If you’ve been living the #fitlife for even a little while, you probably know that there’s no way around a regimented diet for fat loss. And so, fat burners are just a useless supplement designed to rob you of your hard-earned cheddar, right? Not necessarily. There’s actually a lot of evidence, both clinical and anecdotal, supporting fat burners as part of a well-planned fat loss regimen. Whether you need to cut for a physique show or you’re looking to shed some weight, fat burners for women may indeed have a place in your weight loss plan.

Not all ingredients of fat burners are created equal, either. Some ingredients, like capsaicin, have reams of studies supporting their role in thermogenesis whereas hordenine has a couple of promising studies, but needs more research. That doesn’t mean it’s useless for fat burning or that we don’t like seeing it in fat burners for women, but there should be a balance of fat burning ingredients that are well supported. Having a thoughtful balance of proven ingredients with ones that are more experimental is ultimately what separates the best fat burners for women from the others.

There’s also the fact that there are a wide variety of ways that these ingredients can affect your waistline: appetite suppression, fat oxidation, increased thermogenesis, and decreased calorie absorption are the most popular.

Below, we break down our top picks, the ingredients that make up fat burners, and our methodology for choosing the brands that we did:

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. 

The Best Fat Burner for Women

If you’re concerned with ingesting artificial ingredients that are either useless or dangerous, then you want to look for a product that contains only what you need (and want). 

Leanbean

Leanbean fat burner

Leanbean contains 12 fat burning ingredients to help you achieve your goals. A big part of the appeal is glucomannan, a thickener and gelling agent made from the root of the Japanese konjac plant that studies suggest can produce significant appetite suppression. (19) The ingredients list of this fat burner includes other fat burner stalwarts like cayenne pepper and green tea extract along with black pepper extract, which may also help to increase metabolism according to a 2016 paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. (20)

Leanbean fat burner seems a little low in green coffee extract and raspberry ketones, but that doesn’t mean this is ineffective all around — we were pretty impressed. It contains a small amount of natural caffeine. The cost of the best fat burner without artificial ingredients comes to about $2 per day.

Leanbean
Leanbean
Leanbean

This fat burner includes multiple ingredients to promote fullness and increase fat burning, such as garcinia cabogia, turmeric, and much more.

Who Should Take Leanbean?

  • People who are concerned about ingesting artificial ingredients. 
  • Folks who don’t want to swallow multiple pills.
  • Hungry individuals who would benefit from a slightly reduced appetite. 

Who Shouldn’t Take Leanbean?

  • People who are avid in taking fully-researched products.
  • Individuals with sensitive stomachs.

The Best Fat Burner for Research-Backed Doses

We don’t blame you for wanting the supplement you’re taking to be backed by research. After all, it’s going in your body. That’s not to say that every effective product is fully supported by research, but to some folks, the science-backed claims provide extra peace of mind. 

Transparent Labs Fat Burner

Transparent lab fat burner

Transparent Labs has done its homework. Their fat burner contains lots of EGCG, which increases calorie burn, theanine and tyrosine for improved focus, forskolin and synephrine to increase your metabolism, and Coleus forskohlii in a dose that was linked to a “significant increase for lean body mass.” (21). It’s not as effective as some of the other fat burners on this list for appetite suppression, but it’s still a phenomenal, research-backed fat burner. Transparent Labsalso has a stimulant-free version of their fat burner for the same price (Transparent Labs Stim-Free Fat Burner). It costs about $1.60-$1.80 per day.

10% Off
Transparent Labs Fat Burner
Transparent Labs Fat Burner
Transparent Labs Fat Burner

This fat burner contains research suggested ingredient amounts and comes at a reasonable price. Use the code BARBEND10 to get 10% off!

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Fat burner

  • People who are focused on buying products supported heavily by research.
  • Folks who want to save a little money.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Fat burner

  • Those who are caffeine sensitive, as it contains 240 milligrams of caffeine per serving.
  • People who want a more aggressive appetite suppressant.
  • Non-meat eaters. This product is not vegetarian-friendly. 

The Best Fat Burner High in EGCG

EGCG, or green tea extract, is one of the most common ingredients found in fat burners. It’s heavily researched, and shown to not only decrease your fat mass but to improve the health of your liver, brain, heart, and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. 

