Becoming slim and trim can often be challenging and multi-faceted. Many people are willing to try any product, supplement, diet, “super foods”, etc. in an effort to effectively burn fat and trim down. Here are a few popular products claimed to be fat burners available on the market used by many individuals to lose body fat.
Fat Burning Supplements
Fact Most contain one or more of the following ingredients: HCA, ephedra, chitosan, pyruvate.
Claim Fat burning supplements are claimed to increase your metabolism, curb your appetite and hunger or bind to fat and prevent absorption from the GI tract.
Myth You can eat all your favorite junk foods and don’t have to exercise and still lose fat while taking a fat burning supplement.
Truth Some fat burners do work and some do not. It’s important to know that fat burners must be used along with healthy lifestyle choices such as a diet rich in whole unprocessed foods eaten in moderation as well as a good amount of exercise.
Tip Instead of spending money on “fat burning” supplements, consume plenty of hunger curbing and thermogenic (heat producing – which helps you more efficiently burn calories) foods and beverages such as good quality animal or plant based protein at each meal (size of palm of your hand), spicy and / or green vegetables, high fiber foods, ice water between meals and green tea.
3 Popular Fat Burning Supplements
Claim Recently, the raspberry ketone has generated public attention as a purported weight loss aid. It’s claimed that it aids in rapid weight loss. When ingested in high doses, it’s said to help increase production of adiponectin in the body. This chemical is known as a substance that is used to regulate a person’s metabolism and to decrease fat stores.
Fact A raspberry contains 200 molecules that contribute to its flavor. One of those, raspberry ketone, was singled out by food manufacturers many years ago for its potent smell. This ketone has been used to give the scent of berry scented soaps, bath products, candles, etc. It is found naturally in cranberries, blackberries and red raspberries in trace amounts. Around 2010, scientists noticed that raspberry ketones had a similar molecular structure to capsaicin, which is the chemical responsible for heat in chilli peppers. Preliminary studies suggested that capscain prevents weight gain. Only a handful of studies have shown significant weight loss in mice but none have been done on humans.
- Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Park KS. Planta Med. 2010 Oct;76(15):1654-8. Epub 2010 Apr 27. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20425690
Claim There is a compound found in this called chlorogenic acid which has a boosting effect on metabolism and weight loss.
Fact Green coffee beans have not been roasted. Coffee beans contain an antioxidant known as chlorogenic acids, which are believed to help decrease blood pressure and have weight loss benefits. When coffee beans are roasted, this acid content is greatly decreased. This extract is sold as a pill. Chlorogenic acids have not been widely studied as a weight loss supplement in humans. A review of studies showed that green coffee extract may have potential to help with weight loss. However, the documented effects on weight loss were small. There’s not enough evidence to say that the supplement is effective for weight loss.
- Igho, O, Rohini, T and Edzard, E. The Use of Green Coffee Extract as a weight Loss Supplement: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Gastroenterol Res Pract., 2011. .http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943088/
Claim HCA (hydroxycitric acid) is touted as a miracle weight loss supplement.
Facts Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit that contains HCA. Research has shown HCA to be effective in fat loss in rats. It blocks a portion of an enzyme called citrate lyase, which helps turn sugars and starches into fat. Block that enzyme and carbs get diverted into energy production rather than stored as body fat. HCA also seems to have an ability to help suppress appetite but not in the same ways stimulant based diet pills do. It increases the level of satiety from food making it easier to eat less. A large study published in 1988 in the Journal of American Medical Association concluded that HCA had no effect on human subjects. However, subsequent research has produced some very different conclusions and has convinced some previously skeptical people that HCA has real potential as a weight loss supplement.
Tip HCA derived from garcinia cambogia in supplements may be effective in aiding the reduction of body fat only when combined with a proper diet and exercise regime.
- Choose a preparation that’s at a minimum of 50% HCA and not composed wholly of calcium salts.
- Make sure potassium (K) and or magnesium (mg) is present. For Ca/K preparations used successfully and reported in peer reviewed publications, an effective dose was 1.5g three timed daily before meals. In 60% preparations, that approximates 0.9g of HCA prior to each meal three times daily.
- Take approximately 30-60 minutes before each meal.
1. Preuss, HG and Dallas Clouatre. Garcinia cambogia: How to optimize its effects. Available from: http://www.anh-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/garcinia-cambogia2.pdf
Myth / Claim Wear a belly burner belt while you work out to lose weight and burn more fat in your belly. Some products that vibrate claim that they burn fat just by wearing them without exercise.
Truth The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has made it clear that spot reduction is a myth. You can’t lose belly fat by using a vibrating belt gadget or performing countless crunches. In order to lose fat stores (belly, rear, back, thighs, etc.), you need to consume fewer calories then you burn or burn more calories than you consume. Thus, a nutrient dense whole food based diet coupled with exercise is the key.
Tip The best way to burn body fat is to do plenty of cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, aerobics or high intensity interval training coupled with lean body mass building exercises such as weight training or resistance training using the resistance of your own body weight such as push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges, etc. The truth is that when you work all the larger muscle groups, adding more mass to your muscles, you rev up your metabolism. Your muscles need more calories to maintain themselves. Therefore, more of the food you eat will be feeding your muscles instead of your trouble spots.