The truth is, no fat burner is completely safe for everyone. Because fat burners, also known as thermogenics, manipulate your body, side effects are always possible. Fat burners boost your metabolism so that you burn more calories, but each year certain fat burners are removed from the shelves due to dangerous side effects. The good news is some fat burners are safer than others. Only take thermogenics with your doctor's permission, and avoid them if you have a serious health condition.
Caffeine in Moderation
Caffeine, which is a compound found in various plants, has a long history of safety when used in moderate amounts. The journal Nutrition published a review in June 2010 of the benefits of caffeine and found that, among other things, it increases daily energy expenditure -- the number of calories your body burns. A moderate amount of caffeine is 300 milligrams, which is equivalent to about three cups of coffee.
Green Tea Extract
While green tea does contain caffeine, its thermogenic effects are due to other substances. Green tea extract contains beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols that help boost your metabolism. When evaluated, decaffeinated green tea extract in combination with exercise boosted fat burning about 25 percent, according to a study published in the 2015 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The extract significantly reduced body fat in the volunteers, according to the authors. The study was small and consisted of healthy males.
It may seem counterproductive to consume coconut oil to shed pounds, but research shows that the type of fat in coconut oil can help burn stored fat. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, and in a study researchers found that consuming the oil as part of a weight-loss diet boosted fat loss. The study evaluated the results in men and women ages 19 to 50 and compared the effect to that of olive oil. The study was published in the March 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Fat Burner Safety
In general, the more active ingredients in a fat burner, the higher the risk of side effects. Most research focuses on one substance alone or in combination with another substance. Studies evaluating the effect of a combination of several fat-burning ingredients are lacking, so the safety is unknown. Avoid fat burners with multiple active substances. If you experience troublesome side effects, discontinue use and consult your doctor. Take fat burners as the manufacturer or your health care provider directs.
- Nutrition: Caffeine - Not Just a Stimulant
- McKinley Health Center: Caffeine
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: The Effect of a Decaffeinated Green Tea Extract Formula on Fat Oxidation, Body Composition and Exercise Performance
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Weight-Loss Diet That Includes Consumption of Medium-Chain Triacylglycerol Oil Leads to a Greater Rate of Weight and Fat Mass Loss Than Does Olive Oil