When you think fat burner, often the image of a bottle of pills come to mind.
While this is a huge part of the supplement industry, it might surprise you to find out that natural fat burners include many of the foods and drinks you enjoy on a daily basis. These are often the ingredients used in weight management supplements too.
Although the bottles of pills can often be advertised as a miracle cure that will transform your body, this simply isn’t true. Instead, when we look at the science, it shows that some natural ingredients can help in small ways .
Countless studies and hours of research has shown that some ingredients can positively impact your metabolic rate, burn more fat, enhance calorie burn and even suppress your appetite.
All of these things can help to give weight loss attempts an edge.
Here are the best natural fat burners that will contribute towards melting fat and losing weight according to science.
Table of Contents
The best natural fat burners
While this may be a staple of many people’s diets in the form of coffee and tea, it’s also been proven to increase metabolic rate .
It does this by initiating a state of thermogenesis.
A thermogenic will heat up your body, which requires energy. This additional energy usage means more calories burned and a higher metabolic rate.
A review of studies has shown this can help to increase your metabolism by up to 16% after just 2 hours . Another study found that caffeine can heighten overall energy expenditure by around 150 calories .
It’s also been proven to increase fat oxidization, which means your body draws on fat for fuel over carbohydrates . Therefore, the extra calories you’re burning via thermogenesis can use fat directly as a source of energy.
Putting in a better performance in the gym can also help to enhance your ability to lose weight, and caffeine has been shown to increase physical energy, along with boosting your strength output by stimulating your central nervous system .
This makes it a common ingredient in both fat burners and pre-workout supplements.
You’ll often find the stimulant present as caffeine anhydrous in a supplement stack. This is a dehydrated, more concentrated form of the ingredient, which has been proven to have a greater ergogenic effect on the body than simply using caffeine from coffee .
While being a very popular hot drink, this is also one of the most highly researched natural fat burners and has been shown to take a two-pronged approach to removing unwanted fat.
First and foremost, it contains caffeine which, as we know from above, can increase your energy burn and improve targeted fat loss .
On top of that, green tea also contains antioxidants called ECGC’s, which are a type of catechin. These can improve your metabolism and increase fat burning during exercise by up to 17% .
The combination of caffeine and catechins makes this natural fat burner one of the most popular choices for weight loss supplements.
When compared to a placebo in a study, a combination of green tea extract and caffeine helped participants burn an average of 16% more fat .
You’ll often find it in the form of green tea extract, which offers a more concentrated form of the ingredient.
Unlike the natural thermogenic fat burners we’ve seen above, this doesn’t have a direct impact on your metabolism or calorie burn. Instead it helps you to control cravings, suppress appetite and reduce your portion sizes  all of which can support a low-calorie diet.
This is a soluble fiber which expands into a gel-like substance when it hits your stomach. It’s made up of incredibly complex carbohydrates that can’t be broken down or absorbed by your body.
When it expands it sits in the stomach, making you feel fuller and reducing your cravings .
When compared to a placebo and other appetite suppressants, those who supplemented with glucomannan for five weeks benefitted from the highest weight loss results .
This soluble fiber helps you to curb your appetite and consume less calories, which is essential to increasing fat burn.
[Related Article: Glucomannan Explained – What is it and How Does it Work?]
Cayenne pepper contains bio-active alkaloids called capsaicin that cause the sensation of pain and heat you feel when you eat something hot.
Aside from being spicy, this compound also comes with other benefits. As a thermogenic, it raises your body temperature to burn additional calories.
When compared to a placebo in a study, researchers found that those who took cayenne pepper experienced a much higher calorie burn after consumption .
What’s more, this ingredient has been shown to possess appetite suppressing qualities and can help your body target fat for energy . In a study, scientists found that fat oxidization is higher for up to 24 hours after consuming .
In the same study, researchers also concluded that when in a negative energy balance, cayenne pepper had the ability to boost fat loss results .
This may not be the most obvious natural fat burner, but protein can have a huge impact on weight loss and body composition management.
Protein helps to maintain and promote muscle and the more muscle you have on your frame the more fat you can burn .
This was proven in a study of 60 people. This research found that those who enjoyed a high protein diet were almost twice as effective at burning fat than those who were given a moderate protein diet .
What’s more, protein has been shown to increase satiety, or the feeling of fullness, which has been linked to lower bodyfat content . If you feel fuller, you’re less likely to snack between meals and compromise your diet.
