Fat burners are probably the most lucrative supplement subcategory in the world right now, second only to protein powders. Manufacturers produce millions of bottles of these supplements every year, and their sales generate hundreds of millions of dollars.
This is why there has been such a rapid growth in the number of different fat burners on the market. What was once a niche product category is now a massive industry in its own right – if you do a quick look online you’ll see that there are a lot of them.
There are actually so many fat burners on the market right now that they are having to come up with more and more inventive ways to differentiate themselves. It seems that every fat burner has a unique selling point or a specific goal in mind. Some claim to preserve muscle, while others promise “thermogenic fat incineration”.
All of this can easily leave a consumer feeling overwhelmed and under-informed.
That’s actually the whole point.
But with so much complexity being shoved in your face, it’s important to stop and take the time to answer some of the more basic questions.
Do fat burners actually work?
How do they work?
What mechanisms power them?
How should they be used?
Are there common scams among fat burners?
These are all important questions for consumers to have ready answers to.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most common substances used in fat burners to see if they actually do what we’re told they do. Below you will find a list of some typical fat burner ingredients – some that work and some that definitely do not.
If you have any questions, or you’d like us to add a substance to the list, leave a comment at the bottom of this page! Please bare in mind that this list is not exhaustive; we’ve just picked a few notable examples!
Fat Burners That Work
It will probably come as a shock to the biggest skeptics among you, but there are several natural substances which have proven to be extremely powerful fat burners. These substances work in different ways, but they all contribute to faster fat loss and better body composition.
Obviously, we haven’t listed all such substances here. Nor have we listed any that have notable side effect profiles.
Glucomannan is a root vegetable native to parts of Africa. It contains an enormous amount of water soluble fiber. But glucomannan has a peculiar property that makes it a particularly good weight loss supplement; when eaten, glucomannan absorbs water very rapidly. It forms a thick paste in the stomach which gently expands. This means you feel substantially more full from smaller meals. It also makes you feel fuller for longer, which eliminates the temptation to snack or over-eat on your next meal.
As you’ll see if you read this Instant Knockout review, glucomannan is a very popular fat burner ingredient. It is widely used in professional fighting and athletics circles for times when athletes need to drop weight quickly.
A number of companies have begun using glucomannan to create foods for people struggling with weight loss. These include noodles, breads and rice alternatives. We strongly recommend giving these foods a try if you have problems with portion control or food discipline.
Green Tea Catechin (EGCG)
You might be sick of hearing about green tea’s health promoting, performance enhancing properties. And you’d be right to be; a lot gets written about green tea these days, and the vast majority of it is complete rubbish. But the claim that green tea catechins promote fat loss has some strong scientific backing. Specifically, a catechin in green tea called EGCG seems to have a powerful fat burning effect.
Take a look at this paper, which discusses the effect that high-EGCG green tea extracts have on fat loss and body composition. The researchers here are quite confident in their findings: “In conclusion, GTE has been shown in some studies to increase fat oxidation at rest and during exercise…The mechanism behind the potential effects of chronic GTE supplementation may involve changes in expression of specific fat metabolism genes. However, without supporting evidence from human studies, this mechanism remains rather speculative as well. Clearly, future studies are needed to elucidate the effects of GTE on fat metabolism and its underlying mechanisms.”
Fat Burners That Don’t Work
Unfortunately, there are many times more fat burner ingredients that don’t do anything than there are ingredients that work.
Here are some of the worst offenders:
- Raspberry ketones
- Garcinia cambogia
If you come across a fat burner that is using these ingredients, you know that you’re looking at a stack made for profit, not for results.