With the holidays behind us and summertime full speed ahead, many of us find ourselves in a crunch to achieve that “beach-ready” body. Besides keeping a consistent workout to tone and sculpt your body, it might be beneficial to add a few dietary supplements to your diet that have been proven to further assist in fat loss. Here are a few supplements that actually have research to back them up.
Caffeine is one supplement that has as much, or maybe even more, scientific proof for its efficacy. Caffeine works well as a thermogenic aid. People experience a 5 to 8% increase in metabolic rate as a result of coffee induced stimulation of energy expenditure. A study was done that involved a low-calorie diet for 4 weeks, followed by 3 months of weight maintenance. During the weight maintenance period, the subjects received a green tea-caffeine mixture (150mg caffeine) or a placebo. The caffeine consumers reduced weight, fat mass and waist circumference more than the placebo consumers. High caffeine intake produced greater weight loss through thermogenesis,(heat production in warm-blooded animals) and fat oxidation, which is the breakdown of fats.
Calcium is clearly great for bones and there is evidence that it can help reduce body fat when it is consumed in food, but not supplements. Researchers have discovered that increasing dietary calcium significantly increased weight and fat loss, and increased the percentage of fat loss from the abdominal/stomach section of the body.
Vitamin D intake affects body fat loss too. One of the major functions of Vitamin D is to help maintain normal blood levels of calcium. Recent studies have shown that people with a better Vitamin D status respond more positively to low-calorie diets and lose more body fat. So eating high calcium foods and taking 1000-2000 IU daily of Vitamin D-3 is important for achieving a lean body.
Fish fat, which includes docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an excellent polyunsaturated fat. A study was done where 6 volunteers were fed a control diet for 3 weeks and 10-12 weeks later, they were fed the same diet where 6 grams per day of visible fat was replaced with 6 grams per day of fish oil for another 3 weeks. Although the caloric intake did not change, researchers discovered that when the participant’s body fat was measured, it had decreased with the fish oil usage. The measurement was done with by a highly accurate DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) which is also used to measure bone mineral density. Obviously, along with exercise, fish oil can help reduce body fat mass and stimulate fat burning in healthy adults.
Fiber does indeed play a role in healthy body composition. Studies show that dietary fiber intake prevents obesity. It basically fills you up so you eat less, therefore you will be less likely to be fat. The addition of functional fiber to weight loss diets should be considered as a tool to improve success. Glucomannan is a soluble, fermentable dietary fiber often used as a thickener or emulsifier. Preliminary evidence shows that this fiber at doses or 2-4 grams per day is well tolerated and results in significant weight loss in overweight and obese individuals. This fiber promotes satiety(feelings of fullness) and fecal energy loss. It also improves blood lipids and glucose metabolism, which is basically sugar digestion.
Green tea extract, with its high content of caffeine and antioxidative properties, can definitely raise your daily energy expenditure and fat burning. A study was done where subjects were randomly assigned, on three separate occasions, to three treatments-green tea extract, caffeine and a placebo, which they ingested at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Consuming green tea extract resulted in a 4% increase in a 24-hour energy expenditure, and a significant decrease in 24-hour respiratory quotient (fat burning zone), indicating a preference toward fat burning. That said, green tea has thermogenic properties and can give you that mild “burn” to boost your metabolism. Many people like green tea extract specifically because it is milder than other said fat burners.