When used in addition to a proper diet and exercise routine, fat burning supplements can be extremely beneficial. They can help reduce the cravings that can derail a diet, give your metabolism a slight boost to help shift slightly more weight each week and even help give you a little more energy to get through your workout.
While most fat burners will work for men and women, marketing people have found that selling their product as the ‘best fat burner for women’ works a little more effectively than having a huge, ripped guy in the ad. While the products are all essentially the same, we’ll look specifically at the kinds of products you can buy and try to determine what the best fat burners for women really are.
Free e-Book: Beginner's Guide to Supplements
Build muscle and lose fat by understanding which supplements are most effective with our free e-book!
Types of Fat Burning Supplements
While the term ‘fat burner’ is used fairly frequently, there are actually a few subcategories of supplement which are all geared towards helping you lose weight. They all serve a slightly different purpose, and while they are often used alongside each other due to their complimentary nature it’s important to understand the benefits of each when you’re looking to pick up a supplement.
The term thermogenic simply means to produce heat, and it’s most commonly used when referring to supplements and medication which increase body temperature through metabolic stimulation. Stimulating the metabolism will increase your basal metabolic rate, which means you’ll be burning more calories at rest every day you’re taking these supplements.
When you increase the core temperature of your body, you’ll increase the number of calories you’re burning in a day. Using thermogenics alongside a diet which is already producing a caloric deficit means you can lose a little more weight each week will eating the same amount of food.
They work to increase the release of norepinephrine, the key fat burning hormone in the body. They can also increase the length of time it’s active in the body, meaning you burn more fat for a longer period of time.
Common ‘over the counter’ supplements which have some thermogenic effect include green tea and raspberry ketone. Green tea contains high concentrations of EGCG, which is largely responsible for the thermogenic effect.
Raspberry ketone has also shown to increase norepinephrine and turn on lipolysis, which will help your body to break down fat.
More hardcore thermogenic supplements include the ECA stack and T5 fat burners, both of which contain strong stimulants. They are generally more effective than green tea or raspberry ketone, but they come with a longer list of potential side effects.
Appetite suppressants aim to help control your hunger levels and prevent you from bingeing on food when you’re looking to hit your daily caloric target. They work by manipulating various neurotransmitters which are involved in the regulation of your appetite, which will help to reduce your cravings for food and help maintain your blood glucose levels.
Other appetite suppressants work by providing a bulking agent in the form of soluble or insoluble fibre, which will swell in your gut and help you feel full, slow your overall digestion rate and stabilise your blood glucose levels.
The benefits of a reduced appetite for someone looking to lost weight are fairly obvious – less inclination to overeat or snack, satiated by smaller portions of food and it makes hitting your calorie target a whole lot easier.
Common appetite suppressants include 5-Hydroxytryptophan (more commonly known as 5-HTP), Glucomannan and Garcinia Cambogia.
5-HTP converts to serotonin in the central nervous system, which is a key neurotransmitter which controls various important aspects of your wellbeing including sleep and appetite. The use of the supplement has been shown to curb appetite, as well as helping to improve mood and sleep quality.
Glucomannan is a soluble fibre and is a bilking agent which expands in the intestinal tract. This helps you to feel full with smaller amounts of food. It also helps to stabilise blood glucose levels, which can help avoid excessive cravings for certain foods.
Garcinia Cambogia contains a compound which works to increase serotonin levels, and also aids with fat burning by stopping the ATP-citrate lyase enzyme from producing fat for storage. It’s effectiveness as a fat burner is yet to be proven.
While not as directly effective as thermogenics and appetite suppressants, the increased energy offered by these supplements can help provide a little extra edge when you’re looking to lose weight.
They help increase your available energy, allowing you to work that little bit harder in the gym and burn those extra calories which you may not have burned on a lower energy day. Some energy supplements also provide a slight metabolic boost, which can help you burn more calories at rest.
Caffeine is probably the most well-known energy booster in the world, and is included in everything from your morning cup of coffee to pre-workout supplements and fat burners. It increases the mobility of fat cells, allowing them to be used more readily as fuel, and it’s also complementary to various other fat burning supplements. It blocks the enzyme cAMP, which allows the other ingredients in these supplements to remain active for a longer period of time.
Most fat burning supplements contain stimulants which can be addictive for some people. For those with anxiety issues, stimulants should generally be avoided as they can exacerbate the condition.
They can also cause issues with insomnia and restlessness, so the timing of the supplementation is important. They can also causes elevations in heart rate and blood pressure, so your doctor should be consulted before taking any thermogenic product.