Fat Burners

How Do Thermogenic Fat Burners Work?

Thermogenic fat burner supplements speed up your metabolism and raise your fat melting abilities. In this article we break down the science and tell you everything you need to know.  

Fat loss can be difficult.

Monitoring calorie intake in every meal and getting your daily exercise works at first – but it can soon start to become unmotivating when the results begin to slow. And if statistics are to go by, only 20% of people tracking calories end up successfully shedding the weight [1].

A natural kickstart from thermogenesis can make all the difference. Not only does it ramp up your metabolic rate, it also burns more fat. A powerful combo for anyone wanting to ditch excess pounds and discover a leaner figure.

Here’s the lowdown on thermogenic fat burner supplements and how they can be used to support healthy fat loss.

What is thermogenesis?

Thermogenesis refers to the process by which reactions within cells cause heat.

As you sit there right now, reading this article, your body is producing heat.

It does so in all warm-blooded animals.

Your body functions within a set range of temperature, so it’s important that your cells can adapt to changes outside of your body and adjust accordingly.

This regulatory process is maintained by the way your cells create energy.

If your body temperature gets too high you sweat to cool your skin. If it gets too low, you shiver and shake to generate heat. Thermogenesis is a metabolic process by which your cells create heat – and when they do, they burn calories.

Body builder and fitness model Whitney Jones goes through a HIIT workout

Thermogenesis increases the number of calories your body burns

Your metabolism can be split into two main categories – the energy you expend during exercise, and the energy needed to maintain basic functions such as heart rate, breathing, brain function and body temperature. Here’s a breakdown of some of the ways you use your metabolism to burn fat for energy:


Physical activity is highly thermogenic. When you work out you raise your body temperature and speed up the amount of fat burning inside each cell.

When you hit the gym for a tough cardio workout, the increase in energy needs leads to the production of heat. The harder you work out, the hotter you get as your body works hard to provide energy. This ‘thermogenic’ effect is why you begin to go pink in your cheeks and start to sweat.

That’s why we literally call it burning calories.

As you well know, the more exercise you do, the more successful your weight loss will be.

Cold therapy

While the science behind cold temperature cryotherapy isn’t yet conclusive, many scientists believe that cold water can provide adaptive thermogenic benefits. If you’ve ever jumped in an icy shower you know all too well how much your body begins to shiver and warm up.

And that burns calories.

Some studies have shown that regularly treating yourself to cold water immersion helps to change your fat cells from ‘storage’ mode to full-force burning mode [2]. However, it’s early days and there’s not a lot of science to prove it yet.

Foods and supplements

The most exciting aspect of thermogenesis is your diet. The foods you eat and the supplements you take can have a tremendous impact on the way your body burns calories.

Remember last time you had a hot curry or spicy chili? You were warm and sweaty weren’t you?

This is what’s referred to as the thermic effect of food and can account for as much as 30% of your total daily energy expenditure.

When you ingest these thermogenic foods, the following happens:

  • Calorie burning increases
  • There’s a sharp increase in metabolic rate
  • They stimulate your nervous system to generate heat
  • Increased blood flow

Knowing which foods have a powerful thermogenic effect helps to speed up fat loss.

two women exercising together showing they are perfect gym partners

The best thermogenic fat burner foods and supplements

Independent studies show that when you take a commercial thermogenic fat burner, energy expenditure significantly increases [3].

We’ve known for thousands of years that nature provides everything we need to stay lean, healthy and strong.

Making the right choices when it comes to what goes in your body is what makes all the difference.

Used in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise, thermogenic fat burner nutrients help to take your fat loss to a completely new level.

A study published in the prestigious Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2009 [3] found that when a group of athletes were given a thermogenic fat burner supplement, their metabolism increased significantly. Not only that, but “a trend towards a greater utilization of stored fat as an energy source was also demonstrated”.

Similar results were observed during a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial too [4]. In this study, a group of female participants experienced a big increase in metabolism for as many as 3 hours after ingestion of a commercial thermogenic fat burner supplement – without changes in heart rate or blood pressure.

