Are you on a mission to lose weight? Well, we’ve got some great news for you. You don’t have to take fat burners and other dietary supplements to achieve your aim.

Nutritional supplements like weight loss pills, teas and herbs are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and can lead to side-effects like nausea, headaches, anxiety, and indigestion.

Food-based fat burners like green tea, conjugated linoleic acid, and grapefruit essential oil can help you lose weight healthily and naturally. Add these natural fat burners to your diet, and you will shed pounds in no time.

What are fat burners?

Fat burners are nutritional supplements that are claimed to acutely increase fat metabolism, impair fat absorption, increase weight loss, and increase fat oxidation during exercise (1).  Fat burners are also called thermogenic supplements as they burn stored body fat.

The manufacturers of these supplements claim that taking these supplements can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. However, these so-called fat burners can often lead to adverse effects like the liver failure (2).

Most of these fat burners contain active ingredients which they claim can help in weight loss. While there is some evidence to back the claims of thermogenic qualities of some of these ingredients like caffeine and green tea, for many other the evidence is lacking.

Let us look into the properties of these weight loss supplements.

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is a common ingredient in many fat loss supplements. Some research shows that caffeine can boost metabolism and help burn more fat (3).

Caffeinated coffee can increase energy expenditure by 16 percent for one or two hours (4).  However, having caffeine regularly can make your body immune to its beneficial effects.

Consuming too much caffeine can also lead to heart palpitations and restlessness in people.

2. Green tea extract

Green tea extract is just a concentrated form of green tea. It is one of the most popular and safest weight loss ingredients. Green tea extract is rich in caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate, both of which are helpful in burning fat (4).

During one study, scientists discovered that the combination of green tea and caffeine burned 80 more calories per day as compared to the placebo (5).

Green tea extract can cause headaches and UTI in some people.

3. Guarana

Guarana has the highest concentration of caffeine. It contains 3.5 to 5.8 percent caffeine while coffee includes 2 percent.

Though it is generally considered safe, it can cause indigestion, anxiety, blood pressure and difficulty in sleeping. It can also interact with medicines like antidepressants, blood thinners, sedatives, and lithium.

4. Ephedrine

Ephedrine or products containing a combination of ephedrine and caffeine are not approved for use as a weight loss supplement in the US (6).

It can lead to side effects like anxiety, nausea, hypertension, palpitations, stroke, seizure, heart attack and even death.

5. Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a pumpkin-shaped fruit that has gained popularity as a weight loss ingredient. However, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Garcinia Cambogia does not produce any significant weight loss or fat loss (7).

Some people also experience side effects like flatulence, constipation, and diarrhea with the use of this supplement.

Natural fat burners

Rather than relying on these ‘magic pills’ for weight loss, you should focus on adding some natural fat burners to your diet that will help you lose weight without any side effects.

Not only are natural fat burners good for your health, but they also increase lean muscle mass and boost energy levels.

1. Green and herbal tea

Studies have suggested that caffeine and flavonoids in green tea can elevate metabolic rate, increase fat oxidation and improve insulin activity.

Matcha green tea is the richest source of nutrients and antioxidants. While other types of green tea are made by steeping the leaves, for matcha green tea the leaf is ground and consumed as a part of the beverage.

The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests drinking at least two to three cups of green tea every day as each cup contains around 200 mg of catechins.

Some other herbal teas like rooibos tea and yerba mate also have similar beneficial and slimming effects.

2. Conjugated linoleic acid

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is related to omega-6 fatty acids, one of the two types of essential fatty acids that increase metabolic rates, boost the immune system and keep cholesterol levels in check.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) cannot be produced in the human body and is found in beef, lamb, whole milk, and eggs.

According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, CLA has positive effects on energy metabolism, adipogenesis, inflammation, lipid metabolism, and apoptosis (8).

However, to benefit from CLA, you must take at least 3.4 grams of this fatty acid every day.

3. Grapefruit essential oil

Grapefruit essential oil is known to activate enzymes in the body that help to break down body fat. The active ingredients in this oil help in boosting metabolism, reducing appetite, lowering cravings, and boosting energy.

