A Complete Guide To Fat Burners

Written by Alex Mark, 24 November 2021

A Complete Guide To Fat Burners

Let’s face it — most of us have a bit of stubborn fat that we’re longing to do away with. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to make it all just disappear?

Unfortunately, fat is a stubborn thing and there’s no miracle cure that will help you slim down without putting in some work. Staying active and choosing a healthy diet are tried-and-tested methods of reaching and maintaining your weight goals. But if you’re looking for a little extra something to help, it might be time to try fat burners. Here’s our comprehensiveguide to fat burners.

What are fat burners?

Fat burners are supplements that can aid in weight loss or fat reduction, often through the use of natural fat-burning ingredients [1]. They typically work through a variety of methods, including boosting your metabolism, decreasing fat absorption and increasing energy.

The different types of fat burners

All fat burners are marketed as supplements for weight loss, but that doesn’t mean they’re created equally. For those wondering, “how do fat burners work?” here’s the quick answer: there are several different types of fat burners available, and each one uses its own blend of fat-burning ingredients to promote weight loss and fat reduction [2]. See below the different types of fat burners:

  1. Appetite suppressants

An excellent way to target unwanted fat is to keep an eye on your diet. Easier said than done. That’s why appetite suppressant fat burners can be so useful — they utilise certain ingredients that can help decrease appetite so you’re at less risk of overeating. Most of these fat burners either actively target the hormones that make you hungry or stop certain nutrients from being absorbed.

  1. Fat blockers

Fat-blocking supplements for weight loss are designed to limit the amount of fat that your body is absorbing. And the less fat you absorb, the less you have to lose! Many fat blockers use similar ingredients to appetite suppressants to create feelings of satiety that will help keep you from overeating — the best of both worlds.

  1. Thermogenics

Thermogenic fat burners are one of the most popular types of fat burners available. They work by triggering the metabolic process to increase your metabolism so that your body can turn fat into a source of energy — thus burning through more of it during your training sessions. When you take a thermogenic, you’re not just targeting fat, but you’re getting a nice hit of energy as well, especially if your chosen fat burner contains a stimulant such as green tea or caffeine.

The benefits of fat burners

When they are used the right way, fat burners can offer a range of benefits that extend to your physical and mental health, workout performance and your lifestyle. Here are a few of the main benefits of fat burners:

  • Certain fat burners may help inhibit hunger, one of the most significant barriers to weight loss, so that you can better achieve and maintain your ideal weight [3].
  • Using fat burners properly (in conjunction with healthy dieting and adequate exercise) can strengthen the weight loss process.
  • Fat burners that contain stimulants such as caffeine or green tea can boost your energy levels for a more effective workout while also increasing thermogenesis for weight loss [4].
  • Certain natural fat burners such as protein and fibre are an important part of your diet and may assist with weight loss while also keeping your body healthy.

Fat burner side effects

Every fat burner contains a different blend of ingredients. While most of them are safe for everyday use, it’s important to be aware that certain ingredients — especially stimulants such as green tea and caffeine — may have side effects. Common side effects may include:

  • Anxiety and decreased mental health from excessive stimulant consumption
  • Jitteriness from too many stimulants
  • Dehydration due to overuse of stimulation
  • Stomach upset or bowel disruption stemming from dehydration
  • Insomnia due to overstimulation
  • Increased blood pressure caused by thermogenic ingredients

More serious fat burner side effects may include acute liver failure, hypertension and hepatoxicity [5][6]. Some fat burners may also cause serious side effects in those with underlying thyroid disease or in those who are currently taking prescribed thyroid medications [7].

Always check with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure you’re safe from any negative side effects. If you experience a side effect, discontinue use and talk to your doctor immediately.

Who can take fat burners?

High-quality fat burners are often safe for general consumption and are most effective for health and fitness enthusiasts who already have a strong foundation of daily exercise and healthy diet habits. While most fat burners are not harmful when taken correctly and according to the directions, there are some people who should not use fat burners at all. These include:

  • Pregnant or nursing individuals
  • Those with liver damage
  • Individuals with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease
  • Anyone with treated or untreated thyroid disease
  • Those with diabetes
  • Individuals with allergies to any ingredients (e.g. caffeine)

If you’re not sure whether your chosen fat burner is safe, be sure to speak candidly to your doctor or healthcare provider before taking it. They will help you know if it’s the right choice for you.

What happens when you take fat burners?

