There are a wide variety of different weight loss supplements available today. We're talking hundreds if not thousands of different products, ranging from rebranded caffeine pills to carefully formulated vitamin and natural chemical supplements. They can be fat burners, they can be appetite suppressants, they can be energy boosters, and most of the time they're all of that and more.
Fat burners are, as often as not, combinations of multiple ingredients meant to stimulate your body into having more energy, which makes you more willing to exercise to burn fat, while suppressing your appetite to make you consume fewer calories, while also making food linger in your digestive system so you feel full longer and have less incentive to eat.
Of course, when you're researching the best fat burner to try, you want only the top of the top. None of those bargain-bin rebrands of rebrands; we're talking just the good stuff. The good, proven fat burners that won't leave you jittery, won't give you headaches, and won't leave you wondering if they were nothing but sugar pills after all.
So here's the thing: fat burners come in a wide variety of formulas, and you might react to some of them in a way most people don't. A supplement most people like might leave you with the jitters, or might give you indigestion, or might not do much to help you boost your energy and metabolism.
What we're going to do here is give you a list of the ingredients commonly found in the best fat burners, and then give you another list of the best formulas we've found. Try them out, but be aware of your body. If you experience undesirable side effects, try a different product, and compare the ingredients lists to see if you can identify what was causing you the problem. Once you know that, you can start tailoring your supplements to your own specific needs.
The Components of a Good Fat Burner
Generally, fat burners have three kinds of ingredients in them. They have ingredients aimed at boosting your metabolism, ingredients that help supplement any nutritional deficiencies you may have, and ingredients that help the other two work more effectively.
One of the easiest examples of this last category is calcium. Your body needs calcium to live, since it's a critical nutrient in several bodily processes, and it's essential that you get enough to prevent things like brittle bones and osteoporosis. However, taking a pure calcium supplement does absolutely nothing for you if you don't also take vitamin D. Vitamin D is a critical part of calcium absorption; without it, the calcium you take just passes through you and out the other end.
So, if you're wondering why some ingredients are part of a fat burner and you're not sure what they do, they might exist just to facilitate or activate other ingredients. Speaking of, here's a list of what you might find.
Calcium Carbonate. This is a nutrient your body needs and that we often don't get quite enough from our diets, unless we drink a lot of milk or eat fortified cereals. It can also help settle the stomach.
Chromium Picolinate. Chromium is a trace mineral your body needs, but you usually get enough of it. This form of chromium is used in insulin function, among other things. As a supplement ingredient, it helps burn fat and boost energy levels.
Lambda Carnitine. This is an amino acid that helps promote converting stored body fat into energy; literally the core essence of what a fat burner is trying to do. This is one of the most common ingredients you find in fat burners, along with caffeine and caffeine-derivatives.
Caffeine. We all know what caffeine is. As a stimulant, it gives you more energy, which you can direct towards activities that help you burn fat, like exercise. Caffeine has been proven to passively improve the body's natural calorie burning process, though the effect is somewhat minimal on its own.
Bitter/Sour Orange Extract. This variety of citrus is not a typical fruit you find at a grocery store. It's an Asian citrus, and the extract comes from oils found in the peel. It includes an active ingredient called synephrine, which is a stimulant and helps boost metabolism and energy levels, similar to caffeine but stronger.
Green Tea Extract. Any kind of tea extract is largely going for a combination of the caffeine naturally found in tea, and the tannins. These provide a variety of benefits, including a boosted metabolism and higher energy levels, as well as nutrition, antioxidant properties, and other fringe benefits. You'll occasionally see other tea extracts as well, like black or white teas, but they're all basically the same thing.
Garcinia Cambogia. This is a variety of tamarind that is very commonly found in fat burners. It works because of a compound called HCA, or hydroxycitric acid. That chemical has two effects; it boosts serotonin, which reduces appetite, and it helps prevent the process whereby calories are converted into fat. In other words, it helps prevent the food you eat from becoming fat you will need to burn off later.
Guarana. This plant, found in the Amazon, is another modern euphemism for caffeine. The seeds of the plant are used as a caffeine boost without having to label the ingredient as caffeine. This is why you'll see energy drinks with low caffeine numbers listing guarana as an ingredient. And of course, like caffeine, it boosts the metabolism as a stimulant.
Coleus. Known by a few different names, this is a plant that has been used for centuries to treat blood and heart issues. You're also likely to see it listed as Forskolin. It's another metabolism booster, though it works in a different way than caffeine and the other stimulants.
