Do Fat Burners Work? Are They Really Effective?

Perhaps you've heard people talk about fat burner pills with their ability to burn fat without necessarily engaging in exercise plans or regular workouts. 

Wait, before you decide to take a break from the gym to rely only on fat burners to help you lose weight, there are certain things you need to know.

First, they are not alternatives to diet and exercise. It is essential to have a healthy eating habit and a workout routine.

Do fat burner pills actually work? The answers to this, other interesting facts you should know, and details on how fat burners work are what you’ll find.

Now let’s get right to it!


What Are Fat Burners and What Do They Do?

Fat burner is any dietary ingredient to promote weight loss. Fat burners are designed to increase metabolism, reduce the rate of fat absorption, burn more calories and suppress appetite.

In simpler terms, they are made to help people in their weight loss journey in the best way. They are usually in pill form, capsules, or powder, expected to be consumed by adults.

Naturally, our physique is engineered to burn fat independently without needing any external influence, but this process might be slow on some individuals.

Thus, they need something to catalyze the fat-burning metabolic reaction, which explains why it is necessary to opt for ingredients that promote fat burning.

However, fat burners are one of the most controversial products sold today. When discussing the human body’s fat-burning ability, it is crucial to understand the difference between thermogenesis and lipolysis processes.


Thermogenesis is the process of heat production in an individual. Such heat production will speed up the body’s metabolism, causing energy to dissipate. But do thermogenic fat burners work? Yes, they do!

When energy dissipates, the body goes back to the stored fats and converts them to power for use. The altered fats will also disperse, and with such a continuous but controlled process, weight loss will set in.

Hence, whenever you find a stimulant fat burner at the store that claims to increase thermogenesis, this is referred to.


Lipolysis is a breakdown of lipids, also known as body fat. This process occurs through the action of water and the biological catalysts called enzymes.

Naturally, the body extracts energy from the food we eat, mainly carbohydrates.

However, when we eat more than is required, our gut saves the residues as fats. If an individual continues to eat more than needed, so will the fat continue to pile up.

The body then automatically falls back to the stored fats if it requires energy and converts it back to glucose, the preferred fuel source for the body composition and the brain.

Therefore, whenever you find a supplement at the store claiming to increase lipolysis, it means merely a nutrition compound that breaks down lipids.

Do Fat Burners Really Work?

Manufacturers present this supplement as a magic solution to weight loss, but is this true? According to a report by the National Institute of Health , 45% of Americans are overweight (1).

The report further explains that 67% of overweight Americans are trying to burn fat and get slimmer.

Now, if fat burners are truly magical, as indicated by their manufacturers, and losing weight is that easy after taking specific supplements, would there still be such a high number of people struggling with weight loss or even obesity?

Since food regulatory authorities do not regulate fat burner pills, most of these products contain ingredients that are not well researched to backup the promised effects.

However, fat burners may not be magical, but they work if they are made with the right ingredients and combined with a healthy diet.

Please note that not all fat burners work; certain ones might even cause health problems.

There are also many natural and nutritional supplements proven to burn fat without causing any health problems effectively. For these reasons, it is always better to opt for a trusted natural fat burner.

How Long Do Fat Burners Take To Work

A common question in the mind of people who are new to taking these supplements is, “How long will this take to work?” Well, there is no straightforward answer to that.

However, if you take a fat burner containing the suitable ingredient, you’ll begin to feel the effects in a few hours.

If it is a thermogenic compound, your heart rate will begin to rise, indicating an increase in metabolism and calorie burn. If the addition contains appetite suppressants, you may feel less hungry than before.

These processes should begin in about one to two hours of taking the supplement. You should also note that this doesn’t mean you’ll immediately experience that slim, curvy, or muscular shape when you stand before the mirror after a few hours of taking the supplements.

You may have to take the compound for weeks before you begin to see gradual changes.

How Fast Can You Lose Weight With a Fat Burner

When you take fat burner pills, you need to set a realistic goal; otherwise, you might think it doesn’t work, when in reality, it does. Your expectations need to be managed.

Taking a thermogenic supplement will not make you drop 20 pounds in a week. If that is your expectation, then sorry, it is not pragmatic.

If a fat burner makes you lose weight too fast, you might eventually begin to lose lots of lean muscle mass. In that case, you may end up “shapeless.”

Then how fast do fat burner pills work? If you take a suitable fat burner, you can expect a safe fat loss rate of 1-3 pounds per week.

Which Fat-burning Ingredients are Effective?

There are many fat-burning ingredients out there, but not all are effective.

