Fat burners are some of the most controversial supplements on the market. They’re described as nutrition supplements that can increase your metabolism, reduce fat absorption, or help your body burn more fat for fuel (
Manufacturers often promote them as miracle solutions that can solve your weight problems. However, fat burners are often ineffective and may even be harmful (
That’s because they’re not regulated by food regulatory authorities (
There is no miracle pill for weight loss. Even “natural supplements” cannot guarantee fat loss.
Remember, everyone’s metabolism is different. There is no one “miracle” fat burner. While the below items may help boost metabolism, it’s not guaranteed. The most effective way to lose weight is through regular sleep, decreased stress, regular exercise, and eating a nutrient-rich, balanced diet.
That said, several natural supplements have been proven to help you burn more fat. This article provides a list of the 5 best supplements to help you burn fat. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement.
Caffeine is a substance commonly found in coffee, green tea, and cocoa beans. It’s also a popular ingredient in commercial fat-burning supplements — and for good reason.
Caffeine can help boost your metabolism and help your body burn more fat (
Research shows that caffeine can temporarily boost your metabolism by up to 16% over 1 to 2 hours (
In addition, several studies have shown that caffeine can help your body burn more fat as fuel. However, this effect appears to be stronger in people with less weight compared with people who may be overweight or have obesity (8,
Unfortunately, consuming caffeine too often could make your body more tolerant to its effects (
To reap the benefits of caffeine, you don’t need to take a supplement.
Simply try drinking a few cups of strong coffee, which is an excellent source of caffeine with many health benefits. That said, these health benefits are only temporary. It’s important to note that caffeine can interfere with quality sleep, which has negative effects on weight management.
Consuming too much caffeine can actually be dangerous for your health. This is why it is important to stay within the daily recommend caffeine limit, which is 400 mg.
Caffeine can help you burn fat by boosting your metabolism and helping you burn more fat as fuel. You can get caffeine from natural sources like coffee and green tea.
Green tea extract is simply a concentrated form of green tea.
It provides all the benefits of green tea in a convenient powder or capsule form.
Green tea extract is also rich in caffeine and the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both of which are compounds that can help you burn fat (
In addition, these two compounds complement each other and can help you burn fat through a process called thermogenesis. In simple terms, thermogenesis is a process in which your body burns calories to produce heat (
For instance, an analysis of six studies found that taking a combination of green tea extract and caffeine helped people burn 16% more fat than a placebo (
In another study, scientists compared the effects of a placebo, caffeine, and a combination of green tea extract and caffeine on burning fat.
They discovered that the combination of green tea and caffeine burned roughly 65 more calories per day than caffeine alone and 80 more calories than the placebo (
Keep in mind that in these studies the participants took green tea extract in combination with additional caffeine. Therefore, this does not definitively show that green tea extract alone has these same effects.
Studies have shown that while no detrimental effects have been reported from green tea itself, the excess consumption of green tea extract may prove to be harmful to the liver, particularly if taken on an empty stomach. Do not exceed the recommended dosage (
Green tea extract is simply concentrated green tea. It contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and caffeine, which can help you burn fat through thermogenesis.
Protein is incredibly important for burning fat.
A high protein intake can help you burn fat by boosting your metabolism and curbing your appetite. It also helps your body preserve muscle mass (
For instance, a study involving 60 participants with overweight and obesity found that a high protein diet was almost twice as effective as a moderate protein diet at burning fat (
Protein can also curb your appetite by increasing the levels of fullness hormones like GLP-1, CCK, and PYY while reducing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin (
While you can get all the protein you need from protein-rich foods, many people still find it challenging to eat enough protein daily.
Protein powder supplements are a convenient way to increase your protein intake.
Options include whey, casein, soy, egg, and hemp protein powders. However, it’s important to choose a protein supplement that’s low in sugar and additives, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Keep in mind that calories are still important. Protein supplements should simply replace snacks or part of a meal, rather than be added on top of your diet.
If you’re finding it difficult to eat enough protein, try taking 1–2 scoops (25–50 grams) of protein powder per day.
The recommended daily intake of protein will vary based on your activity levels, age, sex, weight, height, etc. That said, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Protein supplements are a convenient way to increase your protein intake. A high protein intake can help you burn fat by boosting your metabolism and curbing your appetite.
