October 26, 2022 10 min read

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    Losing body fat is tough, and the older you get, the more challenging it can be. So wouldn't taking a supplement pill or powder to burn fat and help you lose weight be nice? However, you may be wondering: if weight loss supplements are so effective, then why aren't more people successfully getting in shape and achieving an optimum weight?

    The evidence is still conclusive that you can only lose weight and body fat by creating a calorie deficit (using more calories than you consume). So a healthy diet, building lean muscle mass, and physical activities that burn calories remain the keys to effective weight loss and maintenance.

    A fat burner supplement doesn't replace foundational healthy habits and magically melt fat, but research shows that certain ingredients in fat burners may enhance the process of fat loss. In this post, we'll explore some fat burner supplements that could aid you in achieving your goals, but first, let's talk about how your body stores fat.

    How and Why Does Your Body Store Fat?

    Fat is an essential component of cell membranes and is critical for brain health, protecting organs, absorbing vitamins, and supporting cell growth. The right amount of fat is vital for health; you can't avoid all dietary fat or remove all fat from your body.

    Maintaining a healthy body weight is about more than just appearance. Obesity-related conditions, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, are among the leading causes of preventable and premature death.

    So, where does the excess body fat come from? Through digestion, your body breaks down the food you eat (made up of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) into smaller molecules that it can then absorb and utilize for energy, structure, and cell function. Fats are primarily digested in the small intestine where bile breaks them into fatty acids. Chylomicrons then transport fats into the lymph system and the bloodstream. At that point, the body can use fatty acids for energy and cell repair, or it can be stored in the liver or as body fat in adipose tissue.

    Fat Is Critical for Brain Health

    The total number of adipocytes (fat cells) in your body can increase through late adolescence. After that age, you don't add more fat cells, but your adipocytes can expand or shrink in size.

    Your body will store fat when your calorie intake is higher than your body's energy needs, resulting in weight gain. Remember, it's not just dietary fat that we hold on to; extra calories from any source, including carbs and protein, will get converted and stored as body fat.

    The amount of energy each person requires daily varies, mainly based on body size and activity level. Our daily energy expenditure (calorie burn) has four components:

    1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)/Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): the energy needed to sustain basic life processes like brain and nerve function, circulation, renal function, etc.
    2. Physical Activity: the energy needed by the skeletal muscles for movement
    3. Thermic Effect of Food: diet-induced energy expenditure (cost of digestion)
    4. Thermoregulation: adjustments in metabolism to maintain core body temperature.

    Obesity rates for the US population are over 40%, higher than they've ever been before. Modern conveniences make it easy to avoid physical activity and overconsume packaged, processed foods.

    Unfortunately, it takes time and effort to exercise and prepare healthy meals... so it's tempting to look for a shortcut with fat-burning supplements. Just remember, the best thermogenic fat burner in the world won't work without a calorie deficit and building lean body mass through exercise.

    Can Supplements Burn Fat?

    Your body composition measures the percentage of fat in your body versus fat-free mass. So weight loss and fat loss, although related, aren't exactly the same thing. You may commit to a weight loss plan and see the number on the scale drop, but your body composition doesn't improve. This may indicate that you lost lean mass or water weight instead of burning fat stores.

    Body mass can be classified into two categories:

    • Lean body mass (LBM) is also known as fat-free mass (FFM) or lean soft tissue (LST). LBM is the sum of total body protein, carbohydrates, nonfat lipids, soft tissue minerals, and body water, making up skeletal and nonskeletal muscle, organs, connective tissue, and bones.
    • Fat mass includes all your fatty tissue, connective tissue formed by adipocytes, collagenous and elastic fibers, capillaries, and fibroblasts.

    When we talk about "burning fat," we're actually discussing how to increase fat metabolism: breaking down stored fat and using it for energy. Lipolysis is the term for this metabolic process, which utilizes fat for energy through beta-oxidation and ketone synthesis.

    Most supplements claim to affect fat burning by mechanisms associated with:

    • Suppressing appetite and food cravings
    • Impairing fat absorption
    • Increasing fat oxidation during exercise
    • Stimulating hormones and enzymes involved in lipolysis
    • Increasing metabolism/energy expenditure

    Scientific research has mixed reviews on the efficacy of supplement fat burners. However, building lean muscle mass can help to increase your metabolism and burn more calories at rest.

    Fat-burner supplements may aid fat loss by:

    • Improving energy levels: giving you an energy boost to expend more energy (calories) throughout the day.
    • Improving workout output allows you to burn more calories while exercising and build greater muscle mass.
    • Improving lean muscle mass: which can boost metabolism over time.
    • Improving fat digestion and lipolysis so that fat can be broken down, transported, and utilized for energy.