Without beating about the bush, the following are common fat-burning ingredients with their proven benefits:


Caffeine is an alkaloid found naturally in coffee, green tea, and cocoa beans. It is one of the most effective ingredients for making commercial fat-burning supplements that generally aid fat loss.

This compound can help to increase body metabolism leading to fat burning. Research has proved that caffeine can help the body convert more fat and increase metabolism (2).

However, other studies reveal that this effect is more significant in the lean body type than obese composition (3).

Therefore, caffeine intake may not be very effective in obese individuals as it does for lean people. Also, you should avoid taking excessive caffeine because your body may eventually become resistant to its effects.

You don’t necessarily have to get a caffeine supplement before you feel its impact; you can also take a few cups of coffee loaded with caffeine, which provides other health benefits.

Green Tea Extracts

Green tea extract is a supplement extracted from the green tea plant. It comes in convenient powder or capsule form, which you can take easily.

Like the green tea plant, this extract contains caffeine and the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) compounds with natural fat-burning properties.

These two active compounds in the green tea extract work together and influence the burning fat through thermogenesis.

According to a study, combining caffeine and green tea extracts produces more fat-burning effects than ordinary caffeine or green tea extract (4). The report further revealed that this combination helps burn 16% more fats than placebo.

To get a significant result, you should take 250–500 mg of green tea extract per day.

Protein Powder

Proteins are not only good for muscle building, but they are also effective for burning fats. Protein-rich foods or supplements can help boost your metabolism, enabling the body to utilize the stored fats as energy.

Eating a lot of protein can help one quickly feel full, eliminating the need to eat more food which would have converted into (excess) fat.

This compound helps to reduce your hunger hormone and increase your fullness hormone. Now imagine having such an incredible blend in a powdered form.

Protein powder is beneficial for those who find it challenging to consume the required protein quantity the body needs in food. Taking the protein powder can supplement that.

Some typical protein powder includes casein, whey, egg, soy, and hemp protein powders.

Soluble Fiber

Like protein, soluble fiber also increases the level of fullness hormone and reduces the hunger hormone level. Thus, making you eat less. Soluble fiber can, therefore, help you burn fats through its action on your appetite.

It also helps slow down the digestion rate, giving your body more time to absorb nutrients, thereby making your gut feel full for a more extended period. You can get soluble fiber from foods, but it is also available in supplements like glucomannan or psyllium husk.

A study was conducted on 17 people subjected to foods containing varying fat and fiber quantities (5).

The result revealed that those who consumed more fiber absorb less fat and fewer calories. This, therefore, indicates that soluble fiber can help the physique absorb lesser fats from the diet.


Yohimbine is an indole alkaloid obtained from the bark of Pausinystalia Yohimbe, found in Africa. You can also get this alkaloid from the bark of Aspidosperma Quebracho-Blanco, a tree found in South American. Yohimbine is also known as quebrachine.

It is widely used as an aphrodisiac, increases antioxidant levels, and also has fat-burning properties. The ability of Yohimbine to influence fat burning in the body can be associated with its ability to block alpha-2 adrenergic receptors.

This receptor slows down the breakdown of fat in the body and makes fat loss more difficult. It does this by binding with adrenaline which is supposed to encourage the body to carry out the fat breakdown function.

Since Yohimbine blocks this receptor, adrenaline will be able to carry out its function of aiding fat breakdown and promote weight loss effectively.


L-Carnitine is an Amino acid you’ll find in fish, meat, eggs, and other animal foods. If the body has adequate vitamin c, then it can produce L-Carnitine.

It is believed that it helps transport fatty acids into the cells, thereby increasing the rate at which fats are used by cells and converted to energy. However, there’s no scientific study to back this claim.

A study was conducted to see the fat-burning effects of L-Carnitine in moderate obese women (6).

The study contains two categories of women who exercised. One group was subjected to L-Carnitine, while the other group was not. The result shows that there are no significant differences in the weight loss of these two categories.

Therefore, it cannot be said it is an effective fat-burning compound on its own for obese people due to its action on fatty acids.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA is a fatty acid occurring naturally in animal foods like beef and dairy products. Conjugated Linoleic Acid compound is joint in fat-burning supplements.

According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on humans, 2 g dose of CLA per day can result in a significant loss of body fat (7).

Besides this discovery, they also revealed that taking Conjugated Linoleic Acid for weight loss results has no severe adverse effects. That confirms the efficacy of CLA supplements in burning fat.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are oils containing medium-length fat chains. You can find MCTs in coconut oil, palm oil, and some dairy foods.

