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The 4 biggest benefits of natural weight loss supplements

Written by John Davis

Last updated: November 8, 2022

Natural weight loss supplements are useful for boosting the effectiveness of your weight loss program. Compounds found in natural weight loss supplements can improve your chances at losing weight by increasing your metabolic rate, decreasing your appetite, or both.

Want to leverage the benefits of the best natural compounds for losing weight? Read on to find out how.

Natural weight loss supplement benefits

1. A natural weight loss supplement can amplify the efficacy of a weight loss program

Pretty much everyone can recite the basics of losing weight—eat healthier, exercise more, etc.—but nevertheless, many people find weight loss programs very difficult to adhere to.

Some of the most innovative studies on natural weight loss supplements are those that combine them with the kinds of weight loss programs that are already popular, like one study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1).

This study showed that a supplement high in protein and BCAAs was able to help obese adults maintain more muscle mass while adhering to a low-calorie diet more effectively than a placebo supplement that provided the same amount of calories.

Other natural weight loss supplements can help in other ways, making it easier to burn more calories or eat fewer. 

2. Appetite suppressants can help boost the efficacy of exercise for weight loss

One of the biggest reasons exercise is not as effective as you might think at generating weight loss is its tendency to increase your appetite.

While you do burn a lot of calories if you work out at the gym for an hour, you’ll find that you tend to eat a lot more after you’re done than you otherwise would have.

New research published in 2019 conclusively showed that increased exercise generates an increase in appetite (and thus food intake), which is not related to increased post-exercise physical activity or changes in baseline metabolic rate (2).

This finding makes sense when interpreted in light of your body’s internal regulatory mechanisms: even after exercise, your body is striving to maintain the same “set point” of energy balance.

3. Natural weight loss supplements can help limit your caloric intake

Appetite suppressants can help tip the scales in your favor by blunting this post-exercise appetite increase. One study, for example, showed that guar (a type of fiber) led to a 20% decrease in energy intake via snacking (3).

Leveraging appetite suppressing effects of substances like forskolin or caffeine is another effective way to keep your exercise routine working in your favor. 

4. Thermogenic supplements can boost your overall energy expenditure

If you are trying to shift the balance between caloric intake and caloric expenditure, natural compounds that stimulate thermogenesis (the burning of additional calories beyond your normal metabolic rate) can be incredibly helpful.

There are a wide variety of compounds that exert a thermogenic or fat-burning effect, but some include green coffee bean extract, green tea extract, and caffeine.

Some weight loss supplements have synergistic interactions.

Compounds like green tea extract and green coffee bean extract generate more fat oxidation than would be expected from their caffeine content alone, as demonstrated by an elegant 1999 study (4).

The study used a three-way crossover design, where subjects randomly took a placebo, a caffeine-only supplement, or a green tea extract supplement with an equal dose of caffeine as the caffeine-only supplement.

The researchers conclusively showed that the effects of green tea extract increased thermogenesis beyond what caffeine can achieve, indicating that this and other fat burning natural supplements can be harnessed to exert powerful weight loss effects. 

Natural weight loss supplement side effects

Each different natural weight loss compound will have a slightly different side effect profile.

Watch out for caffeine jitters. Caffeine-containing supplements like green coffee bean extract or multi-ingredient weight loss pills can cause jitters, anxiety, and sleeplessness, especially in high doses.

Some weight loss supplements can cause GI issues. Other weight loss supplements like orlistat and psyllium husk can cause gastrointestinal side effects like bloating and gas.

Make sure you read up on the specific side effects of the natural weight loss compound you’ve chosen; some have a more well-studied side effect profile than others. 

Natural weight loss supplement dosage

Natural weight loss supplements take several weeks to have an effect. Research into their benefits almost always involves studies that are at least six weeks long, and some are as long as six months.

It may take at least a few months to start seeing real benefits, especially when you’re already on a diet and exercise program.

As such, don’t expect a miracle the first week you start taking a weight loss supplement. However, if you follow the doses used in the scientific literature, and be patient, you’re far more likely to see success. 

In most cases, a natural weight loss supplement works best when taken in the morning. Appetite suppressants are only effective if they are taken fairly early in the day, because the entire point of taking an appetite suppressant is to reduce snacking and calorie consumption at meals later in the day.

As a result, taking one before bed won’t do much good. Also, since many thermogenics involve caffeine or caffeine-containing compounds, you’ll get the most out of these supplements if you take them early in the day.

That way, your energy levels will be higher and you’ll burn more energy during the day. While you could take them at night, you’re likely to wind up sleepless and irritated rather than energized and ready to burn calories. 

Natural weight loss supplement benefits FAQ

Q: How do natural weight loss supplements help burn fat?

A: Most natural weight loss supplements burn fat via a thermogenic effect.

They upregulate the rate of fat oxidation in your body, which results in a higher metabolic rate and more fat being burned off from your stored fat cells.

Green tea extract, green coffee bean extract, and caffeine all generate this type of thermogenic response.

Q: What are natural weight loss supplements? 

A: Natural weight loss supplements can be distinguished from the broader category of weight loss pills by virtue of being derived directly from natural sources.

The majority of natural weight loss supplements come from plants, like forskolin, green coffee bean extract, and psyllium husk, but a few, like BCAAs, can come from animal products.

All natural weight loss supplements offer some type of assistance in losing weight, whether it is an increase in your baseline metabolic rate, a decrease in your appetite, or both.

Q: Are natural weight loss supplements safe?

A: Safety varies a lot from one compound to another. Some, like green tea extract, have an excellent safety profile, while others, like synephrine, are much more iffy when it comes to their safety.

Other compounds, like caffeine, are safe when used at judicious dosages, but can be risky when taken at too high a dosage.

In our reviews, we focus specifically on safe and effective weight loss supplements, like green tea extract, CLA, and glucomannan, with great safety records.

Q: Should you be on a weight loss program while you take a weight loss supplement? 

A: While the scientific research that tests weight loss supplements usually examines them in a vacuum, comparing the effect of the supplement alone to a placebo alone, you’re bound to get far better results when you combine a natural weight loss supplement with a broader weight loss program to take advantage of its full benefits.

An appetite suppressant, for example, combines well with an exercise program: as one of the natural responses of exercise is to increase your appetite as a result of your increased caloric expenditure, and thermogenics combine well with a healthier diet. 

Related: Our best natural weight loss supplement picks


Looking to give your weight loss program a jump-start? A natural weight loss supplement is a great way to do it.

Compounds in these supplements can increase your fat oxidation, tamp down on your appetite, and help you increase the amount of weight you lose. They’re an excellent addition to any diet and exercise program.


John Davis

John Davis is a Minneapolis-based health and fitness writer with over 7 years of experience researching the science of high performance athletics, long-term health, nutrition, and wellness. As a trained scientist, he digs deep into the medical, nutritional, and epidemiological literature to uncover the keys to healthy living through better nutrition.