fat burner supplements that work

Do Fat Burners Actually Work?

In this article I’m going to take a deep dive into whether fat burner supplements actually work.

For those short on time, the quick answer is yes and no.

Yes, there are specific supplement ingredients that can improve fat metabolism, increase calorie burn, restrict appetite and support weight loss. However, there is no miracle fat burner supplement that can replace the hard work of controlling calories and staying active.

Why is America So Fat?

According to Harvard University’s School of Public Health, 69% of adults in the United States are either obese or overweight. In today’s world, it is very hard to avoid the accumulation of fat on our bodies as we become adults. But why?

Excess Calories Become Fat

First, it’s important to understand why fat exists in the first place.

You can think of fat as the way the human body stores energy for emergencies when food is scarce. In the past, it was important to have weeks worth of fat stored on the body in order to prevent starvation.

In the ancient world, calories were difficult to find. During times of plenty, we stored excess calories as fat to get us through less plentiful times. Especially during the winter.

But in the modern world, especially in America, we have access to unlimited easy calories. And since most of us aren’t active enough to burn all the calories we eat, we slowly (or quickly) add fat to our bodies. And over years that adds up to being overweight or obese.

how to burn fat

The Two Solutions to Excess Fat

There really is no easy shortcut to losing weight and burning fat. The only long-term solutions to burn fat are:

  1. Reduce the total number of calories you consume
  2. Burn more calories

Gaining control of your diet and nutrition is the key to #1. And exercise is the key to #2. Ninety percent of your fat burning is through these two tactics.

So what about fat burner supplements? Where do they come in?

How Do Fat Burner Supplements Work?

Fat burner supplements work by affecting the two principles listed above (reducing calories consumed and burning more calories). Specifically, a good fat burning supplement will have ingredients that:

  1. reduce appetite
  2. increase the calories you burn

It’s important to note that you should not expect a miracle from fat burner supplements. They are supplemental. I like to say they can make a 10% difference. That means that the other 90% is going to come from hard work (exercise and good nutrition).

Ingredients That Work Well in Fat Burners

Below is a quick survey of ingredients that work well in fat burner supplements to either help reduce appetite, increase metabolism and calorie burn, or both.

Cayenne Fruit Extract

Cayenne pepper extract

Capsaicin, a compound found in cayenne, is known to increase thermogenesis, which is the process by which your body produces heat. This increase in thermogenesis can boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn more calories, even at rest.

Additional cayenne extract may help suppress appetite by reducing cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods. Some studies suggest that capsaicin may interact with certain receptors in the brain that control hunger, leading to a decreased desire to eat.

Finally, capsaicin has been shown to promote the oxidation (breakdown) of fat in the body. It encourages the body to use fat as a source of energy.


Resveratrol for weight loss

Resveratrol has been shown to activate a protein called SIRT1 (sirtuin 1) in the body, which plays a role in regulating metabolism. When SIRT1 is activated, it can enhance the function of mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles in cells. This improved mitochondrial function may increase the body’s overall energy expenditure, potentially leading to a higher calorie burn and facilitating fat loss.

Additionally, some studies suggest that resveratrol may have appetite-suppressing effects. By reducing hunger and food intake, it can contribute to a reduction in overall calorie consumption, which is essential for weight loss.

Finally, resveratrol may stimulate the breakdown of stored fat, a process known as lipolysis. This can release fatty acids into the bloodstream to be used as energy, potentially leading to a decrease in fat mass.

Grains of Paradise

grains of paradise

Grains of paradise contain a compound called 6-paradol, which is believed to have a thermogenic effect on the body. When you consume grains of paradise, particularly its active compound 6-paradol, it may increase heat production, leading to a rise in calorie expenditure to maintain temperature, potentially aiding in fat loss.

Brown adipose tissue, or brown fat, is a type of fat tissue that plays a role in thermogenesis. It burns calories to generate heat. Grains of paradise may help activate and increase the activity of brown fat, leading to a higher rate of calorie burning and potentially contributing to fat loss.

Grains of paradise may also have appetite-suppressing effects. It has been shown to influence ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger. By reducing hunger and food cravings, it may lead to lower calorie intake, which is important for weight management.

Green Tea Extract

Green Tea Extract
Brewed green tea in glass bowls

Green tea extract is particularly rich in catechins, with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) being the most abundant and studied. EGCG has been shown to enhance the oxidation (breakdown) of fat in the body.

