?
The link between insufficient sleep and an increased risk of obesity has been conclusively proven, although the reason for this link is still not entirely clear.
Here are a few ways sleep can affect your weight:
- If you don’t get enough sleep, you will get tired faster and, therefore, most likely, you will move less and, therefore, spend less energy/calories;
- Lack of sleep can lead to an increase in appetite and a decrease in the feeling of fullness – and you will eat more again;
- Lack of sleep alters the functioning of your brain and can affect decision-making, making it difficult to choose healthy foods and the ability to give up unhealthy foods. This also applies to emotional overeating;
- Going to bed on time can help you avoid snacking late at night. I’m not talking about the myth that you shouldn’t eat after 18:00, but that staying awake for many means another extra meal;
- Large fluctuations in sleep patterns can lead to metabolic changes and reduce insulin sensitivity, contributing to an increase in blood sugar levels.
Read more about the duration of sleep we need and its quality HERE.
Some fat burners help, if not to reduce fat mass, then at least not to increase it significantly.
Their effect is negligible.
However, this is enough for manufacturers to claim that they are working 😊.
Fat burners reinforce bad habits because many think that using fat burners can effortlessly get rid of excess weight without changing anything in your dietary habits and lifestyle.
Eat a pill and the fat disappears by itself.
That, unfortunately, is not the case.
When slimming, 80 percent of success is ” prepared” in the kitchen, and the remaining 20 are heredity, lifestyle and level of physical activity.
Eat balanced and be healthy!
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Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive energy balance
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Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation
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Beneficial effects of green tea
Metabolic effects of caffeine in humans: lipid oxidation or futile cycling?
Caffeine, coffee, and appetite control
Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity
Conjugated linoleic acid: health implications and effects on body composition
Conjugated linoleic acid persistently increases total energy expenditure in AKR/J mice without increasing uncoupling protein gene expression
Safety profile of conjugated linoleic acid in a 12-month trial in obese humans
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Caffeine, coffee, and appetite control
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Caffeinated coffee does not acutely affect energy intake, appetite, or inflammation but prevents serum cortisol concentrations from falling in healthy men
Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories
Implications of altering the rate of carbohydrate absorption from the gastrointestinal tract
Sleep, circadian rhythm and body weight
Associations between sleep loss and increased risk of obesity and diabetes
Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite
The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain
Sleep and metabolism: an overview
Sleep duration and obesity among adults: a meta-analysis of prospective studies
Sleep restriction leads to increased activation of brain regions sensitive to food stimuli
Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance
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