The purpose of a weight-loss supplement is to help you lose weight and, in some cases, keep it off. One category among products is the thermogenic. These heat-producing formulas are supposed to boost the number of calories burned so you get the benefits of a faster metabolism. We looked through research papers, medical journals and tons of advice from experts and doctors to find out the bottom line on thermogenics. Here we’ve offered up this information so you can make the best decision.
What is a Thermogenic?
A thermogenic is simply a supplement or food that increases the number of calories burned by producing heat. Your internal temperature doesn’t skyrocket, but with the right ingredients, these supplements can increase metabolism.
Ingredients That Really Do Work
If you trust in the manufacturing jargon associated with every thermogenic on the market, you will spend a lot of money that you could have saved. There are ingredients that work and those that don’t. There are also ingredients considered unsafe, in some instances, like synephrine and ephedra. Some of the best options include caffeine, green tea extract and guarana.
Caffeine – You may think that increased energy you feel when you consume caffeine is what increases thermogenesis, but there’s more to it than that. “Lactate and triglyceride production and increased vascular smooth muscle tone may be responsible for the major part of the thermogenic effect of caffeine,” claims a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Green Tea Extract – Whether you drink your green tea or take it in supplement form, there is a definite, clinically proven, increase in thermogenesis. “Green tea extract stimulates brown adipose tissue thermogenesis to an extent which is much greater than can be attributed to its caffeine content,” reports the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders.
Guarana – Guarana is commonly used as a source for caffeine, which means it works like caffeine to increase thermogenesis.
Foods That Work as Thermogenics
Not only are there clinically proven supplements that work as thermogenics, there are also some foods that fall into the same category. Look for whole grains, lean protein, essential fatty acids and spicy foods.
Whole Grains – Eating whole grains may be just what the doctor ordered if you’re trying to increase metabolism with food. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “We found that high whole-grain diets were associated with a lower BMI. In addition, longitudinal studies have reported that persons who have higher intakes of whole grains gain less weight than do persons who have low intakes of whole grains.”
Lean Protein – Eating lean protein can increase metabolism and decrease your chances of gaining weight after you lose. As reported in a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “An energy-restricted, high-protein, low-fat diet provides nutritional and metabolic benefits that are equal to and sometimes greater than those observed with a high-carbohydrate diet.” The International Journal of Obesity claims weight-loss is protected by protein. “A 20% higher protein intake during weight maintenance after weight loss, resulted in a 50% lower body weight regain.”
Essential Fatty Acids – All it takes is adding a little salmon or avocado to your diet to boost metabolism naturally. Based on an expert opinion in “Alternative Medicine, Second Edition: The Definitive Guide”, “Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an omega-6 essential fatty acid, has been shown to be effective at reactivating brown fat and increasing thermogenesis.”
Spicy Foods – If you like spicy foods, you may be more likely to lose weight. Red pepper increases natural thermogenesis, but it also reduces the number of calories you consume later. Based on a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, “ingestion of red pepper decreases appetite and subsequent protein and fat intakes.”
The Importance of Water When Taking Thermogenics
Many thermogenic supplements are stimulants and those work as diuretics. Diuretics remove fluid from the body, which means you have to replace that fluid. Moreover, increased metabolism also requires increased water intake. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Water provides everything the body needs—pure H2O—to restore fluids lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating, and the removal of waste.”
To Cycle or Not to Cycle Your Thermogenic
Thermogenics are known to include stimulants like caffeine. Caffeine is perfect for increasing metabolism, but the body quickly gets used to it, which means you need more to get the same effect. There is a solution, however. First off, don’t take too much caffeine. It can be an effective thermogenic at amounts lower than 100mg. If you feel you need more than that, cycling off may be a great option. James Madison University suggests, “gradually reducing caffeine intake over several weeks, ‘by consuming fewer or smaller caffeinated beverages each week, or by gradually mixing in more decaffeinated beverages into … caffeinated beverages.’”
Does Taking More of a Thermogenic Help Speed Up Weight-Loss?
There’s no clinical evidence proving taking more of a thermogenic increases effectiveness. As a matter of fact, taking too much of the stimulants commonly used in thermogenics can cause negative side effects like elevated blood pressure, jitters and nausea. Remember to watch caffeine intake when using thermogenics.
The Last Word on Thermogenics
Not all thermogenics are safe and effective. You need to look for products that have been clinically tested for efficacy and, at the same time, avoid ones that can cause side effects like synephrine and ephedra. Not only can you use thermogenics in pill form, but you can eat heat-producing foods and go for a walk after dinner. The more heat the body produces, the more energy is spent and the better the your chance of losing weight.