Fat Burners & Food Substitutions

Many “Fat Burners” or thermogenics have ingredients such as: Caffeine, L.Carnitine, Green- Tea, conjugated Linoleic Acid, and Taurine. There are many other ingredients in thermogenics, but these tend to be very popular among advertised companies. Please keep in mind that vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and need to be taken with precaution and under a physician’s supervision. The FDA does have a safety information regarding any recalls they have made you can check recalls here. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm



Common Ingredients:


Caffeine: low dosage (100 mg) has potential to increase thermogenic properties at rest in LEAN and post-obese individuals. Obese (what’s your body mass index? calculate it here (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm ) patients did not lose additional weight when on consuming caffeine in combination with a low-calorie diet.


L-Carnitine: This is found in red meat and dairy products. Your body can produce methionine and lysine to maintain body stores. It is believed that supplementing will help aid weight loss by increasing carnitine concentration in muscles which would lead to loss of fat stores through the metabolism process. Studies have demonstrated that supplements do not change the muscle concentration, which makes the previous theory scientifically incorrect.


Green-Tea:  has potential to increase fat metabolism at rest, especially combined with exercised and may help lose body weight (fat and lean muscle). The effects are small and the metabolic process in the body is not completely understood.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA):  CLA is part of the chemical make-up of a fatty acid linoleic acid. It is found in ruminant meats (beef and lamb) and dairy products. It’s believed that it suppresses appetite, fat production, and increases fat breakdown and energy usage. In long-term studies it showed positive, but very modest effects on body fat mass loss. Safety issues have not been studied.


Taurine: Recently, Taurine was believed to help increase fat loss. Studies have been done and the evidence is conflicting. More studies need to be done to link Taurine to weight loss.



There is not enough evidence to say that fat burners work, but there are other options. Caffeine and Green Tea do have scientific evidence that may enhance fat loss but the findings are inconsistent and with little effects, especially those who use caffeine consistently throughout the day; however, with small changes to your diet it can help you lose weight. With all the hype surrounding supplements nowadays it’s hard to remember what kind of foods you can eat that give additional benefits to avoid using supplementation. 


Is there a better option to weight loss supplementation?

Functional foods can provide some well-known health benefits that should be a staple in every diet. It should be noted that these functional foods are not listed in a regulatory category in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More information on why they don’t can be found here; http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/6/1735s.full


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “defines a functional food as a food that provides additional health benefits that may reduce disease risk and/or promote good health.” So, simply put, these foods give antioxidants, blood sugar stability, healthy brain function, etc...


Functional Food Groups

       Conventional – Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts.



                  Modified- Yogurts, Cereals, and Orange Juice.




                  Medical – Special fomulations of foods for specific health problems.




                  Foods for dietary use – Infant formula, Hypoallergenic.



Academy Spokesperson Marisa Moore whom has researched functional foods and believes we should “Pay more attention to the back of the box than to the front of it.” 


5         FIVE  functional foods as suggested by Moore:


        1. Cold-Water Fish- Fish provide a steady amount of protein in a low calorie meal, but did you know they also provide important omega-3 fatty acids? Omega-3 has been shown to lower risk of heart disease, reduce joint pain, and improve brain development and function.


        2. Nuts- Various kinds of nuts assist in controlling blood sugar levels as well as provide magnesium and lower cholesterol.


        3. Barley- High in soluble fiber, helps lower cholesterol and assist in blood sugar control.


        4. Beans-  High in fiber which contributes to reducing risk of colon, rectal, and breast cancer.


5. Berries- Low in calories, high in antioxidants and their anthocyanin pigments may reduce free radicals which have been linked to cancer and offer other health promoting benefits.