Which fat burners work and which are a waste of money

There are a range of fat burners on the market today. Some are available to buy over the counter, some are prescription only and some are just plain banned. We look at several of them to see which ones actually work and which could even be dangerous

Such is the desire too look good and lose weight that people will often go with the latest fad in dieting pills. Most of them are just that, fads. Its no wonder the dieting industry is worth billions worldwide.

Legal diet pills which you can buy in health shops etc

Raspberry Ketones

The only thing you will lose with raspberry ketones is money
  • Only works in laboratory tests on rats

  • Has no side effects because it doesn’t work

  • Tests in humans showed no fat loss whatsoever

Raspberry Ketones

Raspberry Ketones are quite popular at the moment. Its all due to a study which was conducted on rats which showed a body fat reduction when they were fed raspberry ketones as a supplement. The dieting industry loves scientific reports as they can use them to back up any dubious claim they make.

Its not effective in humans

When the same test was repeated on humans they found that taking raspberry ketones at the makers recommended dosage resulted in no weight loss whatsoever. Even when taking these pills above the manufacturers recommended dosage the fat loss was nil. These pills don’t even seem to produce the placebo effect which nearly all dieting pill will produce to some effect.

Our advice? Save your money for something that works.

Carb Blockers

Carb Blockers

Has a slight effect but more more than a cup of coffee would have

  • Blocks an enzyme involved in carbohydrate digestion

  • Blocks the enzyme effectively but has little effective on fat loss

  • Only stops about 5% of carbohydrates being digested

Carb Blockers

These are supposed to stop the bodies uptake of energy from carbohydrates by blocking a particular enzyme involved in their absorption into the body. They stop the absorption of complex carbohydrates and so they are passed down the gut into the intestine undigested. Its thought this can act a bit like fibre giving the bowel something to grip onto.

Potentially good but doesn’t translate into real fat loss

Although these carb blockers do have an effect on blocking the action of the enzyme involved in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates their effect is limited. Although the pills can block the enzyme quite effectively its impact can be as little as 5% undigested carbs. So it does have some effect but only the same fat burning effect as a cup of coffee would have.

Our advice? Does work but very minimal effect

Orlistat (Xenical)

Stops fat being absorbed but can also prevent the uptake of fat soluble vitamins

  • Stops about 30% of fat being absorbed in the intestine

  • Equates to only a 5% reduction in body fate over 3 months

  • Can interfere with the uptake of fat soluble vitamins


Orlistat is another one that stops a particular enzyme working similar to carb blockers. Orlistat prevents the uptake of fat in the intestine. In theory it stops about 30% of the fat being absorbed,

Potential results don’t get realised

However in reality it only adds up to very moderate gains. A study found that 60% of people taking it achieved weight loss of 5% of their body weight after 12 weeks. What you also have to remember is that this was also in conjunction with healthy eating (or a diet).

Can stop uptake of essential vitamins

One of the other things you should know is that Orlistat can stop the uptake of fat soluble vitamins. Many of the vitamins we need are in the fats we eat, vitamins A,D,E and K to be specific. If you are thinking of using Orlistat you should consider taking vitamins as supplements.

Our advice: can work as part of a diet but so can eating less, save your money

Diet pills that are controlled or need a prescription for purchase

Sibutramine (Reductil)

Subuslim is a brand name of sibutramine (reductil) which affects the chemistry of the brain to make you feel full

  •  Works by making you feel full so decreasing appetite

  • Carries an increased risk of heart attack or stroke

  • An effective dieting agent but has undesirable side effects


Sibutramine is a controlled substance. It works in a different way than the previous two pills we have discussed in this weight loss pills works by affecting neurotransmitters rather than digestive enzymes. Sibutramine slows down the reabsorption of the neurotransmitters  noradrenaline and serotonin. This gives the feeling of being full even though you are eating less food.

You will eat less while taking sibutramine, its important to stick to this eating plan when the course finishes

While you are taking sibutramine its recommended that you get into the routine of eating less (which you should find easy). This means that when you stop taking this medicine you can stick to the same level of eating and so keep off the weight you have lost.