Legion Phoenix 

Legion Phoenix fat burner

Another company making serious waves in the industry, Legion has two fat burners but we think Phoenix is the best fat burner for women high in EGCG. (The other, Forge, is more of a pre-workout fat burner.) It’s got the same dose of forskolin as Transparent Labs, it has far more EGCG than any other fat burner on this list, and it has synephrine, naringin, and hesperidin.

Legion’s fat burner is caffeine-free, making it a great choice for women who get their dose of caffeine from other sources (like coffee, green tea, or pre-workout supplements). Synephrine, naringin, and hesperidin are all extracts from citrus fruits that appear to increase the metabolism and speed up fat burning when used together. (22) At $1.04 per day, this is the most affordable fat burner on our list.

Save 20%
Legion Phoenix
Legion Phoenix
Legion Phoenix

Legion's Phoenix comes with an extra absorbable form of synephrine and a high dosage of EGCG to promote its fat burning properties. Use code "BARBEND" for 20% off!

Who Should Take Legion Phoenix

  • Folks who want to prioritize EGCG in their fat-loss regimen. 
  • Caffeine-addicts who don’t need any more from their fat burner.
  • Money-conscious dieters.  

Who Shouldn’t Take Legion Phoenix

  • People who don’t want to take five — five! — pills per serving. 
  • Irritable dieters who may be made hungrier by this fat burner. 

The Best Fat Burner for Suppressing Your Appetite

If you’re dieting then hunger is inevitable — there’s no way around it. Opting for a fat burner that boasts a more aggressive focus on suppressing your appetite is one way to help quell cravings. 

Instant Knockout

Instant Knockout fat burner

This fat burner is a little similar to Leanbean in that it leans heavily on ingredients like glucomannan, green tea extract (though no mention of EGCG), green coffee extract, and black pepper extract. Though, it’s higher in cayenne pepper and contains chromium picolinate, which a meta-analysis in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders suggested might help a little bit with weight loss. (24)

The product explicitly states that it’s a great fat burner for women, but it has a sizable 350 milligrams of caffeine per daily serving, which may put off some customers. Stimulant ingredients like caffeine are popular and effective but some women can be too sensitive to caffeine. The cost is about $2 per day.

Instant Knockout
Instant Knockout
Instant Knockout
This fat burner is dosed heavily with glucomannan, green tea (though no mention of EGCG), green coffee, cayenne, and black pepper.

Who Should Take Instant Knockout

  • Insatiable dieters in need of a toned-down appetite. 
  • Folks who want to take a fat burner with research-backed ingredients.

Who Shouldn’t Take Instant Knockout

  • People who are overly sensitive to caffeine. 
  • Price-conscious buyers. 
  • Someone who wants EGCG in their fat burner. 

The Best Fat Burner With Tried-and-True Ingredients

If you’re dieting then hunger is inevitable — there’s no way around it. Opting for a fat burner that boasts a more aggressive focus on suppressing your appetite is one way to help quell cravings. 

PhenQ

PhenQ fat burner

We like the wide range of proven ingredients in PhenQ. Most notably, Capsimax, which is a blend of capsicum, black pepper extract, caffeine, and Vitamin B3 that has links to weight loss. It also contains this chromium picolinate (not that much), some l-carnitine fumarate, which may help the body more effectively burn carbs, and nopal, a cactus extract that seems to be a surprisingly effective hangover cure. (25)

PhenQ makes a few claims that made us raise eyebrows, like the ingredient α-Lacys Reset® helped a group lose 7.24% body weight and that capsicum makes “the body burn calories up to 10 times more quickly than normal.” (We’re not so convinced on that.) But there’s still good evidence that it works more effectively than most of its competitors. This fat burner is a little pricier than usual at $2.30-$2.50 per day.

PhenQ
PhenQ
PhenQ
This supplement contains fat burning staples such as capsaicin and black pepper extract.

Who Should Take PhenQ

  • People who want a broad spectrum of effective fat-burning ingredients
  • Dieters who want (or need) extra calcium.
  • Folks who want to take just one pill per serving.

Who Shouldn’t Take PhenQ

  • People who are turned off by questionable claims (though we still think it works).
  • Folks who want more chromium picolinate in their fat burner. 
  • Penny-pinchers. 

What Is a Fat Burner, Anyway?

There are several different ways these products can impact women’s body fat levels, and they can be direct or indirect. It’s important to understand this; simply drinking a big glass of water before a meal will probably blunt your appetite. Eating more high-water foods like lettuce and watermelon will keep you fuller for fewer calories, as will high fiber foods. Yet water and watermelon aren’t called “fat burners.”

