Keto fat burners and weight loss supplements, in general, are commonly referred to as thermogenics.

Biologically, dietary thermogenesis is how your body generates heat (energy) from food/beverages containing calories; thermogenesis is necessary for thermoregulation (maintaining body temperature within a certain range), as well as supporting metabolic rate and body weight.  

How Do Keto Fat Burners work?

The idea behind most keto fat burners is to boost your body’s metabolism so that you can burn more calories. There are other pathways keto fat burners may work through to support weight loss, but increasing metabolic rate is the most common way.

When you supplement with a thermogenic keto fat burner, your metabolism will increase and you should experience a slight rise in core body temperature.

Naturally, most people notice they sweat a bit easier when they take a keto fat burner before hitting the gym. 

We’ve touched on it quite a bit across BioKeto, but ultimately weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you consume.

As such, even if you take keto fat burner supplements, it won’t magically make you lose weight if you overeat. It’s imperative that you have control over your calorie intake first and foremost before investing in keto fat burners.

About 60% of the average person’s total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) comes from non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which is basically the energy burned by doing simple daily chores (e.g. brushing your teeth, walking around the house, doing laundry, etc.).

Diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), also known as the thermic effect of feeding,  accounts for roughly 5-10% of TDEE; the remaining 30-40% comes from energy expended during physical activity.

If you’re not sure how many calories you burn every day, be sure to check out our keto macro calculator which will give you an accurate starting point.

Alterations in energy expenditure induced by cold exposure and diet are known as adaptive thermogenesis. Adaptive thermogenesis is essentially something you can modify through food and nutritional supplements, which is where keto fat burners come into play.

Top 7 Keto Fat Burners Backed by Science

By definition, stimulants are substances that raise levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body. They increase alertness, attention, and energy and increase blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.

Some people may be sensitive to the ingredients in stimulant keto fat burner supplements, such as caffeine and theacrine. Non-stimulant keto fat burners generally work to increase thermogenesis without significantly stimulating the CNS or heart rate.

Stimulant-free keto fat burners can be stacked with stimulants (such as caffeine or pre-workout products) and can be taken at any time of the day.

The ingredients in many stimulant-free keto fat burner supplements are also usually sold in bulk or standalone form if you want to just consume one specific ingredient.

1) Coleus Forskohlii (Forskolin)

Forskolin is a unique compound found in the roots of Coleus forskohlii.

Forskolin increases the amount of cyclic AMP (adenosine monophosphate) in cells. [1] Forskolin also appears to bolster thyroid hormone function (thereby enhancing metabolic rate) and increase lipolysis (breakdown of fats). [2]

Other putative benefits include relaxing the arteries, lowering blood pressure and enhancing insulin metabolism (which can help spare muscle protein and promote healthy blood sugar balance). [3]

2) Caffeine (stimulant)

Caffeine is the most common stimulant of choice worldwide; it increases thermogenesis, enhances cognitive function, mitigates fatigue, boosts endurance and improves athletic performance. [4]

Ultimately, caffeine can support fat loss on keto by helping you burn more calories and train/exercise harder. However, since it is a stimulant, you should not rely on caffeine for fat loss, nor should you consume it in the hours before bedtime.

Most people will do best taking about 100-200 mg of caffeine prior to exercise, which is roughly the amount in 8 oz of fresh black coffee. On days you don’t exercise, it’s not essential to consume caffeine for fat loss.

3) Cayenne Pepper Extract

Peppers, especially cayenne peppers, contain special compounds called capsaicinoids, which give them their spice.

Cayenne contains a high amount of a specific capsaicinoid known as capsaicin, which has been shown to enhance thermogenesis (calorie burning) and the thermic effect of feeding by increasing production of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. [5]

Research also indicates that capsaicin may curb appetite and stabilize insulin levels, which can promote fat loss.[6] 

It is strongly advised to consume any cayenne pepper extract immediately prior to a meal, as it can cause gastric discomfort when taken on an empty stomach.

Unfortunately, cayenne pepper extract is increasingly hard to find these days as it dangerous to handle (due to the extreme irritation it produces on contact).

4) 7-Keto DHEA

7-Keto DHEA is a metabolite of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a natural steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Research suggests that 7-Keto DHEA may increase levels of the thyroid hormone T3. [7]

Increasing T3 is one way to boost metabolic rate and help promote fat loss on keto. Unlike DHEA, 7-Keto DHEA doesn’t get metabolized into androgens or estrogens, but still has similar benefits, like enhanced energy, libido, and vitality.

