Women have it especially difficult when it comes to burning fat.
With naturally higher levels of body fat, plus lower levels of testosterone and lean muscle mass (both of which help with fat burning), women often have a harder time staying lean.
The right fat burning supplement can make this process much easier. However, the quality of a supplement is going to be the key determining factor when it comes to whether it will help you cut fat, look leaner, and feel stronger.
While there’s no shortcut to burning off excess fat, the right supplement can make the task a lot easier. All else equal, with a good fat burning supplement, women can augment their natural fat burning abilities so they can not just look leaner and healthier, but be leaner and healthier.
Our research team tested the best fat burners for women. Here’s our picks.
With the ringing endorsement of everyone from Instagram models to fitness gurus, LeanBean is the trendiest fat burner for women.
We like these testimonials from LeanBean users:
It uses a combination of thermogenics like green coffee bean extract and green tea extract, along with the satiating power of glucomannan and the appetite suppressant and fat burning effects of cayenne pepper extract.
These premium ingredients combined make it our overall winner.
2. Evlution Leanmode
With a versatile formulation that works equally well for men and women, Evlution Leanmode focuses on burning fat directly, by up-regulating your body’s cellular metabolism.
It accomplishes this with a combo of green tea extract, garcinia cambogia, and CLA–all highly touted fat burners. All of this comes without excessive caffeine, which is great to see.
3. Lean XT
Lean XT is an extremely versatile fat burner that’s got a solid combination of appetite suppressants, fat burners, and key vitamins.
It uses some less common ingredients, like ashwagandha root and safed musli. It also contains melatonin, meaning you should reserve this for about half an hour before bed.
Because it does not rely on stimulants to achieve its fat burning effect, it’s great for the caffeine sensitive crowd.
4. Fitmiss Burn
Fitmiss Burn is the fat-destroying formulation form Fitmiss. It uses a huge range of ingredients to increase metabolism and fat oxidation, decrease hunger, and stabilize your mood.
The caffeine content is moderate, at 150 mg per serving, but what really makes this supplement shine is its focus on digestion–by boosting your gut bacteria, it reduces your caloric intake even if your food intake doesn’t change.
5. Rockstar Skinny Gal
Rockstar Skinny Gal has some cutting edge ingredients, like white kidney bean and African mango, but the benefits of these might be offset for many women by the heavy reliance on caffeine.
Because the rest of the ingredients are tied up in a proprietary blend, it’s hard to tell exactly how much caffeine there is preserving, but it may well be enough to make you jittery–especially if you are on the small side already.
6. BeLive Fusion Burn
Fusion Burn is an interesting fat burner in that it relies on the interaction of some less common core ingredients.
Its combo of chromium, apple cider vinegar, and garcinia cambogia isn’t often seen in other products, but this might make it work if more popular fat burning supplements haven’t worked out.
7. V800 Thermogenic
V800 Thermogenic is a fat burner whose formulation tilts towards stimulants instead of fat oxidizers.
It’s a bit misleading about its caffeine content, and though it does include some of the hottest fat burners right now, like apple cider vinegar and turmeric, it doesn’t disclose how much of these key ingredients it actually has.
8. RSP Quadralean
RSP Quadralean is a very powerful fat burner, but it relies heavily on a combination of stimulants like caffeine, bitter orange extract, and yohimbe bark extract.
Not the best idea for long term success, especially given that a lot of women using fat burners for getting toned are already fairly small. A 200 mg dose of caffeine would leave them and many others jittery and sleepless.
9. Rejuve Green 2 Lean
Rejuve Green 2 Lean is a blend of several thermogenics, but its main mechanism of action is based around green coffee bean extract and green tea extract.
These combine with a fairly significant amount of caffeine to create a substantial fat burning effect, but it may be too reliant on stimulants for some women.
10. NLA for Her Shred Her
Shred Her is a popular fat burner, but it relies heavily on stimulants to get its calorie burning effects. The ingredients are dominated by compounds like taurine, caffeine, and bitter orange extract.
These together will jack your metabolism way up, but there are health concerns with this combination of ingredients, and the weight loss isn’t sustainable.
Who should buy a fat burner for women?
Women looking to lose weight and improve their body composition are the obvious candidates for a fat burner for women. Fat burners for women are specifically formulated for female physiology, so men looking to burn fat should check out a thermogenic or natural weight loss supplement instead.
Many of the challenges that women face when losing weight can be tied to hormones, whether it’s the change in hormonal composition after menopause or the changes that occur after childbirth.
Women are also more sensitive to some traditional ingredients in weight loss supplements, such as caffeine, so if you have not been happy with the effects of a run of the mill weight loss pill, a specifically designed fat burner for women is a smarter option.
How we ranked
The market for weight loss products for women is enormous: we started with a huge range of formulations to narrow down.