Grapefruit essential oil contains D-limonene, which in addition to supporting metabolism, also helps in cleansing, lymphatic glands so that they can carry nutrients between tissues and the bloodstream.

According to a 2005 study, the scent of the grapefruit oil, particularly limonene, affects autonomous nerves, enhances lipolysis, and reduces appetite and body weight (9).

4. Probiotic foods

Probiotics are the good bacteria that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. They improve digestive health, heart health, boost immunity and also help in weight loss (10). Certain probiotics also inhibit the absorption of dietary fat and promote fecal fat excretion (11).

Probiotics also help release GLP-1 which is also known as the satiety hormone. Increased levels of this hormone help you burn calories and fat (12). Probiotics also increase the levels of ANGPTL4, which leads to decreased fat storage (13).

To add more probiotics to your diet, you must consume more yogurt, kefir and cultured veggies.

5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains an active compound called cinnamaldehyde. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, when cinnamaldehyde was given to a group of rats that had been fed a diet high in sucrose and fat, they lost visceral fat.

The researchers concluded that the cinnamaldehyde stimulated metabolism of the fatty visceral tissue.

Though there are no studies on the impact of cinnamon on visceral fat in humans, cinnamon is useful in treating type-2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

6. Capsaicin

Capsaicin, the compound found in bell peppers, cayenne peppers, and jalapenos, is known to support weight loss. Like green tea, capsaicin increases thermogenesis and stimulates metabolism.

According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, capsaicin helps decrease the production of ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates appetite).

In another study, researchers found that when women ate chili peppers, it raised their metabolism for up to 30 minutes (14).

In addition to improving metabolism, capsaicin also helps in burning more calories. When you eat something that is spicy, your body temperature rises, and this leads your body to go into cooldown mode. All this helps your body to burn more calories.

7. Coconut oil

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids which help your body burn fat for fuel. Coconut oil is thermogenic, which means it increases energy expenditure and fat burning (15).

Coconut oil is also helpful in reducing appetite. According to studies, medium chain fatty acids, when compared to the same amount of calories from other fats, increase the feeling of fullness, which helps in the reduction of calorie intake (16).

Studies have also shown that coconut oil helps in the reduction of abdominal fat. During a 2011 survey, when obese men took 30 grams of coconut oil for four weeks, their waist size was reduced by 2.85 cm (17).

8. Apple cider vinegar

Acetic acid, one of the main components of ACV, helps in weight loss as it suppresses fat accumulation and improves metabolism.

During a 2006 study, when rats were given acetic acid, it activated the enzyme AMPK in the liver. This enzyme boosts fat burning and decreases fat and sugar production (18).

ACV suppresses appetite and also slows down the stomach emptying. This process creates a feeling of fullness and helps in weight loss (19).

9. Cherries

Cherries are rich antioxidants which fight free radical damage. According to research cherries help remove excess fat, increase melatonin and support healthy sleep, which improves thyroid function.

According to a 2009 study, when rats were given tart cherry powder for 90 days, they didn’t gain as much weight or fat as the fats that didn’t get cherry powder.

This study shows that cherry juice helps reduce inflammation and lipids in the blood, which can lead to heart ailments and weight gain.

10. Bone Broth

Bone broth is a nutritious stock that is made by cooking bones from meat, poultry, and fish over a period. One of the primary components of bone broth is collagen.

The breakdown of cooked collagen produces gelatin. Gelatin contains essential amino acids like glycine, arginine, glutamine, and proline.

Not only is bone broth low in calories, but thanks to its gelatine content it also keeps you satisfied, which helps in weight loss.

Final thoughts

Fat burners are thermogenic supplements that increase fat metabolism, impair fat absorption, increase weight loss, and increase fat oxidation.

The active ingredients in these thermogenic supplements usually contain a mix of stimulants, herbs, and acids. These can lead to side effects like anxiety, indigestion, rapid heartbeat, headaches, and blood pressure.

Natural fat burners like green tea, conjugated linoleic acid, and probiotics are much safer and provide various other health benefits as well.

Food-based fat burners or natural fat burners like green tea, conjugated linoleic acid, and grapefruit essential oil can help you lose weight