Calories are far and away the most important part of weight management. While some of the ingredients below help to blunt appetite, others take a different approach to “burning fat”. Here are some of the most common ways in which fat burners work.

Lean Muscular Woman

Increasing Fat Oxidation

Your body converts carbohydrates to energy when it needs fuel. On the flip, fat, or adipose tissue, is stored as energy for your body to use later. One weight loss strategy is to coax your body into using stored fat as its primary energy source.  A 2004 study in Nutrition noted that there are a lot of different exercises and dietary strategies to help the body burn more fat for fuel over carbs. (1) This process is also called fat oxidation, and it’s about as close to a literal “fat burner” as you can get. Popular examples of fat burners for women include green tea extract (more specifically the antioxidant EGCG) and l-carnitine.

Increasing Metabolic Rate

To lose weight, you need to burn calories. Thre are two primary ways to increase your net calorie burn: 1) decrease the number of calories you consume, 2) increase your energy expenditure with conditioning work and strength training. If you’re dieting and increasing your activity level, then taking a fat burner with ingredients that may boost your body’s resting metabolic rate, which will in turn increase your net calorie burn. Capsaicin, a compound that makes peppers spicy, is perhaps the most common of those fat burning ingredients, but hordenine and synephrine are also effective

Decreasing Appetite

There are a variety of ways women can decrease hunger, from prompting hormonal changes to starches that expand in the stomach. Given that the previous two entries seldom add up to more than a hundred extra calories burned, appetite suppression may be the most important part of fat burning. Glucomannan, made from the Japanese konjac tree, is one of the best-supported examples but ingredients like 5-HTP and psyllium husk also have a lot of evidence.

How We Decide the Best Fat Burner for Women

Scientific evidence

We won’t try and pull the wool over your eyes and say that every ingredient in each of the fat burners reviewed is 100% supported by science. Still, we strive to ensure that a fair amount of the prominent ingredients listed are backed by studies. There are also ingredients that may indeed have beneficial effects but their marketing claims are too over the top. For example, there are a lot of products that will tell you to take a fat burning supplement before a meal and you won’t absorb any of the carbs. We cut these fat burners for women out.

Dosage

Raspberry ketones are a good example of fat burning ingredients that could work, but virtually nobody uses the dose that produced effects in studies. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to disqualify any fat burning supplement that has ingredients like that — if a fat burner has 5 perfectly dosed fat burning ingredients and 1 imperfectly dosed ingredient we’re not going to throw it in the trash — but a lot of ineffective doses will hurt a product’s rating.

Proprietary Blends

Way too many fat burners for women contain interesting ingredients, but don’t tell you how much of each fat burning ingredient they contain. If we don’t know the dose, it’s hard to know just how effective the fat burner is. For that reason, fat burners that rely on proprietary blends were considered unfavorable. 

Price

We also need to emphasize that fat burners vary a lot in their ingredients — some lean more on appetite suppressants than increasing fat oxidation, and so on — so it’s pretty tough to decide which of two fat burners for women is a better value when their ingredients are totally different. Still, $2 per day is a good threshold.

10 Common Fat Burner Ingredients

All of the fat burners on our list contain a handful, if not all, of the ingredients below. They’re natural and, in the right doses, can help to boost the body’s ability to burn more calories or feel less hungry. Some of these ingredients are even taken solo.  

Caffeine Fat Burner

Caffeine

Caffeine— which is primarily found in coffee and tea— is a stimulant. Stimulants appear to help with fat loss, as they increase your adrenaline, which appears to help break down fats. (1) Caffeine also provides you with the energy needed to exercise and tells your body to breakdown fats at the same time. 

There may also be added calorie-burning benefits from taking caffeine — albeit, under 100 calories a day, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (2) If you receive a lot of caffeine from other sources, like coffee or green tea, you may want to look for fat burners that contain little to no caffeine. 

