Fat burner facts (they can work)

Fat burners are supposed to increase energy expenditure to help create an energy deficit

We know that there are four components of energy expenditure: basal metabolic rate (BMR), thermic effect of food (TEF), non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) and exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT).

Both NEAT and EAT are determined by movement, which won’t be altered by a supplement.

The same goes for TEF, which varies depending on the food we eat.

This leaves the BMR as the only option for a thermogenic to increase.

Metabolism is a complex beast, so it’s hard to isolate how supplements can work to increase it.

Now there are some drugs that can do this, by increasing core body temperature, heart rate and such.

These are genuine thermogenic that increase metabolic rate, but they have terrible impacts on health and the bodies ability to maintain homeostasis.

On the other hand, most fat burners do not increase energy expenditure, making them redundant.

However, this doesn’t mean that people won’t lose weight while they are using them.

Firstly, the caffeine content can help suppress appetite and increase perceived energy, making it easier to adhere to a diet that creates an energy deficit.

Secondly, when people are paying for a supplement and then taking it multiple times per day, they tend to eat better and exercise to make the most of the supplement.

So the benefits of fat burners are around adherence, not mobilising any more fatty acids than the regime otherwise would. 

I don’t advise clients to use fat burners because they lack efficacy.

We can find other strategies to mitigate hunger and maintain energy while dieting, whilst simply tracking food can provide that extra level of food intake awareness.

Tom Fitzgerald