Best Non-Stimulant Fat Burners That Actually Work
Trimming down excess fat can test your character. Because dieting and exercise take time and discipline, your determination and patience can be pushed to their limits as the weeks and months roll by.
You can get even more frustrated when you don't see any considerable change every time you check yourself on a weighing scale after a week of shredding exercises and strict food intake. Is there anything that can help speed up the fat-burning process and allow you to finally fit into that shirt or dress size you want?
It's a good thing that there are nutritional supplements that you can try to help boost weight loss, increase fat oxidation during exercise, and raise your fat metabolism or energy expenditure. Called fat burners, these products help the body burn fat for fuel rather than absorbing it.
There are different types of fat burner products, but they are generally divided into products with stimulants and without stimulants.
Stimulant-based fat burners contain caffeine or compounds related to it. They increase your body's catecholamines or the chemicals that increase your fat-burning potential besides boosting alertness.
Stimulant-free fat burners also aim for improved metabolism and fat burning. But they don't contain caffeine or similar substances. They also don't increase your adrenaline level compared to stimulant-based products.
Disadvantages of Stimulant-Based Fat Burners
There are disadvantages to taking stimulant-based supplements although they can give you spurts of energy during workouts and in between meals. Here are some of them:
Stimulants can cause unpredictable effects
The higher amount of catecholamines produced by your body through the use of stimulants doesn’t just hasten metabolism but also raises your blood pressure and heart rate.
Depending on your genetics, your body might not be able to break down catecholamines quickly, possibly leading to chest pain, anxiety, mood swings, and palpitations—or worse, hallucinations and panic attacks, even after you have stopped taking supplements.
You may also not be able to sleep well if your body metabolizes caffeine or coffee slowly.
Stimulants can lose efficacy
Your body can develop a tolerance for caffeine and other stimulant ingredients within a week or less.
When products stop being as effective as the first time you used them, you might be tempted to increase your intake. However, it's best to stick to the recommended dosage of stimulant-based fat burners because their side effects will be stronger at higher doses.
Stimulants can raise the risk of heart problems
You might be at greater risk of a stroke or heart attack if your cardiovascular system is constantly exposed to increased heart rate and blood pressure due to regular exposure to stimulant-based fat burners.
Stimulant-free fat burners are usually recommended for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and mental or behavioral disorders. People who take medications and women who are pregnant or nursing are also advised to go for non-stimulant products.
Common Non-Stimulant Fat Burning Ingredients
The following ingredients can be found in most fat burners. The National Institutes of Health reported minimal to zero safety concerns in relation to their intake:
Carnitine is an amino acid naturally found in beef and dairy. It breaks down fat into fatty acids, which are then used as fuel by the mitochondria of your muscle cells. You can take supplements containing carnitine because its fat-burning capacity in supplements is greater than what carnitine in food can offer.
Carnitine also aids in the synthesis of new androgen receptors that are essential to muscle growth. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA is a fatty acid found in the meat of grass-fed cows and sheep as well as almond and portobello mushrooms. But most fat burners contain them in the form of safflower or sunflower oil. It can reduce appetite, inhibit fat production, and promote the use of fat for fuel. Some powdered coffee creamers and butter from the milk of grass-fed cows contain CLA.
Sesame seeds, flax, and oats are rich in the compound called sesamin, which improves the liver enzyme activity that hastens fat metabolism. The process allows more fat cells to be used for energy instead of being stored in your body.
Endogenous ketones are the ketone bodies that your body produces. Exogenous ketones are those that come from synthetic sources or outside your body.
The compounds help you achieve ketosis, during which your body relies on ketones for energy instead of carbohydrates. Ketosis is generally achieved through a ketogenic or low-carbohydrate diet.
Although not on NIH's list, some fat burners also contain the following: the nutrient choline, the root of Southeast Asian tree tongkat ali, and the fungus cordyceps, which is found on certain caterpillars in China's mountainous regions. However, there's still no conclusive evidence directly linking them to weight or fat loss.