Yohimbine

Another popular stimulant is yohimbine, which is an alkaloid that’s derived from Central Africa’s yohimbe tree. While it may help reduce appetite, most research revolves around its apparent ability to reduce fat. A 2006 study in Research in Sports Medicine, for instance, saw that soccer players lost two more body fat percentage points than a placebo group over three weeks. (3)

Capsaicin

An active component in chili peppers, capsaicin has been linked to an increase in metabolism and therefore overall calorie burn. Studies published in Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition estimate that it’s probably no more than 5 to 50 extra calories per day. (4)(5)

Raspberry keytones

Raspberry Ketones

When a study was published in 2010 in Planta Publica that found raspberry ketones reduced body fat among rodents, supplement companies cashed in. (16) Raspberry ketones are listed among the ingredients of some popular fat burners, like Leanbean, but there aren’t any conclusive human studies. Also, when you correct for body weight, the studies on rodents used amounts much larger than what you’d find in any fat burning supplement for women.

Hordenine

This molecule found in plants is under-researched, overall. However, a promising 2009 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition concluded that this fat burning supplement caused “a significant increase in energy expenditure” along with favorable changes in mood and blood pressure. (6)

Synephrine

Synephrine works synergistically with caffeine. Along with other ingredients, like naringin and hesperidin (all of these are citrus extracts), it can increase your metabolic rate. You can find all of these ingredients combined (except for caffeine) in Legion’s fat burner. A placebo-controlled study in the International Journal of Medical Sciences found that 50 milligrams of the stuff increased the participants’ metabolism by 65 calories without increasing hunger. (7) When combined with food, the calorie burn could be twice that amount. (8)

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Also called ALCAR, this amino acid has been linked to improved focus and some research suggests that it can improve body composition, although this may only be in elderly folks. (9)(10)

Green tea extract

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract is one of the most frequently used ingredients in fat burning supplements. Green tea extract can be good for your brain (26), heart (27), and liver (28). It also contains caffeine and catechins, both of which will help you burn calories. The main focus here is on EGCG, however, an antioxidant that appears to affect both fat mass and fat oxidation. (11)

A double-blind study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for example, saw a 17 percent increase in fat oxidation with 366mg of EGCGs. (12)(13) Make sure the label specifies the tea’s EGCG content because some companies just sell capsules of tea leaves, which is not the same.

Green tea extract can have a positive impact on your overall health beyond weight loss. Green tea extract can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and even the risk of cancer. Its compounds can be good for your skin. Finally, green tea extract can delay muscle fatigue to let you exercise more efficiently. 

Garcinia Cambogia

This Indonesian fruit gets a lot of hype for some studies, like one published in 2003 in Current Therapeutic Research, that found it may “significantly reduce” belly fat. (14) This isn’t well-supported just yet, though, and other studies have found this “fat-burning” ingredient doesn’t really have any effect. (15)

Green Coffee Bean Extract

Green coffee bean extract is made of unroasted coffee beans. The main fat burning components of green coffee bean extract are caffeine and chlorogenic acid. This ingredient gets a lot of play as chlorogenic acid may inhibit calorie absorption. (17)

Roasted coffee beans contain less chlorogenic acid. This is why extract of unroasted green coffee beans is used in fat burners. One of the most popular studies found that chlorogenic acid-enriched coffee resulted in three times more weight lost than a placebo group (5.4kg versus 1.7kg over 12 weeks). (18) Look for at least 120 to 300mg per day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do fat burners work?

They do, but not to the point that pills alone will eliminate a pot belly. “Fat burners” can have several effects, the most useful of which is appetite suppression, as it’s excess calories that cause weight gain. Some ingredients, like cayenne, synephrine, and green tea extract, may help you to burn an extra 50 to 200 calories per day.

What are the best natural fat burners?

Caffeine: Seems to increase adrenaline, which breaks down fats, and decrease the release of fatty acids. Might burn an extra 100 calories or so.

Vitamin D: Some studies found it reduces the amount of new fat cells formed and suppress storage of fat.

Forskolin: It may signal cells to produce more ATP, helping you burn more energy reserves.

Yohimbine: Some find it hard to digest, but 5 to 20 milligrams of this stimulant might lead to more fat loss.

Chili peppers: Cayenne might suppress appetite and increase metabolic rate, perhaps from 5 to 50 calories per day.

Does cayenne pepper actually help you burn fat?

Probably. Research suggests it can increase fat oxidation, cause an increase in calories burned, and suppress appetite. If it suppresses appetite and makes you eat less, that’s the most useful effect, as it otherwise likely only burns an extra 5 to 50 extra calories.

