By Christian Beck
Fat-loss support supplements are a category of products that, when used by healthy individuals in conjunction with a quality exercise program and a sound diet, work to help rid the body of excess fat. Many fat-loss support products contain a multi-dimensional mix of different ingredients, each of which usually targets a specific aspect of fat loss. Some ingredients are stimulant-based and support increases in metabolism, while others target appetite reduction and elevating thermogenesis (heat production). Some ingredients even work on a cellular level to help release stored fat for use as energy or modulate their effects through hormones and/or neurotransmitters. Regardless of the mechanism of action of each ingredient, these products can be a viable option for anyone from competitive physique athletes to weekend warriors, and almost everybody in between.
Fat-loss support products are intended to be used by healthy individuals in conjunction with a calorie-reduced diet and a consistent exercise program. It’s important to always follow the recommended dosing protocol on the label, and to never exceed the maximum recommended daily dosage. Exactly how many servings a day you take of a supplement, and how long you take it for, varies from product to product and often hinges on the ingredient profile. For example, stimulant-based products are often taken twice a day (morning and early afternoon), while non-stimulant-based products may be taken anywhere from one to multiple times per day. Regardless, it’s a good idea to cycle on and off fat-loss support supplements and consume with plenty of water.
The granddaddy of all fat-loss support ingredients, no review of this subject can be considered complete without mention of caffeine, which you will sometimes see listed on a label as 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine (caffeine’s chemical name), or as anhydrous caffeine (caffeine without water). A central nervous system stimulant, caffeine not only works to increase energy levels, it also helps support thermogenesis and calorie burning.
A fruit that grows in India and Southeast Asia, garcinia cambogia is particularly interesting because it contains a phytonutrient called hydroxycitric acid (HCA). When it comes to fat-loss support, hydroxycitric acid plays a role in helping suppress appetite and can exert its potential effects at an enzymatic level by helping reduce the conversion of excess carbohydrates into body fat.
Green Coffee Extract
Produced from coffee beans that have yet to be roasted (and, as such, are still green), green coffee extract is high in chlorogenic acid, a compound that has been shown to favourably impact how our bodies absorb and ultimately make use of the glucose from the foods we eat. This, plus research indicating that it can be effective as a weight-reduction aid, makes it worthy of mention here.
Much like caffeine, green tea (camellia sinensis) is also a staple when it comes to the world of fat-loss ingredients. With roots in traditional Chinese medicine, green tea has a long history of use as a health tonic, thanks to its high flavanol content. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), one of the flavanols isolated from green tea, has garnered much attention from the scientific world both from a cancer-prevention standpoint and from a fat-loss standpoint, where it helps increase the amount of fat used as energy during exercise. Combining green tea with caffeine has been shown to have an extra effect for supporting fat loss.
Olive Leaf Extract
This extract is sometimes included in multi-ingredient fat-loss supplements as a supportive constituent, and for good reason. While you likely have heard that olive oil is a heart-healthy fat, what you may not know is that olea europaea (the chemical name for the extract), in addition to having potential anti-inflammatory properties, can also help increase norepinephrine levels in the body, which has been proven to lead to heightened calorie burning.