You’ll see the term ‘fat burner’ a lot online, but you may still be wondering – what exactly is a fat burner?
The truth is it can refer to any of the following things: Prescription weight-loss drugs, natural fat burner supplements, fat burning foods, or even fat burning exercises.
However the most common use is for drugs and supplements – pills designed to help you lose weight.
To help on their weight loss journey, many women turn to a type of dietary supplement called a ‘fat burner’ to help boost their results.
‘Boost’ is an important distinction: Fat burners aren’t designed to replace exercise and diet, rather to supplement them and improve the results you’d see otherwise.
A fat burner for women is one whose formula is tailored toward female physiology. This usually means less focus on building muscle, and more focus on appetite control – because science has shown that women are more prone to experience cravings than men (1)(2).
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There’s more to it than that, however, and this article will review some of the best fat burners for women.
Different types of fat burning pills for women
When people hear the term ‘fat burner’ they probably think of one of two things. Either prescription weight loss drugs such as Locaserin or Orlistat, or over-the-counter fat burners that include natural ingredients.
This review will focus on non-prescription fat burners, all of which fall into the category of weight loss supplements.
Prescription fat burners are medicines, and they are prescribed to people with a medical need after discussion with a qualified medical professional.
If you don’t have a prescription, you should not seek this type of fat burner. They can be dangerous if used when not needed.
How do fat burners work
This dietary supplement category is quite broad, so there are many answers to this question. Most of the fat burners you see will claim to help you lose weight through one or more of the following angles:
- Appetite control: Helping you to eat less. This is a popular effect amongst fat burners for women.
- Thermogenesis: Raising your body temperature to help you burn more calories.
- Improving metabolism: Supporting your body’s natural processes to store and burn fat.
- Blocking uptake of fat: Reducing the amount of fat that’s stored around your body from the food you eat.
- Providing energy to stimulate workout: To help you burn more calories during physical activity.
- Stress reduction: Feeling stressed is associated with weight gain, so some supplements look to reduce stress levels.
Each effect is associated with different ingredients, so it’s important to do your research. More on that later.
The 8 Best Thermogenic Fat Burners for Women in 2020, and their reviews
PhenQ claims to deliver enhanced weight loss results with its evidence-based formula. It’s made by Wolfson Berg Ltd, and has built a dedicated following over the years.
Take a look at the PhenQ label and you’ll see there’s a lot going on. This fat burner claims to come at weight loss from multiple angles, including burning stored fat, suppressing your appetite to help you eat less, and blocking fat production.
It also claims to elevate your mood, boost your energy levels, and strengthen your immune system. It’s a tall order, but their claim of providing “multiple weight loss supplements in one pill” stands up to scrutiny.
The PhenQ formula is built around cutting-edge science and research. The α-Lacys Reset® formula at the heart of the supplement claims to accelerate metabolism, initiate thermogenesis (that is, raising your internal temperature to help burn fat), and more.
α-Lacys Reset® has been the subject of scientific studies, which found that people taking the formula lost 7.24% more body fat and 3.44% of their total body weight compared to placebo.
How should I take PhenQ?
You need to take two capsules a day: One before breakfast, and another before lunch. Because of the higher dose of caffeine, the manufacturers advise against taking PhenQ after 3pm, as it may disrupt your sleep.
Who should take PhenQ?
This fat burner is suitable for men and women and is compatible with specialist diets. If you’re vegetarian or vegan you can take PhenQ. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or under 18 years old, you should not take PhenQ.
This female fat burner contains all-natural ingredients and is carefully formulated to provide a balanced approach to weight loss.
Leanbean is made by Ultimate Life, a lifestyle supplement company based in the UK. It’s a popular fat burner with good reviews across the board: Testament to the science-based formula.
The key ingredient of Leanbean is konjac fibre – which you’ll also see called glucomannan. Health safety authorities have noted the ability of konjac to expand when exposed to water, providing feelings of fullness that can help you to eat fewer calories.
Leanbean contains the clinically-proven optimal dose: 3g per day.
Alongside glucomannan sits a suite of other fat burner ingredients. You’ll find B vitamins and minerals like chromium, zinc, and others, which claim to boost your metabolism, provide energy, and work toward preventing deficiencies associated with weight gain and retention of excess fat.
