When it comes to losing weight and burning body fat, having a solid exercise and nutrition plan is key. Supplements, can help boost your results and get you to your goals faster, but they’re not going to help you melt body fat like butter overnight. Fat burners like all other supplements are just that, supplemental. They’re not meant to do the work for you, but simply help in the fat-burning process. This guide, will help you determine where fat burners have their place in your diet and nutrition plan, to boost your outcomes and get you to your goals.
In This Article You Will Learn
- What Is A Fat Burner?
- How Do Fat Burners Work?
- What Are The Best Fat Burners?
- Are Fat Burners Safe?
- How Should I Take A Fat Burner?
- How Much Body Fat Do Fat Burners Burn?
What Is A Fat Burner?
According to the journal Obesity the term, “fat burner” is used to describe
“A nutritional supplement that is designed or claimed to acutely increase fat metabolism or energy expenditure, impair fat absorption, increase weight loss, increase fat oxidation during exercise, or cause long-term adaptations that promote fat metabolism.” [R]
Although this definition describes what fat burners are, it doesn’t really define exactly how fat burners work.
How Do Fat Burners Work?
Fat burners have many different mechanism of action, or ways that they work physiologically in the body. Most clinically proven fat burning ingredients such as green tea, forskolin, and garcinia cambogia, help boost your metabolism, or the energy your body naturally burns at rest. This is also known as increasing your body’s thermal temperature, which is shown to boost the calorie-burning process. This is where the term, “thermogenic” is derived from.
Put simply, calories are just units of energy, and your body’s ability to burn calories is known as your basal metabolic rate. By boosting your body’s metabolism, you’re actually increasing your internal temperature, (also known as the thermal effect). This thermal effect, burns more units of energy (calories), thus resulting in lipolysis or the breakdown of fat cells.
Fat burners won’t burn body fat on their own. Having a solid diet and exercise plan in addition to supplementing with a fat burner is crucial to the fat oxidation process. Exericise increases the oxygen in your body, and without oxygen to transport broken down fat cells, you won’t actually burn more body fat.
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What Are The Best Fat Burners?
Garcinia Cambogia contains an extract called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Research has shown that HCA helps with weight loss through two unique mechanisms of action.
HCA helps with weight loss by competitively inhibiting the enzyme adenosine triphosphatase-citrate-lyase [R].
- HCA has been reported to increase the release of serotonin to the brain, therefore leading to appetite suppression [R]
- HCA helps interrupt the fat-producing process, by inhibiting the key enzyme citrate lyase, which is a critical factor in producing fat from carbohydrates.
In a prospective clinical trial published in the Journal of Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 214 obese or overweight subjects, were administered 500mg of Garcinia Cambogia twice a day for 6 months. Subjects were evaluated for weight, fat mass, visceral fat, basal metabolic rate, and lipid and glucose blood profiles comparing them with basal values. The results showed statistically significant reductions in each evaluated parameter, producing weight loss, reducing fat mass, lipid and blood glucose profiles while increasing basal metabolic rate [R].
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Green Tea Leaf Extract
Green tea has an impressive nutrient profile and is rich in antioxidants. The health-promoting benefits of green tea are mainly attributed to its polyphenol content, particularly flavanols and flavanols [R, R].The most notable antioxidant also known as tea catechin however, is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG assists in lipolysis, the breakdown of fats and boosting metabolism. Green tea also contains a unique amino acid called L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. L-theanine has been shown to increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects while improving mental alertness and focus [R].
According to a systematic review of over 105 peer-reviewed studies, green tea also has been shown to have a benefit on reducing body fat, by increasing the thermogenic effect and fat oxidation. Studies have shown that Green Tea catechins can increase total energy expenditure by 4.6% [R].
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Forskolin directly stimulates almost all known forms of adenylyl cyclase and therefore, increases intracellular levels of cyclic AMP or cAMP.
Clinical studies have indicated that Forskolin elicits favorable enhancements on body composition by reducing body fat percentage and increasing metabolic rate.
In a study conducted at the University of Kansas and published in the Journal Obesity 30 overweight male subjects were administered 250 mg of Forskolin twice per day over a 12-week period, to examine the effects of Forskolin on total body composition, serum free testosterone levels, metabolic rate, and blood pressure.
The research concluded that Forskolin elicits favorable enhancements in total body composition by reducing body fat percentage by 7.8%, increasing bone mass by 35% and also increasing bioavailable serum free testosterone by almost 34%.
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Guarana is produced from the seeds of a Brazilian shrub found in the Amazon basin and is used as a tonic or stimulant. Mostly found as an ingredient in energy drinks and soft drinks, Guarana is also a powerful ingredient in fat burners.
Guarana contains four-six times the amount of caffeine or 200% of that found in coffee beans [R] Caffeine is a very effective fat burner. Studies have shown that Guarana can effectively promote weight loss and burn body fat by increasing metabolic rate and burning more calories at rest, resulting in increased total energy expenditure. [R].
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Berberine is a powerful bioactive plant compound, specifically an isoquinoline alkaloid used for the last 2,000 years in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Berberine has several different mechanisms, which include but are not limited to
- Decreasing insulin resistance and having an insulin sensitizing effect.
