A large and growing percentage of the world’s population is overweight or obese. There are lots of reasons for this, including socioeconomics, an increased reliance on labor-saving devices, mechanized transport, and an abundance of calorie-dense food.
In short, people are eating more and moving less.
While some people are content to be overweight, others realize that excess body fat is unhealthy and not always attractive. Gyms are full of people trying to exercise the fat away, and most overweight people also make changes to what they eat by following low-calorie diets. Some take more extreme measures, such as undergoing weight-loss surgery.
While there is no miracle weight loss drug (yet!), a lot of dieters and exercisers also turn to supplements to help them lose weight faster and more easily. Protein powder, branched-chain amino acids, low-calorie meal replacement bars and drinks, and fiber supplements are all popular choices.
However, the most widely used weight loss supplements are fat burners.
How To Use Fat Burners
What Is A Fat Burner?
A fat burner is a dietary supplement designed to speed up weight loss and fat burning.
Although the ingredients vary from product to product, most contain herbs, spices, and naturally occurring compounds to help you reach your weight loss goal quicker and more easily.
Most fat burners come in capsule form and are designed to be taken several times a day.
Fat burners usually have a very subtle effect. After all, they are NOT medications or drugs. However, when you’re trying to lose weight and battling with things like low energy, hunger, and cravings, even a small boost can be very welcome.
Do Fat Burners Really Work?
Fat burners are nutritional supplements. Because they aren’t classed as drugs, they’re not regulated by the FDA, and any claims of effectiveness have yet to be proven. That said, most fat burners contain ingredients that have been studied and demonstrated to work or compounds used in traditional medicine for fat loss.
Depending on the formulation, a fat burner will have some or all of the following effects:
Eating less is part of losing weight, but it’s not always easy. Fat burners often contain fiber and other appetite suppressing ingredients. With less hunger and fewer cravings to contend with, you’ll find sticking to your diet easier, and that will lead to faster fat loss.
Ingredients like green tea, green coffee, and caffeine anhydrous help speed up your metabolism so that you burn more calories per day, even while you are at rest. On the downside, these stimulants can also cause insomnia, anxiety, and muscle tremors. The good news is that some fat burners are designated stimulant-free and are ideal for anyone who is overly sensitive to ingredients like caffeine.
Eating less can sometimes leave you feeling flat, tired, and demotivated. The ingredients in some far burners will help alleviate these symptoms.
Increased Insulin Sensitivity
High blood glucose levels and raised insulin can block fat burning and prime your body for fat storage. Ingredients like cinnamon and zinc increase insulin sensitivity which a) lowers blood glucose, b) increases your ability to metabolize sugar and carbs, and c) creates a better internal environment for fat burning.
A lot of dieters suffer from something called brain fog. This is especially problematic on very low-carb diets like keto. Brain fog can reduce workplace productivity and could even lead to accidents. Some supplements are designed to address this issue and increase mental acuity.
Rapid Weight Loss
Some fat burners cause rapid weight loss by ridding your body of excess water. Diuretic ingredients like dandelion extract increase urine output to reduce bloating. Water loss is not the same as fat loss, but if you feel bloated or simply want to lose water weight instead of fat, diuretic ingredients may be beneficial.
Benefits of Using Fat Burners
Even the most potent fat burner will only have a modest effect. That said, when you’re trying to lose weight, even a tiny boost can be very welcome.
Using a fat burner may make it easier to stick to your chosen diet, give you the energy you need to power through your day or work out harder or longer, and could enhance the mechanisms of fat burning.
Will using a fat burner help you lose weight if you don’t diet and exercise? Probably not. But they will give you a slight advantage and magnify your efforts. The harder you work, the more beneficial fat burners become.
However, if you were hoping to just pop a few capsules and lose weight without dieting or exercising, you’re going to be disappointed. Even the most powerful weight loss supplement can’t do that.
That said, a lot of people eat more healthily when they take fat burners. While this is due to a placebo effect, it should not be ignored. If taking a fat burner makes you more motivated to stick to your diet, they’re a very valuable supplement.
How to Use Fat Burners?
To get the most from your chosen fat burner, you should use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Taking more than the recommended dose will not produce better results and increases the risk of unwanted side effects.
That said, there are a few times during the day when fat burners are especially useful. Depending on your product, you may benefit from using fat burners at these times:
Your metabolism slows down while you sleep. Wake it up by taking a fat burner on rising. This may also give you a welcome energy boost before you head off to work or the gym.
Before a Workout
Most fat burners contain energizing ingredients. Take a capsule 15-30 minutes before exercise so you can train harder or longer than usual, burning more calories in the process.
Hunger usually strikes a few hours before you are due to eat. This can cause snacking and eating more when your mealtime finally rolls around. Taking a fat burner between meals may help ward off hunger. That’s especially true if your chosen product contains appetite suppressants such a konjac fiber.
Some fat burners contain way too much caffeine to be used at nighttime. Many contain as much caffeine as two large cups of coffee. However, if you buy a stim-free/nighttime fat burner, you may be able to take it at night so you burn more calories while you sleep and avoid the nighttime hunger pangs that could lead to midnight snacks.
When You Need Energy
Low energy levels can soon lead to unplanned snacks. After all, when we feel tired, a lot of us turn so sugar for a boost. Avoid derailing your diet by taking a fat burner instead of an unplanned snack.
Dangers/Side Effects of Using Fat Burners
Fat burners are mostly safe to use. However, taking more than recommended amount and sensitivities to some of the ingredients could cause the following side effects…
Anxiety, Insomnia, Tremors, and Headaches
These side effects are invariably caused by caffeine. A standard cup of coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine. Some far burners contain as much as 300mg per serving.
If you know that a cup or two of strong coffee gives you the jitters, you should avoid very high caffeine fat burners and seek out low or non-stim products instead.
Fibrous ingredients like Konjac root are effective appetite suppressants. Still, they can also cause stomach upsets because they aren’t very digestible and remain in your stomach for a long time.
Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
The caffeine in fat burners can cause your heart rate to speed up, which causes a corresponding increase in blood pressure. For this reason, people with high blood pressure and heart conditions should not use high-stim fat burners and should speak to their doctor before using this type of supplement.
Not all fat burners were created equal, and some are better than others. Avoid products that contain proprietary blends which disguise the exact ingredients and quantities. Instead, buy fat burners from reputable supplement companies that are clearly labeled, so you know exactly what you are taking.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to reduce your calorie intake and start exercising more. This will create a negative energy balance that your body will meet by burning stored body fat for fuel. If you are consuming more calories than your body needs, it won’t burn fat. This is the basis for all successful diet and workout plans.
However, you can make your diet and workout a little more effective and easier to live with by using a good-quality fat burner. No fat burner will magically melt fat or help you lose weight without exercise and diet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful.
Using a fat burner may help boost your energy, suppress your appetite, prevent cravings, sharpen your mind, and otherwise make sticking to your diet easier. Think of them as weight loss helpers. You still need to do the work, but a good fat burner means you’ll get better results from your efforts.
There are lots of different fat burner supplements to choose from, and some are better than others. Unfortunately, the supplement industry is largely unregulated, so it’s a case of buyer beware. That said, there are some excellent products around. Just don’t expect miracles; when it comes to weight loss and fat burning, diet and exercise are the foundations of your success.