Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Are Fat Burners Bad For You?



Short answer

Yes, fat burners are bad for you. At best they are completely unnecessary and at worst can cause problems ranging from discomfort to death.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

First, it is prudent to explain that fat burners are not deemed "bad for you" because they don't work. A large amount of research and testimonials show that they are effective. However, the cost - real or potential - is too high. Two ingredients that are common to most, if not all, fat burning supplements are caffeine and yohimbine. Both of these have serious potential dangers, especially if overused. Caffeine can trigger anxiety, interrupt sleep patterns, and in extreme cases, cause cardiac arrest. The idea behind caffeine's inclusion is that it increases alertness and helps quicken metabolism. While these traits are effective in weight loss, there is a limit. After some time, the body's metabolism will slow down in an attempt to self-preserve. 

Yohimbe, for its part, has only been shown to be effective in treating male erectile dysfunction. Studies have shown it to be dangerous and possibly have a harmful effect on the liver, heart, and kidneys. 

Just the fact that fat burning supplements rely heavily on stimulants should be a warning sign. The side effects of a quickened heartbeat can vary. Sometimes it can cause anxiety. In the worst cases, it can lead to heart attack. 

One popular fat burner sold by a well-known supplement chain has ingredients that can stop one's breathing. Another was banned in Canada in 2014 due to containing undisclosed ingredients such as phenylpropylmethylamine and beta-Methylphenethylamine. 
Due to the nature of the pills, a common side effect is stomach cramping and/or diarrhea. This is caused by fat not being able to be absorbed by the body and instead being expelled. Anyone with a pre-existing heart, kidney, liver, or digestive problems should not take dietary supplements at all. 

Lastly, it is important to remember that fat burners are not a replacement for diet and exercise. They are meant to give you the energy you need to get started. So long as you get enough rest and have the willpower necessary to eat well and work out, fat burners are not only possibly dangerous - they're completely unnecessary.

Possible short-term side effects

  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • anxiety

Possible long-term side effects

  • heart attack
  • liver toxicity
  • cardiovascular disease
  • kidney failure
  • slowed-down metabolism

Ingredients to be aware of


  • possible boost in energy

Healthier alternatives

  • proper diet and exercise

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Old School Labs Fat Burner

  • Preserves lean muscle
  • Targets stubborn fat
  • Appetite suppressant
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Formulated for diet support
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-05-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-05-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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