Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

8 Different Fat Burner Types (& How They Work)

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: August 3, 2023
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

With so many fat-burning supplements on the market, knowing the difference between them all can be a huge headache.

Fat burners all look toward achieving the same end result, assisting with fat loss and preventing weight gain. Where the various fat burner types differ is in their approach to doing so.

We’ve spent hours delving into the research and science behind the different types of fat burners, so you know exactly what’s right for your system.

Quick Summary

  • The different types of fat burners are thermogenic fat burners, stimulant-free fat burners, appetite suppressants, carbohydrate blockers, fat blockers, and cortisol blockers.
  • Fat burners have for a long time helped individuals in their weight loss journey.
  • Green tea, and caffeine are some natural fat burners you should consider.

8 Different Fat Burner Types

stack of pills organized by color

The most popular fat burner types include burners, suppressants, and blockers, which help burn fat in different ways.

Fat burners are dietary supplements designed to help you fast track your fat loss journey.

Fat burner supplements are very effective at what they do, making them popular amongst athletes and workout fanatics.

Different types of fat burners help you with fat loss through various methods.

Below are some of the most popular fat burners.

1. Thermogenic Fat Burners

close up image of coffee beans and sliced chili peppers

Thermogenic fat burners work by inducing thermogenesis in the body - a process where food is broken down into heat energy.

Naturally, our bodies are constantly burning calories to use as fuel to maintain our body temperature.

The speed at which these calories get burnt off is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Once ingested, a thermogenic fat burner will increase metabolism, which also results in an increase in BMR and body temperature.

As a result, the body burns calories at a faster rate, helping people boost their caloric expenditure.

Most thermogenic supplements come with a variety of active ingredients depending on the manufacturer. Common ingredients include:

  • Caffeine - an organic psycho-active stimulant naturally found in tea, coffee, and cocoa. It can increase metabolism significantly, making it the most common ingredient found in fat burners. Though caffeine is an effective ingredient, its benefits fade over time as the body develops a tolerance for it.
  • Capsaicin - a compound found in hot peppers responsible for their spicy taste. Capsaicin stimulates the brain to release adrenaline which in turn will increase metabolism. With an increased metabolic rate, your body burns more fat for energy which will eventually lead to less weight on your body.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) - a poly-unsaturated fatty acid found in vegetable oils and dairy products. CLA supplements help with fat loss by inhibiting fat production and enhancing the breaking down of stored fat.
  • Theacrine - a component found in some blends of tea and coffee. Theacrine shares many similarities with caffeine in terms of molecular structure, thermogenic effects, and psycho-stimulation effects.

Thermogenic Fat Burner Side Effects

Due to their stimulation effects, a thermogenic fat burner is often associated with risks such as increased heart palpitations, insomnia, and anxiety.

According to studies:

“When the participants ingested the thermogenic dietary supplements treatment, they experienced greater elevations in RMR values as compared to baseline, whereas no elevations in RMR were observed following the placebo treatment… due to the elevations in systolic blood tension, caution should be taken for those with increased risk for hypertension or pre-hypertension [1].”

- Bill I. Campbell, Performance & Physique Researcher

As a result, people with medical conditions such as hypertension or heart issues should be cautious when using thermogenic burners.

2. Stimulant-Free Fat Burners

bowl of fresh seaweeds, and stack of raspberries

Stimulant-free fat burners work by supplementing the body with an energy boost and increasing metabolism.

They provide a continuous supply of energy to push you through the entire day while torching extra calories.

For individuals that are highly sensitive to stimulants like caffeine, stimulant-free burners are an alternative option for losing weight.

These supplements can be taken at any time of the day without worrying about issues like insomnia associated with caffeine.

Additionally, these types of fat burners provide a way for burning fat without using stimulant ingredients.

They mostly contain natural ingredients to encourage weight loss effects without the risks associated with overstimulating the body.

Common ingredients in stimulant-free formulas include:

  • Fucoxanthin - a dietary supplement extracted from marine sources such as brown seaweed. Once ingested, the compound hinders the growth of fatty tissues and helps reduce abdominal fat. Fucoxanthin also increases glucose metabolism in bodily tissues, thereby lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
  • Raspberry Ketones - a naturally occurring compound in raspberries that gives them their sweet aroma. They are often used as an additive to weight loss formulas due to their flavor and ability to induce fat-burning effects.
  • Forskolin - a compound extracted from the roots of a plant in the mint family. Forskolin helps reduce body fat and stimulates the development of lean muscle and strong bones.

3. Appetite Suppressants

teapot filled with green tea, and stack of glucomannan

To meet its energy and nutrient demands, our brain releases chemicals that make us hungry.

However, due to factors that are out of our control, we sometimes experience hunger even when there is no reason to eat.

If you’re constantly fighting against that chocolate cake sitting on the table, you’ll know it’s a battle you can’t win.

Appetite suppressants work by targeting the hunger hormones known as ghrelin and leptin, which are hormones responsible for making you feel full.

Reducing your appetite and cravings for junk food leads to a lower caloric intake and prevents weight gain.