Our first concern was to rule out anything that had weight loss compounds known to cause side effects, like ephedra-related derivatives and synephrine. These ingredients have been associated with heart palpitations and other potentially serious side effects, so we eliminated products that used these ingredients to get their weight loss effects.
The side effects of these compounds can be particularly problematic for women, because they tend to have a smaller body mass to start with. As such, they experience a higher effective dose for a given amount of an active ingredient.
Second, we cut out products whose primary weight loss ingredient was caffeine. While caffeine is a potent fat burner, high doses of caffeine have a tendency to cause side effects like anxiety and jitters, particularly in women. Plus, if all you want is caffeine, you can just get a dedicated caffeine supplement. We wanted supplements that offered more than just a caffeine buzz.
Part of the reason for this is the same body mass issue: a 60 kg woman is going to get a much higher dosage from 200 mg of caffeine than a 100 kg man.
However, an additional hormonal factor plays into the equation too. Women who take hormonal contraceptives experience the effects of caffeine for much longer than a man would.
Because of the interaction between these reproductive hormones and caffeine, you could get insomnia from taking a caffeine-heavy weight loss supplement even if you didn’t take it in the evening. So, caffeine-heavy products, like Nutrii Ultra Burn + Energy and others, got cut from our list.
Moreover, we penalized supplements that hid most or all of their ingredients in a proprietary blend. Products like HighMark Nutrition Women’s Fat Burner didn’t make the cut for exactly this reason.
Another problem that our researchers identified in some products was the presence of artificial coloring agents, fillers, and stabilizers.
Possibly because of the incentive to market a trendy-looking (and usually hot pink or purple) capsule, a lot of lower-quality fat burners for women use artificial coloring agents and binders. Products with these kinds of issues got dropped.
Finally, we focused specifically on proven compounds that actually burn fat. General weight loss aids, like psyllium husk or other types of fiber, as well as appetite suppressants and carb blockers like white kidney bean, were not our priority.
While these ingredients can be helpful for overall weight loss, they don’t have a direct effect on burning fat. For that, you’ll need ingredients that up-regulate fat oxidation or induce a thermogenic effect, like green tea extract or green coffee beans.
As such, we prioritized these kinds of ingredients, which is why supplements like Leanbean, Lean XT, and FitMiss Burn ended up at the top of our rankings.
Numerous studies demonstrate that a wide variety of supplements can lead to fat loss, even without active dietary restriction. You might think that weight loss is a simple calories in / calories out equation, but the reality is a lot more complicated.
Of course, these effects are even stronger if you do start working out more and eating healthier. Regardless, the most effective fat burners will leverage one of the weight regulation mechanisms your body uses to balance its fat storage and fat burning.
Many of the most powerful and effective fat burning ingredients target your body’s metabolic activity. A blunt but effective way to do this is simply to increase energy expenditure. This is what stimulants like caffeine, taurine, and bitter orange peel extract achieve.
A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated this effect (1). The study tested two groups of obese women, one of which received a supplement that was a combination of stimulants (including caffeine and other alkaloids) and a control group, which received a placebo.
The researchers found that the experimental group lost significantly more weight compared to the placebo group. While powerful, straight stimulants do have some drawbacks–more on these in a bit.
A more sophisticated way to tilt the body towards losing fat instead of maintaining or gaining it is by increasing the proportion of your caloric expenditure that comes from fat.
True, both of these extracts are from plants that also contain caffeine, but they seem to be efficacious fat burners even when the caffeine is almost entirely removed.
In the case of green coffee bean extract, a 2011 review article in the journal Gastroenterology Research and Practice surveyed several different experimental studies on green coffee bean extract, concluding that the evidence for an effect was promising, and indicating that a shift in fat metabolism is one potential explanation for the benefit (2).
Green tea extract has even more robust evidence for its fat burning effects. A large-scale study in Japan with 240 participants examined the effect of a green tea extract in patients who were instructed to maintain the same food intake and physical activity levels (3).
One group received a high dose of green tea extract, while another received a very low dose (effectively a placebo). After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the high dose of green tea extract lowered body mass, and did so by specifically targeting subcutaneous fat at the waist and the hips–great news for women looking to be leaner through their midsection.
Other effective fat oxidizers you should be on the lookout for include garcinia cambogia, apple cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper. These are some of the most promising new fat burners that are currently being researched.
Another avenue for burning fat is preventing your body from feeling the need to eat as many calories. This seems to be a secondary effect of caffeine–in addition to being a metabolism booster, it also appears to act as an appetite suppressant–but caffeine is far from the only effective appetite suppressant.
Conjugated linoleic acid is a strong appetite suppressant found in many effective fat burners for women, and its efficacy was demonstrated in a 2003 scientific study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (4).