    Before diving into the fat burner supplements, it's critical to cover a few precautions.

    Building Lean Muscle Mass

    Precautions When Using Fat Burners

    Be very cautious when using any weight loss pills or fat burner supplements. They have potent ingredients that could cause adverse side effects.

    • If you have any health conditions or take medications, you must consult a health professional before taking supplements.
    • Start with the smallest dose possible, even a half or a quarter of a dose, to see how your body reacts.
    • Take fat burners in the morning so they don't interfere with your sleep, because sound sleep is crucial to the fat-burning process.
    • Don't combine fat burners until you know how your body reacts to each product and its ingredients individually.
    • Avoid using fat burners for an extended length of time; long-term use has caused liver damage and other ill effects.

    Most thermogenic fat burners will have an attenuating effect over time, meaning their impact will weaken as your body adjusts to the active ingredients. That's just another reason only to use them for a shorter period when you're focused on fat loss, but not continually without breaks.

    Natural ingredients are much safer and have fewer side effects than synthetic fat burners, so remember to include natural fat burner products in your fat-fighting efforts.

    6 Best Fat-Burner Supplements to Help Fight Stubborn Fat Naturally

    Improving body composition involves decreasing fat mass and increasing lean body mass. So some of the natural supplements mentioned here can help with increasing metabolism and shifting your body composition by promoting lean muscle building.

    High-Quality Whey Protein and Collagen Protein

    Protein helps control appetite and takes more energy for your body to digest. The amino acids in protein are also essential for building strong muscles. One popular source of protein supplements is collagen peptides.

    One study of older men conducted a twelve-week strength training program in which some men received a collagen supplement, and others took a placebo. The group taking collagen significantly improved body composition by increasing muscle mass and strength and reducing fat mass.

    You can incorporate a daily serving of collagen peptides from grass-fed and pasture-raised bovine sources. Another option is marine collagen sustainably sourced from wild fish. Collagen is an excellent dietary supplement when you’re trying to lose weight and burn fat since it’s high in protein, but low in fat and calories.

    One 10-gram serving of Amandean’s collagen peptides contains just 35 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 9 grams of protein containing essential amino acids. Since collagen is odorless, tasteless, and easy-to-mix, you can simply add a scoop to your morning coffee or post-workout smoothie.

    Collagen and Strength Training

    Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits. But, could they also help you lose weight? One theory is that omega-3s aid weight loss by reducing hunger and helping you feel full. Although results are not entirely consistent, one study showed that overweight and obese subjects had greater satiety after meals when their diet included omega-3 fatty acids.

    Results may vary based on age and gender, but several studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation raises exercise and resting metabolic rates. In one study, elderly women were given either a placebo or a 3g omega-3 supplement containing EPA and DHA every day for 12 weeks. Results showed the omega-3 supplement group had an increased rate of fat oxidation of 19% during rest and 27% during exercise.

    A high-quality omega-3 supplement should contain a combined 250-500mg of EPA and DHA. Supplements are typically sourced from fish oil, or you can find Vegan Omega-3 as well. Amandean’s Vegan Omega-3 supplement is made from pure, non-GMO marine algae that is sustainably sourced and grown in a cGMP-controlled lab in the USA. This means there’s no risk of contamination from ocean pollution or heavy metals. In addition, the Omega-3 softgels are carrageenan-free and a highly bioavailable source of both EPA and DHA.

    Green Tea 

    Green tea may aid fat loss through a combination of catechins, a type of polyphenol, and caffeine. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants that help reverse damage to cells and prevent chronic diseases, possibly even cancer.

    Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the primary catechin in green tea extract supplements. EGCG supplements can increase circulating free fatty acid and triglyceride levels and enhance exercise-induced abdominal fat loss.

    A study on healthy adult male subjects showed that two months of tea catechin intake increased fat utilization for energy expenditure in both sedentary and exercise conditions. In rare cases, excessive consumption of EGCG could cause liver damage. A formal medical review noted that these cases of toxicity occurred when consuming 800 mg EGCG per day or more. However, the mean use of 90–300 mg EGCG per day found in average green tea drinkers appeared to have no adverse effects.

    Green Tea Catechins

    Caffeine

    Caffeine is one of the most widely studied ingredients for fat loss. So, in most fat-burning pills you'll find caffeine anhydrous (concentrated caffeine powder extract).

