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Natural Thermogenics: What They Are and How to Use Them to Cut Weight and Burn Fat
Weight gain is easy. Weight loss is hard.
Well technically it depends on your metabolism, but we can all agree that's the common tale we hear day in and day out.
If you're looking to cut fat, the non-negotiables are...
- Caloric Deficits
- High-Quality Protein
- Limited Alcohol
...and most important discipline.
But natural thermogenics can help give you the edge you need.
So… what are thermogenics? In short, they're fat burners that produce heat in the body, boost metabolism, suppress appetite, and help your body burn more calories.
Whether you're looking to cut a little, cut a lot, or simply browsing to grow your brain, we'll lay it all down for you.
Let's get into it...
- Thermogenics contain ingredients that boost metabolism, enhance fat burning, and decrease appetite.
- The best natural thermogenics come from Caffeine, Coffee Berry, Green Tea, Gymnema Sylvestre, Grains of Paradise, Glucomannan, Garcinia Cambogia, Bitter Orange, and Yohimbine.
- Natural thermogenics aren't a magic pill, they should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.
WTF IS THERMOGENESIS AND WHAT ARE THERMOGENIC SUPPLEMENTS?
The term thermogenesis comes from the Greek word thermos, which means heat.
It is defined as the process of heat production in the human body as a byproduct of metabolic processes and the heat generated in direct response to a meal. In the human body, thermogenesis primarily occurs in the skeletal muscle and certain fat cells.
Thermogenic supplements are designed to increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which increases the amount of heat your body produces and the number of calories you burn at rest. This translates to a higher calorie burn throughout the day, which may help accelerate the loss of body weight and fat. Some thermogenic supplements also curb your appetite and reduce the amount of fat absorbed in your gut.
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts often use thermogenics to accelerate weight loss, enhance fat burn, boost energy levels, and improve their body composition.
Simply put, thermogenesis = heat production.
When your body burns calories, more heat is produced, so supplements that contain ingredients to increase your metabolism or burn fat are considered to be thermogenic.
10 TYPES OF NATURAL THERMOGENICS:
Here's a list of clinically proven natural thermogenics that can help you cut weight and burn fat.
- Green Tea
- Gymnema Sylvestre
- Grains of Paradise
- Garcinia Cambogia
- Bitter Orange
Capsimax is a concentrated extract of capsaicinoids, which are found in hot chili peppers.
Capsaicin, one of the capsaicinoids in chili peppers that makes them spicy, can boost metabolism and enhance fat burn.
Studies suggest that capsaicin works by increasing body temperature and oxygen consumption, which increases the number of calories you burn. It can also increase fat breakdown and discourage fat accumulation.
In one twelve-week study carried out in 75 individuals, researchers found that participants who took 4 milligrams of capsaicinoids (two 100 milligram Capsimax capsules) lost nearly 6% more body fat than those who took the placebo.
Lastly, capsaicinoids can support weight loss by suppressing your appetite and increasing satiety, which can help you eat less throughout the day.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant commonly found in coffee, tea, and cocoa plants.
Clinical evidence demonstrates that caffeine can reduce hunger, improve satiety, and boost your metabolism, allowing you to eat less while burning more calories.
Additionally, caffeine increases adrenaline levels, which stimulates the breakdown of fat cells to be used as energy.
One recent review of studies found caffeine can improve calorie balance when consumed in low-to-moderate doses, or about 3–4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
Other studies have found that for each milligram of caffeine consumed, an extra 0.1 calories are burned in the next 24 hours. This means 200 milligrams of caffeine would burn 25 calories over a 24-hour period.
Caffeine can also boost energy levels to help enhance your performance in the gym and allow you to power through strenuous workouts
Coffee is a beverage prepared from roasted coffee beans.
Because coffee contains caffeine, it can also help boost your metabolism and burn fat.
For example, one study found that drinking four cups of coffee daily can reduce body fat by around 4%.
Green coffee beans, or unroasted coffee beans, also contain caffeine and other beneficial compounds that can accelerate fat loss.
Green coffee bean extract contains high levels of chlorogenic acids, which many scientists suggest are key to its weight loss effects.
A recent 2021 study that looked at 60 individuals found that participants who consumed green coffee bean extract experienced significant changes in body fat percentage, fat mass, and lean mass compared to those who were given the placebo.
4) GREEN TEA EXTRACT
Green tea is produced from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Unlike many other types of tea, green tea is minimally processed, making it higher in antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds.
In addition to containing a small amount of caffeine, green tea also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a catechin that inhibits the release of an enzyme that breaks down adrenaline, extending the life of adrenaline and enhancing fat breakdown.
While we need additional research, several studies suggest that green tea can aid in weight reduction by reducing fat and carbohydrate absorption in the gut and reducing total daily calorie intake.
One study concluded that caffeinated green tea supplements can boost fat burning by 16% and boost metabolism by around 4% for 24 hours after consumption.
Furthermore, one eight-week study looked at the effects of green tea extract supplementation on exercise-induced changes in sedentary, overweight women.
Researchers found that green tea extract improves exercise-induced body composition by decreasing total body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (BFP), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).
5) GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE
Gymnema sylvestre is a perennial, woody climbing plant that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine.
Studies suggest that Gymnemic acid, an active component isolated from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre, can aid in body weight reduction, prevent weight gain, and support healthy blood sugar levels.
