Fat burners are a very popular supplement in the current market, but most people are unaware of how diverse they can be. When it comes to most supplements out there, the ingredients make all the difference in the world!

There are basically two major ways fat burners try to help you lose weight. One is through appetite suppression, and the other is through incentivizing the thermogenic process. Some use both, and some use additional methods, but these are the primary two. 

Today we focus on thermogenic fat burners and their effectiveness, but we have to start with figuring out what this process is exactly. 

Understanding the thermogenic process 

Thermogenesis is a natural process that occurs through the dissipation of energy by producing heat. This process occurs in specific specialized tissues in skeletal muscles and adipose tissue. The process functions as a sort of way for our bodies to retain equilibrium as energy intake is balanced out by energy expenditure. 

Diet-induced thermogenesis accounts for around 10% of our energy expenditure and is triggered through the stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors. This is what thermogenic fat burners aim to do. In simpler terms, by raising the temperature of our bodies slightly, the fat burner ingredients raise the activity of our metabolic system and burn stored fat for energy. 

How do fat burners trigger this process? 

It’s basically all in the ingredients. Some foods and compounds simply trigger this process in our bodies, and by including their concentrated versions into their formula, fat burner brands leverage it to help us burn extra fat.

We already mentioned that thermogenesis is a natural process, but it’s only natural that people get worried when we talk about raising the body’s temperature. After all, isn’t that just causing a fever on purpose? 

No, that’s not it. 

The key word is “slightly”! Fat burners will by no means make you run a high fever or any kind of fever to lose weight. 

Top thermogenic-boosting ingredients in fat burners  

Since we mentioned that it's all in the ingredients, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used ingredients that can trigger thermogenesis, so you know what to look for.

Are there different types and which ones work best?

There are ten different types of green tea but keep in mind it’s all the same plant. What does differ is when the tea is picked, how it is processed, and how old the leaves were once they were picked. Here is the complete list of green tea types:

Green Tea

Now, Green Tea might be the MVP of fat-burning stimulants. It has multiple effects on the fat-burning process, and there are few other substances that can be so versatile. The most obvious fat-burning aspect of Green Tea is its anti-oxidant effect. The second one is the caffeine it contains, which boosts metabolism and triggers thermogenesis.

For a long time, scientists thought that Green Tea’s thermogenetic effects were tied strictly to caffeine, but a recent study showed that the effects were higher than what was possible with its caffeine contents. Unfortunately, we have yet to isolate which other substances of Green Tea add to the effect, but its effectiveness is definitely proven.


This is an extract acquired from a few types of chili and black peppers. The substance is basically what makes these peppers spicy, but it has a few more effects than simply making celebrities cry on that one celebrity YouTube show.

It is known to reduce appetite somewhat, but its thermogenic effects are well documented. A 4-week clinical trial was conducted on obese patients, and the results showed a significant boost in weight loss in patients that consumed Capsaicin.


You might be thinking, “Wow, I’m already on the right track!”, and you might be right, provided that your favorite Starbucks coffee doesn’t include sugar, milk, caramel, whipped cream, and half the candy shop.

On a more serious note, coffee’s effects on our metabolic system and appetite have long been debated, and in recent years we have, at the very least, confirmed that it increases thermogenesis. Now, don’t go crazy with this information and overload on coffee. First, if you go overboard with this, you’ll start getting diminishing effects because you’ll develop a tolerance. Also, caffeine overload is a thing.

Rauwolfia Vomitoria

This is a not-so-widely-known ingredient with a bit of a funny name, to be honest. Despite the name, it won’t make you vomit, but it will help you lose some weight. Hailing from Africa, Rauwolfia Vomitoria was used in traditional medicine as a painkiller and possibly to manage mental illness.

Recent studies show that it’s very effective with weight loss, and due to this, it has become a staple ingredient in many fat burners. However, if you want to get this plant and use it in your diet, you might be in for a bit of trouble as it is not widely available in stores.

Coleus Forskohlii

Another plant that has been a big part of traditional medicine, this time hailing from India. If we’re talking about its anecdotal effects, Coleus Forskohlii is said to have many beneficial effects, including combating breathing issues like asthma attacks and such.

Along with activating the thermogenetic process, this substance has also been shown to contribute to the production of enzymes responsible for transforming fatty acids.


This substance is attained by scraping the bark of a specific tree and has mostly been used as an aphrodisiac in the past — that’s how it got famous in the first place. Keep this in mind, though, as you may be surprised by sudden urges out of nowhere.

Studies performed on athletes have shown that this substance is very effective at triggering thermogenesis. It is recommended by trainers and fitness gurus as a substance best used for the cutting phase of your training cycle.

Garcinia Cambogia

Another Asian fruit on the list, which has gotten quite a reputation as a weight management aid. Some users do report that the taste takes some getting used to, so we do recommend capsules if you have a sensitive pallet. 

The plant is said to trigger thermogenesis, but it has also shown some other positive effects for weight loss. One study showed that it’s very effective at controlling appetite, which works great for people doing their all to lose weight as fast as possible — in other words dieting and exercise.


This substance can be found in both animal and plant sources. It is most commonly extracted from citrus plants and can help you lose weight faster. Synephrine has been extensively studied, so there’s no need to be worried about its effectiveness. 

The most interesting aspect of synephrine is that it helps with fat oxidation while we exercise, so it combos well with the proposed best practices for losing weight. It’s a fine addition, and if you see it on the label, don’t hesitate.

Potential side effects of these fat burners 

All the standard stuff should apply here. If you have allergies or intolerances to some substances, simply seek alternatives. There are eight items on this list that work as thermogenic triggers, so if a few of them don’t work for you, chances are that you won’t be allergic to the rest of them. 

Of course, you might not know if you are allergic to something, especially if you’ve never tried it before. So, start out slowly and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary — look for bloating, irritated skin, bowl issues, and so on. 

Some of these keep you up at night, so you should schedule your doses accordingly. 

Best practices for best results 

Fat burners might sound like substances that help you burn fat while you sit down and eat, as you’ve always had, but they’re not. In fact, most brands will emphasize this in their advertising in an attempt to discourage people from approaching them as such. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really stop people, and all of them get bad reviews on account that they don’t work because of this mentality. 

These supplements boost the rate at which you burn fat, but this will be an insignificant amount if you are not in caloric deficit regularly, if you don’t exercise regularly and if you don’t eat enough protein to help you build more muscles which help you burn more fat. It seems like a vicious cycle, and it is, but it goes in your favor once it starts rolling.


As you can see, there are a few things to worry about when it comes to thermogenic fat burners. They don’t artificially cause a raised body temperature, instead merely stimulating a natural process that already occurs in your body. Keep to the recommended dosage, so you don’t overload on certain substances, and you should be fine. 

Naturally, you should always use common sense — if you start feeling any side effects, discontinue the use and see a doctor. Even though you may think you don’t have any allergies, introducing new substances into your diet may prove you wrong. Allergies also develop and change over time, so you can never be 100% sure.

Don’t make yourself go through this kind of stuff — you are not supposed to.          

About the Author Tim Rockwell

Tim Rockwell is a highly skilled and knowledgeable fitness expert. With a background in exercise science and years of experience in the fitness industry, Tim is passionate about sharing his expertise with others through his writing. He currently contributes articles to Eurasc, where he shares practical tips and strategies for leading a healthy, active lifestyle.

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