It has been banned in several countries because of risk of stroke and heart attack

This medicine was reviewed by the European Medicines Agency and was banned in some countries such as the UK. This is because it is believed there is an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. This is thought to outweigh the dangers of carrying too much weight.

Our advice: effective at helping people eat less and therefore lose weight. Buy it if the increased risk of stroke or heart attack does not worry you. Or use it for a short period.


Clenbuterol works by increasing the body temperature

  • Increases body temperature thus burning more calories

  • Preserves muscle during dieting so popular with body builders

  • Causes side effects which subside with continued clenbuterol use


Clenbuterol works by increasing your body temperature slightly so the body burns more calories. It does this by binding to the same receptors that adrenaline uses in the body and so it is classed as a stimulant as well.

Works by increasing body temperature and increasing oxygen flow to the muscles

Clenbuterol is also used as an asthma treatment because it opens the airways and allows more oxygen to get to the muscles. This is thought to produce a secondary weight loss effect as the muscles are able to burn more fuel ie fat. Users also report an increase in strength using clenbuterol and this is probably due to its slight anabolic effect and the extra oxygen arriving at the muscles.


Its very effective when combined with a diet

You will lose about 7-8lbs  in a week and when you stop taking clenbuterol you should keep off about 60-70% of that. Clenbuterol is extremely effective when combined with a diet. If you need to lose weight fast simply go on a diet and take clenbuterol, Results will be guaranteed.

Used by body builders as it retains muscle even when reducing calorific intake

Clenbuterol is often used by body builders as it will preserve muscle due to its anabolic effect whilst dieting. Clenbuterol is known as an effective cutting agent.

Has side effects which subside after a few days

Can cause problems sleeping as it is classed as a stimulant. Other side effects can include headaches tremor in the hands and shaking. Users may also feel anxious, get heart palpitations, nausea. These side effects will subside after the first few days of clenbuterol use.

Our Advice: A useful method of losing weight. A balance of effectiveness and tolerable side effects

DNP or 2,4-Dinitrophenol

DNP works by drastically increasing the metabolism. Has the most serious side effects of any of the diet pills we have looked at[/caption]

  • Most effective dieting pill ever produced

  • Regular use will cause rapid weight loss

  • 62 recorded deaths attributed to its use since 1918


DNP works by affecting the way we biochemically store and use energy. By interfering with this system it increases the energy output of your metabolism by around 20%.

Works by interfering with energy storage/production

It works by stopping the formation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). When the body stores energy it does so as ATP. DNP stops the formation of ATP and so the energy that would normally be stored in the body is lost as heat.

Side effects are the strongest of all the dieting pills

As usual the dieting pills that have the greatest effect also have the most serious side effects and this is what we see with DNP. Side effects can include, increased body temperature, sweating, nausea, tremors, ulcers and sleep problems.

DNP has been responsible for a number of deaths

DNP was banned because of toxicity and danger of death. Since the turn of the twentieth century there have been 62 reported deaths from DNP use. You only you can decide if this is an acceptable risk or not. The causes of death in these cases has been abnormally heavy breathing (tachypnoea), an abnormally rapid heart rate (tachycardia) and excessive sweating (diaphoresis).

The regular use of DNP is known to cause rapid weight loss but the cost is in the side effects which in some cases have proved fatal.

Our advice: The most effective dieting pill known but sometimes severe side effects and even death. If you want to try it you should be aware of this.


We have looked at the most common dieting pills on the market today. Its clear that while some have no effective whatsoever other are very effective indeed.

The pills that produce the most weight loss also produce the severest side effects and in some cases even death as with DNP.

As always in life its a balancing act. A compromise between effectiveness and safety. We hope that our run down of the most common diet pills will have given you an insight into choosing the correct weight loss pill for you.

Just a thought

Sometimes we can look on pills as an easy solution to all of our problems. With weight loss though simply reducing your food intake is still the most efficient way to lose weight and stay healthy. Eating less is even better than exercise for losing weight. It takes 20 minutes high intensity aerobic exercise to burn off the calories from just one can of coke!

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