You’ll also find thermogenic ingredients like turmeric and piperine which claim to raise your body temperature and promote the burning of extra calories at rest and at work.
How should I take Leanbean?
You take 2 capsules with water three times a day, for a total of six capsules. It’s advised that you take Leanbean with at least 8oz of water, half an hour before meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Spreading the dose throughout the day ensures optimal results.
Who should take Leanbean?
This fat burner is tailored toward female users, with certain ingredients and doses being optimised to female physiology.
If you’re looking for a fat burner for women – this is our pick. Men can take Leanbean as well, and won’t see any adverse effects.
Leanbean is suitable for anyone wanting to boost the results of their weight loss regimen, although we recommend speaking with a doctor if you are pregnant or have existing health conditions.
#3. Powher Cut
Powher Cut is a fat burner supplement designed for women and one of three products in the Powher range. The supplements can be stacked to power you up before a workout, boost your weight loss results, and help you get a good night’s sleep.
In this article, we’ll just be looking at Powher Cut – the fat burner. The supplement prides itself on having “better dosing and more capsules per month” than other products and contains ingredients that claim to banish cravings, boost metabolism, and increase the results you’d normally see from your weight loss plan.
The formula is built around glucomannan – the soluble fibre we saw earlier. This helps to promote feelings of fullness, encouraging you to eat less food and fewer calories. Powher Cut contains 3g of glucomannan: The dose scientifically-proven to be most effective for weight loss.
The other ingredients in the formula – a combination of plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, and natural stimulants – support normal fat metabolism, support normal blood glucose concentrations, and reduce tiredness and fatigue.
Taking Powher Cut as part of a lifestyle rich in exercise, healthy diet, and running a caloric deficit should lead to greater weight loss results than you’d see otherwise.
How should I take Powher Cut?
As we mentioned, Powher Cut claims to have more capsules per month than other supplements. The recommended daily dose is six capsules per day: Two before each meal washed down with a glass of water.
Who should take Powher Cut?
Powher Cut is suitable for anyone looking to bolster their weight loss results, and while the formula is tailored toward female physiology, men won’t see any adverse effects. It’s advised that pregnant women and those breastfeeding avoid taking fat burner supplements.
This supplement is described by its makers as “the best dietary supplement for weight loss and appetite” – a very bold claim. While we’re hesitant to say it’s the best, it has proven a popular fat burner with reviews suggesting that many customers see positive results.
This supplement claims to increase metabolism, clear toxins, and increase muscle tissue – effects that are achieved by ingredients like L-Carnitine, citrus aurantium, cayenne pepper, coleus forskolii root, and more.
It’s interesting to note that the Phen375 formula varies depending on where you live. In the US you’ll find dendrobium nobile extract and coleus forskolii root, but these are absent from the EU formula.
To help you on your weight loss journey, Phen375 comes with diet plans and exercise videos. They say – rightly – that skipping meals can slow down your body’s metabolic rate, meaning fat is burned more slowly than usual. By promoting exercise and a healthy diet, and by providing resources to help you with these things, Phen375 aims to provide a more holistic approach to weight loss.
How should I take Phen375?
The recommended daily dose for Phen375 is one capsule per day, although they say that people working from a heavier starting weight may be able to take two. We recommend erring on the side of caution and taking one or asking them directly if you’re unsure how many you should be taking.
Who should take Phen375?
This fat burner is great for people looking to lose weight through exercise and a healthy diet, and especially those of us looking for guidance with what to eat and how to work out. The formula is suitable for men or women looking to lose weight, and the usual exceptions apply (women who are pregnant or breastfeeding).
Phen24 is made by the same company that produce PhenQ. With this fat burner, you get two weight loss pills: One for the daytime, the other for the night. This fat burner claims to support you every hour of the day, hence the 24 in the name.
Both bottles are designed to bolster your resting metabolism, without requiring hours at the gym. Each has a different formula, and it’s claimed that the synergy between the two will deliver weight loss results.