It appears that the minimum effective dose of 7-Keto DHEA is 200 mg daily, ideally taken on an empty stomach.

5) Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

L-carnitine is an essential amino acid-like compound that helps your body transport fatty acids into mitochondria, helping your body produce energy.

Supplemental L-carnitine is generally not well-absorbed orally; Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), however, is a highly bioavailable form of L-carnitine that appears to be effective when taken orally.

A recent review from The Journal of Nutrition suggests that supplementing with ALCAR not only improves nutrient partitioning, but also increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis, enhances mitochondrial biogenesis, and reduces body fat. [8]

It also appears that ALCAR enhances fatty acid oxidation, making it a worthy supplement on the keto diet.[9]

Evidence suggests that 1,000 mg of ALCAR is efficacious for promoting fat loss. It’s best to take ALCAR about 30 minutes prior to exercise for maximum benefit.

6) Green Tea Leaf Extract 

Major biologically active constituents of green tea leaf are the polyphenols, especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG blocks the actions of the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase which normally breaks down catecholamines (dopamine, adrenaline, etc.). [10]

Since catecholamines assist the fat-burning process, supplementing with green tea extract (EGCG) may enhance fat loss. [11] EGCG is also a putative anti-carcinogenic compound and great for general health and longevity.[12]

Green tea extract may contain small amounts of caffeine depending on the specific extract you use. However, even caffeine-containing extracts of green tea leaf produce negligible effects on the CNS and heart rate. 

You’ll want to look for a green tea extract that has a high concentration (>40%) of EGCG, as that is the main bioactive compound in green tea leaves that supports fat loss. Most studies show that 200-400 mg of EGCG (taken on an empty stomach) is an effective starting dose range.

7) Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA is a “healthy” trans-fatty acid that has been proposed to increase metabolic rate and fat utilization in humans, thereby enhancing fat loss. It also appears that CLA may help increase lean body mass in conjunction with proper diet and resistance training.

Research thus far suggests that CLA modulates the activity of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that helps your body store and utilize fat for energy. [13] Further evidence has shown that CLA may improve blood lipid values, reduce fasting blood glucose, and enhance immune function.[14

However, the results of studies on CLA pertaining to fat loss have been mixed. Some have shown that CLA can cause a significant fat loss in humans, whilst others have shown no notable benefits.

A recent meta-analysis that pooled data from 18 human studies found that CLA produced a “modest” reduction in body fat compared to placebos.[15] A more recent meta-analysis showed that daily CLA use for at least six months produced a small but significant increase in fat loss (1.3 kg) when compared to placebos.[16

Most of the literature suggests that 1000-2000 mg of CLA per day is effective for supporting fat loss. However, don’t expect CLA to boost fat loss overnight, as it seems to take a solid 6-12 months of daily use to notice much benefit.

Phosphates

Phosphates are inorganic derivatives of phosphoric acid and commonly serve as a part of mineral salts. Research has shown that phosphate may play a role in the peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormones, specifically by preventing a decrease in T3 (the most potent thyroid hormone) output while on a low-calorie diet.[17] (If you want to learn more about why thyroid hormones are integral to fat loss, click here.)

Supplementing with minerals that contain phosphates, such as calcium phosphate, may be beneficial for fat loss on keto and also reducing the symptoms of keto flu/electrolyte imbalances.

What about Exogenous Ketones as a Keto Fat Burner?

While exogenous ketones can undoubtedly support fat loss, they appear to do so by reducing appetite (and thus, total calorie intake).

While some of the keto fat burners in this article work to suppress appetite in addition to other fat-burning mechanisms, exogenous ketones don’t significantly increase thermogenesis or adipose tissue lipolysis.

Nevertheless, exogenous ketones from CORE BHB are a great option for those looking for a supplemental complement to their keto fat burner stack. When you’re trying to lose weight, your calorie intake will generally be low and your appetite/hunger can make it hard to resist eating more.

This is where CORE BHB can help, by reducing hunger pangs and making it easier to keep calorie intake low enough for weight loss.

Supplements Won’t Make You Magically Lose Weight

It goes without saying that the keto fat burners in this article are not meant to replace proper diet and exercise. If you aren’t controlling your energy balance, there’s no reason to believe that a dietary supplement will help you lose fat.

