The market for fitness supplements is absolutely huge, and fat loss supplements in particular are extremely popular.
You don’t have to step more than 1 foot inside GNC before you’re bombarded with ads and displays for enticing products that can supposedly make you ripped.
Unfortunately, fat loss supplements are also some of the most dodgy supplements out there…
Of all the different types of fitness supplements on the market, these are the ones that you arguably need to exercise the most caution with.
If you’ve ever come across one of those shady ads on a fake newspaper or blog online, 9 times out of 10 it is for some sort of trumped-up weight loss pill.
Unscrupulous manufactors tend to load these up will all sorts of crap, often hiding behind a ‘proprietary blend’ label to avoid telling you what’s really inside.
In general, much of the stuff you find in run-of-the-mill fat burners is going to be pretty much useless at best – and potentially outright dangerous for you to take.
For these reasons, we’ve devoted some time to really setting the record straight on fat loss supplements in this article.
You’ll learn how they actually work, which compounds can help you lose weight faster, and the specific brands that stand out as reputable amongst all the garbage.
What Makes A Good Fat Loss Supplement?
When you cut through all of the marketing claims and sensationalized promises, there are really only a couple of different ways that a fat loss supplement can actually work.
This is because at the end of the day losing fat is all about energy balance, as we’ve discussed many times before.
That is, if your body is burning more energy than you are consuming, you will lose fat.
So in order for a supplement to impact this, it would need to either make you burn more energy, or take in less energy.
Following this reasoning, in order to be effective, fat loss supplements have to be able to do at least 1 of the following 2 things:
1) Speed up your basal metabolic rate (BMR), so that you burn more calories each day.
2) Decrease your appetite, so that you consume fewer calories each day.
Most fat loss compounds that work focus on the first of these options.
They do this either by encouraging greater energy production in your body at a cellular level, or by reducing the efficiency of certain cellular processes, so that your body needs to expend more energy to perform these functions.
So What Compounds Are Proven To Help With Fat Loss?
So now that we understand that a fat loss supplement has to function in one of these two ways in order to be considered effective, let’s take a look at some of the ones that actually work.
Here is a list of some compounds that are scientifically proven to help you lose fat (click on any of the links to see the corresponding study).
- Caffeine (increases energy expenditure & reduces appetite)
- Green Tea Extract (increases energy expenditure & reduces appetite)
- Synephrine (increases energy expenditure)
- Naringin (increases energy expenditure)
- Hesperidin (increases energy expenditure)
- Hordenine (increases energy expenditure)
- 5-HTP (Reduces appetite)
- Forskolin (increases energy expenditure)
- Yohimbine (increases energy expenditure)
Yup, it’s quite a list – but if you look on the label of most mainstream fat loss supplements, you’ll see a ton of other crap which simply doesn’t have the scientific backing necessary for you to be putting it in your body, like some of the supplements that we discuss in this article.
Recommended Fat Loss Supplements
OK, so now that we’ve gone over which compounds can actually help you lose fat more effectively, let’s take a look at the more practical concern…
That is, which specific supplements we recommend taking.
While this might not sound very exciting, compared to some of the more exotic compounds that you’ll often find in fat burners, regular old caffeine can be very effective at helping you lose weight more efficiently.
For one, it is proven to increase your body’s energy expenditure by stimulating thermogenesis.
Secondly, it has been demonstrated to help reduce appetite, making it easier to maintain your cutting diet and eat at the appropriate caloric deficit.
Indeed, if you look at the ingredient list on 99% of fat burning supplements, caffeine will be listed as the first ingredient.
This is a little trick they like to play, since they’ll often mask the fact that the remainder of the supplement consists of bogus stuff that doesn’t work, by dumping in a healthy dose of cheap caffeine as the primary ingredient.
And, of course, charging you about 50x what you would need to pay if you just got the caffeine by itself!
You can get your daily dose of caffeine simply by drinking coffee – or, if you prefer, you can supplement with caffeine pills.
For guys that don’t like drinking coffee, or want a more standardized dosage of caffeine, we recommend ProLab Caffeine Pills, which you can order directly from Amazon for just $8 here.
We recommend taking them before working out, and then later in the day whenever you want.
However, for best results, try to keep your maximum daily caffeine intake below 6 mg for every kg of body weight.
Green Tea Extract
Like caffeine, green tea extract is an affordable supplement that can help you lose fat more effectively.
Studies have indicated that it both improves fat oxidation in humans, and can also serve as an appetite suppressant.
It is also safe to take, and doesn’t have any notable side effects.
So, if you are looking for another proven fat loss supplement, in addition to caffeine, we recommend adding this into the mix.
In terms of brands, we’d strongly recommend Now Foods Green Tea Extract, which you can order a bottle of directly from Amazon here.
However, we should note that these do contain a small amount of caffeine.
If you’d prefer a version without any caffeine, then we’d recommend ordering a bottle of Life Extension Mega Green Tea Extract from Amazon nstead.
Comprehensive Fat Burner
Now we know what some of you are thinking…
You want something to take in addition to caffeine and green tea – something more exciting, that is packed full of all sorts of extreme fat burning ingredients.
Unfortunately, there are very few comprehensive fat burners that we could recommend to you in good conscience.
As we mentioned above, most of them are simply crap, and are basically just overcharging you for caffeine and other stuff that won’t do squat to help you lose weight (or are just plain dangerous for you to take).
For this reason, there are very few comprehensive fat burning supplements that we feel comfortable recommending…
But one of our top picks would definitely be Legion Phoenix from Legion Athletics.
It contains all of the proven fat burning compounds that we mentioned above, doesn’t contain any other crap – and it also doesn’t have any caffeine in it.
This is great since you’ll still be able to drink coffee or supplement with caffeine separately, without worrying about overdoing it.
Note: if you do decide to supplement with this, then you don’t need to take a green tea supplement, since that is included in the mix.
We saved this one for last, since although it can be used as an effective fat loss supplement, we wouldn’t recommend it for everyone.
This is because yohimbine has been shown to increase blood pressure, so if you suffer from high blood pressure than you should probably give this one a miss.
However, if your blood pressure is normal, and you’re looking for something to add into the mix, then this is the final one that we’d recommend adding after you are already taking the other supplements we mentioned above.
Yohimbine works by helping to speed up your metabolism, by effectively disturbing a mechanism within your fat cells that prevents weight loss.
We should also mention that it isn’t included in the comprehensive fat burner we recommended, so you can take it in addition to that without worrying about double dosing.
In terms of brands, we like Primaforce Yohimbine HCI, which you can order a bottle of directly from Amazon here.
Note: in order for yohimbine to work properly, you need to take it in a fasted state. This means that we recommend taking it first thing in the morning before you eat anything.
For this reason, yohimbine pairs well with an intermittent fasting approach to eating, which you can read more about here.
The Bottom Line On Fat Loss Supplements
At the end of the day, the reality is that there are only a handful of effective fat loss supplements, and the majority of what you’ll find on supplement store shelves won’t do much to get you ripped…
…while costing you a lot of money, and potentially being dangerous for you to take.
Remember, the amount of fat you’ll lose always comes down to your energy balance, which is best controlled through a combination of diet and exercise.
Yup, the combination of those factors will be 90% of the picture.
That said, by sensibly using some of the fat loss supplements we suggested above, you can accelerate your overall fat loss, and in certain cases make it easier to lose that final bit of stubborn fat that your body has been clinging on to.