We know that the term “fat burners” can bring to mind “magic beans,” but there’s actually a lot of really interesting evidence, both clinical and anecdotal, supporting their use 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 it’s place when it’s used judiciously and under the supervision of your doctor.
We looked at all the most popular and the most underrated fat burners on the market to decide on the best fat burner for women. We discuss the precise criteria we used to land on these brands below but it comes down to evidence: what does the science actually say, are the doses of particular ingredients in line with what was used in studies, and are the doses transparent and effective?
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 it 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 it’s awesome to have a balance of fat burning ingredients that are well supported. This is what makes best fat burners for women different from 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.
After rigorous research and analysis, these are the 5 best fat burners for women.
Best Women’s Fat Burner Picks
No Artificial Ingredients
This fat burner for women includes multiple ingredients to promote fullness and increase fat burning, such as garcinia cabogia, turmeric, and much more.
Research Backed Doses
Transparent Labs Fat Burner
Transparent Labs Fat Burner
This fat burner contains research suggested ingredient amounts and comes at a reasonable price.
High In EGCG
Phoenix Legion fat burner comes with an extra absorbable form of synephrine and a high dosage of EGCG to promote its fat burning properties.
This fat burner is dosed heavily with glucomannan, caffeine, green tea (though no mention of EGCG), green coffee extract, cayenne, and black pepper extract.
Fat Burning Staples
This supplement contains fat burning staples such as capsaicin and black pepper extract.
Read further below for even more categories and picks!
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. Speak with your physician before undertaking any new weight loss regimen.
What Is a Fat Burner, Anyway?
There are several different ways these products can impact women’s body fat 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 are seldom called “fat burners.”
Calories are far and away the most important part of weight management and while some of the ingredients below help to blunt appetite, others take a different approach to “burning fat”.
Here are some of the most popular ways fat burners work:
Increasing Fat Oxidation: 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, as opposed to more carbs for fuel.(1) If something increases fat oxidation, 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: There are some fat burning ingredients that we’ll get into below that have been seen in some studies to slightly elevate a person’s resting metabolism. That means that by taking the pill, you burn more calories than if you hadn’t taken the pill. Capsaicin, a compound that makes peppers spicy, is perhaps the most common of those fat burning ingredients but there’s hordenine and synephrine are also growing in popularity.
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
1. Scientific evidence
We can’t pretend there’s 100 percent scientific consensus on every ingredient of fat burners for women we consider effective, but it’s still important to be able to recognize what fat burning ingredients have a good amount of studies supporting them, a decent amount, and those that aren’t well supported at all.
There are also ingredients that may indeed have beneficial effects on fat burning for women 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.
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.
3. 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. This factors against them for inclusion on our list of best fat burners for women because if we don’t know the dose, it’s hard to know just how effective the fat burner is.
We also need to emphasize here 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 better value when their ingredients are totally different. Still, $2 per day is a good threshold.
Keep reading after the products below to see the top 10 fat burning ingredients on the market!
No Artificial Ingredients
Our in-depth review of Leanbean fat burner involved poring over numerous studies and interviewing one of their success stories, who confirmed to us what we already knew: you can’t just pop a fat burner and expect to lose weight “when you’re still having like ten Snickers a day and lounging on the couch.” But Leanbean fat burner does appear to make it easier to resist cravings and maintain energy levels during a calorie deficit.
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.
- No artificial ingredients
- One pill per serving
- Great for appetite suppression
- Money back guarantee
- Some ingredients, like raspberry ketones, aren’t well supported
- May increase thirst
- May cause brief stomach discomfort
Learn more in our full Leanbean fat burner review.
This fat burner includes multiple ingredients to promote fullness and increase fat burning, such as garcinia cabogia, turmeric, and much more.
Research Backed Doses
Transparent Labs Fat Burner
Transparent Labs Fat Burners has a big dose of EGCG-dense green tea extract, some ingredients like theanine and tyrosine to help improve focus, some cayenne pepper extract, and a dose of synephrine. This fat burner contains thermogenic ingredients like forskolin and synephrine to increase metabolism. It’s not quite as good at appetite suppression as Leanbean but it’s still a phenomenal, research-backed fat burner. Green tea extract (50% egcg) will help to reduce fat synthesis and accelerate calorie burning processes. It’s also good to have green tea extract among the ingredients of this fat burner because it has positive effect on your overall health by helping your brain, heart and liver.
Transparent Labs fat burner also has a stimulant-free version for the same price (which is just called Transparent Labs Stim-Free Fat Burner), but the ingredients are pretty different: it still has forskolin and cayenne but instead of green tea extract, theanine, synephrine, caffeine and tyrosine there’s rhodiola (known for helping focus), acetyl-l-carnitine (for body composition) and fucoxanthin (a carotenoid that might reduce abdominal fat).
Generally, Transparent Labs has done their homework. This is a company that spends a lot of time citing their studies on fat burning: there’s a hefty dose of the Indian herb Coleus forskohlii, a dose that a 2005 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in Obesity Research linked with “a significant increase for lean body mass” and lower body fat.(21)
Cost is about $1.60-$1.80 per day.
