People desperate to lose fat often look for supplements to aid their weight loss process. Desperation brings on (often empty) hopes of finding a simple solutions to complex problems. And fat loss is often a complex, individual topic. When listening to some supplement producers, you could be forgiven to believe that all you need to do is pop a pill, or ten each, day. And see the fat dripping off the body as you stare in the mirror.
It’s hard to not get tangled up in the slick marketing of different fat burners and stimulants that promise rapid results. After all, there is no shortage of extra hype and twisting the truth in the supplement industry.
Don’t take these claims as a face value. I am not saying that there are absolutely no honest people making supplements. But as honest marketers and producers refuse to rely on gimmicks they have harder time bursting through the thick supplement-canopy.
So for now, I urge you to be a sceptic when staring at the claims on the side of the packet.
Luckily we’ve got research to go by, right?
When you are going by what the research says, don’t just look at the conclusions of the studies and claims. Sometimes the supplement research is being paid by the very companies whose products are being studied. Whether this affect the conclusion is debatable. But I personally rather find unbiased resources.
What’s more, often the supplement studies are done on a specific group of people that don’t necessarily apply to you. Like the one on fish oil done on healthy community-dwelling older females. Sure, it aided fat loss, but for that specific demographic.
Research is not necessarily done like this to purposefully lure you into forking money for the products. Researching supplement and finding a controlled environment is often challenging to say the least.
At least we can listen to the experts…
This minefield of fat burning supplements gets even more confusing when “experts” like Dr. Oz adds their spin on them. As he did with the green coffee bean extract few years ago. He was promoting green coffee bean extract and other supplements and later admitted that some don’t have “the scientific muster to present as fact.”
Then there was someone else with an authority promoting raspberry ketones as the next best thing for fat loss. A supplement we now know has no science behind it when it comes to fat loss.
So it’s safe to say, be careful whose opinion you’ll trust. Because someone could be after a dollar or two.
Unless you are extremely comfortable reading and digesting scientific research, I recommend finding someone who does this for a living. Like the guys at Examine.com which is an unbiased, research driven site for knowing everything there is to know about supplements. So if you want to know more about the green coffee bean extract you can find unbiased information here.
The safety with fat burning supplements
As things tend to go overboard in the supplement world it’s no surprise that fat burners come in all different shapes and form. Some work ok with a calorie controlled diet and some are downright dangerous, especially when combined with a existing medical condition.
If you use fat burning supplement which have caffeine or other stimulant in it (most do) and drink your usual 3-4 cup of coffee on top of it, you’ll run a risk of burning yourself to the ground. You’ll fatigue quicker and your body is going to have harder time recovering from training. It’s just not worth it.
And that’s only one of the many downsides of some of the fat burning supplements in the market today. Everyone’s free to do whatever they want in life but if I were you I’d tread with caution.
Before you even remotely consider a fat loss supplement
I urge you to have the following principles sorted with your diet. In 99.9% of the cases adhering to the following will probably do more than any fat burner ever could:
– Eat less calories than what your body needs. But don’t go too low as you could be losing a lot of muscle as well.
– Base your meals around whole foods. Protein, carbohydrates and fats and plenty of fruit and vegetables.
– Stay active on most days. Some days are hard training days, other days you might just go for a walk. Remember that more is not always better when it comes to intensity.
– Get at least 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night and keep your stress levels in check. If you don’t allow your body the time to recover it won’t adapt to the changes you are trying to force upon it.
Fat burning supplements are not a magic fix for all your weight loss troubles. And they rarely, if ever work if the person using them doesn’t have a grasp on a healthy diet. That’s why they are a “supplement”, not “a fix” nor “the solution”.
So get your diet in order, do exercise and you’ll most likely never need a fat loss supplement. You’ll be healthier for it and will end up having more money in your wallet.
You can follow ICON’s fitness expert, Jono Castanoacero on instagram @jonocastanoacero