Whether you’re just starting out a fat loss program or you’re several weeks into a cut and want a little help to take your results to the next level, fat burners have been a staple in many people’s weight loss programs. We’re going to look at how fat burners are supposed to work and examine the benefits that their key ingredients deliver.
A sustained caloric deficit is considered the most important factor for successful weight loss. In one study on overweight adults, those that averaged a caloric deficit of 500 or more calories per day lost almost 4x the weight compared to individuals whose caloric deficit was less than 500 calories per day. 
Because energy balance is such a big factor in weight loss, fat burners generally work by impacting pathways in the body that either support increased energy expenditure (calories burned) or decreased energy intake. Fat burners will generally target pathways that support increased thermogenesis and lipolysis.
- Thermogenesis is the production of increased heat in the body, this process is associated with increased energy expenditure. Thermogenesis is generally a result of our basal metabolic rate (the calories our bodies burn to survive), post-prandial (after eating a meal), exercise-induced, and adaptive (as a result of changes in environmental conditions like the room temperature).
- Lipolysis is a metabolic process that involves the breakdown of triacylglycerols (the storage form of fat in the body) into smaller compounds (glycerol and free fatty acids) that can be used for energy. Our bodies use fat as their main storage form of energy, according to Hall et al, a lean adult stores around 130,000 kcals of stored energy.
- Appetite Suppression: some herbal extracts have gained popularity for their potential effects on appetite suppression. These ingredients are thought to work by either targeting gut-derived hormones or neuronal system receptors that regulate appetite. Although research has mostly shown mixed results with some studies showing a positive effect and others showing no effect, indicating that more studies are needed.
- Boosts Metabolism: One common reason that people use fat burners in weight loss programs is for the goal of boosting their metabolism. By boosting your basal metabolic rate, you burn more calories which can positively contribute to your body’s overall caloric expenditure. Ultimately a successful weight loss program depends on being in a state of a caloric deficit.
- Support Your Weight Loss Journey: Fat burners can be added support to a weight loss journey. When combined with an efficacious diet and training program, this can be a powerful combination to help reduce body fat.
- Increase Your Energy Levels: Fat burners often contain stimulant based ingredients like caffeine which can increase your energy levels. With increased energy you may be able to be more physically active which can help you burn more calories.
Fat burners can vary in the amount and dosage of ingredients they include in their formula but often they’ll feature these common ingredients:
- Caffeine Anhydrous: Famous for giving you an energy boost, caffeine is also a powerful fat burning ingredient. Research has shown caffeine to be effective for increasing energy expenditure while also reducing energy intake.
- Green Tea Extract: In addition to containing caffeine, green tea also contains catechins, antioxidants that have been linked to increased levels of thermogenesis. Research has shown that green tea can have a positive dose-dependent effect on reducing body weight and body mass index.
- Cayenne Pepper Extract (Capsaicin): Capsaicin is a compound found in peppers that contributes to the spicy sensation of food and increases our metabolic rates.In addition to this, research has shown that capsaicinoids can decrease our energy intake.
If you have any concerns, always make sure to check with your personal health care provider to see what’s right for you.
After that, if you want an added layer of security, look for products that have the NSF® Certified for Sport® logo on them. The Certified for Sport® certification is recognized by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League.
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