Transparent Labs Fat Burner Pros
- Reasonably priced
- Research-backed doses
- Good blend for fat oxidation
Transparent Labs Fat Burner Cons
- May not be great for people sensitive to caffeine
- Not the best at appetite suppression
- Not vegetarian
This fat burner contains research suggested ingredient amounts and comes at a reasonable price. Use the code BARBEND10 to get 10% off!
High In EGCG
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’s got synephrine, naringin, and hesperidin. Legion’s fat burner does not contain caffeine. It can be a perfect fat burner for women who get their dose of caffeine from other sources (like morning coffee, green tea or pre-workout supplements). Lots of people are looking for fat burners without caffeine and Legion wanted to satisfy their needs. You will not be able to find caffeine in both of Legion’s fat burners.
Synephrine, naringin and hesperidin are all extracts from citrus fruits which appear to increase the metabolism and speed up fat burning when used together, according to a 2011 study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences.(22)
Legion Phoenix Pros
- Extra absorbable form of synephrine
- Very high in EGCG
- Reasonably priced
- Does not contain caffeine
Legion Phoenix Cons
- 5 capsules per serving
- Designed to be used with caffeine
- May increase hunger
Legion's Phoenix comes with an extra absorbable form of synephrine and a high dosage of EGCG to promote its fat burning properties. Use the code BARBEND10 to save 10%!
Best Appetite Suppressant
Originally developed for fighters needing to cut weight — and those guys take cutting weight very seriously — 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, cayenne, and black pepper extract.
This fat burner is actually higher in cayenne pepper and it’s also got 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 Pros
- Particularly effective appetite suppressant
- Good source of chromium picolinate
- Money back guarantee
Instant Knockout Cons
- Very high in caffeine
- No mention of EGCG content
- Low in green coffee extract
Fat Burning Staples
PhenQ prominently features Capsimax, a blend of capsicum, black pepper extract, caffeine, and Vitamin B3 which we’ve established have links with weight loss. The ingredients of this fat burner also list chromium picolinate (not that much) and some l-carnitine fumarate which some suggest may help the body more effectively burn carbs, but evidence is lacking.
Among the ingredients of this fat burner you can find 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.
- Contains both capsaicin and black pepper extract
- Contains extra calcium
- One pill per serving
- A little low in chromium picolinate
- Not a ton of evidence for l-carnitine fumarate
- Could use more supporting evidence
[Read more: 8 all-natural fat burners.]
10 Common Fat Burner Ingredients
Here are some examples of super common ingredients you can expect to find in fat burners for women.
Caffeine is a fat burning ingredient which is contained in coffee, cocoa beans and green tea. You may find extracts of these goods in lots of fat burners for women.
Caffeine is a stimulant. Stimulants appear to help with fat loss, not just because of the extra energy but also because caffeine seems to increase adrenaline, which appears to help break down fats.(1) Caffeine provides you with energy needed to exercise and tells your body to break fats at the same time. This is the perfect combination for fat burning process during exercise.
Plus, caffeine might help to increase caloric burn as well, albeit in the same neighborhood as chili pepper — under 100 calories a day, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (2)
Some people may be sensitive to caffeine, they have to pay extra attention to the list ingredients of fat burners. If you receive a lot of caffeine from other sources, like coffee or green tea, you may want to look for fat burners for women that contain small doses of caffeine or don’t contain any caffeine at all, like Legion’s fat burners.
Another popular stimulant you can find among the ingredients of fat burners for women, this is an alkaloid that’s derived from Central Africa’s yohimbe tree and 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)
Spicy food is meant to increase your metabolism and some studies do suggest that might be the case. Lots of fat burning supplements, like Leanbean, Transparent Labs fat burner and Legion Phoenix, contain extracts of cayenne or other chili peppers but capsaicin is the key ingredient here. 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)
This molecule found in plants is pretty under researched but it has been called a fat burner because of its association with noradrenaline. A 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)
Sometimes this fat burning ingredient called bitter orange extract, 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)
Synephrine works synergistically with caffeine. Along with other ingredients, like naringin and hesperidin (all of these are citrus extracts), it can increase metabolic rate. You can find all of these ingredients combined (except for caffeine) in Legion’s fat burner.
Also called ALCAR, there’s good evidence it can help to improve focus but it’s also often added to fat burners because some research suggests it can improve body composition, although this may only be in elderly folks.(9)(10)
7. 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) Green tea extract contains caffeine and catechins. Both of those will help you burn calories but the focus here is on EGCG, 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.
Green tea extract can have a positive impact on your overall health, not only fat burning. Green tea extract can reduce risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and even 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. Fat burning ingredients like green tea extract can be a valuable addition to your daily nutrition.
8. 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 super well supported just yet, though, and some studies have found this “fat burning” ingredient doesn’t really have any effect.(15)
9. 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 we don’t really have any great human studies and when you correct for body weight, the studies on rodents used amounts much, much larger than what you’d find in any fat burning supplement for women.
10. 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 extract got a lot of play for the purported effects of chlorogenic acid, one of its components which 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.
Remember that 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 the best fat burner for women 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. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do fat burner supplements 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 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.
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.
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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.
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