More than 2 billion people in the world are obese or overweight. So it’s no wonder that it seems like everyone is looking for the best way to burn fat and lose weight.
Even in 2020, traditional methods — namely, a healthy diet and lifestyle, including moderate exercise — remain the mainstay of effective weight loss strategies. There is no “magic pill” that will help you reach your goal weight, but there are some natural supplements that may help speed up the process.
Known as fat burners , these supplements increase the number of calories you burn each day, which increases the effectiveness of your diet and exercise routine, allowing you to lose weight over time.
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How Does A Fat Burner Work?
Supplements known as fat burners can help boost fat metabolism, which is the breakdown of dietary fat for energy. The effects of fat burners also include enhancing weight loss, preventing fat absorption, helping convert fat into energy during exercise, and creating long-term adaptations in the body that promote fat metabolism.
The term “fat burner” is actually a misnomer because fat is oxidized rather than burned. To effectively break down fat, the body needs oxygen. Oxidation is the process by which the body uses oxygen to convert fat into energy.
What are some common natural fat burners?
Caffeine is a stimulant that stimulates the central nervous system, which can promote the body’s metabolism. It increases the level of catecholamines in the blood, which increases the body’s metabolic rate. These chemicals transfer the fat stored in the fat cells to the tissues, where it is oxidized (converted into energy). Because caffeine increases your basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy your body uses at rest), it can speed up cellulite loss.
Note: Possible side effects of caffeine use include jitters, anxiety, and tremors. Doses of 15 mg/kg may start to cause nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, seizures and cerebral edema. Caffeine can make these adverse effects worse when combined with other stimulants.
Capsaicin is the most common of the capsaicinoid compounds. These compounds are found in red peppers (the Capsicum annuum variety) and give you a hot sensation when you eat them. Capsaicin can help with weight control by suppressing appetite, increasing satiety, and reducing the insulin response after eating. It also increases energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and boosts metabolism.
Note: Potential adverse effects of capsaicin use include gastrointestinal upset, increased serum insulin, and decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. Other than that, capsaicin supplementation appears to be relatively safe.
Carnitine compounds (including L-carnitine ) are composed of two amino acids ( lysine and methionine ). The body can produce carnitine, so it does not have to be obtained from the diet. Most cells in the body contain carnitine, which plays an important role in fat transport and oxidation.
Note: Carnitine supplements are generally safe if doses do not exceed 4 grams/day. Carnitine is well tolerated by the body in most cases, but carnitine can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and a “fishy” body odor. People with uremia may experience muscle weakness as a side effect, but this is rare. Another rare side effect is seizures in people with epilepsy.
The trivalent form of chromium (trivalent chromium) is an essential trace mineral that enhances the action of insulin. Studies have shown that chromium can increase lean muscle mass and promote cellulite loss. For adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding, the recommended chromium intake is 20-35 mcg/day (according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences).
Note: Studies have shown some possible side effects, including nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, constipation, loose stools, and hives (hives). In general, however, trivalent chromium appears to be well tolerated by humans. Hexavalent chromium, on the other hand, is toxic and is not used in food or dietary supplements.
5. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid that cannot be synthesized by the human body and can be obtained from foods such as beef, lamb and dairy products. Supplementation with CLA is thought to improve the body’s muscle and fat ratios. CLA can enhance insulin sensitivity, so as to achieve the above effect. Enhanced insulin sensitivity can promote the transfer of glucose and fatty acids from adipose tissue to muscle cells.
Note: Most adverse reactions from CLA are mild and usually involve gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, loose stools, constipation, and abdominal discomfort.
6. Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia cambogia is a fruit tree that grows in Asia, Africa, and the Polynesian islands. Its pulp and peel are rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Studies have shown that HCA can inhibit the conversion of sugar to fat. It also releases serotonin in the brain, which curbs appetite.
Note: Studies conducted with Garcinia Cambogia and HCA have shown that there may be mild side effects, including nausea, headache, gastrointestinal upset, and upper respiratory symptoms. The researchers also documented some cases of mania, possibly related to HCA’s effect on serotonin release. Symptoms of mania include restlessness, urgency to speak, and decreased need for sleep.
