Fat burners are a multi-billion dollar industry, yet many people find their weight loss goals elusive. Jeff Anderson, of the "Muscle Nerd" website, says that 75 percent of the ingredients in the name-brand fat burners do absolutely nothing for you. However, there are natural substances that increase metabolic rate, even at rest, to accelerate fat loss. Combine them at home to save money, achieve results and deprive supplement companies of your hard-earned money. With no proprietary blends or "trade secrets," you know exactly what you are getting and can avoid ingredients that may be useless and/or dangerous to your health.
Green tea contains EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate. Studies show that EGCG raises metabolic rate, even at rest. In one study, healthy men were given 270 mg EGCG, eliciting a 4 percent increase in energy expenditure (see link in References). This means the body can release more fatty acids for energy use. EGCG paired with the natural caffeine content of green tea, creates a perfect fat-burning synergy. Caffeine-free EGCG products are available for those who cannot tolerate stimulants. Take 90 to 300 mg of EGCG, green tea extract twice a day for a big fat-burning boost.
Caffeine is well-known as an effective workout enhancer and thermogenic. This popular alkaloid is widely misunderstood because of anecdotal suggestions that it is unhealthy. The negative side effects of caffeine come from overuse of the stimulant. Caffeine acts on our nervous system to increase alertness, adrenal function, thermogenesis and fat-burning. Natural sources include guarana, cocoa, kola nut, coffee and tea. Cycle caffeine use every 8 weeks to avoid depressed adrenal function. Stack 200 mg caffeine from any of the above sources with 300 mg EGCG for fat-burning synergy.
Some dietary fatty acids can help us lose body fat and maintain healthy weight. CLA or conjugated linoleic acid is a naturally occurring fat from meat, dairy and certain seed oils. Experts report that CLA helps decrease body fat. For example, a study performed by Scandinavian researchers in 1998 compared the body fat decrease of subjects given varying amounts of CLA, between 1.7 and 6.8 g per day (see link in References). Though none of the participants lost weight, they all lost significant body fat (highest in the 5.1 and 6.8 g per day groups). Take 3 to 5 g of CLA a day in three divided doses.
L-carnitine is an amino acid responsible for transporting fatty acids into mitochondria, the power plants in our cells that produce the energy. L-carnitine supplementation can increase the transport of fat into the mitochondria and transport toxins produced by metabolism out. A study in the "Medical Journal for Natural Therapy" in 1998 used 3 g of L-carnitine per day, with diet and exercise, for a 4-week clinical trial. The L-carnitine group lost 10 lbs. compared to 7.5 lbs. in the control group. Take 1 to 3 g in divided doses per day, one serving immediately before exercise.
Make Your Own Fat Burner
Combine any of these ingredients for a potent fat burner at a fraction of the cost of name brands. Follow the advice of Jeff Anderson (the "Muscle Nerd") and combine 200 mg caffeine with 300 mg EGCG. If you cannot take stimulants, take decaffeinated EGCG instead with L-carnitine and CLA. In place of caffeine, try ForsLean, an extract of coleus that is non-stimulant and may increase metabolic function without side effects. Other promising new fat burning ingredients include 7-keto, 5-HTP, fucoxanthin and yohimbe.