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Weight Loss

cyos   03 Feb 2020

Weight Loss Supplements That Actually Work

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From new diets being invented left and right, celebrity weight loss stories, commercials and TV shows about losing weight, and more than a handful of two-week fitness programs that claim to help people with their weight loss problems, it’s no secret why the weight loss has become an industry of its own. 

 

Sure enough, supplement companies want to capitalise on this unending trend by producing and mass marketing ingredients called fat burners. 

 

Fat burners are perhaps some of the most controversial yet also extremely marketable supplements on the market. On one hand, they promise to make weight loss much easier and affordable. On the other, it can make people think that taking fat burners is the only thing they need to do to finally become lean and win the battle of the bulge once and for all. 

 

But, what exactly are fat burners? How do they work? What fat burners should you look for? This blog will answer those questions and more.

What are Fat Burners?

Fat burners are ingredients that promise to do one thing and that is to make users lose weight. They come in pills, powders, and liquids and can range from simple herbal extracts to synthetic stimulants.

 

Like some detoxes and cleanses, fat burners are designed to be taken in conjunction with diet and exercise. Depending on the fat burner, the primary function can be as an appetite suppressant, a metabolic enhancer, or a substance that stimulates fat burning hormones. 

How do Fat Burners Work?

The goal of a fat burner is to help the user lose weight, but how exactly do they do that? While there are hundreds of studies that say fat burners do work when it comes to weight loss, they can help burn fat in three main ways.

Appetite Suppressant

One of the basic ways to lose weight is to simply limit the amount of food intake. The math is simple: The less you eat, the less fat is stored, and the less weight you put on. If you combine this with exercise, you create a caloric negative or you lose more calories in a day than gain them. 

 

While abstaining from food sounds easy, the reality is the complete opposite. This is why some fat burners work primarily as an appetite suppressant. The way they help users lose weight is by reducing the user’s tendencies to eat. 

 

Some popular appetite suppressants come in the form of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is a type of fibre that gels in the stomach upon contact with water. This gelling helps the user to feel full faster and for longer. Other forms of appetite suppressants directly affect the way hunger hormones are released or affect the way the brain interprets hunger. [1]

Metabolism

The most popular word associated with fat burners, our metabolism determines just how efficient our body is when it comes to burning fat for energy, the process also known as lipolysis.

 

There are fat burners that are meant to spike our metabolism and they do this either by burning stored fat directly, or by tweaking our the body to release more fat burning hormones such as norepinephrine and adrenaline.

Thermogenesis

The first term used to describe fat burners before they were called fat burners was thermogenics. A thermogenic is a compound that heats up the body and speeds the fat burning process. This heating process is referred to as thermogenesis which literally translates to creation of heat. In our case, body heat. This added heat gets the body to act similarly when we workout or run. [3]

 

Some noticeable side effects include intense sweating, a warm sensation, and sometimes facial redness.

Other fat burning methods

Fat burners can do more than suppress appetite, spike natural metabolism, and increase body heat. Some fat burners can support testosterone production, a hormone that promotes lean muscle growth as well as a faster metabolism, and other fat burners act as an antioxidant that directly supports lipolysis. 

Popular Fat Burners in the Market

There are a great number of fat burners in the market today, all of which can have an effect on weight loss in one way or another. If you are going to choose a brand, here are some of the following ingredients to look for:

Acetyl L Carnitine

Acetyl L Carnitine, also known as ALCAR, is considered the best form of L-Carnitine. If you can recall, L-Carnitine took the supplement world by storm when it was found ingestion helped users burn more calories naturally. The science around it is how it funnels fatty acids into cells at a rapid rate. The more fatty acids, the more fat is burned. The more fat burned, the more energy is produced. 

 

ALCAR took that benefit from L-Carnitine and further enhanced it by improving the fatty acid transport efficiency which translates to better physical performance. The more you move, essentially, the more fat you can burn. [4]

 

Synephrine HCl

As a fat burner, synephrine directly works on the thyroid to release more fat burning hormones such as norepinephrine. It can also increase body heat which helps you burn through stored fat faster. Some studies also suggest that synephrine can reduce appetite by affecting brain chemicals, though this benefit isn’t as observed compared to the previous properties. 

Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia Cambogia is among the first fat burners capable of preventing fat storage by blocking enzymes that turn carbs to fat. At the same time, it also speeds up metabolism, as well as a side benefit of appetite control. The secret is in its active compound called hydroxycitric acid or HCA. [6]

Green Coffee Bean

Green Coffee Bean is often used as an alternative to caffeine as it can stimulate the senses without causing stimulant-related side effects. However, it’s also known to contain chlorogenic acid or CGA. CGA is a compound that triggers the fat burning process, help regulate energy metabolism, and promote better blood sugar control, which is critical because low blood sugar can cause hunger. [7]

 

CGA is also exclusive to green coffee beans because it’s destroyed during the roasting process that turns it into the coffee beans we see in coffee shops. 

