I used to watch infomercials on TV late at night when I struggled with insomnia, and most of them were fairly entertaining to say the least. Yes, I did succumb to the shopping temptation caused by sleep deprivation and the promise of a miracle in a bottle, but that enjoyment quickly faded once I started having horrible side effects from these magic pills.
I’m talking, of course, about those so-called “natural fat burning” supplements, also known as “thermogenics”, they would constantly push on commercials, magazine ads, and even TV daytime talk shows. Hey, they can’t all be bad…right?
What’s Wrong With “Natural” Fat Burning Supplements?
The biggest problem with these dietary supplements is they’re not treated the same as prescription medication, which means there is no FDA approval or regulation. This means your supplements can be filled with all types of substances including ingredients not even listed on the bottle.
Most of the time these so-called “natural” supplements are filled with nothing more than a few herbs and some nasty filler ingredients to keep everything together. Studies have found that the risks of those fat-burning supplements can include headaches, nausea, anxiety, indigestion, trouble sleeping, and even interactions with medication.
The Unsafe Ingredients In Supplements
There are a few commonly used ingredients in almost every fat-burning supplement on the market, but most of these are used in large amounts and not very safe for consumption. Some of the most common ingredients you’ll find are:
- Caffeine – While caffeine is a natural occurring substance, most supplements use way too much of it which can cause significant side effects like anxiety, insomnia, shakiness, heart palpitations, muscle spasms, and restlessness.
- Guarana – This is one of those magic ingredients that became increasingly popular when promoted on daytime talk shows. Guarana is a plant found in the Amazon that has naturally high levels of caffeine, actually the highest of any known plant. Because of this, it’s been used as one of the main ingredients in fat burners and is toted as providing natural energy. Side effects are similar to caffeine and include upset stomach, heart palpitations, insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, and medication interactions.
- Garcinia Cambogia – Another highly promoted magic ingredient for fat burning and weight loss, but one that comes with some pretty unpleasant side effects like loose stools, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal discomfort. Some reduced hunger was reported by users, but no studies have shown its effectiveness with fat burning.
Since most of the fat burning supplements on the market today are loaded with unsafe fillers, useless ingredients, and broken promises, why not try some proven, natural ways to help boost your body’s fat burning mechanism!
6 Natural Fat Burners For Weight Loss
Not only are these fat burners 100% natural, but they’re actually good for your body and health by helping to increase lean muscle mass and boost energy levels.
1. Green Tea & Herbal Tea
Green tea has been around for thousands of years and used all over the world for its amazing health benefits, but it also helps burn fat and aid in weight loss. Green tea is packed with powerful antioxidants and provides a very clean boost of energy that won’t give you the same side effects caffeine will.
The best green tea to drink is matcha green tea, a finely powdered concentrated green tea from Japan. Matcha is used for everything from increased cognitive function to enhancing fat-burning. The secret is catechins, a type of antioxidant found in high levels that aid in reducing body weight, speed up muscle recovery, and protect against free radical damage.
- How To Use: Drink one cup of green tea an hour before exercise for a clean, effective energy boost and fat-burning potential. Dropped the caffeine? Roobios and Yerba Mate tea are great caffeine-free options as well.
2. Grapefruit Essential Oil
Eating grapefruit for weight loss has been around for decades, but if you can’t stand the taste of grapefruit, its essential oil may end up working better for you.
Grapefruit’s active ingredients help boost metabolism, reduce appetite, lower sugar cravings, and give you a mild boost of energy. According to certain study findings, the natural enzymes in grapefruit help your body break down sugar and reduces cravings for sweets.
In addition, it’s a wonderful diuretic and lymphatic stimulant for cleansing toxins out of the body.
- How To Use: Put a few drops of a high quality grapefruit essential oil into a home oil diffuser, or add to a warm bath and soak for at least 20 mins. You can also mix it with a carrier oil and apply to your wrists and chest to help suppress appetite and reduce those sugar cravings.
3. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA is a group of polyunsaturated fats found in the fatty acid called linoleic acid. Our bodies don’t make conjugated linoleic acid on their own so we need to obtain it from foods. A few major sources of CLA in foods include full-fat dairy products like cheese, whole milk and yogurt, organic beef, and grass-fed butter.
A 2009 report published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that CLA has positive effects on energy metabolism, adipogenesis, inflammation, lipid metabolism and apoptosis. Another 2007 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition also found that a CLA supplementation mixture in overweight and obese people decreased body fat and increased lean body mass. There is also very little risk for adverse effects on blood lipids, inflammation, and insulin response in adults.
- How To Use: Eat plenty of full fat organic foods like whole milk, cream, grass-fed butter, yogurt, organic grass-fed beef, and raw milk cheese. These healthy fats not only keep your appetite satisfied longer, but they actually help your body burn off excess unhealthy fat. I’ve actually lost 20 lbs eating these foods and following the principles in this book: “Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low Carb, High Fat Diet“.
Good health always starts in the gut and weight loss is no exception to this adage. Probiotics are the “good bacteria” found in the gut that help aid in digestion and boost your immune system. They also help in maintaining balanced hormonal and central nervous system functions.
When you have a good balance of beneficial gut flora from probiotics, your body is more capable of breaking down foods and better utilizing them for energy. This naturally causes a boost in your metabolism which helps effectively burn fat.
- How To Use: Eat plenty of probiotic, cultured foods like yogurt or kefir for a natural boost in beneficial gut flora. Fermented foods like kombucha and sauerkraut are also packed full of healthy probiotics. For maximum effect, take a quality daily probiotic supplement for at least a month to drastically improve your gut flora.
This is probably one of my favorite natural fat burners because it really does work, and it works fast! Glycine is an amino acid that has so many health benefits from helping to lower symptoms in people suffering from conditions like ulcers, arthritis, leaky gut syndrome, diabetes, kidney and heart failure, neurobehavioral disorders, chronic fatigue, and sleep disorders.
But one of the best and surprising benefits is its ability to help the body burn fat. When I started my Keto diet, I was having a hard time getting the scale to move after weeks of eating healthy foods. I did some research and decided to give glycine a try since it was an amino acid and had little to no side effects. Within 1-2 days the pounds started dropping off and I knew there was something to this!
A recent study confirmed this amazing fat loss result with a study performed on obese mice. Results showed that obese mice with glucose intolerance supplemented with glycine had a significant reduction in overall body mass, and also had their glucose tolerance restored.
- How To Use: Glycine can naturally be found in food sources like bone broth, collagen, gelatin, and green leafy vegetables, however, most of these don’t supply enough glycine to show any results. Instead, you can take a glycine supplement to help boost your fat loss, but just be careful not to overdo it as there are still not enough studies to determine if too much of this amino acid has any adverse effects.
6. Coconut Oil
Most people wouldn’t think that a fatty oil could actually help reduce body fat, but then again coconut oil isn’t just any old oil. Coconut oil has a multitude of health benefits with one of those being appetite suppression and a boost in fat loss.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that can actually help your body burn fat for fuel and use up more energy during everyday functions like digestion. Not only that, but it smells and tastes amazing!
As with anything, always check with a doctor before adding any new items into your diet, even if they are natural. We’re all different and can have allergic reactions to certain things that other people might not, so always research and be cautious when adding anything new into your daily routine.
Have you tried any natural fat burners? What have you found that works best?