7. Green Tea
Green tea (and green tea extract ) can help boost metabolism and fat oxidation. The active ingredients in green tea that help with weight loss are caffeine (as mentioned above) and catechins. One of the main catechins is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a flavonoid.
Catechins are polyphenols with antioxidant activity. Studies show they may help reduce belly fat and triglycerides. Catechin can inhibit an enzyme that decomposes epinephrine and norepinephrine, so that catecholamines can transport fat, thereby increasing the basal metabolic rate.
Note: Green tea is consumed as a beverage and no adverse effects have been reported. However, caffeine-sensitive individuals should be cautious and consider naturally caffeine-free varieties. Green tea extract has shown mild to moderate side effects in clinical trials, including nausea, constipation, abdominal discomfort, and increased blood pressure.
There is growing evidence that green tea extracts may cause some liver damage. A study of 1021 postmenopausal women showed that those who consumed green tea extract over a 12-month period had significantly higher liver enzymes compared to women who took a placebo. Some women even had moderate or more severe liver function abnormalities.
In 2008, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) reviewed 34 case reports and animal studies to assess the safety of green tea products. According to USP, consumption of green tea products “approximately” caused seven cases of liver damage and “probably” caused 27 cases of liver damage. The USP also recommends that green tea extract be taken with food to minimize risk to the liver, as problems have been observed to be more likely when green tea extract is taken on an empty stomach.
8. Guanhua Bean Gum
Guanhua bean gum is a soluble dietary fiber that does not have the typical “fat burner” function, but it is helpful for weight control. It is extracted from the seeds of guacamole (Indian cluster bean). Guanhua bean gum can increase satiety and reduce the number of snacks between meals, thereby controlling appetite. A study on patients with type 2 diabetes showed that the subjects took 10 grams of Guanhua bean gum per day in addition to their usual diet, and their waist circumference shrunk significantly after 4 and 6 weeks.
Note: There are only a few reports (up to 30 g per day for up to 6 months) on the safety of the preparation. Stomach upset is the most common possible side effect. These include cramping, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, flatulence, and increased bowel movements.
Egg whites can be considered a natural fat burner because it helps boost your metabolism. A high-protein diet can help build muscle, especially when combined with strength training. Muscle “burns” more calories than fat, so it can slightly increase your metabolic rate. Protein also increases metabolism because more calories are used to digest protein than to digest fat or carbohydrates.
Studies have shown that consuming 0.5-1.0 grams of total protein per pound of body weight per day has the greatest benefit in promoting weight loss. Athletes and others who train regularly may need more protein because their goals often include building and maintaining more muscle.
Note: In the past, there have been concerns that a high-protein diet may have adverse effects on kidney function and bone health. However, there is no evidence that high protein intake in healthy people can cause kidney damage. However, people with kidney disease may benefit from a low-protein diet.
Yohimbe is a plant compound found in the bark of the western green tree yohimbe tree. It is primarily used as a natural way to deal with male sexual dysfunction. Due to its ability to increase catecholamine levels in the blood, it has been suggested to aid in fat loss. But clinical studies have shown that yohimbine has only minimal weight loss benefits.
CAUTION: There are significant safety concerns with yohimbine. A slight increase in blood pressure has been reported with 20 to 40 mg of yohimbine. But doses of 200 mg or higher may cause anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, heart attack and even death. Because possible side effects can be severe, yohimbine should only be used under the supervision of a physician.
How Should Fat Burners Be Taken?
If walking outside is part of your regular exercise program, it’s best to take a natural fat burner in the morning . It gives your metabolism a little boost to start the day. If you want to increase your fitness intensity and improve endurance, you should take it 30 minutes before exercising. But be careful if you’re exercising at night, as fat burners with stimulant properties may keep you from sleeping.
Given the possible side effects of fat burners, it is wise to consult a physician before starting a supplement, especially if one has a medical condition. Fat burning supplements may also interact with certain medications, which should also be mentioned in your doctor’s consultation.