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract is one of the best fat burners in the market. There are a lot of studies that directly correlate tea consumption with weight loss, and so it made sense for the supplement industry to isolate it in powder form. Some of the benefits of green tea extract includes lowering cholesterol, reducing triglycerides, anti-inflammation, and some anticarcinogenic properties. 

 

As a fat burner, green tea extract relies on its active compound called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. Some studies say EGCG is the main reason why green tea extract is healthy and why drinking tea burns fat. [9]

Glucomannan

Glucomannan is a soluble fibre. As mentioned earlier, soluble fibre gels upon contact with water which helps reduce appetite or promote satiety – the feeling of fullness. Most glucomannan supplements come in pills because any contact with moisture causes it to degrade or gel prematurely. 

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA helps trigger thermogenesis and possibly block leptin, the hormone that triggers hunger. It’s also known to help manage blood sugar levels and increase resting metabolic rate. 

 

Furthermore, CLA also promotes lean muscle growth by reducing fat storage in favour of fat burning. 

Coleus Forskohlii

Forskolin activates a metabolic process referred to as cAMP. [8]

 

Here’s how it works:

 

  1. Forskolin triggers cAMP production. 
  2. cAMP is derived from ATP. 
  3. ATP is the body’s currency for energy, and the body uses energy a lot. 
  4. ATP is synthesised from fatty acid oxidation. 
  5. Fatty acids are formed through lipolysis or fat breakdown. 

 

You can then say forskolin triggers fat breakdown in an indirect and complex way.

Quercetin

Quercetin is not a direct fat burner, but its powerful antioxidant activity can assist with lipolysis which then results to fat burning. Some studies suggest quercetin can reduce the body’s natural tendency to store fat.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek isn’t a direct fat burner per se, but it does help boost testosterone. As mentioned earlier, testosterone promotes lean muscle growth which also indirectly increases fat burning. Fenugreek works by blocking hormones and enzymes that directly interfere with testosterone production. 

 

You will not always find fenugreek in fat burning supplements, but you can find it plenty in testosterone boosters.

Summary

Fat burners are ingredients that are either isolated from nature or synthesised in a laboratory. They help with weight loss through appetite suppression, increased metabolic rate, thermogenesis, antioxidation, and hormone production. 

References:

  1. Burton-Freeman B, Liyanage D, Rahman S, Edirisinghe I. Ratios of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers on satiety and energy intake in overweight pre- and postmenopausal women. Nutr Healthy Aging. 2017;4(2):157–168. Published 2017 Mar 31. doi:10.3233/NHA-160018
  2. Melanson EL, MacLean PS, Hill JO. Exercise improves fat metabolism in muscle but does not increase 24-h fat oxidation. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2009;37(2):93–101. doi:10.1097/JES.0b013e31819c2f0b
  3. Belza A, Frandsen E, Kondrup J. Body fat loss achieved by stimulation of thermogenesis by a combination of bioactive food ingredients: a placebo-controlled, double-blind 8-week intervention in obese subjects. Int J Obes (Lond). 2007;31(1):121-30.
  4. Bui LT, Nguyen DT, Ambrose PJ. Blood pressure and heart rate effects following a single dose of bitter orange. Ann Pharmacother. 2006;40(1):53-7.
  5. Chuah LO, Ho WY, Beh BK, Yeap SK. Updates on Antiobesity Effect of Garcinia Origin (-)-HCA. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:751658. doi:10.1155/2013/751658
  6. Watanabe T, Kobayashi S, Yamaguchi T, Hibi M, Fukuhara I, Osaki N. Coffee Abundant in Chlorogenic Acids Reduces Abdominal Fat in Overweight Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2019;11(7):1617. Published 2019 Jul 16. doi:10.3390/nu11071617
  7. Komai AM, Brännmark C, Musovic S, Olofsson CS. PKA-independent cAMP stimulation of white adipocyte exocytosis and adipokine secretion: modulations by Ca2+ and ATP. J Physiol. 2014;592(23):5169–5186. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2014.280388
  8. Hodgson AB, Randell RK, Jeukendrup AE. The effect of green tea extract on fat oxidation at rest and during exercise: evidence of efficacy and proposed mechanisms. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(2):129–140. Published 2013 Mar 1. doi:10.3945/an.112.003269
  9. Sahlin K. Boosting fat burning with carnitine: an old friend comes out from the shadow. J Physiol. 2011;589(Pt 7):1509–1510. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2011.205815
CYOS blog content is for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Always consult with your doctor or medical professional before using any dietary supplements or if you suspect you have any medical concerns or issues.

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