The study examined the effects of a conjugated linoleic acid supplement in addition to a low calorie diet was more effective at preserving muscle mass and more interestingly, the CLA supplement was effective at increasing feelings of satiety (i.e. fullness).
Other effective appetite suppressants include glucomannan, white kidney bean extract, and various forms of vegetable fiber, but regardless of the source, all of these work by increasing how full you feel and decreasing your desire to eat more calories.
As you might imagine, altering your body’s metabolic balance is not without some risk of side effects.
While the best fat burning supplements for women use high-quality ingredients that achieve good results with low risks, some other products aren’t so scrupulous. Here’s what to look out for.
Thermogenics that are based primarily around stimulants like caffeine, taurine, or bitter orange are especially prone to causing side effects precisely because they are so potent.
Some stimulants used in weight loss supplements in the past, like ephedra, have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration because of reports of severe adverse effects, including heart problems (5).
Similar concerns have been raised about bitter orange peel extract (citrus aurantium) because its active ingredient, a compound called synephrine, has been associated with similar heart problems (6, 7).
You also won’t find this ingredient in the top-ranked fat burners for women.
Oddly, one of the most ubiquitous stimulants–caffeine–is also one that can cause many adverse effects. Caffeine is well-known to cause jitters, sleeplessness, and irritability (8).
With regards to fat burners specifically used by women, caffeine may cause additional problems because of the interaction between caffeine and hormonal contraceptives.
Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology demonstrates that women who take estrogen-based contraceptives have a substantially longer elimination half-life of caffeine (9).
In other words, if you take hormonal contraceptives, it takes much longer for your body to remove caffeine from your bloodstream.
So, if you take a fat burning supplement that has high levels of caffeine in it (especially if you also drink coffee, energy drinks, or other caffeine-containing beverages), you could experience adverse effects at a much higher rate than usual.
Because of this, women looking for a good fat burner should keep the caffeine content low. In addition, many women using fat burners are already fairly small in terms of body size, and as a result, they’ll be affected to a much greater degree by a given dosage of caffeine compared to, say, an obese male.
Fortunately, compounds which modulate satiety, or feelings of fullness, tend to have a very low or non-existent rate of side effects.
Compounds like glucomannan or conjugated linoleic acid have a very small chance of causing mild gastrointestinal discomfort, but aside from that, are quite safe.
Though dosing depends on the specific product that you choose, when it comes to fat burners for women, there are a few key ingredients that have pretty well-established optimal doses.
Green tea extract, for example, should be taken in doses of at least 150 mg of catechins, the active ingredient. As for green coffee bean extract, a dose of at least 50 mg per day is optimal.
When it comes to taking into account the complex interaction between ingredients, you’ll have to rely on the abilities of the nutritionists who formulate fat burners for women—especially because you generally can’t mix and match.
Fortunately, our top-ranked fat burners for women all tackle this problem well, providing ingredients in a synergistic way to optimize fat oxidation and increase thermogenesis.
Q: What are fat burner pills?
A: Fat burner pills are supplements that are designed to increase the rate at which your body burns fat. There are two ways to do this. One is to increase your overall caloric expenditure at rest.
This process is called thermogenesis, and a category of supplements called thermogenics achieve this effect. The other way to burn fat is to shift your body’s preference for its fuel sources to include more fat.
At any given time, your body is burning a mixture of fat and carbohydrates. Some compounds, like green tea extract, appear to be able to alter the distribution of carbs and fat being burned, so a greater proportion of your energy comes from fat as opposed to carbohydrates. This latter example is called fat oxidation.
Q: What is the safest fat burner for women?
A: When it comes to safety, one of the best candidates for a fat burner for women is green tea extract. Its caffeine content is very low, and the food that it’s derived from (green tea) is consumed in copious quantities by women all around the world on a regular basis.
Moreover, it’s also one of the most effective fat burners for women, thanks to its ability to upregulate fat oxidation. Other ingredients with good safety profiles include fiber-based ingredients like glucomannan, as their biological mechanism of action is just to slow the absorption of calories in your digestive tract.
In other words, these fiber-based ingredients aren’t actually up-regulating your metabolism; they are just preventing the influx of calories into your system. However, for this same reason, they aren’t quite as effective at actually burning fat.
Q: Do fat burners really work?
A: “Work” can be a bit of an operational definition, but in general, yes, several supplements have been found to be effective at helping you lose fat.
There are two ways to look at a fat burner: the first is at the cellular level. Using animal models or looking at calorie expenditure, researchers can identify whether a specific compound increases your overall caloric expenditure (this effect is known as thermogenesis) or whether it shifts the fuel your body burns for energy.
When this fuel parameter is shifted towards burning more fat, this is called increased fat oxidation. Your body oxidizes, or “burns,” stored fat molecules for energy at an increased rate. Caffeine, green tea extract, and green tea extract are three compounds that are well-established fat burners that are known to increase fat oxidation.