Add these thermogenic fat burner nutrients to your diet

Some fat burner supplements work by curbing your appetite. Others block absorption of nutrients, so your calorie intake is lower.

The following supplements raise your metabolic rate, helping you to fight fat right at the heart of the cell. Adding these to your daily diet will make all the difference…

Green tea

a picture of green leaf in both its natural and herb form

Camellia sinesis provides the leaves that make green tea. High in several natural, bioactive polyphenols, this bitter-tasting drink is one of the most popular natural fat burners in the world.

Although high in numerous healthy nutrients, the most powerful of all is epigallocathechin-3 gallate (EGCG) – a compound known to exert several health-related benefits.

As a thermogenic fat burner, green tea provides help to support healthy weight loss. It is understood that green tea:

  • Raises metabolism
  • Increases energy expenditure
  • Stimulates the release of norepinephrine
  • Keeps the fat burning switch on full during a diet

Studies how that green tea supplements elevate fat burning potential after intense exercise. In one trial [5], a group of 50 men experienced higher metabolic fat burning post-workout when they added the natural product to their diet.

They experienced:

  • Nearly 10% decrease in body weight
  • 10% belly fat loss
  • Over 3 cm decrease in waist circumference
  • More lean muscle mass

A large meta-analysis [6] found that green tea not only helped overweight men and women shed the excess pounds and tone up problem areas, but also maintain their target weight after their diet period had finished. In other words, adding green tea helped people not just lose weight, but keep it off.

Key Point: Green tea is such a simple nutrient to add to your diet. It works wonders as a thermogenic fat burner and has several health benefits too.

Red pepper

cayenne pepper powder ready to be added into our fat burning juice

If you fancy spicing up your weight loss journey you should add red pepper to your diet. High in vitamins A and C, as well as beta-carotene and copper, chili peppers are mother earth’s multivitamins.

Where the fat burning magic happens though is capsaicin – a natural thermogenic compound that tricks your body into thinking it’s getting warm (that’s why you get that hot, spicy feeling on your tongue when you eat it).

Red peppers such as cayenne offer several health benefits. They’ve been shown to boost heart health, treat nerve pain and even alleviate auto-immune disease.

Studies show that swallowing a thermogenic fat burner pill containing red pepper before a meal leads to lower energy intake as well as higher metabolic response [7]. Not only that, red pepper increased fat oxidation too – meaning more fat burning.

And if you’re concerned about a drop in energy levels while dieting, don’t be. Red pepper has been shown to provide a powerful energy kick, even in those on severely restricted calorie diets [8].

Key Point: Spicy food isn’t for everyone so consider using a fat burner supplement instead. You get all the benefits without the heat.

The bottom line

Thermogenesis occurs when your cells generate heat as a way of controlling internal body temperature.

While it’s a completely normal process, thermogenesis can also be used to burn extra calories and raise your metabolism too – perfect if you’re on a weight loss journey. Use the foods and supplements mentioned above to accelerate thermogenic fat burner benefits and get lean in no time.


  1. Wing, RR et al. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005; 82(1): 2225-2255
  2. Wijers SLJ, Schrauwen P, Saris WHM, van Marken Lichtenbelt WD. Human Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Uncoupling Is Associated with Cold Induced Adaptive Thermogenesis. PLoS ONE. 2008;3(3)
  3. Hoffman, JR et al. Thermogenic effect of an acute ingestion of a weight loss supplement. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2009; 6:1
  4. Campbell, BI 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. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2016; 13:13
  5. Gahreman, D et al. The Effect of Green Tea Ingestion and Interval Sprinting Exercise on the Body Composition of Overweight Males: A Randomized Trial. Nutrients. 2016; 8(8): 510
  6. Hursel R et al. The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes. 2009;33:956–61
  7. 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
  8. Pilou, LH et al. Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance. PLoS One. 2013; 8(7): e67786

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