After the year that was 2020, we all wish things could be easier. Let’s be honest, we’re all looking to shed the weight that we’ve gained as a result of the festive season, lockdown restrictions, and rising stress levels thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. What’s more, we’re also looking to lose this weight as quickly as possible – but healthily of course. As such, it’s no wonder so many people often look to quick fixes such as fat burners.
However, we all know that when it comes to losing weight, quick fixes are probably not the best way to go, so are fat burners really worth the risk?
What are fat burners?
Fat burners are supplements that are intended to help the body burn fat by either increasing metabolism, reducing fat absorption, or by helping the body burn more fat for fuel.
Now, while this sounds safe enough, it should be noted that fat burners aren’t regulated by the FDA, and this is most likely why they’ve been found to be so harmful.
What are the dangers of fat burners?
For one, the FDA has identified an emerging trend where dietary supplements contain hidden active ingredients that could be harmful (1). These harmful ingredients include bacterial germs, fillers, pesticides, and other drugs that have even been banned due to them increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke (2).
Additionally, side-effects of fat-burning supplements can include nausea, headaches, anxiety, indigestion, and insomnia.
7 Natural Fat Burners
So with that said, it’s clear that you should probably avoid fat burners in supplement form. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t look towards more natural fat burners. In fact, the seven foods listed below have been found to effectively, and safely, help you burn off that extra fat.
According to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, drinking four cups of coffee daily—without cream and sugar—was associated with an approximately 4% reduction in body fat. Co-author of the study Dr. Derrick Johnston Alperet believes that caffeine caused the loss of body fat by increasing the participants’ metabolism.
That said, it should be noted that too much caffeine can cause insomnia, anxiety as well as diarrhea. Therefore, if you want to safely enjoy the fat-burning benefits, without the risk of a sleepless night in the bathroom, then it’s best to stick to four cups of coffee and to drink them no earlier than 9:30 am but also no later than 16:00 pm (2).
2. Green Tea
Green tea boasts a number of benefits, and one of them includes helping you manage your weight better.
Matcha green tea is a concentrated powdered green tea from Japan and studies suggest that it can help your body burn fat. According to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, matcha green tea boosted fat burning during a 30-minute brisk walk.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
We’ve all read about the various benefits of apple cider vinegar, but did you know that it can also help with fat burning?
According to a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, in 39 overweight or obese individuals, apple cider vinegar helped to significantly reduce body weight, BMI, hip circumference, and belly fat.
When using apple cider vinegar, it’s important to always dilute it. The best way to consume it would be by diluting 1 teaspoon per day in a glass of water.
Cayenne pepper is high in capsaicin, and this compound is the source of many of the benefits associated with chili peppers. For instance, a study published in the BMC Obesity journal recruited 75 male and female subjects, with ages ranging from 18 to 56 years old.
For the study, researchers randomly assigned either placebo, 2 mg of capsaicinoids (the class of compounds found in peppers), or 4 mg of capsaicinoids dosing for 12 weeks. Following the study, the researchers noticed that after 12 weeks of treatment, body fat was 5.91% lower in the 4 mg subjects than in the placebo subjects.
If you’re not sure how to introduce peppers into your diet, try mixing them into salsa, salad, or even chocolate!
5. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and these fatty acids may help you lose body fat.
According to a 2010 study, participants who took fish oil supplements lost an average of 1.1 pounds of fat. If you’re looking for a delicious fish recipe, try this Mango Teriyaki Salmon With Brown Rice recipe.
6. Oolong Tea
7. Olive Oil
In regards to fat loss, a 2018 study, done on 41 adult women with excess body fat who either received daily high-fat breakfasts containing 25 mL of soybean oil or extra virgin olive oil over a period of 9 weeks, found that fat loss was ~80% higher in the extra virgin olive oil compared to the control group.
The bottom line
The fact of the matter is that when it comes to weight loss, there’s no quick fix or magic pill that will help you achieve your ideal weight. However, there are foods, and other lifestyle habits that include exercise, that will help you to improve your health, and even shed a few pounds along the way.