- Stimulates glycolysis, enhancing glucose metabolism your body’s ability to break down sugars.
- Regulates lipid metabolism.
- Inhibiting fat-forming and lipogenic genes of fat, thereby reducing fat production.
- Increases good bacteria in your gut.
Berberine increases glucose consumption and or glucose uptake in the absence of insulin [R].
Regarding lipid metabolism and weight loss, berberine can inhibit fat-forming and lipogenic genes of fat, thereby reducing fat production.
By increasing the expression of uncoupling protein mRNA in skeletal muscles, heat production and oxygen consumption are increased, thus glucose and fat metabolism is accelerated. Research also shows that Berberine is an AMPK agonist, and it increases energy production and reduces energy storage by activating AMPK. The activation of AMPK can normalize the imbalance of lipid, glucose, and energy and improve the metabolic imbalance caused by metabolic disorders [R].
Additionally, berberine-mediated AMPK activation has an anti-inflammatory effect, which improves insulin resistance [R].
A meta-analysis published in the journal Clinical Nutrition examined 12 different studies, and found that berberine significantly reduced body weight up to 4.4lbs, BMI, waist circumference, and c-reactive protein concentration [R].
Studies show that berberine does have promising metabolic effects on weight loss, yet more research is needed to show any large clinical significance.
Preclinical studies, also show that berberine also affects gut microbiota, by reducing diversity of microbes starting at a dosage of 300mg per day, which may tie into the weight loss properties.
Are Fat Burners Safe?
Fat burners are safe, so long as you take them in accordance to the nutritional use guidelines, and do not overconsume them, they should not cause any adverse effects. Of course, if you are nursing and/or pregnant you should consult with a physician or healthcare professional before supplementing any thermogenic or fat burning supplement into your diet.
How Should I Take A Fat Burner?
Adding a natural weight loss supplement to your diet and exercise regimen could be exactly what you need to increase your total energy expenditure and burn more body fat.
It’s important to remember, that fat burners are not effective on their own. In order to optimize your body composition and burn body fat, you’ll need to eat a healthy well-balanced diet, and exercise regularly.
You should take your supplement in the morning or 20-30 minutes before your workout for the most optimal results. Getting the proven ingredients, you need to increase lipolysis first thing in the morning, will provide a jump start to get your metabolism running faster. Additionally, it will help with appetite suppression, to reduce total caloric intake. You can also supplement before your workout to provide you with more energy and increase total caloric expenditure. Remember, that with exercise, you are igniting the fat oxidation process, and therefore promoting body fat to be used for energy.
How Much Body Fat Will I Burn?
It’s important to set realistic expectations when you start supplementing with a fat burner. While you can boost the calorie-burning process and enhance your weight loss results with supplements, don’t expect to have a full weight loss transformation in a week.
It’s important to track how much weight you’re losing each week, with measurable and attainable goals. If you’re working on a full-body transformation, then you should aim for dropping at least 1-3 lbs per week.
“When you lose too much weight, the big question is whether or not you’re losing body fat or losing lean muscle mass,” says Alexandria Best, PN1 Nutrition Coach. “Additionally, in order to optimize fat loss, you need to set realistic expectations, to stay motivated. A great first step is tracking what you eat and focusing on the quality of your workouts, not the quantity,” explains Best.
The amount of body fat that you can burn by taking a fat burner varies from individual to individual. Fortunately, you can increase your results by increasing your effort in the way of diet and nutrition, in conjunction with taking a high-quality fat burner made with natural ingredients.
How much body fat will you burn exactly? It depends on how diligent you’re willing to work. Aiming for 1% body fat loss per week is a sustainable fat loss goal. In a world where we expect immediate results, body fat isn’t one of those things that just happens overnight. To get the best while taking a fat burner, you need to pay very close attention to the quality and quantity of the food you eat as well as the quality of your workouts.
“The most common mistakes we encounter with new clients when they join The Swole Kitchen is that they overestimate their protein intake and underestimate their calorie and carbohydrate intake. “You are what you eat isn’t a joke” – the food you put into your body will translate into what you look like on the outside. If you’re looking to lose body fat, then you better eat like it” – Alix Best, Founder of The Swole Kitchen
How can you tell if you’re losing body fat or losing weight? While you can take a look at the scale, it’s not going to tell you the whole story. Before you start a weight loss regimen, we recommend taking your baseline body measurements (neck, waist, leg, hips, body fat %, etc.), taking progress photos, and paying attention to how you feel. This might look like waking up less bloated, having more energy, getting better quality sleep, fitting into your jeans, even if that means the scale doesn’t change. Keep in mind – muscle weighs more than fat so try not to get discouraged if the scale doesn’t move at first.
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While nutrition does tell most of the story, focus on workouts that include anaerobic movements that boost your heart rate in addition to lifting moderate to heavyweights. A great way to do this is to start with a dynamic warmup, move into moderate to heavy weight lifting that includes high-intensity supersets, and finish with a small window of cardio.
RELATED ARTICLE Cardio Or Weights, Which One To Start With?
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