Fat Burners & Dieting: What Works and What Doesn’t!

Last Updated on June 17, 2022

One of the reason fat burners sell so well is that they "burn fat". When you’re trying to lose fat as efficiently as possible, then a “fat burner” just sounds like a perfect addition to your regimen.
Well, it’s not that simple, though. No natural substance can just “burn fat” outright, regardless of what the ingredients are!

Actually, when you take a hard look at the science of fat loss, there are really four ways to appreciably speed it up:

1- Speeding up your basal metabolic rate

Your metabolic rate is a “count” of how much energy your body burns throughout the day, and the higher it goes, the faster you can lose weight. There are ways to manipulate those mechanisms through exercise & supplementation (discussed below).

2- Preventing hunger or cravings

A major reason even good diets fail is people just aren’t able to stick to them long enough. It’s just human nature to want to indulge in food after accidental or intentional deprivation. However, there are supplements known to reduce hunger and others are known to increase the sensation of fullness you get from a meal.

3- Getting adequate, quality sleeps

In fact, many studies have shown that sleep deprivation commonly leads to metabolic dysregulation and encourage overeating. Getting adequate, quality sleep is an important part of a healthy weight loss plan.

4- Enjoying the dieting experience

It’s not easy changing your body with diet, exercise, and supplementation. And no miracle pill alone is going to get you there. It takes hard work, and it takes time!
By making the process of dieting more enjoyable, it's easy to stick to the plan. Always make more healthy food choices.
Breakfast, for example, is very important because it jump-starts your metabolism. Your first meal of the day should include protein to reduce sugar cravings, and fiber to satiate your hunger.

So, What Makes a Good “Fat Burner”?

Thus, a good “fat burner” would increase our basal metabolic rate, would reduce hunger and cravings, and would increase satiety and feelings of overall well-being.

Let’s look at some natural ingredients often found in fat burners that can get the job done:

  • Caffeine: Caffeine helps you lose fat by simply increasing your body’s daily energy expenditure.
  • Synephrine: Synephrine is a chemical compound found in certain types of citrus fruits (particularly the bitter variety). It’s chemically similar to ephedrine and catecholamines (the chemicals adrenaline and noradrenaline, which cause the breakdown of fat cells), and although less potent than those two, it induces similar effects. Additionally, anything that has the ability to increase catecholamine activity can also suppress hunger between meals, and thus synephrine is generally considered to be an appetite suppressant.
  • Green Tea Extract: Research has shown that supplementation with green tea extract reduces total fat mass, accelerates exercise-induced fat loss, and can help reduce abdominal fat, in particular. The primary mechanism by which it accomplishes this is inhibiting an enzyme that degrades catecholamines, which are chemicals that mobilize fat stores to be burned for energy.
  • Green Coffee Bean Extract: Chlorogenic Acid found in green coffee beans is believed to be the main active ingredient that produces the weight loss effects. Green coffee beans are basically just unroasted coffee beans, and has been shown to reduce fat accumulation and insulin resistance, and may even reduce the absorption of glucose in obese people.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne peppers are a popular spice used in many different regional styles of cooking, and they have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne peppers, is what gives them their medicinal properties. The capsaicin in cayenne peppers has metabolism-boosting properties. Capsaicin may also help reduce your hunger, helping you eat less throughout the day.
  • Naringenin & Hesperidin: Naringenin and hesperidin are a type of molecule known as a flavonoid and are found in grapefruits, oranges, and the skin of tomatoes. Research shows that these two molecules stimulate the production of a hormone called adiponectin, which is involved in the breakdown of fat cells, and that it activates a type of receptor in fat cells that regulates fat mobilization. Hesperidin is also know for its ability to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation in blood vessels.
  • Carnitine: Carnitine is a compound that your body produces from the amino acids lysine and methionine, and it plays a vital role in the generation of cellular energy - it increases fat oxidation in the muscles. What this means is it appears to increase the rate at which muscle tissue burns fat for fuel instead of glycogen. Theoretically, this might result in additional fat loss while exercising.
  • CLA (conjugated linoleic acid): CLA is related to the omega-6 fatty acids, one of the two types of essential fatty acids that help the body increase metabolic rates, boost the immune system and keep cholesterol levels in check. Several studies found that CLA reduced body fat and preserved muscle tissue in overweight or obese people. CLA reduces body fat by increasing basal metabolic rates. In other words, it helps the body convert food more efficiently into energy.
  • 5-HTP: 5-HTP is a compound involved in the metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in foods like milk, meat, potatoes, pumpkin, and various greens. It’s converted into serotonin in the brain, which is one of the principal neurotransmitters involved in feelings of happiness. 5-HTP is used over L-tryptophan as it can cross the blood-brain barrier (whereas L-tryptophan can’t), and used preferentially over serotonin itself due to a greater safety profile with oral administration. Research shows that, when taken with food, 5-HTP increases feelings of fullness and thus helps you control your food intake.
  • Fiber: Soluble fiber, such as beta-glucan, glucomannan and psyllium, mixes with water to form a viscous, gel-like substance that slows down how fast the stomach releases digested food into the gut. Eating more soluble fiber can also help you lose belly fat and prevent belly fat gain.

The Bottom Line: It's Not Just a Fat Burner, It's a Lifestyle Change

A "fat burner" can only help in weight loss. Actually, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to change your behavior not just until you reach your goal weight, but for the months and years to follow. That’s because as soon as you stop your diet or “fat burner", you’re likely to gain back the pounds you worked so hard to shed. To be successful at weight loss, you need to make sustainable lifestyle changes, like making healthy food choices at almost every meal, and getting plenty of exercise every week.

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