    Caffeine may effectively burn fat by:

    • increasing sympathetic nervous system activity, which liberates fatty acids from adipose stores
    • enhancing lipolysis by affecting enzymes and increasing fatty acid availability for fuel
    • eliciting short-term thermogenic effects and increasing resting metabolic rate

    Consuming caffeine appears to boost metabolism, but some people are highly sensitive to caffeine side effects and experience shakiness, anxiety, insomnia, dependency, and headaches. Also, as your body adjusts to caffeine intake over time, you may get diminishing returns.

    The FDA recommends no more than 400mg per day of caffeine, which is the amount in four to five cups of coffee.

    For double impact, try combining caffeine with some of the other items in this list by:

    Capsaicin

    Another common ingredient in fat burners that appears to enhance metabolism is capsaicin. Capsaicinoids (CAPs) are found in the seeds of chili peppers. One twelve-week study resulted in a 5.9% decrease in body fat and fat mass when taking 4 mg CAP.

    In addition, epidemiological data shows a lower prevalence of obesity in populations that consume foods containing capsaicin. Red peppers may suppress appetite and increase thermogenesis, and researchers are looking more closely at capsaicin as a potential tool for combating obesity.

    Most studies suggest anti-inflammatory and fat-burning benefits from 2-6 mg capsaicin doses. However, because these supplements can cause a burning sensation and elevated temperature, you should increase your dosage slowly.

    Capsaicinoids Used in Fat Burners

    Soluble Fiber/Glucomannan

    When examining supplement ingredients, you may notice soluble fiber on the list. Glucomannan, from the konjac plant, is a specific type of dietary fiber becoming increasingly popular in fat-burner supplements. Glucomannan absorbs water in the gut to form a bulky fiber that treats constipation, and it may also slow the absorption of cholesterol and sugar. Studies show 2-4 grams a day of glucomannan can support weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.

    Soluble fibers (like gums, pectins, psyllium, and beta-glucans) promote satiety, reduce appetite, and feed friendly bacteria in the gut microbiome.

    Foods with soluble or viscous fiber are:

    • Oats
    • Beans and legumes
    • Carrots
    • Citrus Fruits
    • Apples
    • Asparagus
    • Flaxseeds
    • Brussels sprouts

    Are Fat Burner Supplements for You?

    Although supplements are not a "magic pill" for fat loss, they can aid in your weight loss journey. Natural fat burning supplements could benefit you by acting as an energy boost, appetite suppressant, and utilizing thermogenic ingredients.

    As you understand more about fat-burning ingredients, look for effective, natural sources that don't include fillers, additives, and harmful ingredients. Continue to focus on healthy eating habits and exercise to decrease excess fat, and improve body composition.

    Remember that the best way to increase metabolism is to build your lean body mass, so always incorporate strength training exercises to lose fat and reach your weight loss goals.

    -Stephanie Hodges, MS in Nutrition and Exercise Science

    Summary Points

    You can only lose weight and body fat by creating a calorie deficit (using more calories than you consume).

    The total number of adipocytes (fat cells) in your body can increase through late adolescence. After that age, you don't add more fat cells, but your adipocytes can expand or shrink in size.

    Your body composition measures the percentage of fat in your body versus fat-free mass. So weight loss and fat loss, although related, aren't exactly the same thing.

    Your body composition measures the percentage of fat in your body versus fat-free mass. So weight loss and fat loss, although related, aren't exactly the same thing.

    Natural ingredients are much safer and have fewer side effects than synthetic fat burners, so remember to include natural fat burner products in your fat-fighting efforts.

    References:

    1. Adult Obesity Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
    2. Lean Tissue Imaging https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4361695/
    3. Fat burners: nutrition supplements that increase fat metabolism. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00908.x
    4. Acute Liver Failure Caused by 'Fat Burners' and Dietary Supplements: A Case Report and Literature Review. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/cjgh/2011/174978/
    5. Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/collagen-peptide-supplementation-in-combination-with-resistance-training-improves-body-composition-and-increases-muscle-strength-in-elderly-sarcopenic-men-a-randomised-controlled-trial/9426E375742D094F91029FD0364815C4
    6. A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18602429/
    7. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for 12 Weeks Increases Resting and Exercise Metabolic Rate in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Females. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4682991/
    8. Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/139/2/264/4750912?login=true
    9. Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults. 
    10. Scientific opinion on the safety of green tea catechins. https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5239
    11. http://jhs.pharm.or.jp/data/51(2)/51_233.pdf
    12. Body Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance in Relation to Habitual Caffeine Intake and Green Tea Supplementation. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2005.142
    13. Capsaicinoids supplementation decreases percent body fat and fat mass: adjustment using covariates in a post hoc analysis. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40608-018-0197-1
    14. Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/
    15. Glucomannan and obesity: a critical review. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16320857/



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