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Top 5 Best Fat Burners

author image Sandi Busch
Sandi Busch received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then pursued training in nursing and nutrition. She taught families to plan and prepare special diets, worked as a therapeutic support specialist, and now writes about her favorite topics – nutrition, food, families and parenting – for hospitals and trade magazines.
Top 5 Best Fat Burners
Green coffee beans contain two ingredients that burn fat. Photo Credit eskymaks/iStock/Getty Images

Fat burners help the body break down stored fat so that it can be used for energy. If you compare reviews, you’ll discover that each review has a different list of top five fat burners. A better way to choose a fat burner is to be sure it contains the best ingredients proven to burn fat. Don’t hesitate to ask a pharmacist, registered dietitian or your doctor about the safety of a product before using it, because some ingredients can cause serious side effects.

Caffeine Burns Fat

You’ll find caffeine in many weight loss supplements because it promotes lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat. Caffeine optimizes aerobic exercise since it increases fat metabolism while decreasing glucose metabolism, which means more fat is burned. It also triggers the production of heat in the body, which boosts metabolism and makes you burn more calories than usual for a short period of time. When researchers tracked caffeine consumption in more than 58,000 people over 12 years, they found that people who drank more caffeine gained less weight over time then those who consumed less caffeine, reported the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006.

Watch the amount of total caffeine you consume throughout the day. Most people can tolerate a maximum of 400 milligrams of caffeine daily without experiencing side effects such as irritability, nervousness, insomnia and gastrointestinal distress. Each brand of fat burner contains a different amount, but at least one brand supplies 290 milligrams of caffeine per serving. One cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine, so if you take one dose of fat burner and drink a cup of coffee, you've reached the maximum recommended amount.

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Bust Fat With Green Tea

While some of green tea’s weight loss benefits come from caffeine, it also contains antioxidants called catechins that function as fat burners. Catechins boost the levels of enzymes that break down fats. They help suppress the synthesis of new fat cells and may further stimulate fat burning by lowering the amount of glucose available for energy, reported the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013. The most predominant type of catechin in green tea -- epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG -- considerably increased fat breakdown in lab mice. Green tea may also enhance the effect of exercise. In one study, men who took EGCG prior to a 30-minute cycling exercise burned 17 percent more fat than the group of men who cycled without taking EGCG, according to study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Green Coffee Bean Extract Burns Fat

A phytochemical called chlorogenic acid is the active fat-burning ingredient in green coffee bean extract. When researchers reviewed five previously published studies, they concluded that green coffee bean extract resulted in moderate weight loss. They also noted that the studies followed questionable methods, so more rigorous research is needed to determine how well chlorogenic acid will help with weight loss, according to Gastroenterology Research and Practice in 2010. More recently, chlorogenic acid from decaffeinated green coffee bean extract was studied for its impact on fat cells. The researchers found that the extract liberated free fatty acids from fat cells, which is the same as breaking down fat, reported Phytotherapy Research in 2014. While this research is promising, these preliminary studies are just the first step to understanding if green coffee beans help boost fat burning in people.

Yohimbe for Effective Fat Burning

Yohimbe, or yohimbine, is an effective fat burner that works by increasing adrenaline, which promotes the breakdown of fat. In addition to helping people who are overweight, it’s also effective in athletes. The percentage of fat in soccer players who took yohimbe dropped from 9 percent to 7 percent, compared to no change in athletes taking a placebo, reported Research in Sports Medicine in 2006.

In spite of its fat-burning benefits, consult your physician before using yohimbe if you have any psychological disorders. Yohimbe may cause severe anxiety, and it can trigger manic or suicidal episodes in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It may also interact with medications, can increase blood pressure, and may cause nausea and vomiting. Be aware that yohimbe is highly stimulatory and is used to treat erectile dysfunction.

The amount of yohimbine in many supplements was different from the amount on the label, with differences ranging from 25 percent to 150 percent, reported Examine.com. When you buy fat burners containing this ingredient, look for a quality assurance seal from the U.S. Pharmacopeia or NSF International, which offers some assurance that the dose on the label is accurate.

Marginal Fat Burners

There isn’t another specific ingredient to put in the top five best fat burners because most other substances commonly found in supplements offer minimal benefits. Garcinia cambogia and L-carnitine show some promise in lab animals, but they result in minimal weight loss in people. Another popular ingredient -- capsaicin -- promotes weight loss, but it doesn’t work primarily as a fat burner. It influences other aspects of metabolism that can cause weight loss, reported Progress in Drug Research in 2014. Raspberry ketones may burn fat if you take a large amount, but the dose to achieve results is prohibitively high, notes Examine.com. Chromium may have a very small impact on weight loss, but studies have produced inconsistent results, reports MedlinePlus.

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