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fat burners

Why you shouldn’t use fat burners

Many supplement companies pitch fat burners as a tool to aid in fat loss. In this article we’ll explore why you should avoid these at all costs, you’ll essentially be burning your money more effectively than your bodyfat, and what you should really be doing to promote fat loss through effective diet and exercising to aid your weight loss goals.

What are fat burning supplements?

Fat burning nutritional supplements are products that are sold to individuals as a tool to increase your metabolic rate, burn fat and lose weight. 

They are often filled with ingredients such as caffeine, carnitine, green tea, conjugated linoleic acid, forskolin, chromium, kelp and fucoxanthin (1) in the most popular and commonly marketed supplements.

They are marketed with a view of creating a chain of additive events within your metabolic function where fat stores are depleted. This however, is not essentially true.

There are however compounds that can be utilised to burn fat, these are just not legal in most instances and not advised for use without medical supervision and definitely not able to be sold by conglomerate nutrition companies.

Do fat burners work?

Whilst some of the ingredients commonly used in fat burners in isolation are shown to aid in fat loss, for example caffeine producing epinephrine causing breakdown of fat tissue into fatty acids which are removed in the bloodstream, the likelihood is this will not be in a sizeable enough manner to effectively contribute to overall body fat reduction. 

However, as the key component of fat loss is being in a calorie deficit, i.e. burning more calories than you consume, consuming a product alone is unlikely to achieve your goal.

As such, we would recommend that you enter into a calorie deficit first instead of buying fat loss supplements.

Side effects of fat burners

Many fat loss supplements feature ingredients in much higher than recommended doses, especially stimulants with thermogenic properties.

This can lead to some of the following side effects;

  • Regularly consuming caffeine will make it less effective over time.
  • Taking too much caffeine in a short period can make you feel anxious, jittery, or exhausted.
  • Using too many natural “fat burners,” especially supplements, can lead to acute liver failure
  • Taking yohimbine has been linked to nausea, anxiety, panic attacks, and high blood pressure.

Essentially, you need to weigh up the risk and reward ratio of utilising supplements, and with there being more efficient ways to lose weight and body fat as a result of weight loss, this would be a much more advisable route to pursue than fat burners.

So, what should you do instead?

We recommend that if you’re looking to lose body fat, that you enter a calorie deficit, tracking your calories vs your maintenance calorie levels and assess your body composition changes through energy expenditure and calorie control.

This can be tracked and adapted much more easily along with giving you data to work from as opposed to subjective viewpoints. 

Dietary control and energy balance should always be the first port of call in a dieting phase.

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