The longer a fat chain is, the more time it needs to digest and vice versa. Therefore, MCTs’ short-chain means they can easily digest in the body, giving no room for unnecessary fat storage.

A study revealed that replacing long-chain fats with shorter-chain fats can help reduce the number of fats stored in the body (8).

However, more research needs to be done to ascertain its efficacy in fat loss and the required dosage.

Garcinia cambogia

Garcinia Cambodia, also known as Garcinia Gummi-gutta, Malabar tamarind, brindle berry, and Kudam Puli, is a tropical species of Garcinia.

It is a caffeine-free acidic fruit extract containing Hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which can block the body’s enzymes responsible for fat production.

Once such an enzyme is blocked, fat production in the body will reduce, and your diet’s remaining energy is used as fuel.

Garcinia Cambodia is also believed to decrease appetite. However, there’s no conclusive research to back this claim.


Ephedra is a medicinal extract of Ephedra Sinica. It was banned by the FDA because there are not enough studies to prove its effectiveness for weight-loss except for short-term.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be banned if it doesn’t come with severe side effects, but it does. Taking excess Ephedra may be accompanied by heart disease and stroke.

Before the ban of Ephedra, it was used as a weight-loss supplement and as a supplement to improve athletic performance and boost energy.


Orlistat pill is designed for a single purpose — to treat obesity. Orlistat acts as a lipase inhibitor, preventing the absorption of fats from food.

Clinical trials revealed that people that take this drug, coupled with lifestyle modifications, like regular exercise and healthy diets, lose about 2–3 kilograms (4.4–6.6 lb) more than those who only stick to lifestyle modification without taking the drug.

Orlistat may cause particular side effects like difficulty controlling bowel movements and stomach upset.


Glucomannan is a water-soluble compound, considered a dietary fiber. This polysaccharide compound helps to reduce the cholesterol level in the body.

Products containing glucomannan were sold in some parts of the world, including Europe, as a weight-loss supplement and natural appetite suppressant.

However, there’s no scientifically proven evidence to back up the claim that it offers such extensive effects.

Some of its side effects include diarrhea, bloating, belching, and high triglyceride levels.

What Are The Side Effects of Fat Burners

How the human body reacts to these pills differs from person to person. Fat burners made with the right ingredients often have insignificant or no side effects.

On the other hand, those that are made of unsuitable ingredients may come with many side effects. Some of the common side effects of fat burners include

  • Blood pressure fluctuation – some of the compounds in fat burners can result in unstable or high blood pressure or even hypertension in case of excessive long-term use.
  • Headache and anxiety – fat burners that contain caffeine, orange extract, and Yohimbe can cause headaches as well.
  • Heart attack – some fat burners contain ingredients that affect your cardiovascular health
  • Insomnia – some of the elements in fat-burners like caffeine have insomniac properties.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements just like other drugs, but no review is required of them before they are allowed to sell in the market.

Many fat burner manufacturers take advantage of this to push out supplements that lack all appropriate research or contain elements that could be potentially unsafe.

The use of fat burners is suggested to help you speed up metabolism, burn fat, and decrease hunger.

Therefore, you should be cautious about which fat burner supplements you take. Our recommendation is to aim for the ones containing natural ingredients.

You should also note that fat burners and nutrition supplements are not alternatives to a healthy diet and exercise to achieve accurate results.


Can anyone use fat burners?

Fat burners are suitable for most people, but not for everyone.

Besides the benefits they can provide, some underlying health issues may worsen by taking this supplement.

Can you take fat burners for an extended period?

Yes, you can, but positive fat-burning results may vary while using them over a long period.

On the other hand, taking this supplement for the long term may be unhealthy for certain individuals.

It is advised to steer clear of junk food and stay on a healthy diet for the best results.

When should I take fat burners?

Knowing when to use fat burners isn’t tricky. You can take this supplement when you wish to burn fats and attain a bit of body fat reduction.

However, it would help if you plan your diet and workout by combing these with fat burners to achieve the way better results you are looking for.

Can fat burners cause stomach pain?

Yes! Stomach pain is one of the side effects of fat burners, but not all fat burners cause stomach pain.

Supplement manufacturers have possible side effects listed on the product container.

Also, be sure not to have any underlying health issues like high blood pressure.

Will fat burner supplements work without exercise?

Fat burners can work without exercise, but the fat-burning effects will be more significant when combined with exercise, workout routines or diets, and exercise.

This would be a surer way to achieve your weight loss goals.