The second way to look at a fat burner is at the whole-body level—in this context, “working” means reducing body fat content in a measurable amount.
Several other compounds, like white kidney bean extract, have been found to drop body fat percentage, but in this kind of research, the exact mechanism of action can be hard to tease apart.
White kidney bean extract, for example, appears to reduce body fat not by fat oxidation, but by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates in your gastrointestinal tract.
Q: Can fat burners for women be dangerous?
A: There are certain compounds that you’ll sometimes see in fat burners for women that can be dangerous.
Ephedra is a classic example: alongside its herbal form of ma huang, it was a very popular ingredient in fat burners during the 1990s, but when reports surfaced of serious side effects like heart arrhythmias, products containing ephedra were pulled from the market.
However, you’ll still see some fat burners that contain derivatives or chemical cousins of ephedra, like synephrine and bitter orange peel. If you’re safety-conscious, it’s better to avoid these compounds.
Fat burners for women can cause problems in some special cases, such as chromium-containing supplements in women with psychological health problems like bipolar disorder, or who take prescription medication.
Unlike prescription medication, the properties of fat burning supplements are not well-characterized in women who are pregnant, so they should definitely avoid a fat burner during pregnancy.
Q: What’s the best stimulant-free fat burner for women?
A: In the context of a fat burner, “stimulant” usually means caffeine (though rarely it can also mean bitter orange peel or other compounds).
Caffeine is quite the double-edged sword, as we’ve covered earlier. When it comes to a stimulant-free fat burner for women, we like Lean XT: it’s great for taking before bed, as it contains no stimulants of any kind, and in fact even contains a small amount of melatonin, which can assist with sleep quality.
Q: How should you choose a fat burning supplement for women?
A: When choosing a fat burning supplement, there are a few key questions you can ask yourself to narrow down your options.
First is whether you want any caffeine in your supplement. While we’ve eliminated the heavily-caffeinated supplements from our rankings, some of our products do contain caffeine because it is a very effective fat burner in low to moderate doses.
If you are going to take your fat burner in the morning or early afternoon, then something that leverages the effects of caffeine, as well as mildly caffeinated compounds like green tea extract and green coffee bean extract, are a good choice. In our rankings, Leanbean and FitMiss Burn are prime examples in this category. If you do not want caffeine, look for a stimulant-free fat burner.
Second, are you looking for an overall aid for weight loss, or do you specifically want compounds that actually upregulate fat oxidation?
If you just want weight loss efficacy, a broad-range supplement that includes many different ingredients is a fine choice.
If you want to focus specifically on burning off fat that you’ve already accumulated, choose a product with fewer ingredients, but a higher dose of the most effective fat burners like green tea extract, green coffee beans, and taurine.
Q: When should you take a fat burner?
A: There are two optimal times to take a fat burner for women during the day: right away in the morning, and right before bed. However, there are some important caveats to these recommendations.
You definitely don’t want to take a fat burner before bed if it contains caffeine, as it could substantially disrupt your sleep. Save these fat burners for the morning so they can kick-start your metabolism.
Conversely, some fat burners are specifically designed to be taken at night, and as such contain compounds like melatonin that improve sleep quality.
As you might guess, it would be a bad idea to take these supplements in the morning, as you could end up feeling sluggish and lethargic later in the day, and your circadian rhythm could get thrown off.
Q: What is a good natural fat burner?
A: By happy coincidence, many of the most effective fat burners also happen to come from all-natural sources.
Take green tea extract and green coffee bean extract for example: these are some of the most effective fat burning compounds on the market, and they are nothing more than a concentrated form of the same exact chemicals you’d get in a cup of green tea or from unroasted coffee beans.
Fiber-based compounds like glucomannan and psyllium husk are also great all-natural compounds that have an extremely good safety profile.
If you aren’t up to taking the most sophisticated chemical compounds from the lab, you can still get excellent results by sticking to all-natural fat burners.
- Weight loss pills
- Natural weight loss supplement
- Carb blocker
- Diet pills for women
- Meal replacement shake
The ideal fat burning solution is a supplement that capitalizes on several different mechanisms of fat loss to achieve a strong effect with a low rate of side effects.
The key ingredients you should look for are fat oxidizers like green tea extract, green coffee bean extract, and cayenne pepper.
These can be supplemented by low to moderate doses of stimulants like caffeine, as well as an appetite suppressant like glucomannan, conjugated linoleic acid, or white kidney bean extract.
Avoiding side effects is largely a matter of avoiding supplements that rely too heavily on stimulants for their fat burning effects, and keeping the caffeine content of your fat burner under control.
A quality fat burning supplement can make a real difference when it comes to getting leaner, fitter, and more toned, so make sure you choose a good one. You can learn more about our #1 fat burner for women recommendation here.