Are there supplements that can help your body utilise more fat for fuel? The answer is yes. This certainly helps as part of a weight management plan. My job is to help you find the best ‘fat burning’ supplement.
Taking a fat-burning product without first having in place a properly structured exercise program that includes plenty of aerobic exercise, and a well-balanced eating plan is a complete waste of time. That’s because the effect of even the best of these formulations is relatively small compared to exercise and diet; moreover, some of the commonly used ingredients in these products only exert any (small) effect when combined with exercise.
Ingredients that may be useful include:
- Caffeine (from various sources including guarana). Caffeine doesn’t appear to increase fat burning per se, but it can help to significantly prolong endurance exercise and reduce the perception of effort, encouraging longer workouts, thereby increasing fat oxidation.
- Conjugated Linoleic acid or CLA for short – a naturally occurring fat for which there is plenty of evidence of fat-burning enhancement;
- B-vitamins – involved in all aspect of energy metabolism;
- Citrus Aurantium an extract from oranges;
- Green Tea extract – research has demonstrated increased 24-hour energy expenditure, but it is unclear if brewed green tea leaves will do anything similar. Research on rodents also suggests improved fat use and endurance but not yet supported in humans. Research is ongoing.
Ingredients for which evidence is either lacking, very patchy, or which should be avoided for other reasons include:
- L-carnitine – very popular as L-carnitine is known to help the transport of fatty acids into cells for oxidation. However, numerous large and well controlled studies have found no benefits for taking L-carnitine;
- Ephedra/Ephedrine – naturally occurring alkaloids found in plants; effective but banned by sporting bodies such as the IOC and with the added risk of potentially fatal side-effects;
- Hydroxy Citric Acid (HCA) – a small molecule found in low concentrations in some plants, especially fruits; early studies in rodents looked promising, but very little evidence to date of any benefit in humans;
- Pyruvate – no substantive evidence to support this supplement’s role as a fat loss agent
UltraMeal Rice or UltraMeal Whey (Metagenics) shakes – 2 scoops twice daily
Ultra CLA (Metagenics) – 2 soft gels daily
Green Tea 600 (Xymogen)- 1-2 capsules daily
Protein Fusion or UltraMeal Bars are excellent snacks as well.