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What You Should Know About Fat Burners

Fitastic July 9, 2013

Nearly all of the advertising you see on television and in the magazines for fat-burning supplements greatly exaggerates their effectiveness. “Take a pill, go to bed and wake up skinny- It’s magic!” That pretty much sums up the marketing strategy of most supplement companies today. Here’s the cold, hard reality: There is no magic pill that will just “melt” away fat and never will be! Even if such a pill really existed, you would only be addressing the symptom (effect), but not the cause.

Body fat is a symptom (an effect). If you want to get rid of body fat, you cannot merely treat the effect. Instead, you must trace the effect back to its cause and treat the cause. The cause of body fat is inactivity and poor nutrition. Until you increase your activity and improve your nutrition, no supplement or fat burning pill will ever help you in the long run. A sound nutrition program combined with weight training and aerobic exercise maintained for life is the only way to burn fat and keep it off permanently. 

Although there is no quick fix, thermogenic supplements may add to the fat- burning effects of your diet and exercise program if you’re in good health and you tolerate stimulants well. However, don’t let yourself be taken in by the outrageous claims and the even more outrageous before and after photos. These products work, but they don’t work miracles. There are also definite risks and side effects.

Thermogenesis is the process of the body burning fuels (fat) without making chemical energy. Instead, the calories are released as heat. Studies published in peer- reviewed scientific journals such as the International Journal of Obesity have shown that the caffeine-ephedrine combination can increase body temperature and metabolism, and encourage the body to burn fat before other sources such as body protein.

The most common ingredients in these products are the herbs Ma Huang (Ephedra) and Kola nut or Guarana. White Willow, Citrmax, Chromium and L-Carnitine are frequently added to the formulations but there’s no proof that these increase the effectiveness. Ephedra and caffeine work synergistically for a thermogenic effect and also a stimulant effect, increasing your energy levels. These substances have also been noted to reduce appetite. Examples of these products include “Thermadrene”, ” Hydroxycut”, “Stacker,” “Xenadrine,”and “Diet Fuel.”

WARNING: Individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure should never use these products, neither should anyone who is overly sensitive to stimulants. These products are not without side effects and definitely have the potential for abuse and addiction. Use them with caution if you use them at all. For the few percent they may help, the risks may not be worth the small benefits. Check with your doctor before taking any stimulant-based supplements.


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