Fat burners are drugs or supplements that aim to burn fat and thus improve the health and appearance of those using them. Many people will use these then as dietary supplements in order to quickly remove their fat and help them to lose weight and achieve their desired effects. At the same time some bodybuilders will use them in order to burn away their top layer of fat in order to achieve a more 'ripped' and defined musculature. But are they healthy, and how do they work?
How Fat Burners Work
The majority of fat burners are simply stimulants meaning that they speed up your body's metabolism in order to encourage it to more rapidly burn fat for energy. If the word stimulant sounds familiar then that may be because of caffeine, which is probably the most popular and widely used stimulant found in everything from tea and coffee to Coke and Red Bull. In fact many people do use caffeine as a form of fat burner and will drink more coffee and tea while dieting, though the majority of us use it because by speeding up the metabolism and the body's processes it also provides an energy boost and prevents lethargy. Most stimulants meanwhile will work by triggering the body to produce adrenaline which is crucial in the 'fight or flight' response which we normally feel in response to stress and that can be described as an elevated heart rate and blood pressure as well as reduced feelings of pain or tiredness.
Different Types of Fat Burners
Caffeine works like most other stimulants and fat burners but is not commonly used as such due to the way it provides users with a sudden spike in energy followed by a trough. As such many other chemicals and ingredients are preferred such as guarana – a natural substance that speeds up your metabolism throughout the day and does not interfere with sleep. Another fat burner is carnitine which is an amino acid that promotes fat burnings. Another is chromium and 'chromium picolate', or pyruvate. These vary in mechanics as well as in effectiveness. 'Thermogenics' are a brand of particularly strong fat burners.
Another form of fat burners are those that promote the body's production of growth hormones and other anabolic chemicals. These work while the body is asleep to encourage the increased production of muscle which takes up energy in itself, and which can lead to fat loss.
Drawbacks of Fat Burners
There are many drawbacks to fat burners however which means that they are not generally considered and effective way to lose weight in most cases. For instance as well as burning the 'bad' fat, fat burners will also burn of triglycerides which are essential fatty acids and important for many things. In some circumstances they might also result in the burning of protein.
Further though, it is not a healthy habit to purposefully increase your body's metabolism. Doing so means that you increase blood pressure and stress levels and that you place strain on the heart and on the immune system. Further they can interfere with sleep patterns and cause twitching and headaches as well as dehydration. While many of these side effects are undesirable on their own, they are also not conducive to losing weight. For instance if you are on a strong fat burner such as a form of thermogenics this can increase your heart rate several times over and make it dangerous to exercise. Likewise those that keep you awake will mean you get less sleep which itself can lead to weight gain, and dehydration can make it very hard to exercise and cause cramp.
As a rule those stimulants that are safe to use in small quantities such as caffeine and guarana are not really strong enough to have visible worthwhile effects. However those that are stronger and more powerful tend to be dangerous and lead to heart attacks and unhealthy weight loss. It is also important to remember that it is unhealthy to very rapidly lose or gain large amounts of weight. Losing weight by speeding up your metabolism and not changing any other lifestyle traits such as diet would result in your still suffering from other problems related to obesity such as cholesterol, and it would also mean that as soon as you stopped taking the supplements you would return to your previous poor health.
Meanwhile those fat burners that work using growth hormone tend to be very limited in their effectiveness, and those that would have some pronounced effects such as straight growth hormone are generally illegal in many states and have unknown long term side effects – it is believed that growth hormones could lead to the abnormal growth of organs such as the heart which could end with serious health problems.
Due to the various drawbacks and health notices surrounding the use of fat burners it is far preferable to use more natural methods for weight loss such as exercise and dieting. At the same time these can also increase your body's fat burning properties natural. For instance working out or running will cause your body to produce growth hormone naturally which will in turn build muscle and burn fat, a hot shower can also have the same effect. Meanwhile foods often contain natural fat burners – for instance pyruvate can be found in apples.