Obesity Weight Loss Drugs Fat Burners

Over-the-counter fat burner pills, liquids and supplements have been dogged by controversy in recent years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the use of ephedrine weight loss pills in 2004, taking many top fat burners off the market after concerns of serious health complications and several fatalities arose.

Manufacturers of fat burners have since developed new formulas for their weight loss products, with varying levels of effectiveness and safety.

Types of Fat Burners: Reviews and Research

As a treatment of obesity, fat burners come in several different forms, including weight loss pills, dietary supplements and topical creams, with each burning calories (or claiming to do so) in different ways:

  • ECA stacks are fat burners that combined the now-banned ephedrine with caffeine and aspirin. Complications from ephedrine use include heart attacks, strokes, seizures and death.
  • Fat burner creams and lotions are applied to the skin, where they supposedly “dissolve” fat under the skin. No research suggests this type of fat burner is effective.
  • Green tea fat burners are relatively new fat burner pills and supplements. Green tea contains both caffeine and antioxidants. Green tea fat burners are one of several top fat burners that manufacturers hope will replace ECA stacks.
  • Liquid fat burners deliver active ingredients more quickly than weight loss pills.
  • Thermogenic fat burners claim to increase metabolism by increasing body temperature, thereby boosting how quickly the body burns calories.

Contents of Fat Burner Pills

Since fat burner weight loss pills are sold as “dietary supplements,” the FDA — which only moves against dietary or herbal supplements if evidence exists that the product is dangerous — doesn’t closely monitor their content.

As a result, many different substances may be found in top fat burners, including:

  • Banaba leaf extract: This substance may affect blood sugar levels, so diabetics should consult with doctors before using it.
  • Bitter orange: Also called “synephrine,” and chemically similar to ephedrine, bitter orange can increase heart rate and blood pressure
  • Caffeine
  • Calcium: Calcium in dairy products is linked to weight loss
  • Chromium: A trace mineral that may reduce sugar cravings and regulate blood sugar, chromium can cause kidney damage in large amounts.
  • Garcinia cambogia/hydroxyl citric acid: Researchers are unsure about whether this substance is effective in causing weight loss.
  • Green tea: This may also be listed as EGCG (compound epigallo catechin gallate). Green tea is generally considered safe in moderate doses, but not conclusive studies have linked it to weight loss.
  • L-theanine: This amino acid may reduce anxiety.
  • Vandyl sulfate: This product may regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetics should take the same precautions as for banaba leaf.

Ingredients in fat burner pills vary widely in purity and dosage. Anyone considering using these weight loss pills should consider this, and discuss any new treatment of obesity with a doctor.


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SlimWik. (n.d). How fat burners work? Retrieved April 30, 2010, from http://www.slimkwik.com/how-fat-burners-work/.

Weight Loss for All. (2003). Taking fat burners to lose weight. Retrieved April 30, 2010, from http://www.weightlossforall.com/diet-pill-fat-burners-x.htm.