Do fat-burning supplements or weight loss pills really work?

Question: Do fat-burning supplements or weight loss pills
really work?

Answer: Some supplements that are marketed as ‘fat burners’
really do have scientific research supporting their effectiveness,
while other fat-burning products make claims that are
completely unsubstantiated. The majority of the researchproven
products are thermogenic in nature, which means they
work by temporarily stimulating your central nervous system
and increasing your metabolic rate, thereby burning more
calories. The most common example of a legitimate
thermogenic fat burner is the ephedrine-caffeine combination,
or its herbal equivalent (for example, Ma Huang, kola nut or

The downside is that stimulant-based fat burners are dangerous
for some people with pre-existing health problems such as high
blood pressure, thyroid disorders, or cardiovascular disease.
They may be harmful even to healthy individuals if abused or
taken in excess. Ephedrine and caffeine are drugs, and as with
any drug or medicine, those who have contraindications should
not use them. You must use them with caution and common
sense, and not exceed recommended dosages.

Now that ephedrine has been banned in the United States for
use in weight loss or fat-burning formulas, supplement
companies have raced to find a replacement for what was their
top seller and major cash cow. The ingredients in these
ephedrine-free fat-burning products varies, but most often
include synephrine (essentially a weaker cousin of ephedrine),
green tea extract, yohimbe, caffeine, guarana or kola nut.

Although you may feel an energy buzz from these stimulantbased
products, few, if any, of these ingredients (with the
possible exception of green tea), have significant fat-burning
benefits that have been proven through research.

Other fat-burning supplements in the post-ephedrine-ban era
are stimulant-free (no buzz) and seek to improve thyroid
function, increase insulin sensitivity, suppress cortisol, or
decrease appetite. Like most ephedrine alternatives, the
majority of the ingredients in these next-generation fat burners
are also largely unproven and without much scientific support
backing their advertising claims.

In addition to lack of research with the newer crop of fatburning
supplements, is that the quantity of active ingredients
in many products is often insufficient to produce any beneficial
effect. Furthermore, secret proprietary formulas often do not
reveal the amount of active ingredients used. What you might
get is a diluted product with an ineffectual dosage of the active
ingredient. The product that actually reaches the consumer
often contains only a fraction of the dosage used in the
research. For example, a product may advertise green tea as one
of the active ingredients in its formula, and quote research
about its fat-burning and health benefits. However, the product
may contain such a small dose that it is virtually ineffective.

Another example is the commonly advertised cortisolsuppressing
supplements that contain phosphatidylserine (PS).
In well-conducted studies, PS has been shown to suppress
cortisol, and these studies are quoted in the advertisements for
the product. However, unknown to the consumer, the dosage
contained in each serving of someYet another way that supplement
companies deceive the consumer is by quoting research about ingredients that were
administered intravenously during research, but oral ingestion
of the compound was not even studied!

The best ways to avoid being scammed are to get your
supplements from a reputable source, purchase pharmaceuticalgrade
products, verify that all ingredients and their dosage in
standardized extract are listed on the label, and do your
homework by reviewing the research before spending a dime.

If you choose to experiment with any of these various types of
fat-burning supplements’or any other kind of supplement for
that matter’understand that no supplement can help you burn
fat without proper diet and exercise. Even the words “fat
burner” are somewhat misleading, in my opinion.
Fat burners burn very little fat. They may increase your
metabolism, which should ultimately burn fat, but they do not
elevate your metabolism high enough or long enough for
anything major to happen. After taking these products, the
major effect most people feel is a 15- to 30-minute energy buzz
or “rush,” as their central nervous system is stimulated, much
like the effect of drinking a very strong cup of coffee.

To create a substantial fat-burning effect, you must create a
caloric deficit and elevate your body’s metabolism over the
course of an entire day. Fat-burning supplements are not magic
pills. At best, the products that are well formulated with
scientifically proven ingredients in the right dosages may
provide a few percent increase in your results. At worst, the
products may be complete scams with no scientific support, or
with insufficient dosages to burn anything but a hole in your
wallet. Also, keep in mind that even the most effective
thermogenic products become less effective the more you take
them. Your body literally becomes immune to them, and you’ll
notice diminishing effects over time.

Using excessive amounts of stimulant-based pills may cause
harmful side effects. They can damage the stomach lining and
kidneys, and exhaust your entire nervous system, or cause
uncontrollable shaking, jitters, or nervousness. If you’ve never
used a stimulant-based (thermogenic) fat burner before and you
don’t know how your body will react, consider starting with only
half the recommended dose on the back of the bottle, then work
your way up to the full dose. Keep in mind that dosages can and
should be related to body weight, although the dosages listed
on many products do not take this into consideration; ‘normal’
dosages can be dangerous for people with low body weights.

More on the subject next week…stay tuned

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David Grisaffi
Firm and Flatten Your Abs

About The Author

David is the author of Firm And Flatten Your Abs an online best seller
which teaches you how to lose body fat and develop ‘six pack abs’ while
improving strength, function and athletic power at the same time. You
can contact David or learn more about his programs at