By Dr. Brittany Masteller
In today’s world, you can’t seem to avoid the constant marketing of weight loss supplements known as fat burners. They promise to help you shed unwanted pounds effortlessly with the consumption of a few pills, but is this too good to be true? Fat burners are appealing to many who are searching for an easy way to lose weight, but the truth is: focusing on long-term habits that will improve your health – although markedly more difficult – is what research suggests. Still hoping that last sentence isn’t true? Let’s learn a little more about fat burners to give you the full picture.
There are some ingredients found in fat burners that have some evidence as to their effectiveness to aid in weight loss; however, they are not actually torching fat cells. Rather, these ingredients work in conjunction with your body to potentially impact your energy levels, digestion, or metabolism. Fat burners do not act alone, but rather in conjunction with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
One of the most common ingredients in fat burners is caffeine. Several studies have reported a positive effect of caffeine on one repetition maximum testing, muscular endurance, and power. When regular exercise is performed, caffeine can also support weight loss (1-3). Additionally, caffeine ingestion can lower the perception of difficulty (rating of perceived exertion; RPE) (2). It is one of the most researched supplements and when appropriately dosed, has various benefits.
In addition to caffeine, other ingredients that can be found in some fat burners include ephedrine, raspberry ketones, green tea extract, and carnitine, among many others. Fat burners tend to have many ingredients that when supplemented individually may be safe and have small, positive benefits but when taken together (without an accurate amount reported on the label), could be dangerous.So while there is an effective ingredient – caffeine – found in many fat burners, it’s certainly not worth the cost of this entirely separate supplement. Fat burners really are too good to be true. That might not be what you wanted to hear, but the good news is, you can still reach your goals in a healthy way; however, you have to think of achieving them with a long-term approach.
One of our core values at Buff Chick is that insecurity is not for sale. We want our products to improve your performance, and help you meet your goals using science-backed ingredients in our supplements. We strongly believe that women don’t exist just to lose weight and while some people may have fat loss goals, our primary focus is to promote health and strength.
Additionally, some of the ingredients found in fat burners can have potentially dangerous side effects if taken in conjunction with certain dietary supplements and/or medications. This is another reason why it is important to take supplements from high-quality, independently-tested brands.
Rather that supplementing with fat burners, here is what we recommend:
- REGULAR EXERCISE AND STRENGTH TRAINING: The benefits of regular exercise and strength training are endless. When compared to physically inactive people, those who regularly participate in physical activity (and structured exercise) have a lower risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, and certain cancers. They’re more likely to report better physical function and health-related quality of life than their inactive counterparts. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults should participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity and 2 or more resistance training sessions each week.
- BALANCED DIET: If you want to improve your health, a balanced diet is a crucial component. This does not mean a severely restrictive diet with low calories, but a diet full of the proper macro- and micronutrients, and proper hydration. For some, a balanced diet means adding things to your diet rather than cutting things out. When it comes to making progress with strength training, one of the most crucial macronutrients that women tend to undereat is protein. Check out this recent Buffy’s Bulletin article all about protein intake.
- SUPPLEMENTATION: When appropriate, using certain science-backed dietary supplements can help you reach your goals.
- Buff Whey can help you meet your protein intake goals. It is a 100% Whey Protein Isolate powder. One single scoop delivers 24 grams of fast-digesting protein. In this formula, we've ditched concentrates, casein, or blends (found in lower quality protein powders), and added protease enzymes to further aid in digestion.
- Buff Pre (with caffeine) or Buff Pump (without caffeine) can help you focus and perform well in the gym. The good news is, you can take fat burners’ most effective ingredient – caffeine – in Buff Pre, but alongside other ingredients that have substantial research behind them in aiding your strength training performance.
Here at Buff Chick, transparency is at our core. We don’t sell miracle products that we do not believe in, and fat burners fall under that category. Our products will continue to promote health and strength above all else, with the research to back it up.
1. Acheson, K. J., Zahorska-Markiewicz, B., Pittet, P. H., Ananthara-man, K., & Jéquier, E. (1980). Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 33(5), 989–997.
2. Grgic J, Mikulic P, Schoenfeld BJ, Bishop DJ, Pedisic Z. The Influence of Caffeine Supplementation on Resistance Exercise: A Review. Sports Med. 2019 Jan;49(1):17-30. doi: 10.1007/s40279-018-0997-y. PMID: 30298476.
3. Tabrizi, R., Saneei, P., Lankarani, K. B., Akbari, M., Kolahdooz, F., Esmaillzadeh, A., . . . Asemi, Z. (2018, Oct.). The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 18, 1–9. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1507996.
4. Piercy KL, Troiano RP, Ballard RM, Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Galuska DA, George SM, Olson RD. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. JAMA. 2018 Nov 20;320(19):2020-2028. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.14854. PMID: 30418471.
5. Banned Substances Control Group. (2018). BSCG certified drug free. Retrieved from https://www.bscg.org/finished-product-certification-for-dietary-supplements-and-natural-products/