Weight Loss Program-Fat Burners
-- Fat Burners --The Unadulterated Truth
QUESTION: Dear Tom, I am not currently using any fat burners. However, in many magazines where I see advertisements for fat
burners, they always have a model with a six-pack and the headline is something like, “It takes more than training and nutrition to get a
six-pack.” Once a person hits a plateau, do we really need fat burners to achieve that “ripped” or “six-pack” look? I am having a really hard
time getting my stomach to look the way I want it, and I really respect your opinion, so I appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks Tom!
ANSWER: The short and sweet answer is NO, you do not ever “need” fat
While I won’t dismiss the fact that there are some ingredients in some “fat burner” products that might help a little bit, I take great
displeasure in seeing those kinds of misleading headlines as well as the misleading use of models who are often paid to endorse the product even
though they may never have even used it (they’re just models!)
Many “fat burner” companies have been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for false advertising, false claims and falsifying before and after
The best you get is a slight thermogenic effect and possibly some slight appetite suppression. A few products might work through other
mechanisms like improving thyroid, but if you forgive me the generalization, I consider the effects of all these “fat burner” products to be
minutia. In a previous newsletter, I wrote that in my opinion, 97% of your results come from nutrition and training and maybe you get an extra 3%
Just so you know those numbers arent something I just pulled out of thin air, lets take an example:
I have reviewed scientific data that EGCG, the active ingredient in green tea extract, if consumed in enough quantity, could increase
thermogenesis / metabolic rate by an average of about 75 calories in 24 hours. Since ephedrine was taken off the market, green tea extract
appears in many ephedra-free formulas these days. What is a typical calorie expenditure for an active male in 24 hours? lets say 2700 calories
That slight little extra doesnt hurt, especially when its delivered in a healthful package such as green tea, rather than central nervous
system stimulants, but its minutia in the bigger picture. Another way to put this into perspective is to make a list of what other things would
* three times a day, walk for 5 minutes at normal casual pace
* bagging leaves and grass clippings for 14 minutes
* re arrange your furniture for 10 minutes
* 7.2 minutes of walking up stairs (could be spread throughout the day)
Ah yes, but why move your body when you can take the pill and metabolism increases while you sit and watch TV? How about for your health? A
body that is not moved, rots away. Unlike a car which only has so many miles on it and wears out from over-use, people are the only “machines” on
earth that fall apart from under-use.
Here’s what any good personal trainer will always tell you: No amount of
calorie restriction or pill-popping will ever give you FITNESS. It will never give you STRENGTH. it will never get you MUSCULARITY. It will
never give you FUNCTIONALITY. At best it will help you reduce body mass slightly.
On one hand, I’m tempted to say that everything counts and that yes, 75 calories here, and 75 calories there, it ALL adds up, because it does.
After you’re exercising regularly and all your fundamentals are in place, details and little things do matter.
I’m simply asking you to put the benefits of any fat burners in proper perspective and realize that (1) there is no “need” for taking them and
(2) the claims made in the ads are often erroneous or exagerrated.
1. NEVER buy a fat burner unless you get independent verification of the claims made for the product.
How do you KNOW they really work? Are you SERIOUSLY going to take the advertisers word for it? Are you SERIOUSLY going to take someone
else’s testimonial as fact? Get verification for yourself by going to the pub med data base and looking for research (try http://www.relemed.com/ too, as their search results are very thorough and relevant and they provide links to the pub
With those products that work, such as those providing a small thermogenic effect, put that in perspective as compared to how easily you
could burn that many calories with even light exercise like walking or housework. Keep in mind the additional fitness and strength benefits
you will obtain from exercise as opposed to doing nothing and popping a pill.
3. See if there are any side effects or health warnings.
With all supplements and especially with prohormones or stronger thermogenics like the ephedrine and caffeine stack, (if you still have
access to them), understand the risk to benefit ratio, and be certain you know the dangers and contraindications.
4. Read the label and see if the product contains enough active ingredient to even work.
A classic scam is when a “fat burner”product quotes research that a certain inredient boosts metabolism, which might be true. What they
may not tell you is that all the research with positive results used a large dosage of the ingredient, which might not be cheap. So the
supplement company includes a “pinch” or “light dusting” of that ingredient just so they can say it’s in the bottle, even though its nothing
more than “label decoration.” Then they have the audacity to invoke the research studies in their advertisements when the amount of the
ingredient in their product is no where near what was used in the research!
Some companies, DONT LET YOU SEE how much ingredient is in the product formula, because it contains multiple ingredients and they say
their formula is a “trade secret” aka “proprietary”, so they list WHAT is in the product but not HOW MUCH. If you don’t know how much is in
there then how are we (the consumers) supposed to get independent confirmation of the facts and analyze whether this product is any good?
6. Make sure there is human research, not just rodent research.
In many cases, advertisements cite studies on rats and mice as “proof” under the assumption that the product will produce the same results
in humans. Animal research is an important part of the scientific method, as it is often used to help find areas of research where human
study should be pursued, or in the other direction, to trace back the mechanism that makes something work. However, for obesity research in
particular, a positive finding in rats does not mean the same thing will happen in humans.
7. Look for more than one human study.
Consider trying a supplement after it has human research that has been replicated by different research groups which are not
industry-sponsored. My policy is that I will usually only give a “buy” rating to a supplement when a product has an intitial well-designed
human controlled trial published and then similar research has been replicated by another research group that is not supplement-industry
Actually, I think it’s a good thing that nutrition and supplement companies fund and sponsor some of the research. They should. They should
not only back up their claims with published clinical trials, they should share some of the cost of this expensive research.
However, a basic principle of the scientific method is replication. Other researchers should be able to duplicate the findings. Therefore,
while the funding source does not necessarily prove bias, if there is only one study available on a supplement and it is company or industry
sponsored, I usually take it with a grain of salt and put an asterisk next to it while I wait for confirmation from another study. (You might be
surprised at how IN-frequently this type of confirmation occurs).
Do you REALLY need “more” than nutrition and exercise??????
Now, when you weigh the fact that even the products with research backing them only help a little, with the fact that many of the ads lie to
you about research, exagerrate claims and hide vital information about ingredients, and with the fact that you can do a few more minutes of
exercise per day and get the same results for free, how enthusiastic are you about fat burners?
Yeah, that’s why I’m not real excited about them either and based on the fact that I use no drugs and no “fat burner” supplements and I
compete in bodybuilding - very successfully - I’d say that the assertion, “it takes more than
nutrition and exercise to get six pack abs” is patently false.
Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder and author of the #1 best selling
e-book, "BURN THE FAT, FEED THE MUSCLE.” which teaches you how to burn fat without drugs or supplements using the
little-known secrets of the world''s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and
turbo-charge your metabolism by visiting: BURN THE FAT. To get Tom''s free fitness newsletter, visit: www.tomvenuto.com
Readers may also be interested in the book review:
BURN THE FAT FEED THE MUSCLE by Tom
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