Green tea extract may also promote a feeling of fullness or satiety, again due to catechins. Catechins affect the release of hormones, such as leptin, involved in appetite regulation.

Finally, green tea extract contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has a calming effect and may help reduce stress and anxiety. Stress and emotional factors can contribute to overeating, so reducing stress may indirectly lead to appetite control.

L-carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT)

L-carnitine L-tartrate primarily works by facilitating the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses where fat is burned for energy. This means it can help increase the utilization of stored fat as a source of energy during exercise. This enhanced fat oxidation can contribute to fat loss, especially when combined with regular physical activity.

Some research suggests that LCLT may enhance exercise performance by increasing the efficiency of energy production. When you can exercise more intensely and for longer durations, you are more likely to burn more calories and fat during workouts, which can support weight management and fat loss.


coffee beans and caffeine pill

Caffeine can stimulate the central nervous system, leading to an increase in metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories at rest). When your metabolic rate is higher, you burn more calories, which can help with weight loss, especially when combined with a calorie deficit from your diet.

Additionally, caffeine may reduce appetite temporarily, leading to reduced calorie intake. It does this by affecting certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as adenosine and dopamine, which play a role in regulating hunger and satiety.


Created by: Mplanine (Wikipedia: CC BY-SA 4.0)

Naringin may have appetite-suppressing effects. It can influence hormones involved in appetite regulation, such as leptin, which signals feelings of fullness. By reducing hunger and food cravings, it may lead to lower calorie intake, which is important for weight management.

Some research also suggests that naringin may improve insulin sensitivity, helping the body regulate blood sugar levels more effectively. Improved insulin sensitivity can reduce the likelihood of excess blood sugar being stored as fat.


Created by: Mplanine (Wikipedia: CC BY-SA 4.0)

Some research suggests that hesperidin may stimulate lipolysis, which is the breakdown of stored fat into fatty acids. This process makes the fatty acids available for energy production, potentially contributing to fat burning when combined with physical activity.

Hesperidin also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and chronic inflammation is associated with obesity and metabolic dysfunction. By reducing inflammation, hesperidin may indirectly support fat burning and overall metabolic health.

Finally, flavonoids like hesperidin may have appetite-suppressing effects. They can influence hormones involved in appetite regulation, potentially leading to reduced calorie intake and supporting weight loss and fat burning.


Forskolin primarily exerts its effects by increasing levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in cells. cAMP is a messenger molecule that plays a role in various physiological processes, including fat metabolism. Elevated cAMP levels can stimulate the breakdown of stored fat into fatty acids, making them available for energy production, a process known as lipolysis.


Rauwolscine primarily works as an antagonist of alpha-2 adrenergic receptors. These receptors are found in adipose (fat) tissue and play a role in regulating fat storage and breakdown. By blocking these receptors, rauwolscine may increase the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that can stimulate lipolysis (the breakdown of stored fat) and promote fat burning.

How To Choose A Fat Burner That Actually Works?

A good fat burner supplement will have four to eight ingredients from the list above, at clinical dosages, with each ingredient playing a role either in appetite suppression or increased calorie burn.

When choosing a fat burner, check it against the list above of scientifically proven ingredients. If most of the ingredients come from this list, then you can trust it’s a pretty good fat burner.

Can Fat Burners Work on Their Own?

The effect of fat burners is going to be minimal without exercise and diet. Yes, they will have an effect on their own, but you can always counter that effect by binging on food, or sitting around all day.

Simply put: fat burners are not miraculous and they will not make you lose a lot of weight quickly. They will help you slightly speed up your efforts when you are also dialed in with everything else.

Should You Use Fat Burner Supplements?

diet pills and measuring tape

This really depends on who you are and what your goals are. Fat burners can contribute to appetite suppression as well as calorie burn. But you get much more mileage with calorie burn by being active. And you get much more mileage for keeping calories in check by being intentional about your nutrition and diet.

If you’ve got these things dialed in and feel that you’d like a little extra help with your cut, then a fat burner can be a good choice.

I also believe that if you are just getting started, have extra cash, and want some help controlling your hunger, they can be worth the cost.

But again, get your diet right. Get your exercise right. Fat burners are just supposed to be icing on the cake.

Jack Kelle

Jack is an entrepreneur, outdoorist, and animal lover with a background in philosophy, psychology, and business. He enjoys music, friends, and family. At RAVE, Jack works as the manager of marketing and content development.