In other words, how do fat burners work? If you are using a fat burner properly, then the way it works will depend on which type you’re using. Many common fat burners will work by influencing your metabolism and energy levels. This, in turn, can positively affect your workout performance, allowing you to go harder and longer during training sessions so that you burn more calories, build more muscle and see better results.

Other fat burners work by targeting hunger hormones so you feel satiated and aren’t snacking or eating quite as much. Feelings of satiety can lead to fewer calories being consumed and, in the long term, weight loss. Other fat burners include ingredients that may target fat cells more directly and may help inhibit fat uptake or increase fat oxidation [1].

When to take fat burners

When you take your fat burner may depend on what type of fat burner you are using. Fat burners are often most effective when taken early in the day — this allows you to enjoy their full range of potential benefits, whether that be increased energy, decreased hunger or a metabolic boost. Many fitness enthusiasts believe that the most effective time to take a fat burner is right after waking up or — in the case of fat burners such as the T432 Plus fat burner — with meals.

The one exception to this is for fat burners that contain stimulants. Stimulant-based fat burners should not be taken later in the day, or they may disrupt your sleep schedule and cause negative side effects.

If you’re not sure when to take fat burners, always consult the supplement packaging or your healthcare provider to learn more about the best times.

Are fat burners safe?

High-quality fat burners from trustworthy manufacturers and suppliers are generally safe to use. However, it’s important to always check the ingredients carefully; even if the fat burner is safe for the general public, you may find it dangerous due to certain ingredients.

The main risk with fat burners is purchasing from untrustworthy sources. Low-quality products are much more likely to contain dangerous, unsafe or ineffective ingredients that may not even be listed on the packaging. They’re also more likely to contain unsafe levels of what would otherwise be a safe ingredient. These fat burners can be especially dangerous if you do not take the correct dose or if you use them for longer than is recommended.

To keep yourself safe from dangerous fat burners, follow these tips:

  • Only purchase your fat burners from trusted sources.
  • Always speak to your healthcare provider before beginning any new fat burners or supplements to limit negative fat burner side effects.
  • Never take more than the recommended dose or use your fat burner for an extended period of time.

Do fat burners work?

Here’s the truth: fat burners are not a miracle cure, and there is no conclusive evidence that they are effective in managing weight and fat loss in the long term. However, we do believe that fat burners can be useful if used correctly, but that doesn’t mean they’re a guaranteed way to help you lose weight. If you want to see results, it’s important to treat fat burners as supplements for weight loss, rather than as an easy solution to it.

Changing your diet is the most effective way to decrease fat and weight, and daily exercise is the next most important element. When you use fat burners correctly, they may give you that extra boost you need and help support your other weight loss efforts. So, do fat burners really work? The simple answer is: it depends on you.

Find high-quality fat burners from the brands you love at Sportsfuel

Here at Sportsfuel NZ, we stock an extensive range of high-quality fat burners and other supplements that have been carefully curated for their safety, efficacy and affordability. Shop with us today to find the brands you love and enjoy our fast, free New Zealand-wide shipping.


1. Jeukendrup AE, Randell R. Fat burners: nutrition supplements that increase fat metabolism. Obes Rev. 2011;12(10):841-851. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00908.x

2. El-Zayat S, Sibaii H, El-Shamy K. Physiological process of fat loss. Bull Natl Res Cent. 2019;43(1). doi:10.1186/s42269-019-0238-z

3. Batra P, Das S, Salinardi T et al. Relationship of cravings with weight loss and hunger. Results from a 6month worksite weight loss intervention. Appetite. 2013;69:1-7. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2013.05.002

4. Westerterp-Plantenga M, Lejeune M, Kovacs E. Body Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance in Relation to Habitual Caffeine Intake and Green Tea Supplementation. Obes Res. 2005;13(7):1195-1204. doi:10.1038/oby.2005.142

5. Popovic M, Billick M, Robinson M. Acute Hepatitis Associated with “Thermogenic Fat Burner” Weight Loss Supplementation: A Case Report. Canadian Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2018;13(4):e32-e35. doi:10.22374/cjgim.v13i4.273

6. Radha Krishna Y, Mittal V, Grewal P, Fiel M, Schiano T. Acute Liver Failure Caused by ‘Fat Burners’ and Dietary Supplements: A Case Report and Literature Review. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;25(3):157-160. doi:10.1155/2011/174978

7. Melville N. Thyroid Hormone Common Contaminant in Weight-Loss Supplements. Medscape. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/853215. Published 2015. Accessed October 11, 2021.

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