One of the core focuses of Phen24 is to heighten the thermogenic process, enabling your body to burn more calories at rest. Another focus is to reduce the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body, and to thereby reduce the potential weight gain impact of stress.
By working with your Circadian rhythm (that’s the time you sleep and wake up), this supplement claims to help you greet each day with more energy and feelings of slimness. The daytime capsule claims to heighten thermogenesis and boost metabolism, and the nighttime capsule claims to reduce your cortisol levels and promote feelings of calmness to give you a better sleep.
How should I take Phen24?
Take Phen24 Day before breakfast, and take two capsules of Phen24 about quarter of an hour before your evening meal. It’s recommended that you wash each serving down with a glass or two of water.
Who should take Phen24?
This fat burner is worth a look if you want round-the-clock weight loss support. Although some other supplements in this list can be stacked with others by the same manufacturer (Powher), Phen24 contains a day and a night supplement in the same box.
#6. Skinny Gal by Rockstar
Skinny Gal by Rockstar is another fat burner for women built around thermogenic ingredients. Billed as “one of the most popular diet pills for women,” Skinny Gal has built a good reputation and gained a lot of fans. They also pride themselves on having an all-natural ingredient list: You’ll find raspberry ketones, Garcinia cambogia, CLA, and African mango inside.
When you’re looking at Skinny Gal fat burner on Amazon, you’ll see weights and barbells in the background of the product pics. The branding is a little bit more rugged and macho than some other female weight loss supplements, but you can rest assured. This product isn’t going to leave you with rippling muscles – rather, it’s designed to help you burn more calories at rest and during workouts while maintaining lean muscle mass.
How should I take Skinny Gal?
You just need to take one capsule a day – a bit easier to remember than some of the other products on this list. The bottle says to take it “before a meal,” but doesn’t specify whether this is breakfast, lunch, or tea.
Who should take Skinny Gal?
Rockstar emphasises that their product is “only for use by healthy adults,” echoing advice from other fat burner brands that this type of supplement should be used alongside a healthy lifestyle, rather than as a substitute for one. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you shouldn’t take Skinny Gal.
Take a look at the Relacore label and you’ll see this: “America’s leader in stress mitigation.” Helping to boost weight loss goals through stress reduction isn’t as common as other angles like appetite suppression, enhancing metabolism, or providing energy. Just two supplements in our list (including Relacore) target cortisol as a way to help you lose weight.
This fat burner is made by CRC – The Carter-Reed Company – and the supplement has proven to be popular, despite doing things differently to other fat burners. They claim that their product will boost the effects of any diet, improve your mood, reduce stress, increase energy, and reduce mild anxiety. That’s quite the shopping list.
Stress is linked to weight gain. It’s thought that the presence of excess cortisol can contribute to abnormal fat distribution in your body, meaning that reducing stress could help with weight management.
The focus on stress means that Relacore features quite different ingredients to other fat burners in our list. Gone are the glucomannan, the thermogenics, and the deficiency-busting vitamins. Instead, you’ll find a blend of plant extracts and other more alternative remedies to help you feel calm and stress-free.
A different approach isn’t a bad thing. Relacore has positive reviews, and reading through them suggests it has helped many people to see the weight loss results they were looking for.
How should I take Relacore?
The recommended dose is three tablets per day, taken with your morning meal. As with many other supplements, it’s advised that you drink a glass of water at the same time.
Who should take Relacore?
If you’re looking to lose weight and reduce the levels of stress you’re feeling, Relacore could help you to achieve this. It’s not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing to take Relacore.
Based on a 2018 survey, Alli is “the #1 doctor recommended over-the-counter weight loss aid.” It also claims to be the only FDA-approved over-the-counter weight loss aid, although at the time of writing we were unable to fully verify this statement.
When you buy Alli, you also get access to recipes, a meal planner, a food report, a weight tracker, dining out guides, and more. These resources are designed to give you more holistic weight loss support.
Alli’s key claim as a fat burner is that it will prevent around a quarter of the fat you consume from being absorbed into your body. And less fat absorbed means less fat to burn. It’s thought that these effects can happen as soon as 12 weeks from taking the product.
