Should You Take Fat Burners for Weight Loss?

Should You Take Fat Burners for Weight Loss?

Fat loss can be an uphill struggle for dieters and fitness enthusiasts – and many people hope there is a magic pill to help speed up the process. Anyone who finds a magic pill to weight loss would be rich very quickly! Do fat burners in the form of pills and powders hold any magic ability to achieve weight loss?

Fat burners don’t instantly melt away excess fat – otherwise, they would be sellouts. Alongside taking fat burners you need a good exercise regime and healthy diet to achieve results.

So What Are Fat Burners?

Fat burners are manufactured pills or powders made by supplement companies to aid fat loss and are also known as thermogenic. They may work by increasing metabolism, decreasing appetite, some may stimulate the release of adrenaline, increase fat release from cells into the bloodstream or some burn calories as heat.

Over-the-counter fat burners may contain natural ingredients. Natural sources of fat burners include:

Green Tea

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Green tea has a high flavonoid content. It is the presence of this antioxidant that may stimulate the metabolism to burn calories and therefore helps decrease body fat.

Coconut Oil

bottle cloth container pattern

Coconut Oil is a good source of naturally occurring linoleic acid. The medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil may increase metabolic rate (the rate at which the body breaks down food). It is suggested that coconut oil may have a beneficial effect on insulin regulation when eaten as part of a meal. If you are thinking of trying coconut oil, do not use hydrogenated coconut oil as this is unlikely to be beneficial.

  • The best type of coconut oil is extra-virgin coconut oil.
  • A good way to incorporate this into your diet is to cook with it instead of your usual cooking oil.
  • It does have a lower smoking point than some more common cooking oils, so use a lower heat and keep a close on when cooking with it for the first time.


brown fish fillet on white ceramic plate

Omega-3 is a form of fat that is required to form healthy cell walls. Omega 3 can be found in mackerel, sardines, salmon, tuna, omega-3 enriched eggs and flaxseed oil. Omega-3 may aid weight loss by improving the blood flow to muscles during exercise, help to stimulate fat transporting enzymes, help reduce inflammation and potentially supporting the body to regulate insulin levels.

  • Many sources of omega-3 come from fish that are highly likely to contain some heavy metals and so it is not ideal to eat in a high quantity, especially if you are pregnant.
  • Krill oil is a source of omega-3 oils which are unlikely to contain heavy metals.
  • Some weight loss regimes suggest taking a large quantity of fish oil to reduce weight but this can be damaging to the liver.

Cayenne Pepper

three red green and yellow chili

Cayenne pepper’s active ingredient, capsaicin, may work to aid weight loss by speeding up metabolism.


cayenne chilli close up colors

Chilli may help increase metabolism, thereby burning fat and helping to reduce appetite. The warm feeling that occurs when chilli is eaten is a sign of diet-induced thermogenesis, caused by the food stimulating the body and raising the body temperature.

The Best Way To Take Fat Burners?

  • Follow the dosage instructions on the product carefully. They should not be taken for any length of time.
  • Because fat burners contain stimulants, it is best to take them in the morning or at lunchtime so that they do not disrupt sleep. It is very important to follow the label of the product.

Who Would Benefit From Taking Them?

If you are eating and training correctly and have gained muscle mass, a ‘cutting cycle’ involving a decrease consumption of carbohydrates or fats along with a fat burner may help get fat off stubborn areas. If you revert to bad habits after a phase of healthy eating, exercise and taking fat burners you will gain weight again. In the long term, focus on improving your diet and exercise gradually in order to change ingrained habits to establish a healthier lifestyle long term. Anyone looking to increase exercise performance, muscular endurance as well as helping to burn fat may also benefit from taking caffeine.

Do Fat Burners Differ for Men And Women?

Women and men can take the same fat burners although due to body mass, men may be able to tolerate a higher dose of some ingredients.

Who Shouldn’t Take Fat Burners?

Anybody with heart conditions should not take fat burners, as many of them include stimulants that may raise the heart rate.

  • Manufactured fat burners may also contain caffeine so if you are intolerant to caffeine, you may suffer from headaches or dizziness.
  • If you are on any medication you should consult your doctor before trying any new supplementation.
  • If you suffer from anxiety, fat burners are not for you as they may worsen your condition.
  • If you already take various concoctions of supplements, it’s a good idea to check the ingredient list of what you take as overconsumption of vitamins and minerals can be detrimental and potentially a health risk. More seriously, an overdose of caffeine can cause heart conditions – so it is extremely important to watch your caffeine quantities.
  • This also applies to drinks; if you are taking fat burners with a high dose of caffeine and you also drink Red Bull, coffee, or Coke, you need to cut them out. Using fat burners is not as simple as taking an additional pill to burn fat, you may need to adjust your caffeine intake in order to protect your heart health.
  • Fat burners are not legal in all sports and so this needs to be checked for your specific sport before you begin use.

Side-Effects of Fat Burners

  • Fat burners can have side-effects such as headaches, dizziness, vomiting, raised blood pressure, palpitations, anxiety and/or insomnia.
  • Herbal alternatives may be safer but can still cause some side-effects.
  • Caffeine is addictive for many people, meaning that when you stop taking them and reduce your caffeine levels, you may suffer from headaches.

Do They Work?

Many people that train hard in the gym feel benefits from fat burners. The scientific evidence of the effectiveness of fat burners is limited.  Fat burners are beneficial and can provide some people with an edge when their training regime and diet is on track, however, they are not a magic pill and do not provide a quick-fix solution to weight loss.

*Always consult your doctor before changing your diet or exercise regime. This is simply potential advice and the dietary changes you make are your responsibility.

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