There are two different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber absorbs water in your digestive tract and forms a viscous gel-like substance (
Interestingly, studies have shown that soluble fiber can help you burn fat by curbing your appetite (
That’s because soluble fiber can help increase the levels of fullness hormones like PYY and GLP-1. It can also help reduce levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin (
In addition, soluble fiber helps slow down the delivery of nutrients to the gut. When this happens, your body takes more time to digest and absorb nutrients, which can leave you feeling full for longer (28).
What’s more, soluble fiber may also help you burn fat by reducing how many calories you absorb from food.
While you can get all the soluble fiber you need from food, many people find this challenging. If that’s the case for you, try taking a soluble fiber supplement such as glucomannan or psyllium husk.
Soluble fiber supplements can help you burn fat by curbing your appetite and possibly reducing how many calories you absorb from food. Some great soluble fiber supplements include glucomannan and psyllium husk.
Yohimbine is a substance found in the bark of Pausinystalia yohimbe, a tree found in Central and Western Africa.
It’s commonly used as an aphrodisiac, but it also has properties that may help you burn fat.
Yohimbine works by blocking receptors called alpha-2 adrenergic receptors.
These receptors normally bind adrenaline to suppress its effects, one of which is encouraging the body to burn fat for fuel. Since yohimbine blocks these receptors, it can prolong adrenaline’s effects and promote the breakdown of fat for fuel (
A study involving 20 elite soccer players found that taking 10 mg of yohimbine twice daily helped them shed 2.2% of their body fat, on average, in only 3 weeks. Keep in mind that these athletes were already quite lean, so a 2.2% reduction in body fat is significant (
However, it’s important to note that 20 is a very small sample size, and 3 weeks is a short period for a study of this kind. Further research is needed on the long-term effects of yohimbine.
Nonetheless, more information is needed on yohimbine before it can be recommended as a go-to fat-burning supplement.
Furthermore, because yohimbine keeps your adrenaline levels elevated, it may cause side effects like nausea, anxiety, panic attacks, and high blood pressure (
It also can interact with common medications for blood pressure and depression. If you take medications for these conditions or have anxiety, you might want to avoid yohimbine (
Yohimbine may help you burn fat by keeping adrenaline levels high and blocking receptors that normally suppress fat-burning. However, it can cause unpleasant side effects in some people.
Commercial fat-burning supplements are widely available and very easy to access.
However, they often do not live up to their hefty claims and may even harm your health (
That’s because fat-burning supplements do not need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before they reach the market.
Instead, it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure that their supplements are tested for safety and effectiveness (
Unfortunately, there have been many cases of fat-burning supplements being pulled off the market because they were tainted with harmful ingredients (
Additionally, there have been many cases in which contaminated supplements caused dangerous side effects like high blood pressure, strokes, seizures, and even death (
On a brighter note, the natural supplements listed above can help you burn fat when added to a health-promoting routine.
Keep in mind that a supplement cannot replace a nutrient-rich diet and regular exercise. They simply help you get the most out of health-promoting activities like exercising and eating a balanced diet.
In some cases, commercial fat burners can be dangerous, as they are not FDA regulated. There have been cases of dangerous side effects and contamination with harmful ingredients.
Several other supplements may help you lose weight. However, they either have side effects or lack evidence to support their claims.
- 5-HTP. 5-HTP is an amino acid and precursor to the hormone serotonin. It may help you burn fat by curbing your appetite and carb cravings. However, it may also interact with medications for depression (
- Synephrine. Synephrine is a substance that is especially abundant in bitter oranges. Some evidence shows it can help you burn fat, but only a handful of studies support its effects (
- Green coffee bean extract. Research shows green coffee bean extract may help you burn fat. However, studies on green coffee bean extract are sponsored by its manufacturers, which may cause a conflict of interest (
- CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA is a group of omega-6 fatty acids that may help you burn fat. However, its overall effects appear weak, and the evidence is mixed (
- L-carnitine. L-carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid. Some studies show that it can help you burn fat, but the evidence behind it is mixed (
There are other supplements that may help you burn fat, including 5-HTP, synephrine, green coffee bean extract, CLA, and L-carnitine. However, they each have limitations.
There is no single “magic pill” to solve your weight problems.
However, plenty of natural solutions can help you burn more fat when combined with a health-promoting lifestyle that includes eating a nutrient-rich diet and exercising.
These natural solutions include caffeine, green tea extract, protein supplements, soluble fiber supplements, and yohimbine.
Among these, caffeine, green tea extract, and protein supplements are likely to be the most effective at helping you burn fat. Talk with a healthcare professional before starting the use of any new supplement to make sure you fully understand any risks, benefits, or interactions.