You would want to avoid the following ingredients due to their harmful side effects:
Ephedra, which comes from a plant native to China, is banned by the US government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Together with caffeine, ephedra was found in many dietary supplements that came out in the 1990s.
It became prohibited amid reports of palpitations, anxiety and mood changes, vomiting, hypertension, nausea, seizures, heart attack, and even death.
Products containing DMAA, an amphetamine derivative, are considered illegal by the FDA. It is identified by other products as geranium extract or methylhexanamine. The FDA has also already prohibited its use as a nasal decongestant.
DMAA can raise blood pressure, narrow blood vessels, and cause heart problems such as tightening of the chest, shortness of breath, heart attack, seizures, and other psychological and neurological conditions.
Dimethyl Aminoethanol (DMAE)
DMAE is a choline molecule that reduces the buildup of the "age pigment," which is associated with cognitive decline due to aging. It is supposed to help weight losers improve their focus during workouts. However, it reportedly causes headaches, severe muscle tension, and insomnia.
Synephrine comes from bitter orange. Most supplement producers that had once used ephedra began using this compound as a substitute and bitter orange earned the name "ephedra substitute."
The FDA recognizes synephrine as one of the common ingredients in fat burners because it was able to reduce weight and improve metabolism in past studies. But the agency also received various reports on side effects related to the intake of supplements with this ingredient, such as headache, chest pain, elevated heart rate, bone and muscle problems, anxiety, and stroke.
Our Top Picks
1. PhysiqueSeries Fat Burner Stim-Free Dietary Supplement
This supplement from Transparent Labs contains acetyl L-carnitine (ACL or ALCAR), 5-HTP, ForsLean (forskolin), cayenne pepper extract, rhodiola rosea, and fucoxanthin.
ACL improves fatty acid oxidation and can give you extra energy during exercise because it helps transport fats to muscle mitochondria where they are used for energy. Meanwhile, forskolin can stimulate fat loss as backed up by an over two-month clinical study.
The fat burner also reduces appetite, thanks to its 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) component, which comes from the African shrub Griffonia simplicifolia. The rhodiola rosea found in the product helps you survive the rigors of dieting due to its adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens aid our bodies in reacting to or recovering from stress.
On the other hand, cayenne pepper extract and fucoxanthin both increase thermogenesis, which results in weight loss.
The product is free of gluten, genetically modified organisms (GMO), sweeteners, preservatives, and artificial coloring.
The recommended dose is two capsules per day about 30 minutes to an hour before meals.
2. OxyRem Deep Sleep Fat Burner
This fat burner from EHP Labs contains Vitamin B-6, zinc, chromium, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), raspberry ketones, L-Theanine, chamomile extract, gymnema sylvestre extract, banaba leaf extract, cinnamon bark extract, trace mineral foundation blend, and melatonin.
GABA is present in some fermented food but isn't usually part of a common person's diet. GABA is a neurotransmitter that slows or inhibits the brain's functions so that a person who takes it within a supplement can feel relief from stress. GABA, melatonin, and zinc promote deep sleep while reducing symptoms of anxiety.
L-Theanine, raspberry ketones, and chromium promote metabolic activity and blood sugar balance.
This non-stim variant of the OxyRem fat burner is specially designed for women and contains banaba leaf extract and vitamin B6 for mood balance and female hormone regulation.
The recommended intake is two capsules daily half an hour before bedtime or based on your doctor's advice.
3. Lean Mode Stimulant Free Fat Burner
This fat burner from Evlution Nutrition contains garcinia cambogia extract from the tamarind fruit, which has hydroxycitric acid that prevents fat storage and regulates appetite. Meanwhile, chlorogenic acids in the decaffeinated extracts of green coffee beans and polyphenols from green tea extracts help improve metabolism to burn fat. Lean Mode also contains CLA and ACL.
The gluten-free and non-GMO product is best taken 30 minutes to an hour before meals. The suggested dose is three capsules once or twice daily.