To work as intended, Alli needs to be taken alongside meals with consistent amounts of fat. Varying levels of fat between meals can lead to side effects and reduce the efficacy of this fat burner. Alli claims that taking their supplement as directed will lead to 10-15% higher results from your weight loss efforts than you’d have otherwise seen.
How should I take Alli?
You should take one capsule of Alli with each meal that contains fat, with an upper limit of three per day. You’re also advised to take a vitamin supplement at the end of each day because Alli can block the absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins. Be aware that this is the only fat burner in our list that requires supplementation alongside to prevent possible deficiencies.
Who should take Alli?
Alli is designed for overweight adults with a BMI above 25, who are already following a low-fat, low-calorie diet. As with all fat burners, it’s designed to boost the results of a healthy lifestyle, not to replace the need for one.
Fat burners for women – a buyer’s guide
There’s more to buying a fat burner than reading a list of the “best” products. Lists like this are subjective, and while they’re built on research and a solid understanding of the industry, they won’t reflect the needs or opinions of every individual looking to lose weight.
This is especially true as a woman looking to buy a fat burner, too. Lots of product in the marketplace are geared primarily toward men and, while you can take most of these without negative effects, their ingredients won’t be tailored specifically to female physiology.
That’s why we’ve put together this section, which will guide you through the process of researching, shortlisting, and eventually buying a fat burner supplement.
How to choose an effective fat burner for women
Firstly, what do we mean by effective? With fat burner the clue is in the name: An effective supplement should help you to burn fat, and lose weight. Hundreds (maybe even thousands) of products in the marketplace claim to do this, but not all of them are telling the truth.
And whilst there are a handful of natural supplements that can contribute to fat burning, it is important to remember that their benefits are limited. No natural supplement will provide benefits unless used alongside an energy-restricted diet and regular exercise.
Women are usually more interested in appetite suppression effects to help control cravings, whereas men gravitate toward supplements that can build muscle mass. While this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, it’s worth bearing in mind.
Have a clear idea of what you’d like your fat burner to do before you start researching: This way you’ll stand in better stead to choose something that suits your needs.
Here are the main principles of assessing a supplement’s worth:
The first thing to look at is the science. So many ingredients make their way into fat burners, from vitamins and minerals, to plant extracts, to patented formulas that promise the world. At the root of it, though, a supplement is only as effective as the ingredients it contains.
Some ingredients have a clinically-proven impact on weight loss. Glucomannan, for example, helps with weight loss in the context of an energy controlled diet.
This is acknowledged by health safety authorities, and published in a peer-reviewed paper. Because of its ability to help control appetite, glucomannan is a frequent ingredient in fat burners for women.
Other ingredients are linked to weight loss – that is, some studies show that they have fat-burning properties – but the effect is not universally accepted.
With ingredients like this, you need to weigh up whether you think the science that suggests they are effective outweighs the science against.
And sadly, there are some ingredients that just don’t work for weight loss. We won’t list them here, because there are far too many to mention.
After the science behind the ingredients, the next most important factor is dosing.
We’ve mentioned glucomannan a few times as being effective for weight loss: However, this finding only applies if the correct amount is taken.
Three grams of glucomannan a day is clinically-proven to be effective, but less than this is not.
The same logic applies with choline, which has been found to support normal fat metabolism but only in amounts of 82.5mg per day. The benefits of caffeine are generally linked to intake of 75mg per day.
So once you’ve got an idea of the ingredients you’d like to see in your fat burner, make sure that any products you’re looking at contain enough of them to be effective.
A lot of supplements contain a gram or less of glucomannan, for example. While this may have some impact on your appetite, it falls short of the clinically proven criteria.
Keep an eye out for ‘proprietary blends,’ as well. This is a way for manufacturers to include ingredients in their supplement without stating specifically how much it contains.
If there’s 3g of a proprietary blend, and it has ten ingredients, there’s no way of knowing how much of each ingredient you’re taking.
And another thing: Many male-oriented fat burners have much higher doses of caffeine and other stimulants than diet pills for women.
Keep this in mind when buying. Women tend to have lower caffeine tolerances than men and may experience discomfort or negative side effects if they take too much.
Reviews and reputation
When you review different fat burner supplements online, you’ll see all sorts of over-the-top language used in the product names, as well as the straplines.
