When it comes to maximizing fat loss, diet and exercise reign supreme.
The largest determinant of long-term fat loss is the ability to expend more energy than you consume over a prolonged period of time. Put simply, if you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight.
Exercise affects the “energy out” part of this equation by increasing the amount of energy you burn. Conversely, changes in diet affect the “energy in” part of this equation by helping you consume less energy throughout the day.
However, while these two factors are unquestionably the most important when it comes to fat loss, that doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue a little help along the way.
Help in the form of supplements.
With that in mind, we wanted to give you the rundown on the best (as well as legal and scientifically supported) fat loss supplements available on the market at the moment, and the how and why behind them.
Best Fat Loss Supplements
When it comes to fat loss, the supplement industry is rife with options -- however, like most things, some are much better than others.
And here are the good ones:
Casein Protein Powder
First up we have casein powder.
While it is not often advertised as a fat loss supplement, that doesn't mean it won't have a profound effect on your fat loss journey (if you use it correctly, that is).
Much like whey protein powder, casein is a refined protein source derived from dairy, where it is produced as a by-product when people make cheese. But casein is markedly different from whey in the sense that it is a slow digesting protein source (whereas whey is digested rapidly after eating).
It is for this reason that casein is often used as a source of protein before sleep -- because it provides a steady stream of amino acids into the blood overnight, maximizing muscle protein synthesis (and by extension, muscle growth).
However, this has an additional benefit pertaining to fat loss.
Because it takes so long to digest, casein also blunts hunger and reduces the desire for snacking throughout the day . With this in mind, it can be used in between meals as a way to lower sensations of hunger and reduce your daily energy intake during fat loss phases.
We may be a little biased, but we firmly believe the best option on the market is the Amino Z casein powder.
Thermogenic supplements (a.k.a fat burners)
Thermogenics are a family of supplements that typically combine a number of ingredients that act to increase your metabolic rate, increase energy levels throughout the day, and blunt hunger.
Some of the more common evidence-based compounds found in thermogenic supplements include caffeine, Acetyl L Carnitine, L-Tyrosine, Theobromine, Green Tea Extract, synephrine, gamma butyrobetaine, pepper extract(s)...the list goes on.
Now, one thing to note is that some of the effects of thermogenic supplements are a little overstated -- especially those that relate to increasing metabolism and fat burning.
While many of thermogenic supplements contain ingredients that facilitate both of these factors, the effect is often quite small, and unlikely to have any meaningful impact on long-term fat loss.
But that doesn't make them useless.
Firstly, many of the compounds in thermogenics do increase alertness, energy, and exercise performance. As a result, they can increase the amount you move throughout the day, and the amount of exercise you burn in your gym sessions [2, 3, 4, 5].
This can lead to markedly greater energy expenditure on a daily basis.
Secondly, many of these same compounds actually blunt hunger [6, 7]. This can lead to less snacking throughout the day, which can help with the “energy in” side of the fat loss equation, much like the casein discussed above.
With this in mind, there may be merit to taking your thermogenic supplements earlier in the day to get the largest effect on daily energy and hunger, rather than right before your workout.
If you are after a high quality thermogenic supplement that contains nothing but evidence based ingredients, it's hard to look past our Amino Z thermogenic supplement.
Last but not least, we have fiber.
Most people know that fiber is good for their overall health -- but did you know that it can also promote fat loss?
The term “fiber” describes a specific family of carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the human gut. Breaking it down further, fiber can be classified as soluble or insoluble, depending on how it interacts with water.
Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in the presence of water, and tend to act as a bulking agent in your digestive system, increasing the content of your gut. Conversely, soluble fiber does dissolve in water, which is why most insoluble fibers increase the speed at which food is digested.
However, there are certain types of insoluble fibers -- namely psyllium and glucomannan -- that get extremely thick in the presence of water, and end up becoming a thick gel-like substance that fills your digestive system.
As a result, these types of fiber can slow the rate at which your stomach empties, making you feel fuller for longer, and seriously reducing your appetite in the process [8, 9]. Like many of the other appetite suppressing supplements discussed earlier in this article, this can lead to reduced caloric consumption and associated weight loss.
So, if you want to get some of the fat loss benefits of fiber, start your day with something like a psyllium supplement, or even a bowl of rolled oats (which is full of fiber).
Do you need fat loss supplements?
As discussed above, real fat loss is derived from sustaining a moderate energy deficit for a prolonged period of time (i.e., often multiple months). And this is largely driven by maintaining a high quality diet and a solid exercise regime.
But there is a kicker here.
Anyone who has been on a fat loss journey knows that losing weight is hard. The more weight you lose, and the longer you spend eating fewer and fewer calories, the harder it gets. Hunger increases, energy decreases, and it becomes extremely difficult to find motivation to continue.
Which is where supplements can help.
By increasing energy and blunting hunger they can make your weight loss journey less difficult and more enjoyable. In turn, this can help you maintain your fat loss phase for longer, making it more effective.
Take Home Message
Most fat loss supplements are over blown -- but there are a select few that can have a significant impact on your fat loss journey, ultimately making it more successful in the long run.
So if you are looking to start a cutting phase, give a few of the supplements listed in this article a go and see what you think. They could just be the thing that takes your training results to the next level.
- Alfenas, Rita de Cássia Gonçalves, Josefina Bressan, and Aline Cardoso de Paiva. "Effects of protein quality on appetite and energy metabolism in normal weight subjects." Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia 54 (2010): 45-51.
- Grgic, Jozo, et al. "Wake up and smell the coffee: caffeine supplementation and exercise performance—an umbrella review of 21 published meta-analyses." British journal of sports medicine 54.11 (2020): 681-688.
- Eichenberger, Philipp, Paolo C. Colombani, and Samuel Mettler. "Effects of 3-week consumption of green tea extracts on whole-body metabolism during cycling exercise in endurance-trained men." Int J Vitam Nutr Res 79.1 (2009): 24-33.
- Koozehchian, Majid S., et al. "Effects of nine weeks L-Carnitine supplementation on exercise performance, anaerobic power, and exercise-induced oxidative stress in resistance-trained males." Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry 22.4 (2018): 7.
- Sohail, Anas Anas, et al. "The Cognitive-Enhancing Outcomes of Caffeine and L-theanine: A Systematic Review." Cureus 13.12 (2021).
- Schubert, Matthew M., et al. "Caffeine, coffee, and appetite control: a review." International journal of food sciences and nutrition 68.8 (2017): 901-912.
- Carter, Brett E., and Adam Drewnowski. "Beverages containing soluble fiber, caffeine, and green tea catechins suppress hunger and lead to less energy consumption at the next meal." Appetite 59.3 (2012): 755-761.
- Clark, Michelle J., and Joanne L. Slavin. "The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 32.3 (2013): 200-211.
- Rebello, Candida J., Carol E. O’Neil, and Frank L. Greenway. "Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety." Nutrition reviews 74.2 (2016): 131-147.