4. Lean XT Stimulant-Free Fat Loss Amplifier
This thermogenic product from Jacked Factory comes with ACL, green tea extract, coleus forskohlii root extract, and BioPerine black pepper fruit extract. It contains no artificial food coloring and fillers.
The extract from forskohlii, a plant from the mint family, improves metabolism and energy production. The ingredients reportedly help increase cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)—which is linked to fat burning—levels in our body.
Meanwhile, BioPerine, which is a patented black pepper fruit extract, aims to enhance the absorption and efficacy of the other ingredients in Lean XT.
The recommended dose for this vegan and the keto-friendly fat burner is two capsules one to two times daily, half an hour before meals.
5. Hydroxycut Hardcore Next Gen Non-Stimulant
This stimulant-free variant of the Hydroxycut fat burner from MuscleTech's Performance Series contains vitamin B6, vitamin B12, robusta coffee bean extract, ophiopogon extract, AMLA (Phyllanthus emblica or Indian gooseberry), and black ginger root.
Vitamin B6 promotes protein metabolism and heart health. Meanwhile, vitamin B12 is vital in the creation of DNA and the health of nerve and blood cells.
The chlorogenic acids in robusta coffee bean extracts can suppress appetite. Ophiopogon (mondo grass) contains polysaccharides, which are found to have weight control and glucose-lowering effects.
Meanwhile, AMLA is low in calories. It’s also rich in fiber and vitamin C, which contributes to fat reduction.
Black ginger root is found to improve metabolism and muscular endurance, according to a study.
The stimulant-free fat burner also has schizandra, a fruit found in northern China and the Russian Fareast that is traditionally used as an herbal medicine for liver ailments. The liver turns fatty acids into ketones, which become fuel for your body and your brain.
The recommended dose is three capsules twice daily, 30 minutes to an hour before your two largest meals of the day.
6. Quadralean Non-Stim Metabolism Booster
This fat burner from RSP Nutrition has chromium, CLA, ACL, green tea extract, and Paradoxine. Quadralean has no GMOs.
Paradoxine is a patented extract from the African plant aframomum melegueta. The fruit is called grains of paradise and is considered part of the ginger family. It is known to boost intestinal and digestive health.
The recommended dose is three capsules twice daily, 30 minutes to an hour before meals. Users are advised not to take more than six capsules within 24 hours.
7. Bedtime Burn Non-Stimulant Metabolism Booster
This evening fat burner from Dr. Emil Nutrition contains magnesium, green tea leaf extract, L-Theanine, 5-HTP, melatonin, and ashwagandha.
Also called Indian ginseng or winter cherry, ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen or stress reliever and energy booster. It is also found to lower food cravings, based on an eight-week study in which adults under chronic stress were asked to take ashwagandha root extract and a placebo twice daily.
Meanwhile, magnesium helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. It also aids in the proper functioning of your muscles, heart, and kidneys.
This supplement is vegan and free of hormones, GMO, gluten, and all top eight allergens. The recommended dose is two capsules daily.
8. Lean Mode Stimulant-Free Powder
Unlike the third item on our list, which is in capsule form, this supplement is a powdered product.
Lean Mode powder contains garcinia cambogia, CLA, ACL, and green tea extract. The gluten-free product is available in blue raspberry, pineapple, and fruit punch flavors.
Take Lean Mode with food if you get stomach pain or feel nauseous when you take them on an empty stomach. You may also have to take them as much as an hour before any exercise routine to avoid any discomfort before a workout.
9. Premium Night Time Fat Burner
This product from Nobi Nutrition contains a "rest and reset blend" of passionflower, lemon balm extract, valerian root extract, melatonin, green coffee bean extract, and white kidney bean extract powder.
White kidney bean extract is said to prevent the absorption of carbohydrates into the intestine. Meanwhile, L-theanine, lemon balm extract, passionflower, and valerian root relieve nervous tension. L-tryptophan and melatonin help you fall asleep.
The evening supplement also has Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, which helps your body better absorb calcium and other nutrients. Good levels of cholecalciferol also contribute to improved mood.
The recommended dose for this GMO-free product is once daily.