Remember this: Companies can write pretty much whatever they like. Fat burners aren’t reviewed by regulatory bodies, so the claims that can be made are a bit looser than with medicines.
Make sure you take what you read with at least a pinch of salt, and ideally with a big dose of your own research.
A good way to gauge the opinion of people who’ve actually used the fat burner you’re planning to buy is to read the reviews (and again, not just the ones on the product’s official website, which can be cherry-picked).
Try to prioritise reviews from other women, as it’s likely that their needs will align more closely with your own.
Head over to third-party review platforms like Amazon, Trustpilot, Feefo, and even forums like Reddit. Read carefully what people are saying. Look beyond the star ratings, too.
Someone could rate the product five stars but have completely different expectations to you. It’s worth taking the time to read and understand what people are actually saying.
Are there any recurring problems? Are there questions that don’t get answered?
Benefits of fat burners for women
Once you’ve narrowed your selection down to an effective product, there are a number of benefits to over-the-counter fat burners.
- Ingredients like glucomannan have appetite-suppressing benefits, helping you to eat less and feel full more quickly. This equates to consuming fewer calories than you would otherwise.
- Stimulants like caffeine reduce tiredness and fatigue, meaning you’re able to burn more calories through exercise. Just remember to make sure it’s a dose your comfortable with.
- Thermogenics like turmeric and capsaicin raise the body’s internal temperature slightly, meaning you burn more calories at rest.
- Ingredients like choline and l-carnitine are associated with boosted metabolism, meaning they help your body to store and burn fat more efficiently. Amino acids
- Vitamins like B6 and B12 have metabolism-boosting effects, as well as preventing deficiencies that are associated with higher body weight. Women are more susceptible to certain deficiencies than men, so a supplement that can plug these potential shortfalls may be helpful.
Also, many women experience benefits from the routine and feeling of taking a supplement.
Even with supplements that may not be as effective as they claim, the placebo effect is a noted phenomenon when supplementing with fat burner products.
There are limitations of fat burner supplements, too. Whilst certain ingredients are supported by studies, it does not necessarily mean that these ingredients will provide everyone with the same benefits.
It’s often the case that companies will over-egg the benefits of their products as well: Another reason to do your research and build a realistic set of expectations.
Do OTC Fat Burners come with side effects
Certain fat burning ingredients are associated with side effects. Here are a few examples:
- Caffeine: Can cause jitters, anxiety, and restlessness in high doses.
- Glucomannan: Is associated with discomfort in the stomach and other gastrointestinal complaints for some users.
- Vitamin B6: Can cause headaches in high doses for some users.
It’s worth noting that these side effects are uncommon, and even rarer when considering the doses you’ll find in a fat burner.
This is one reason not to combine multiple fat burner products: The daily doses of each may not be enough to trigger side effects, but when combined, you may accidentally exceed the recommended dose.
Here are the answers to some common questions that get asked about fat burners, to give you what you need to make an informed decision.
Yes. Fat burners are supplements, designed to supplement an active and healthy lifestyle. Taking a fat burner without exercise is unlikely to yield any results.
A fat burner for women is specially formulated to align with the physiological demands of a female body. This usually means lower levels of stimulants, vitamins targeted to deficiencies often found in women, and other specific outcomes. Right now we consider Leanbean to be the best fat burner for women.
It’s often advised that you take fat burners until you hit your target weight. Because they’re taken alongside diet and exercise, you should take them for the same period of time you plan to do those things.
The answer to this depends on the fat burner, the medication, and your body. We can’t answer for you: You should speak to a doctor or other qualified health professional.
We can’t speak for individual products, but the broad advice seems to be not to take fat burners if you are pregnant, nursing, or breastfeeding. Generally, if you are postpartum and not breastfeeding, they should be OK to take. However: You should always look at the smallprint on any product you’re thinking of taking and, again, consult a doctor if you have further questions.
If you’re unsure about the effect of the ingredients, the methods of action the fat burner uses, or any other aspect of how fat burner works, we recommend speaking with a doctor.
This is especially important if you have health conditions, take medication, or are considering combining with other supplements (weight loss or otherwise).