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September 17, 2021
FAT BURNERS: MYTH OR REALITY? | By Hubert Cormier
In the world of weight loss, companies are constantly looking for ways to get you to buy miracle products that will make you believe that you can lose weight quickly and easily. One of these products is fat burners. Let's see what’s really true.
🤔 WHAT IS A FAT BURNER?
A fat burner is a mix of several active ingredients that several popular companies claim have the following benefits:
- Improve concentration and energy at any time of day
- Help being alert on a daily basis
- Improve physical performance and body composition
- Optimize fat loss by transforming fat into energy
- Provide a source of electrolytes
Fat burners usually come in powder form to be diluted in water. Some companies also offer ready-to-drink formats. These are very popular among 18 to 35-year-old bodybuilding enthusiasts.
🧪 THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
Several studies have looked at the science behind these miracle fat burners.
Caffeine has been studied extensively for its contribution to increasing metabolism. Despite all the research on the subject, it seems that increased caffeine consumption doesn’t necessarily help with weight loss and its effects on metabolism are rather minimal. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t overuse caffeine and not exceed 400 mg/day, as recommended by Health Canada.
L-carnitine is an important ingredient in . It increases cardiovascular performance and fat oxidation. Several studies state that increased quantities of L-carnitine in the muscles increases the loss of fat mass.
However, because oral supplements such as don’t increase the muscle concentration of L-carnitine, their benefits seem theoretically impossible. On the other hand, some sources suggest that using supplements during workouts may help avoid the decrease of intramuscular L-carnitine levels. We noticed that the results observed vary greatly, and that each person seems to react differently. More studies are required to determine the effects of L-carnitine supplements on weight loss.
Green tea extract
Green tea extract is said to increase the burning of fatty acids and their oxidation, thus facilitating fat loss. Green tea also increases metabolism at rest and during exercise, just life caffeine. These effects have been proven but are rather minor.
Several other ingredients are commonly used in , the most popular being conjugated linoleic acids (a fatty acid), garcinia cambogia (an Asian miracle fruit), cayenne pepper (a spice) and raspberry ketones (a phenolic compound). Very little conclusive research has been conducted on these ingredients, and most haven’t clearly shown benefits in humans. The methodology used by some studies is also controversial, which may lead to untested trends or assumptions about possible metabolic effects. This unreliable information is then spread through the media, which is why it’s so important to remain wary of the effectiveness of these so-called miracle ingredients. It’s often too good to be true!
🤷 WHAT IS THE BEST FAT BURNER?
Keep in mind that for the most part, fat burners are stimulants. As mentioned above, only green tea extract and caffeine seem to have any real effect on metabolism. According to science, the best fat burner is simply to drink coffee or tea before working out. However, in no way does this guarantee a loss in body fat.
Currently, there is no pill, powder, or miracle solution that allows you to burn fat quickly, easily, and without effort. Healthy lifestyle habits, daily physical activity and sleep seem to be the best fat burners of all! According to several studies, people who sleep very little (less than 6 hours) gain weight more easily than those who sleep enough (7-8 hours)! Good night!
🧐 DO FAT BURNERS WORK?
There’s a clear lack of scientific evidence linking fat burners to weight loss. Don't be fooled by the tempting marketing of these products. Be wary of anything that looks too good to be true!
- Karlic, H., & Lohninger, A. (2004). Supplementation of L-carnitine in athletes: does it make sense?. Nutrition, 20(7-8), 709-715.
- Jeukendrup, A. E., & Randell, R. (2011). Fat burners: nutrition supplements that increase fat metabolism. Obesity reviews, 12(10), 841-851.
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