Fat Burner Diet: Legends and Truths

Fat Burner Diet: Legends and Truths

Just carry on as before and still lose weight? That’s what the so-called “fat burners” promise, which are supposed to melt fat deposits without dieting and sports programs. Fat burners are all the rage on the diet market. With them and other weight loss products, billions in sales are made worldwide every year. Does it already exist, the slimming pill without side effects? But the truth is: Without a balanced diet and a reasonable exercise program, permanent, healthy weight loss is not possible.

Burn more energy with fat burners

There is only one reason for being overweight  : if the body constantly receives more energy than it consumes, this excess is stored as fat reserves (so-called positive energy balance). There is only one thing that helps to get rid of them: to use more energy than is taken in (negative energy balance).

The idea behind the term “fat burner” (= “fat burner”) is to artificially induce the body to use up more energy, be it through increased body temperature, an accelerated  metabolism  or the rapid elimination of ingested calories. Doctors frown on this. Countless metabolic processes intertwine in the human body. Turning any of these “screws” can set off a whole chain reaction of unwanted results.

The fat burner theory under the magnifying glass

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common fat burner theories: Enzymes, for example, are a big buzzword when it comes to fat burning. Whether papain from papaya or  bromelin  from pineapple, fruit enzymes are said to empty the fat cells. In theory, that sounds pretty good. The only problem is the passage through the stomach: Because enzymes consist of  protein . And the stomach acid breaks them down into their components right at the start of digestion. This means that enzymes from food cannot work in the body.

L-carnitine is a substance that plays a role in the body in providing energy for muscle work. It stimulates the power plants of the cells, the so-called mitochondria, to increase fat burning. The only catch is that the number of mitochondria in the body is decisive for the effect. And the number of small power plants can only be increased with regular endurance training. So again, no miracle pill for  fitness  without exercise!

Many finished fat burning products advertise “natural” ingredients. Guarana or green tea extract are popular. The advertising brochures contain important-sounding foreign words such as “lipolytic” – which means nothing more than “fat-dissolving” – or “thermogenetic” (the generation of heat). If you take a closer look, in most products it is mainly the caffeine-like ingredients that are the only ones that have been proven to have an effect on the metabolism.

In an information sheet from the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), the physician Professor Dr. Hans Hauner to bear in mind that high doses of these active ingredients lead to  tachycardia , tremors and outbreaks of sweat. In this state, the body really burns more energy than usual. But who feels like that anyway? And who is willing to take on the health risks for the heart and circulatory system? If you use ready-made fat burning products, you should always study the list of ingredients carefully. They often  contain allergy-  causing preservatives such as parabens.

Attention thyroid hormones!

Special care should also be taken with thyroid hormones and their precursors. An artificially created  hyperthyroidism  is nothing more than making yourself ill on purpose. Too much thyroid hormone leads to nervousness, palpitations, feeling hot and sweating. Here, too, more energy is  burned than normal . But even in this case, the health risks are disproportionate to the weight loss effect.

Incidentally, higher thyroid activity cannot be achieved by taking  iodine  and other trace elements, as some advertisers would have us believe. The body needs iodine to produce the thyroid hormone. However, the abundance of raw materials does not change the amount of hormone produced. In general, it is not possible to control the production of hormones through a specific diet.

Special  diets  such as the Markert diet, which aims to stimulate thyroid function, have now been scientifically refuted. In the case of Markert, the participants lose weight due to the low calorie intake and a lot of exercise. A change in thyroid activity is not achieved.

Protein bars – often too expensive

Protein bars with vitamins and trace elements are also offered as a diet supplement. They are said  to reduce cravings  for sweets and boost fat burning. Protein fills you up really quickly, and many bars have a reasonable composition. However, almost all products are disproportionately expensive.

The advice to combine the bar along with 2-3 liters of water or fruit juice daily also reveals the “fat burner trick”: It has been proven that cool water really helps burn calories since the body needs energy to warm it up. Whether the water is consumed with an expensive power bar or with a  banana  does not change the energy balance much. Except that the banana, which thanks to its fructose content also counteracts cravings, contains no fat.

Glucagon – an endogenous fat burner?

The hormones insulin  and glucagon play a special role in the formation and breakdown of fat  deposits. Insulin is responsible for moving sugar from the blood into the body’s cells, where it can either be burned or stored as a reserve. Glucagon provides stored energy by dislodging fat from cells and converting stored sugars into burnable glucose.

Glucagon is sold as the body’s own fat burner: taking this “slimming hormone” is supposed to pretend that all free reserves have been used up and thus release fat from the cells. But where should the body go with all that free energy? If it is not burned, it is deposited again. And our muscles burn most of the energy. Movement is required again to get rid of the dissolved fat reserves in the body.

And this also works without swallowing pills: anyone who wants to burn fat with the help of the body’s own glucagon can do so simply by doing light physical activity. It is important to keep the pulse at a slightly elevated level. If you get out of breath, you block your fat burning because the energy production from the fat is then switched off.

MCT fats – fat burners with side effects

Until recently, so-called MCT fats (medium chain triglycerides) were in fashion to prevent dietary fat from getting into the body in the first place. They cannot be absorbed by the body and are excreted undigested. However, the body gets used to these fats after about two weeks, so that they make you just as fat as ordinary fat. In addition, diarrhea,  nausea  and other unpleasant side effects were common.

Bind fat and pour out undigested

In order to outsmart the body in a different way, fat-binding substances such as chitosan were added to the ranks of diet aids. They should bind the dietary fat and excrete it undigested. Chitosan is obtained from krill, a small type of crustacean. Fly larvae are also good suppliers of chitosan.

However, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports on a tightly controlled trial at the University of Exeter in the UK, where scientists demonstrated that chitosan had no effect on subjects’ weight. On the contrary, with these fat blockers there is a greater risk that essential fat-soluble vitamins such as A and E will be excreted with the bound fat.

Doctors also warn that chitosan can reduce the effectiveness of some medications when the active ingredients attach to dietary fat to enter the bloodstream. For example,  birth control pills can be  affected.

Losing weight is and remains a matter of sensible nutrition combined with light exercise. Fatburn products help to reduce the wallet. But they can hardly reduce the waist.

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