Do Fat Burners Actually Work? Here’s What Experts Say

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The summer has arrived and with it thousands of people wanting to be in ideal shape for their vacation. Many of them try whatever it takes to burn as much fat as possible in the shortest period of time. If you are among them, you probably heard about fat burners – supplements designed specifically with losing weight in mind. Yet, the opinions about them vary. Some say they won’t help, others will praise the benefits of these supplements. So, how is it in reality? Do fat burners work? We will answer this question based on the opinions expressed by experts. Thus, keep reading if you desire to know the answer!

Why are there misconceptions whether fat burners work or do not work in the first place?

The main reason, why there are so many misconceptions is that many people take fat burners without working out. While these supplements are still effective in such cases, their efficacy is much lower than when combined with proper exercises. Moreover, if you desire not to train while taking them, you should pay attention to the ingredients and choose the ones that increase metabolism and resting energy expenditure, which many people simply don’t know.

While the opinions might be biased and result from wrong usage of these supplements, they also create doubts about fat burners’ effectiveness. After all, can we be sure that every person who believes that these supplements do not work indeed did not combine them with workouts?

What’s more, many of the opinions and misconceptions have their roots in lack of proper research when fat burners when introduced. At the time, there was simply not enough data about the effect of some of the active ingredients on humans, thus it was not possible to fully confirm their positive effect on weight loss. It resulted in many scientists voicing their doubts – they didn’t confirm nor decline the effectiveness of fat burners, but rather underlined that we cannot be sure about it. Nowadays, we have much more information on this topic, thus we can finally dispel any doubts.

Do fat burners work? Opinions by experts

Let’s finally delve into the main topic of this article: Do fat burners work? We have analyzed several instances where these supplements have been mentioned by scientists and experts in fitness, and here is what they say:

“There is a general trend to show effectiveness (effect size greater than 0.00) for obtaining beneficial changes from use of thermogenic dietary supplements, yet the 95% confidence interval for effect size crossed 0.00 (indicating no benefit). Chi-square comparison to exercise, or combination of diet and exercise, indicates that responses induced from weight-loss supplements were less effective than what is obtained from utilizing exercise, or diet and exercise, without additional weight-loss supplements. There appears to be limited benefit that may be derived from the inclusion of thermogenic dietary supplements to reduce body mass and improve cardiometabolic health for individuals who are overfat.” 

James E. Clark and Sarah Welch

“Generally, it is determined that by increasing your catecholamines through stimulation of the beta adrenergic receptors you actually do burn more fat as a result of thermogenesis that occurs as a downline process from the phosphorylation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate and that whole process. What that means is, indirectly, they [AN: fat burners] do help you burn fat, but you have to be working out, you have to have a stimulus and activity, you can’t just pop fat burners and burn fat. You need to get moving so that the fats actually mobilize.”

Thomas DeLauer

“There are lots of studies on using certain ingredients to increase Resting Metabolic Rate (the rate at which you burn calories while resting). Caffeine’s ability to increase RMR and energy expenditure has been widely researched. However, the increase is small and just taking a caffeine-based supplement is unlikely to show big losses. There’s also some evidence that green tea may promote fat loss, but studies are more inconclusive on this.”

Emily Rollason

Do fat burners actually work? – What conclusions can be made from experts’ opinions?

All experts agree that fat burners do work. However, as we can see, each one of them pointed out that the effect of fat burners is not big itself, and that they have to be combined with physical exercise to become truly effective.

Similarly to how pre-workouts work, fat burners need to be taken prior to your training. Only then will they indeed help you burn fat. It is worth mentioning that since they operate mainly on thermogenesis, which is a result of high caffeine concentration, drinking coffee or some energy drinks might also be an alternative. Yet, it seems that these beverages do not consist enough caffeine to give you measurable results.

So, after all of that – should you use fat burners?

The answer is: it depends. Fat burners won’t literally burn your fat, but will enhance all your other activities that you undertake with losing weight in mind. Thus, they might still be quite helpful – as long as you treat them as an additional, slight boost and not as a magical remedy to fat. After all, in some cases you want to use all the possible options, and these supplements will help you burn fat a bit faster.

The takeaway

Do fat burners work? They do. Yet, unlike the common belief, they do not burn fat on their own. Instead, they accelerate the natural fat-burning processes in your body and boost the effectiveness of physical activity. They can help you with your appetite and metabolism, yet they will be truly useful only when combined with exercises and diet. Otherwise, their effect will be minimal and barely noticeable.

Did you find this article useful? Then you should definitely read our other articles on this topic, such as: How Long Do Fat Burners Stay in Your System?


Clark JE, Welch S. Comparing effectiveness of fat burners and thermogenic supplements to diet and exercise for weight loss and cardiometabolic health: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition and Health. 2021;27(4):445-459. doi:10.1177/0260106020982362

DeLauer. Do Fat Burner Supplements Actually Work? Youtube,

Why are there misconceptions whether fat burners work or do not work in the first place?

The main reason for the misconceptions is that many people take fat burners without working out. While these supplements can still be effective in such cases, their efficacy is much lower than when combined with proper exercises. Lack of awareness about choosing fat burners with ingredients that increase metabolism and resting energy expenditure also contributes to the misconceptions.

What are the roots of the opinions and misconceptions about fat burners’ effectiveness?

The opinions and misconceptions stem from a lack of proper research when fat burners were initially introduced. Insufficient data on the effect of some active ingredients on humans led to doubts regarding their positive impact on weight loss. However, with more information available now, we can dispel these doubts.

Do fat burners work? What do the experts say?

Experts agree that fat burners do work. However, their effect alone is not significant. They emphasize that fat burners need to be combined with physical exercise to be truly effective. The experts highlight the importance of working out and engaging in activities to mobilize fats for the fat burners to assist in the process.

Can fat burners be used without exercise?

While fat burners can still have some effect without exercise, their effectiveness is greatly diminished. For optimal results, fat burners should be used in conjunction with regular physical exercise. Engaging in exercise provides the necessary stimulus and activity for the fat burners to facilitate fat mobilization.



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