Fat loss supplements (or fat burners) gained an extreme and wide spread among people lately, they are often thought of as a magical solution for obesity and excess body fat. But how do they act? Are they actually effective? Should you be consuming them? Know all this and more in this article.
Before we go on with this subject; it is critical to clear that there is no such a thing as a magical pill that would make your entire overweight problems go away. Fat loss pills are considered as an auxiliary to your proper nutrition and workout plan.
How do fat loss supplements work?
Fat loss supplements work in multiple ways; by preventing the absorption of fat from foods, reducing appetite (hence lowering food intake), enhancing fat utilization in the body as a source of energy in various ways or by thermogenics (that increase your metabolism rate). And by that; they contribute to weight loss.
To briefly simplify how these fat burners work:
- Fat anti-absorptive supplements: these supplements bind to fats in your food, and hence prevent their absorption or lower down it from the intestine. They are usually taken around meal time to do its work.
- Appetite suppressants: work on suppressing your hunger sensations and giving you more satiety feeling, which help reduce your overall food consumption and craving for fatty foods.
- Fat utilization enhancers: they speed up and promote the reliance of your body on fatty acids as source of energy for your body functions, and reduce carbohydrates usage; means using more of storage fat.
- Thermogenic nutritional supplements: increase your resting metabolic rate through stimulating you thyroid gland that is responsible for regulating your metabolic hormones.
Are they effective?
Some are relatively effective in reducing body fat. Legal products in the market could help you burn extra 5-10 % extra fat if they were combined with proper nutrition and workout program, whereas the illegal ones –even if they caused more weight loss- could be very dangerous to your health and perhaps lethal.
But the important question remains: are they healthy enough? Well, generally we do not recommend the types that prevent fat absorption from food, because if when you dispose dietary fats, you’re also losing the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) in it, besides; fat is necessary to your health.
The better types are those that boost metabolism and enhance the transportation and utilization of fatty acids in the body as source of energy, or by increasing the body caloric expenditure through metabolism, but even these later ones could have some undesirable side effects.
So, should you take fat loss supplement?
Gradual weight loss through sound nutrition and exercise with no doubt is the best way to go if you want to accomplish long-term body transformation. But using fat loss supplements might be needed for persons with stubborn obesity.
To set this clear again; you will NOT overcome obesity by pills alone no matter how efficient they are, because even if lost the weight initially, you’ll gain it back unless you fix your wrong lifestyle-habits.
It is always better to consult a doctor about the supplement you’re intending to use, since he/she would know if it counteracts a medication or health condition you might have.
How much should you take from them and when?
Every product has its own use instructions, so follow them and never exceed the maximum dosage. If the supplement contains caffeine, it is better to avoid it near sleeping time to avoid sleeplessness.
Some common fat burner supplement
The following aren’t brands, but rather some ingredients that are commonly used in fat-burning supplement products.
Pros: Besides being alertness stimulant, caffeine has been found to be a strong fat burner as well; it increases the rate of fatty acid metabolism and decrease carbohydrate metabolism. Taking caffeine before cardio training can increase fat burning and help you exercise longer due to late onset of fatigue, but no beneficial effect on anaerobic exercises.
Cons: There were no side effects of taking caffeine at moderation, but doses higher than 15 mg/kg bodyweight, can result in insomnia, hypertension, irritability, GI distress and nervousness. It also has dehydration effect and might lead to calcium depletion with prolonged high intake.
Carnitine is derived from an amino acid; it naturally plays a critical role in energy production since it is responsible for transporting fatty acids to cells mitochondria for oxidation (usage as energy).
Pros: Supplementation with carnitine has been found to increase muscle carnitine levels and enhance the rate at which your body uses fatty acids for energy. A study on L-carnitine demonstrated that it caused greater weight loss rate and no side effect reported, which makes it a powerful and good fat burner.
Other health benefits of carnitine are improved blood flow, raising good cholesterol and lowering the bad one.
Cons: Nothing reported.
Pros: Reports have shown that green tea extract intake is associated with increased weight loss due to diet-induced thermogenesis. One study also point that mixing it with caffeine has bigger results on weight loss, some researchers think that substances in green tea called catechin is responsible for green-tea’s fat burning effect.
Cons: No problems for healthy individuals, but it might cause trouble for ones with high blood pressure, kidney problems, stomach ulcers could, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Pros: DHEA is a hormone naturally produced by the adrenal glands; it is used for improving thinking skills in older people, reversing aging, enhance immune system and reduce depression. Some studies show that it might help boost metabolism and hence weight loss.
Cons: Nothing reported when used in 25-100 mg per day. 50 milligram per day delivered the benefits and is considered safe for short term use of several months.
Which fat loss supplement to take?
Regardless of the supplement brand, look at the active ingredients in it, make sure it’s what you want and chose the ones that meet your goals, appropriate price.
You can also benefit from using these natural fat-loss boosting means.
F. Hatfield. Fitness: The Complete Guide. Edition 8.6.6