In addition, appetite suppressants also create a caloric deficit, which forces the body to burn fat reserves to meet energy demands, further helping you burn body fat.

Examples of appetite suppressants made from natural ingredients include:

  • Green Tea Extract - made from tea leaves which contain caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) as its main components. EGCG has been proven to have a positive impact on hunger, caloric intake, and appetite control.
  • Glucomannan - a water-soluble dietary fiber extracted from the roots of giant yam. Glucomannan possesses exceptional properties which allow it to absorb large volumes of water.

This allows it to take up space in your stomach, helping you feel sated as well as suppressing appetite.

4. Carbohydrate Blockers

close up image of white kidney beans

Carbohydrate blockers work by inhibiting the digestion and absorption of simple carbohydrates (simple sugars) by the body.

These supplements block the enzymes responsible for the breaking down of simple sugars, allowing undigested carbohydrates to pass through the digestive tract untouched.

As a result, carb blockers allow you to ingest carbohydrates all you want without any of them being absorbed into your system.

That reduces your calorie intake, maximizes fat burning, and improves your overall health.

There are two main types of carb blockers: 

  • White Kidney Bean Extract - an over-the-counter dietary supplement that inhibits the production of the enzyme amylase, responsible for the digestion of carbohydrates.
  • Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors (AGIs) - a prescription medication used to treat type II diabetes. AGIs target the alpha-glucosidase enzymes in the small intestines and prevent carbs from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

5. Fat Blockers

donuts, fries and chips in a tray, and a slice of fresh fish and vegetables

Fats are a major component of our daily meals and play a huge role in our bodies, responsible for maintaining skin and hair health and insulating delicate body organs like the brain.

Despite its importance, fat is required in minimal amounts.

Excessive amounts of fat get deposited into the body’s fat cells, which lead to weight gain and various health complications.

Fats can be classified into three categories: 

  • healthy fats from vegetables and fish
  • unhealthy saturated fats from junk foods and sugars
  • bad fats - aka trans fats, which increase disease risk and harm your body

Similar to carb blockers, fat blockers work by blocking the digestion and absorption of fats by targeting digestive enzymes. These undigested fats are then excreted from the body.

As fat blockers prevent fats from being broken down and absorbed, they aid with weight loss and prevent health issues associated with excess fats.

7. Thyroid-Regulating Fat Blockers

woman wearing undies showing her stomach and a smiley drawing

The thyroid gland produces hormones that control digestion and metabolism.

When this gland does not work as intended, our body’s metabolism is reduced, making fat loss difficult.

Additionally, an underactive thyroid also results in fatigue and weakness.

Without sufficient energy in our systems, we lack the motivation to exercise and lose weight. Thyroid regulating fat blockers help supplement the efforts of the thyroid gland.

These blockers introduce substances to stimulate the thyroid gland and optimize metabolism.

Many of these metabolism boosters also come with metabolic enzymes to help balance the deficit due to thyroid inactivity.

8. Cortisol Blockers

woman holding up a no with her hands to a cake slice

Stress triggers are all around us in our day-to-day lives. As a result, it’s not surprising that stress is one of the most significant contributing factors of health issues.

When we experience stress, our cells secrete a hormone known as cortisol.

In excessive amounts, this hormone results in increased weight, sleep problems, anxiety, and high blood pressure.

Cortisol contributes to weight problems by encouraging your body to retain fat and by reducing blood sugar levels.

To balance things out, you crave snacks and sugary foods that are very high in calories, which further makes it extremely difficult to shed weight as you’ll constantly be eating foods that only make things worse.

Cortisol blockers work by inhibiting the release of cortisol, which helps you control stress-related binging on junk foods and sweets. They can either be in the form of over-the-counter prescription drugs or natural supplements such as tea extract and L-carnitine.

Cortisol Blockers Side Effects:

Prolonged use of cortisol blockers can affect one's response to stressful situations.


Which Fat Burner Is Best For Weight Loss?

Each type of fat burner has its own unique properties that aid with effective weight loss. Those who wish to minimize side effects may choose natural supplements such as a stimulant-free fat burner or a vegan fat burner.

What Are the Best Natural Fat Burners?

Caffeine and green tea fat-burning pills are absolute favorites when it comes to natural fat burners. They are easy to obtain and produce exemplary results through years of extensive research.

How Often Should I Take Fat Burners?

For most fat-burning pills, a single dose is enough to sustain you throughout the day.

It is also advisable to take fat burners in the morning - preferably before breakfast or right before hitting the gym: to burn more calories while you are most active.

If you plan to take fat burner at night, here is the list of the best nighttime fat burners.

Start Melting the Body Fat Today: Fat Burner Supplements Alongside a Healthy Diet

If you’re looking to build lean muscle mass and lose body weight, taking fat burners can assist with your body transformation goals.

As effective as they may be, don’t rely solely on a fat burner to bring you the fat loss results you’re after.

Combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, you’ll shred through stubborn pounds and improve your general health at the same time.

Let us know what your favorite type of fat burner is.


Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *