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What is a fat burner? The ultimate guide

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If you’re currently trying to lose weight and struggling to make progress, you may have started researching ways to speed up the process.

In truth, the best way to lose weight (and keep it off long term) is to commit to eating a healthier diet with fewer calories and doing regular exercise. However, some people find that weight loss supplements like fat burners can help the process along and in general make weight loss easier to achieve.

If you’re interested in trying fat burners, it’s a good idea to speak to your GP first to see whether they think it’s safe. In the meantime, read on to find out how fat burners work and how to take them safely as part of a healthy lifestyle.

What are fat burners?

Fat burners are weight loss supplements that normally come as a tablet, pill or capsule. They’re designed to be taken as part of a healthy diet and exercise regime. Normally you’ll take at least one a day.

How fat burners work

Fat burners are usually said to promote weight loss in one or more of the following ways:

  • By speeding up your metabolism
  • By stimulating the breakdown of fat
  • By preventing the accumulation of fat

Caffeine, guarana, green tea and capsaicin are four popular plant-based ingredients for fat burners and are all classed as “thermogenic”. This means that they produce heat – a process that can help to speed up the metabolism.

Another popular ingredient for fat burners is L-carnitine. This is an amino acid that is said to encourage the breakdown of fat for energy.

Are fat burners effective?

Fat burners aren’t listed as a recommended treatment for weight loss by the NHS, as there’s not enough evidence to show that they work. Some claim that while fat burners do speed up the metabolism and help your body burn more fat, this effect is limited and won’t lead to significant weight loss.

Who could utilise fat burners

Fat burners can be used by people who are actively trying to lose weight - provided you have been told it is safe by your GP. They should be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle that incorporates a varied and balanced diet, and regular exercise.

Who shouldn't use fat burners

Because fat burners are dietary supplements rather than medication, they haven’t been studied in close detail, which means we don’t know a lot about the effects they have on the body.

However, we do know that some of the ingredients can lead to unwanted side effects, especially when taken in large quantities. High amounts of caffeine, a popular ingredient found in fat burners, can cause high blood pressure.

Fat burners have the potential to cause headaches, an increased heartrate and trouble sleeping – as well as more serious conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and liver disease. This is why it’s important to check with your GP first before you start taking them.

How to lose weight safely

The best way to lose weight is eat well while reducing the number of calories you’re consuming each day. A healthy, varied and balanced diet is one that features:

  • Plenty of varied fruits and vegetables
  • Plenty of wholegrain and high-fibre starchy carbohydrates
  • Healthy protein like beans, eggs, fish and lean meat
  • Small amounts of low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives

For more eating inspiration, check out the NHS Eatwell Guide.

To get started with your weight loss journey, you can download the free NHS Weight Loss Plan app – this is broken down into 12 weeks and incorporates weight loss goals, meal plans and tips on exercising.

Get help with weight loss from LloydsPharmacy

If you’ve been dieting for a while and you’re still not losing weight, you might benefit from using the LloydsPharmacy Weight Loss Service or taking Alli.

Weight loss service

References

www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/a35938036/fat-burners
www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/prevention