[Related Article: What is Whey Protein and Do You Need it?]
Fat burner stacks
Many companies seek to combine the abilities of these natural fat burners to create a stronger, more effective product.
They often use a range of thermogenic ingredients like caffeine, cayenne pepper and green tea to heighten metabolism, then use the likes of glucomannan to help control appetite and portion control.
They claim that, by combining the effects of these natural fat burners they can provide a more powerful fat burner.
While completely natural fat burners are available, they’re not always the rule when it comes to supplements. Many manufacturers create their formulas with unsafe synthetic ingredients, or use proprietary blends so they don’t have to disclose what they’re adding to their mix.
These are generally dangerous, and a completely natural fat burner is often a much safe, more reliable option if you do decide to opt for a stack.
[Related Article: The Best Fat Burners for Women]
How effective are natural fat burners?
The thing you have to remember when you begin to explore natural fat burners, is that they’re not the answer to all your weight loss dreams.
Real results come as part of a healthy calorie-restricted diet and plenty of exercise.
A natural fat burner can help to supplement that lifestyle. It can enhance the efforts you put in.
But if you’re relying on a fat burner to do all the work for you, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
While scientific research shows they can help with progress and do have an effect on your body, in reality they only make a small dent in the process of losing weight.
A lot of fat burner supplement manufacturers advertise their products as the solution to your weight loss plan. However, they often exaggerate the ability of these formulas to make sales.
The downfall of fat burners is the lack of regulation in the market. It’s up to the manufacturers to examine their creations for safety and sometimes these products go untested, which can lead to harmful and dangerous supplements.
If you are looking for a supplement in the weight loss category, we’d recommend opting for a completely natural fat burner, that’s backed by scientific research and offers transparency.
Although they’re still limited in terms of the results, these have the best chance of supporting your healthy lifestyle and enhancing your weight loss efforts.
Above we’ve highlighted the best natural fat burners according to science.
Caffeine, green tea, glucomannan, protein and cayenne pepper have been proven to increase your ability to burn fat, however they aren’t some kind of magic pill.
While they won’t help you lose weight when used alone, they can complement a healthy diet and active lifestyle to enhance your fat loss results.
- Campbell BI, Zito G, Colquhoun R, et al. The effects of a single-dose thermogenic supplement on resting metabolic rate and hemodynamic variables in healthy females–a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016;13:13. Published 2016
- Acheson KJ, e. (1980). Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals. – PubMed – NCBI.
- Hollands MA, e. (1981). A simple apparatus for comparative measurements of energy expenditure in human subjects: the thermic effect of caffeine. – PubMed – NCBI.
- Dulloo AG, e. (1989). Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. – PubMed – NCBI.
- Acheson KJ, e. (2004). Metabolic effects of caffeine in humans: lipid oxidation or futile cycling? – PubMed – NCBI.
- Warren GL1, Park ND, Maresca RD, McKibans KI, Millard-Stafford ML. Effect of caffeine ingestion on muscular strength and endurance: a meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jul;42(7):1375-87. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181cabbd8
- Goldstein E, Ziegenfuss T, Kalman D et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010;7(1):5. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-5
- Venables MC, e. (2008). Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
- Hursel R, e. (2011). The effects of catechin rich teas and caffeine on energy expenditure and fat oxidation: a meta-analysis. – PubMed – NCBI.
- Walsh DE, e. (1984). Effect of glucomannan on obese patients: a clinical study. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
- Howarth NC, e. (2001). Dietary fiber and weight regulation. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
- Birketvedt GS, et al. Experiences with three different fiber supplements in weight reduction. Med Sci Monit. 2005 Jan
- Yoshioka, M et al. Effects of red-pepper diet on the energy metabolism in men. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1995; 41(6): 647-56
- Yoshioka, M et al. Effects of red pepper added to high-fat and high-carbohydrate meals on energy metabolism and substrate utilization in Japanese women. Br J Nutr. 1998;80(6):503-10.
- Pilou, LH et al. Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance. PLoS One. 2013; 8(7): e67786
- Leidy HJ, e. (2015). The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. – PubMed – NCBI.
- AR Skov, S Toubro, B Rønn, L Holm & A Astrup. Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity. International Journal of Obesity volume 23, pages 528–536 (1999)
- Pesta, Dominik H, and Varman T Samuel. “A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats.” Nutrition & metabolism vol. 11,1 53. 19 Nov. 2014.