3 Fat Burning Supplements That Are a Con

With summer coming and people looking for a quick fix, adverts for popular weight loss pills have started taking over our computer and TV screens again. But do they work?

Here’s 3 of the most popular weight loss supplements you’ll be able to find on the internet or in your local Worthing pharmacy or health food store that aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Raspberry Ketones

raspberry_ketonesThese are very popular at the moment. If you haven’t heard of them through a dodgy looking Facebook ad, you may have seen them on Watchdog.

Although they’re a weight loss supplement, they’re most famous for making up fake celebrity endorsements and using microscopic print to con people into a credit card subscription.

Raspberry Ketones are found in raspberries (obviously) as the substance that gives them their aroma, and in a few other fruits as well. To actually extract ketones from raspberries is incredibly expensive though, and to get close to one dose you’d need over 40kg of raspberries! That’s why all raspberry ketones you can buy are synthetically made.

Here’s what they claim:

“Raspberry Ketone supplement is a magnificent compound that is known to regulate adiponectin, a protein that your body uses to control your metabolic rate. It can help your body to break down fat cells more effectively, meaning you could lose weight and body fat quicker. [ Raspberry ketone supplement ] Resulted in Shedding at least over 2 stone in Just 1 Month!”

Here’s the facts:

There’s been a couple of studies which have been bastardised to look like they’ll help you lose weight – Both done on rats.

Except here’s the problem. None of them actually showed weight loss. All they managed to do was slow down weight GAIN. Not only that, it was only by about 10%!

Actually that’s not the only problem. The other one was that if you were to take in the equivalent dose high enough for an adult human to get the same effect (i.e. slow down weight gain by 10%, not lose any weight), you’d need to take 100 times the recommended dose!

No, that’s not an extra couple of zeros there!

In the one study that has actually been done on humans, the Raspberry Ketones weren’t taken on their own, they were taken along side 5 other ingredients, 2 of which are stimulants, and 1 of which is on many sports associations’ banned substance list, so it’s highly unlikely the Raspberry Ketones played any part in the result.

Bottom line:

In humans, Raspberry Ketones have never been shown to improve weight loss on their own, and to get any kind of affect you’d either need to take a dose that is more likely to kill you (hey, decomposition’s a legitimate weight loss technique, right…?), or take it with a bunch of other substances. And based on those substances, you could most likely take the Raspberry Ketones out of the equation altogether and get the same result.


Short for Conjugated Linoleic Acid, CLA is a mixture of fatty acids. It’s often either sold on its own or as part of a ‘formula’ (normally under the buzz words ‘proprietary blend’) as a weight loss aid.

The theory is they work through a group of receptors called PPARs (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors) which is related to fat burning, steroid signalling, inflammation, and glucose/lipid metabolism. Like most theories that turn into sports supplements, it doesn’t quite pan out.

Here’s the facts:

Again the studies with the big pay-offs were done on animals. In one rat study, for example, it actually proved to be very effective! The only downside was that they eventually died due to fatty liver.


Studies on humans on the other hand have been completely unreliable with results varying wildly. So far there’s only been one study on humans that showed a statistically significant weight loss.

However, statistically significant is not the same as significant! Unless you count (on average) 3 pounds in 6 months significant.

Yeah, not so much…

Bottom line:

CLA might (and I stress might! Like I said, results have been incredibly unreliable.) help you burn off that bit of frosting you had six months ago, but outside of that, you’ll lose hundreds more pounds from your wallet trying it than you will from your waist.

Fucus Dry Extract

This is a herbal compound that can supposedly increase metabolism and boost fat burning without any side effects. You may have seen this if you’ve ever turned over a packet of a well advertised over the counter supplement that the name suggests says a hearty, “Goodbye” to your body fat. This is presumably the active ingredient (the only difference between regular and max is the amount of this).

Here’s the facts:

In studies, this has been shown to do… Actually there have been no clinical studies! That’s a good start. Erm…

In products it has been used in though, despite being the main ingredient it has had to be teamed with a bunch of other stuff to get any kind of effect.

And when I say any kind of effect, I mean any!

Unfortunately that effect isn’t fat loss! In fact the the other ingredients in the above mentioned product are a couple of laxatives, and a diuretic!

Bottom line:

Despite being touted as a metabolism booster, it lacks so much faith that it needs to be paired with ingredients that will help weight loss. The only downside is it’s unlikely to be fat. Due to the laxative and diuretic effect of those others, it’ll be water weight. Plus of course… Er… Laxative. Need I say more?


My advice? Steer clear of all of these “Fat burners”. There’s practically nothing on the market right now that will make the blindest bit of difference to your efforts, and of the ones that do, not only is the difference negligible, but the cost, risks, unpleasant side effects far, far outweigh the benefits.

Have you been caught out by any of these? Comment below!

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