Nevertheless, supplemental keto fat burners can be a great adjunct to your keto diet and exercise regimen for supporting weight/fat loss.

If you need some help getting started on keto for weight loss, be sure to read: How to Use the Keto Diet for Weight Loss – The Complete Guide

References

  1. Seamon, K. B., Padgett, W., & Daly, J. W. (1981). Forskolin: unique diterpene activator of adenylate cyclase in membranes and in intact cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences78(6), 3363-3367.
  2. Gerard, C. M., Lefort, A., Libert, F., Christophe, D., Dumont, J. E., & Vassart, G. (1988). Transcriptional regulation of the thyroperoxydase gene by thyrotropin and forskolin. Molecular and cellular endocrinology60(2-3), 239-242.
  3. Sapio, L., Gallo, M., Illiano, M., Chiosi, E., Naviglio, D., Spina, A., & Naviglio, S. (2017). The natural cAMP elevating compound forskolin in cancer therapy: is it time?. Journal of cellular physiology232(5), 922-927.
  4. Ruxton, C. H. S. (2008). The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. Nutrition Bulletin33(1), 15-25.
  5. Lejeune, M. P., Kovacs, E. M., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (2003). Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. British Journal of Nutrition90(3), 651-659.
  6. Belza, A., Frandsen, E., & Kondrup, J. (2007). Body fat loss achieved by stimulation of thermogenesis by a combination of bioactive food ingredients: a placebo-controlled, double-blind 8-week intervention in obese subjects. International journal of obesity31(1), 121.
  7. Zenk, J. L., Helmer, T. R., Kassen, L. J., & Kuskowski, M. A. (2002). The effect of 7-Keto Naturalean™ on weight loss: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current therapeutic research63(4), 263-272.
  8. Karlic, H., & Lohninger, A. (2004). Supplementation of L-carnitine in athletes: does it make sense?. Nutrition20(7-8), 709-715.
  9. Tanaka, Y., Sasaki, R., Fukui, F., Waki, H., Kawabata, T., Okazaki, M., … & Ando, S. (2004). Acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation restores decreased tissue carnitine levels and impaired lipid metabolism in aged rats. Journal of lipid research45(4), 729-735.
  10. Lu, H., Meng, X., & Yang, C. S. (2003). Enzymology of methylation of tea catechins and inhibition of catechol-O-methyltransferase by (−)-epigallocatechin gallate. Drug metabolism and disposition31(5), 572-579.
  11. Shixian, Q., VanCrey, B., Shi, J., Kakuda, Y., & Jiang, Y. (2006). Green tea extract thermogenesis-induced weight loss by epigallocatechin gallate inhibition of catechol-O-methyltransferase. Journal of medicinal food9(4), 451-458.
  12. Nagle, D. G., Ferreira, D., & Zhou, Y. D. (2006). Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG): chemical and biomedical perspectives. Phytochemistry67(17), 1849-1855.
  13. Blankson, H., Stakkestad, J. A., Fagertun, H., Thom, E., Wadstein, J., & Gudmundsen, O. (2000). Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat mass in overweight and obese humans. The Journal of nutrition130(12), 2943-2948.
  14. Pariza, M. W. (2004). Perspective on the safety and effectiveness of conjugated linoleic acid. The American journal of clinical nutrition79(6), 1132S-1136S.
  15. Whigham, L. D., Watras, A. C., & Schoeller, D. A. (2007). Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition85(5), 1203-1211.
  16. Onakpoya, I. J., Posadzki, P. P., Watson, L. K., Davies, L. A., & Ernst, E. (2012). The efficacy of long-term conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on body composition in overweight and obese individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. European journal of nutrition51(2), 127-134.
  17. Jubiz, W., Canterbury, J. M., Reiss, E., & Tyler, F. H. (1972). Circadian rhythm in serum parathyroid hormone concentration in human subjects: correlation with serum calcium, phosphate, albumin, and growth hormone levels. The Journal of clinical investigation51(8), 2040-2046.
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Elliot received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and has been a freelance writer specializing in nutritional and health sciences for the past 5 years. He is thoroughly passionate about exercise, nutrition, and dietary supplementation, especially how they play a role in human health, longevity, and performance. In his free time you can most likely find him lifting weights at the gym or out hiking through the mountains of Colorado. He will also host the upcoming BioKeto podcast. You can connect with him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/elliot.reimers) and Instagram (@eazy_ell)

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