10.MAV Nutrition Night Time Fat Burner
Just like the previous product on this list, MAV Nutrition’s supplement has D3, carbohydrate-blocking metabolism boosters (white kidney bean extract and green coffee bean extract), and relaxing amino acids and herbs (valerian root, lemon balm, melatonin, L-theanine, and L-tryptophan).
The thermogenic fat burner helps burn calories while you sleep. Meanwhile, the green coffee bean extract works to remove your bedtime food cravings.
You can take the capsule after your last meal of the day for a no-interruption sleep experience.
Additional Information & FAQ:
How Fast Do Fat Burners Work?
Fat burners are meant to be used alongside regular exercise and a well-balanced diet to raise the amount of fat you oxidize and turn to fuel.
It is generally recommended that people losing weight should target one to two pounds a week so that they can sustain their fitness program in the long run. But with fat burners boasting to speed up the process, how soon can you expect to see results?
Health coach Malia Frey says that you would generally notice a difference in your physique in one to two weeks' time if you faithfully stick to your plan. But trainers recommend that you use the product continuously for two to three weeks before evaluating your fat burner's performance.
That's because all these other factors come into play before you see noticeable changes:
Frey says that as a general principle, you’re likely to lose more weight faster, especially in the first few days or weeks of your program if your starting body size is larger. Conversely, weight loss may be slower at about one to two pounds weekly if you have a lower body mass index and small build.
Related to this point is what Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Marcio Griebeler calls your weight set point. According to his theory, the weight you’ve held before you began your diet is the weight that your body will “fight to keep.” It’s also influenced by factors such as genetics, habits, and activities.
The food you include in your meals and snacks, the size of your food servings or portions, and how often you eat are a part of your weight loss strategy.
Some obese people undergo very-low-calorie diets (VLCDs) under their physician’s supervision. Obese people can lose three to five pounds a week or 15% to 25% of their body weight in 12 weeks' time if they strictly follow VLCDs.
Some go for "extreme diets" while others try the more conservative low-carbohydrate diets. Limiting yourself to low-carb food means fewer calories.
Reducing your carb intake brings down your insulin, allowing your kidneys to start shedding excess water. As a result, people on a low-carb diet can weigh five to 10 pounds lighter due to the water weight they shed.
Amount of physical activity
Harvard's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has disputed the set point theory, saying that your weight set point can actually be "re-set" through proper exercise and food.
Exercise does not only improve your metabolism but prevents your metabolic rate from declining after you lose weight. You can lose muscle in the course of your weight loss program, but if your workouts include strength training, then you build new muscle.
You might see less change if you weigh yourself every day instead of once a week. Frey gives a reminder that your muscle mass will increase at some point after weeks of exercise. So when you weigh heavier on the scale, it might mean you may have actually beefed up; not gained extra fat.
“Cycling” of supplements
The efficacy of your fat burners can wear out in a few days as your body builds tolerance for them. You may try using different products on a weekly basis or give yourself a two-week rest after trying one product for two to four weeks.
Can You Take Fat Burners with Your Meal?
Since fat burners are supposed to weaken your appetite, they’re ideally taken before meals. However, some products like Lean Mode acknowledge that people experience pain when they take supplements on an empty stomach. In such cases, you may take them in the middle of your meal.
Only Weight Loss Prescription Drugs Are FDA-Approved
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of approved weight loss medications. However, these drugs are only meant for those at risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other heart-related conditions. They include Orlistat, Lorcaserin, Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia), Naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave), and Liraglutide (Saxenda).
While the FDA regulates dietary supplements, including fat burners, it doesn’t classify them as drugs, so they don’t require review and approval before sale. However, the government agency can recall or remove products from the market if they are found to be unsafe.
Don't stress yourself if you think that you're not losing as much fat as you want or as fast as you want to lose it.
Instead, look at other positive changes that exercise and a healthy diet are bringing to your body: gaining more control over your food cravings, enjoying regular bowel movement, feeling less sluggish and less moody or depressed, and being more alert and focused.