Campuses: FH.com Home button

State of Health The Florida Hospital Blog

Back To All Blogs

Fat Burners: Not What They're Cracked Up to Be

POSTED BY: Jessica Palo

If someone famous walked up to you on the street and said “Buy this fat burner. You’ll lose 20 lbs in one week, I did!” Would you buy it? Unfortunately, many people would. Why? Well everyone is looking for that magic, miracle pill, and guess what, there isn’t one!

The people you see featured in those fat burner ads didn’t get in shape by the supplement that’s being featured. Supplement companies look for celebrity endorsers and/or models for these ads, and then they get photo shopped. There is no miracle pill. Let me explain.

To get in incredible shape you need to be disciplined. No legal supplement out there is going to do all the work for you while you sit on the couch and watch TV. You have to get up and get active. One of the most common ingredients in fat burning supplements today is caffeine. No, caffeine doesn’t burn fat, it gives you energy. However, the amount of caffeine usually in these supplements is pretty high, much higher then your favorite coffee beverage.

Some people who take fat burners report increased heart rate and feeling shaky. This is usually due to the high levels of caffeine and the laundry list of additional ingredients in these pills. Another important thing to remember is doubling up on recommended doses doesn’t equal better results. In fact, that is just plain dangerous! Sadly, since many people are actively looking for a miracle, they take these pills without considering the consequences. Sherri Flynt, a nutritionist with Florida Hospital said that “All these supplements have side effects that range from uncomfortable to downright dangerous and deadly.”

Dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and according the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) a firm is responsible for determining that the dietary supplements it manufactures or distributes are safe. What this means is that dietary supplements don’t need approval from the FDA before they’re marketed. Therefore, the risk becomes all yours.

Looking back over the years, fat burners used to actually be affective because they often contained, now illegal ingredients, Ephedra and Ephedrine. These ingredients were popular because there was evidence supporting their effectiveness in burning fat. However, since these substances raised blood pressure, stressed the heart, increased the risk of heart problems and strokes, the FDA banned them in 2004. This ban forced supplement companies to look for alternative ingredients. Unfortunately, nothing really comes close to their effectiveness.

Today’s fat burners are full of a very long list of ingredients and no support to the effectiveness of actual fat loss. If you still think you need some help losing a few extra pounds, try something natural like asparagus. This amazing vegetable acts as a natural diuretic. In other words, it can help you lose some water weight. Remember, there’s no magic pill. To get in shape, you need to eat healthy and get active.

If you’re interested in getting on track with your diet, contact one of Florida Hospital’s Dietitians now.