“Lose 10 pounds by this weekend,” the front cover hyperbolically proclaimed. I recently sat waiting to get my hair done when I found this “article” buried in one of the trashier women’s weeklies. Thumbing through, I realized supplement companies pretty much funded this nonsense.
Indeed, the strategically placed advertorial heavily promoted some “fat-melting” supplement that I quickly noticed contained mostly science-unsubstantiated ingredients.
Here’s the deal. For fast, lasting fat loss, no supplement in the world will help unless you’ve gone low-sugar impact and addressed food intolerances.
Likewise, unless you’re getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night, controlling stress, and combining burst training with weight resistance with my Fast Blasts (grab a free one here), the most powerful supplement isn’t going to budge the needle one little freaking bit.
That said, once you’re doing that, a few science-based nutrients might nudge things favorably to crush cravings, curb hunger, and otherwise help you burn fat.
I copiously evaluated the science behind 5 popular weight-loss supplement ingredients to determine whether they really blast fat. With a few caveats, several made the cut.
1. GREEN COFFEE BEAN
This extract contains chlorogenic acid (CGA), which provides most of its benefits. One study found green coffee extract (GCE) possibly effective against weight gain and fat accumulation. Another found it improves insulin resistance. Most are animal studies, but one human study found GCE helps reduce “weight in preobese adults, and may be an inexpensive means of preventing obesity in overweight adults.”I wouldn’t expect miracles, but combined with other nutrients, GCE might—emphatic maybe—work in your fat-loss favor.
2. GREEN TEA EXTRACT
Studies show especially combined with exercise, the active ingredient epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) in green tea can help you burn fat. You’ll need higher doses than what you get in a few cups of green tea to get those benefits, so supplementing probably becomes the way to go. One 12-week study with 115 obese women found high-dose green tea extract created “significant weight loss, reduced waist circumference… without any side effects or adverse effects.”Look for a supplement that combines green tea standardized to 45 percent EGCg combined with other synergistic science-based nutrients.
3. CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID (CLA)
This naturally occurring fatty acid seems to target stubborn, refuse-to-leave abdominal fat. Patience becomes a virtue: One study found long-term CLA supplementation helps reduce body fat mass in healthy overweight adults, while another found CLA could prevent holiday weight gain and “significantly reduced body fat over six months.”You’ll need 3.2 grams of CLA daily (4 to 5 softgels) to get fat loss, and butter from grass-fed cows is a good start. Potential adverse effects include impaired glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, yet CLA seems mostly safe.
4. GARCINIA CAMBOGIA
An extract from a tropical fruit that grows on the garcinia tree, one animal study found Garcinia cambogia suppressed fat accumulation in obese rats. Research shows its active component, hydroxycitric acid or HCA, can help people lose weight. If you’re curious, find a supplement standardized to contain 50 percent HCA combined with other science-based fat-burning nutrients.
5. RASPBERRY KETONES
A phenol extracted from raspberries, one animal study found raspberry ketones prevented fat accumulation and increased fat breakdown in fat cells. Another showed raspberry ketones help break down fat. Both studies involved large amounts that would potentially be harmful to humans. One of the few human studies, which combined raspberry ketones with other weight loss components, found positive body-fat changes for overweight folks compared with the placebo. Again, combined with other nutrients raspberry ketones might help a little, but I wouldn’t expect anything life-changing.If you’ve ever used these or other supplements to lose weight, did you get the results you wanted? Share your story below or on my Facebook page.