How diet pills work and why you should be wary

February 5, 2016


Diet pills, fat burners, metabolism boosters, whatever you want to call them; pills that make you look better are an interesting topic. Before you consider taking one I would invite you to consider if they right for you.


Do they work?


The very first thing to question before you take a supplement like this is do they actually do anything? There are various definitions of effectiveness, ranging from something make a very noticeable difference in your life, to changing a key biomarker in a lab. Supplement companies tend to use the latter to imply the former.


“Scientifically proven to torch fat” could mean that your body is better able to release fats into the blood stream when the supplement is taken, but because of the type of training you’re doing and they type of food you’re eating it makes no measurable difference at the end of the plan.


Assuming it’s a good product from a reputable source these supplements can make a difference, but in the real world that effect is likely to be very minor.  


How do they work?


There is no one size fits all answer for this, but typically these kinds of supplements increase the amount of fat released while you are exercising and/or they increase your body’s propensity for using fat as a fuel source and/or they stimulate your metabolism to help you burn more energy in total.


Who are they good for?


Before you take fat burners you need to be sure of the following


  • The training you are doing is they right kind of training, you are doing it the right amount and most importantly at the right intensity for fat loss.

  • The food you are eating is the right kind of food in the right quantities for losing fat

  • The combination of food and exercise on its own is creating reliable fat loss

  • You are between 4-8 weeks out from you goal

  • You are already reasonably slim and looking to get very lean


I know that cuts out about 99% of the people taking fat burners, but that is only a testament to the power of marketing and our culture’s susceptibility to a quick fix plan.


Final comments


I get my clients to use fat burners on occasion, but only when they really need it. For me the biggest benefit of most conventional fat burners is that they contain stimulants (like caffeine) which help to keep people going when they get really tired towards the end of a plan.


We all know someone who took fat burners and got a great result as a result of it, but think of it this way. If you spent £80 on a tub of pills which helped you lose fat, would you then continue to sit on the sofa all day and eat, or would you put as much effort into fat loss as possible? People who buy fat burners are motivated to change and it’s usually the change in diet and exercise habits which provide the vast majority of the return.

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