According to the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at University of Birmingham, “The term ‘fat burner’ is used to describe nutrition supplements that are claimed to acutely increase fat metabolism or energy expenditure, impair fat absorption, increase weight loss, increase fat oxidation during exercise, or somehow cause long-term adaptations that promote fat metabolism.” (3)
The fat-burning equation is simple: Protein builds muscle. More muscle = more fat burning. And fish is one of the healthiest sources of lean protein—especially wild salmon, says dietitian Lauren Minchen, MPH, RD, CDN. It's also a rich source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which fuel fat burning, block fat storage and aid weight loss, she explains. But that's not all: "Getting enough protein and healthy fat also helps to reduce cravings and has been shown to help keep weight off for longer," adds Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS.
Okay, you get the point: belly fat = bad. But how do you lose it? You have to think beyond crunches and planks and adopt a well-rounded approach. “It’s got to be more losing fat as a whole,” agrees Chris Gagliardi, a certified personal trainer at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Without further ado, here are the best ways to lose belly fat once and for all.
Coconut Oil: Thanks to the medium-chain fatty acids it contains, coconut oil (and similar fats, such as ghee) can actually help your body burn fat for fuel and use up more energy during everyday functions like digestion. Healthy fats like coconut oil have also been found to be very satisfying for hunger and may support thyroid health, which is crucial for maintaining a strong metabolism. Swapping out refined vegetable oils for coconut oil in your cooking is a simple way to get more in your diet.
The researchers explain that people who cook their own meals may simply have other good-for-you habits, like exercising more. However, they also concluded that home cooks ate more fruits and vegetables (along with a wider variety of foods), have healthier methods of prepping their food, and splurge less on foods high in calories and sugar. Consider any of the healthy eating books below to get started.
A good supplement will have riboflavin and possibly dicalcium phosphate and/or vegetable cellulose. Supplements usually contain 2% or less silica and vegetable magnesium stearate. Ensure that the dosage instructions are in keeping with the daily dosage recommendation. Remember, you don’t need a whole ton. Anything your body doesn’t need, you’re just going to lose down the toilet!
CLA: Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is a naturally occurring fatty acid, similar to an omega-6 fatty acid. Even though CLA is a fat, studies show that consuming 1.4-3.0 grams per day can lead to overall body-fat loss.[3,4] It can also help you retain muscle during periods of weight loss, as kinesiologist Ciaran Fairman, Ph.D., explains in the article "Your Expert Guide to CLA." Remember, muscle is your ally for long-term success!
Surprised? Although olive oil contains fat, it actually contains a type of healthy fat that has been found to decrease levels of fat-storing inflammation. According to a review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, a polyphenol only found in unrefined extra virgin olive oil—oleocanthal—reduces inflammation in a similar way that ibuprofen does: it prevents the production of two pro-inflammatory enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2.
Third on our best fat burners list is Hourglass, a 90 capsule fat burner which has an impressive selection of ingredients and attractive looking packaging. You might be put off by some of the more female orientated aspects of the product, including the marketing and the look of the brand, but don’t be. There’s no such thing as a gender specific fat burner. Men and women’s bodies are almost identical so there’s no reason why this product won’t work for any man. The best way to prove this is to look at the ingredients. As you’ll see, they’re common in many male targeted fat burners.
This naturally sweet winter squash boasts one of the highest fiber counts of all the veggies, ringing in at a whopping 9 grams per cup. Promoting feelings of fullness—and thus staving off overeating so you can burn, rather than gain, fat—with satiating fiber isn't the only way you'll target that turkey neck. That's because acorn squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C, a micronutrient that your body uses to decrease levels of the fat-storing hormone cortisol and boost the fat-burning effects of exercise, according to Arizona State University researchers.
Who makes it: Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen is made by MuscleTech, one of the big players in the supplement industry. In business for over 20 years, MuscleTech has worked hard to develop a reputation of quality, innovative products and affordable prices. With a wide range of products and a huge fan base, it’s no secret that MuscleTech is one of the better companies out there.
Another risk regarding the use of dietary supplements intended to promote weight loss is that these products are usually self-prescribed without clearance or input from a health care professional. This can result in harmful interactions between different products and/or medications. Currently in the U.S., there is no controlled system for reporting bad reactions and side effects associated with popular weight loss pills. While some people taking these products, or their doctors, may sometimes report problems to the FDA, they’re not required by law to do so.
One 2009 report published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that CLA has positive effects on energy metabolism, adipogenesis, inflammation, lipid metabolism and apoptosis. (6) A 2007 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition similarly found that supplementation of a CLA mixture in overweight and obese people (three to four grams a day for 24 weeks) decreased body fat mass and increased lean body mass. (7) And regarding CLA’s safety, there seems to be very little risk for adverse effects on overall blood lipids, inflammation levels and insulin response in healthy, overweight or obese adults.
If you thought losing weight would mean giving up all your indulgences, look no further than dark chocolate. Louisiana State University researchers found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate and boost our body's production of gut-healthy polyphenolic compounds, including butyrate, a fatty acid that encourages the body to burn fat as fuel and turns off genes linked to inflammation. (Add fruit to the chocolate to boost fermentation and the release of the compounds.) Make sure you go with chocolate that has a cacao content of 70 percent or above—these have the highest concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols.
Some cheat meals are better than others. And a high-carbohydrate, moderate-protein meal, however "naughty," can help you stay on track. The reason: Carbohydrates have the greatest influence on leptin levels, which help you burn fat and feel satisfied. And protein has the greatest influence on satiety because of its influence on appetite-regulating hormones and high thermic effect—the process of digesting protein requires more energy of your body than any other macronutrient. So, go ahead and grab a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. Contrary to popular belief, pasta is actually a fairly low-glycemic food, meaning it won't drastically spike your blood sugar levels.
If you're not up for crunching numbers every day, you can take a more generalized approach. “For some people, it’s knowing, ‘Typically I eat a whole sandwich,’” says Gagliardi. “Now, I’m going to eat half a sandwich at lunch and save the other half for my dinner and cut my calories in half." To get started, consider these 25 ways to cut 500 calories a day.
Don't let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter stomach. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you'd enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One Obesity study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans-fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you're in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
Green tea extract: Of the most popular weight loss ingredients, this seems to be one of the safest. However, it’s not guaranteed to work well enough to really cause noticeable results. Reported adverse effects may include headache and urinary tract infections, although these are rare. Possible benefits include a mild increase in energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
While few would suggest you start hitting up the tanning beds for better health, getting some natural sunlight can help you get rid of belly fat in a matter of weeks. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that vitamin D-deficient overweight women between 50 and 75 who upped their intake of the so-called sunshine vitamin shed more weight and body fat than those who didn't. To practice safe sun, make sure you're limiting yourself to 15 sunscreen-free minutes per day.