You'll also see a wide variety of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and fruit-based ingredients. Many, like niacin, are vitamins that help supplement your body's needs when your appetite is reduced. Others, like raspberry ketones, are derived ingredients that help you lose weight in one of the three main ways.
The Best Fat Burners On the Market
You didn't come here for an ingredients list, though, you came here for products. You want to buy something that has a good mixture of fat burners, stimulants, appetite suppressants, and nutrients to replace what you're not getting through your diet. Here are some options you can look into.
Adios Fat – In addition to the usual profile of caffeine, green tea, HTP, and raspberry ketones, this fat burner also includes a range of vitamins and minerals your body needs, such as B12, thiamin, riboflavin, and stearic acid. It's focused on burning fat as well as suppressing appetite, while providing enough nutrients to keep you from crashing when you don't eat like you're used to.
PhenQ – When you look at the ingredients list for this popular fat burner, you'll see many of the ingredients listed above. You'll also find a few like Nopal, which is a high fiber supplement that helps you stay full longer and reduces cravings for snacks. Unfortunately, it showcases one issue you'll have looking up ingredients lists for supplements like this. It lists "capsimax" as an ingredient, but capsimax is just another supplement. It's really just a capsicum – red pepper extract – but branding makes it difficult to find that information right away.
Instant Knockout – This supplement was originally developed for boxers and MMA fighters to help cut fat quickly in time for fights. It's highly effective, but it's also very harsh. You absolutely need to couple it with an adequate training program and dietary restrictions. As for its ingredients, it's mostly caffeine, fiber, vitamins, capsicum, and a few others like piperine, a black pepper extract.
Transparent Labs – This company strives to ensure that their supplements are free of artificial sweeteners and colors, and that they're using natural ingredients as much as possible. For their fat burner, they include forskolin, green tea, l-theanine, caffeine, willowbark extract, synephrine, and a couple of other ingredients. They also have a stimulant-free version if you tend to react poorly to the caffeine found in many of these fat burners.
Phen 375 – A lot of these fat burners have chemical-sounding names, but don't let that scare you off. It's basically just a marketing trick to make them seem like some kind of newly discovered chemical or miracle substance, when really it's just a brand name that may be derived from one of the ingredients, or might just be made up. In this case, it's just made up; the ingredients list includes L-carnitine, caffeine, forskolin, and cayenne, as well as a citrus-derived ingredient similar to bitter orange, and an extract from orchids called dendrobium nobile extract. It also includes calcium carbonate and chromium, you know, just in case.
Hunter Burn – While they give some of the ingredients different names, you'll recognize most of what's in this supplement from the list above. Konjac root, for example, is glucomannan, which is a fiber that helps suppress appetite. Cayenne and green tea extracts are both common, as is L-theanine and vitamin D. The only really unusual ingredient is white kidney bean extract, which is also an appetite suppressant fiber.
Animal Cuts – This fat burner is one of the most complex supplements we've ever seen, with over 35 different ingredients in it, combined into "complexes" aimed at specific kinds of benefits. The trick is, it's all obfuscation for what it's really doing. Many of those ingredients are basically the same. They list green, oolong, black, and white tea extracts, but all of those teas are the same plant. Likewise, they list caffeine, kola nut, guarana, yerba mate, and coffee bean extract, all of which are basically just caffeine.
That said, even though there are a lot of doubled up ingredients, they still have plenty of unique benefit in these powerful capsules. A collection of diuretics including dandelion, hydrangea, and juniper all help shed water weight, while fruit extracts like raspberry ketones, grapefruit, and naringin all help the body absorb nutrients for energy more readily. There's a lot of power here. Unfortunately, it also uses some artificial colors and ingredients you may want to avoid if you're sensitive.
The Real Best Fat Burner
While there are a lot of products listed up above, none of them can really be considered a super-effective fat burner on their own. The fact is, the way the human body works, no supplement is going to make you shed the pounds if you don't put in the effort. At most, they can help you passively burn an extra 100 calories or so a day. To put that into perspective, you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Losing one pound a month doesn't sound all that attractive, does it?
Fat burners are meant to be an assistive tool. That is, they help make things like exercise help you burn more fat than you normally would. Thus, the real best fat burner is a good exercise plan.
That said, develop an exercise plan and stick to it, and take the supplements to help you burn more calories with that plan, while snacking less so you don't undo the benefits you get from exercise. That's how you can really kick your weight loss into high gear.
We've only scratched the surface of good weight loss supplements here. What options have you tried, and how have they worked out for you? Let us know.