One study carried out over eight weeks in moderately obese individuals found that those who consumed a Gymnema extract experienced a 5-6% decrease in BMI and body weight, as well as reduced food intake.
The herb is believed to reduce body weight and protect against obesity by blocking the absorption of sugar and fat in the intestines.
Lastly, studies show that Gymnema sylvestre extracts can inhibit the sweet taste sensation, limiting a person’s intake of sweet foods and making them less appealing.
6) GRAINS OF PARADISE
Grains of paradise, also known as melegueta pepper, is an herb from the ginger family.
Research shows it can enhance energy expenditure by activating brown adipose tissue (BAT), a thermogenic tissue activated by the sympathetic nervous system in response to exposure to the cold.
One 2021 study found that repeated consumption of 40 milligrams of grains of paradise extract increases cold-induced thermogenesis and reduces body fat by reactivating BAT thermogenic capacity, even in those with low levels of BAT.
Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber that comes from the root of the konjac plant. It is one of the most viscous dietary fibers known and can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water.
In addition to containing very few calories, glucomannan can aid in weight loss by:
- Absorbing water and expanding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, increasing feelings of fullness
- Slowing down digestion
- Decreasing the absorption of fat
While we need additional studies, several human trials have found glucomannan effective at reducing body weight and blood sugar levels.
In the largest study to date, 176 healthy, overweight individuals on a reduced-calorie diet were given either a glucomannan supplement or a placebo.
Researchers found that, after five weeks, weight loss was significantly higher in the group that consumed glucomannan supplements.
Glucomannan supplements are generally well-tolerated and considered to be safe.
8) GARCINIA CAMBOGIA
Garcina cambogia is a fruit that is native to India and Southeast Asia. It contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which may help enhance weight loss in several ways.
Clinical evidence suggests that HCA can help suppress appetite, which may help you eat fewer calories and make weight loss easier.
Additionally, HCA may suppress fat accumulation and accelerate fat breakdown by inhibiting ATP citrate lyase, an enzyme involved in generating body fat.
One study carried out on 60 adults found that treatment with an HCA supplement for eight weeks led to reduced food intake and a 5.4% average reduction in body weight. Markers of fat oxidation and levels of serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone) increased.
It’s important to note that research remains mixed. While some study results appear promising, others show little difference.
9) BITTER ORANGE
Bitter orange is a type of citrus fruit native to East Africa, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and Syria.
It contains the naturally occurring chemical synephrine, which is structurally similar to ephedrine, the primary component in the herb ephedra.
Though the Food and Drug Administration banned ephedra for use in supplements because it was linked to heart attacks and elevated blood pressure, bitter orange is considered to be safe to use in dietary supplements.
According to several studies, bitter orange does not increase your heart rate or blood pressure. Therefore, it is considered to be a non-stimulant thermogenic agent.
With that said, some sports organizations, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), lists synephrine as a stimulant. As such, it is considered a banned substance in athletics.
In one review of 20 studies, authors concluded that bitter orange could increase metabolism, weight loss, and energy expenditure when consumed daily for six to 12 weeks. It is also believed to increase fat breakdown and mildly suppress appetite.
Yohimbine comes from the bark of the African evergreen tree.
While it has a history of being used to treat erectile dysfunction, it is growing in popularity as a thermogenic supplement.
Yohimbine works by increasing hormones, such as adrenaline, which increases fat burning. It is also believed to block alpha-2 adrenergic receptors in fat cells, preventing the suppression of fat burning.
In one clinical study, researchers gave professional soccer players yohimbine or a placebo for 21 days. At the end of the trial, researchers observed a significant decrease in body fat among the group who took yohimbine. No changes were observed in the placebo group.
Though research appears promising, additional well-designed studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness as a thermogenic.
USING THERMOGENICS FOR FAT AND WEIGHT LOSS
Remember this; thermogenics aren't magic pills.
Although the studies show that thermogenic supplements aid in fat loss, it doesn't mean you can eat like shit and use a fat burner to solve your problems.
Use thermogenic supplements on top of a healthy diet and regular exercise.
A caloric deficit and regular training should be the foundation of your fat loss goals. Thermogenics should be the cherry on top.
When it comes to diet, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that includes lean protein, fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and whole grains. Limit your intake of sugary beverages, ultra-processed foods, and processed meats, all of which are associated with weight gain.
Prioritizing protein is particularly important for increasing satiety and fat burn. Protein has a higher thermic effect than fat and carbohydrates. This means your body uses more energy and calories to digest and break it down.
Additionally, studies have linked high-protein diets with a lower risk of excess abdominal fat and obesity.
We recommend consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight per day.
Lifting weights is also important for improving body composition because it increases fat loss and builds lean muscle tissue. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn each day, even at rest.
In fact, studies suggest that weight lifting boosts metabolism, while aerobic exercise does not affect RMR.
Thermogenic supplements often contain caffeine, green tea, grains of paradise, and other natural ingredients that can help you lose weight by increasing fat-burning and boosting metabolism.
While there is clinical evidence to support their effectiveness, thermogenic supplements should be combined with a healthy diet and exercise program for optimal results.
While some people tolerate thermogenic supplements, others may experience unpleasant side effects.
Additionally, some natural ingredients found in thermogenics may interact with other medications you’re taking. Always speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a new supplement or making significant changes to your diet.