Fat burners are becoming increasingly popular among people who are seeking to lose weight fast. I’ll admit that these weight loss supplements may enhance the loss of body fat, particularly when combined with a sensible eating plan and a proper exercise routine. However, unbeknownst to many, fat burners aren’t “magical” pills and they are not at all necessary for successful weight loss. In fact, their potential effectiveness is solely due to the combinations of stimulants and other ingredients they house which work together to trigger the body’s thermogenic process (thermogenesis).
What is Thermogenesis?
Simply stated, thermogenesis involves the production of heat within the body, a process that ultimately raises the metabolic rate (metabolism). Metabolism is the amount of calories you need to sustain vital bodily functions. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn at rest and during everyday physical activities. So, any process that activates thermogenesis will inherently promote weight loss by boosting your body’s ability to burn fat.
The general relevance of the thermogenic process lies in the fact that reduced thermogenesis can impair weight loss. This holds especially true when you’re restricting calories through dieting as your body quickly adapts to reductions in food intake by lowering your metabolism in order to preserve energy. This process of “adaptive thermogenesis” prevents the loss of body fat, which is the ultimate goal of weight loss. As such, thermogenic aids are primarily used to counter adaptive thermogenesis.
What are Some Known Thermogenic Aids?
Caffeine, ephedrine, and hydroxycitric acid are among the most well known thermogenic aids. Widely marketed fat burners and similar weight loss supplements (Hydroxycut, Xenadrine, Dexatrim, Ripped Fuel, and Garcina Cambogia) typically include some combination of these compounds. While caffeine and ephedrine are both natural stimulants, hydroxycitric acid is not.
Caffeine has been shown to increase the metabolic rate while also enhancing the body’s ability to burn fat, which can ultimately speed up weight loss. The fat-burning effects of caffeine are greatly maximized when ephedrine is thrown into the mix. Interestingly, aspirin is often used in fat burners to increase the speed and overall effectiveness of ephedrine and caffeine, a combination known as ECA (ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin).
Hydroxycitric acid is the active ingredient in recently popularized Garcinia Cambogia supplements. This particular compound has been proven effective in enhancing fat metabolism, digestion, and the hormonal regulation of appetite. However, I should note that evidence pertaining to these effects is largely based on small scale, short-term studies most of which were conducted in animals.
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