Wrapping Up

Remember, fat burners need to be used judiciously and in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise routine. Certain “fat-burning ingredients” can suppress appetite and increase resting metabolism but even taking the best womens fat burner will not make miracles happen. We’ve also listed popular fat burning ingredients to help you make the right choice. Some people can be too sensitive to certain actively used ingredients of fat burners, like caffeine. There is no way for us to predict that. Before you do make any changes to your diet and exercise routine, be sure to speak with your physician and discuss the merits of adding fat burning products like these. 

References

1. Achten J, et al. Optimizing fat oxidation through exercise and diet. Nutrition. 2004 Jul-Aug;20(7-8):716-27.
2. Dulloo AG, et al. Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50.
3. Ostojic SM. Yohimbine: the effects on body composition and exercise performance in soccer players. Res Sports Med. 2006 Oct-Dec;14(4):289-99.
4. Chaiyata P, et al. Effect of chili pepper (Capsicum frutescens) ingestion on plasma glucose response and metabolic rate in Thai women. J Med Assoc Thai. 2003 Sep;86(9):854-60.
5. Galgani JE, et al. Effect of dihydrocapsiate on resting metabolic rate in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;92(5):1089-93.
6. Hoffman JR, et al. Thermogenic effect of an acute ingestion of a weight loss supplement. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Jan 6;6:1.
7. Stohs SJ, et al. Effects of p-synephrine alone and in combination with selected bioflavonoids on resting metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and self-reported mood changes. Int J Med Sci. 2011 Apr 28;8(4):295-301.
8. Stohs SJ, et al. Effects of p-synephrine alone and in combination with selected bioflavonoids on resting metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and self-reported mood changes. Int J Med Sci. 2011 Apr 28;8(4):295-301.
9. Pistone G, et al. Levocarnitine administration in elderly subjects with rapid muscle fatigue: effect on body composition, lipid profile and fatigue. Drugs Aging. 2003;20(10):761-7.
10. Malaguarnera M, et al. Acetyl L-carnitine (ALC) treatment in elderly patients with fatigue. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2008 Mar-Apr;46(2):181-90.
11. Hursel R, et al. The effects of green tea extract on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Sep;33(9):956-61.
12. Thielecke F, et al. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate in overweight/obese male volunteers: a pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;64(7):704-13.
13. Venables MC, et al. Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):778-84.
14. Hayamizu K, et al. Effects of garcinia cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid) on visceral fat accumulation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2003 Sep;64(8):551-67.
15. Heymsfield SB, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1596-600.
16. Park KS. Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Planta Med. 2010 Oct;76(15):1654-8.
17. Onakpoya I, et al. The use of green coffee extract as a weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2011;2011.
18. Thom E. The effect of chlorogenic acid enriched coffee on glucose absorption in healthy volunteers and its effect on body mass when used long-term in overweight and obese people. J Int Med Res. 2007 Nov-Dec;35(6):900-8.
19. Walsh DE, et al. Effect of glucomannan on obese patients: a clinical study. Int J Obes. 1984;8(4):289-93.
20. Nogara L, et al. Piperine’s mitigation of obesity and diabetes can be explained by its up-regulation of the metabolic rate of resting muscle. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Nov 15;113(46):13009-13014.
21. Godard MP, et al. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. 2005 Aug;13(8):1335-43.
22. Stohs SJ, et al. Effects of p-synephrine alone and in combination with selected bioflavonoids on resting metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and self-reported mood changes. Int J Med Sci. 2011 Apr 28;8(4):295-301.
23. Dulloo AG. Ephedrine, xanthines and prostaglandin-inhibitors: actions and interactions in the stimulation of thermogenesis. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1993 Feb;17 Suppl 1:S35-40.
24. Pittler MH, et al. Chromium picolinate for reducing body weight: meta-analysis of randomized trials.
25. Wiese J, et al. Effect of Opuntia ficus indica on symptoms of the alcohol hangover. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Jun 28;164(12):1334-40.
26. Schmidt A, et al. Green tea extract enhances parieto-frontal connectivity during working memory processing. 2014 Oct;231(19):3879-88.
27. Bogdanski P, et al. Green tea extract reduces blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, and oxidative stress and improves parameters associated with insulin resistance in obese, hypertensive patients. 2012 Jun;32(6):421-7.
28. Pezeshki A, et al. The Effect of Green Tea Extract Supplementation on Liver Enzymes in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. 2016 Feb 1;7:28. doi: 10.4103/2008-7802.173051.