Dr. Dwayne Jackson

The Vital Science Blog

Starting Living Your Best

Undercover Fat Burners

When it’s time to drop a few pounds or lose a little belly fat, many seek the help of fat burners to stimulate metabolism and lipolysis, and suppress appetite. Most people have a favorite supplement for this task and we encourage you to stick with what works; however, we would like to point out 4 supplements that will help you get shredded, even though they are not marketed as fat burners. We call these —-Undercover Fat Burners. 

  • Whey Protein 

There’s a high likelihood that you are already using a whey protein supplement for muscle building, but did you know that whey also helps you get lean and stay lean. 


How does it help fat burning? Whey protein supplements significantly boost your muscle building capacity and spares muscle mass while dieting, resulting in elevated metabolic rate and increased fat metabolism. In a clinical trial published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, subjects who took a whey protein supplement while undergoing a calorie reduced diet retained twice as much lean mass and burned off nearly twice as much fat mass as the control group (with the same diet). As well, drinking a pre-meal whey protein shake has been shown to stimulate hormones that control satiety (the feeling of fullness after a meal) and regulate blood sugar levels after a meal. 


Burn it! Mix 10-20 g of whey protein isolate or a whey protein blend with 8oz of water and drink 20-30 minutes prior to breakfast and dinner. 

  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are considered essential because the body cannot produce them, so they have to be consumed in the diet. In the supplement world, BCAAs are most commonly used to promote an anabolic/anti-catabolic environment in muscle. 


How do they help fat burning? Of the BCAAs, the key player in anabolic response is leucine. However, research shows that taking BCAAs in a ratio with at least 2x the leucine than valine and isoleucine provides the greatest benefits. As mentioned above, increases in anabolism eventually result in increased metabolism and fat loss. In addition to providing an anabolic kick, leucine supplementation may make dieting more tolerable. It has been reported that the amount of leucine in a meal plays an important role in leptin production and sensitivity. Leptin is a hormone that is secreted by fat cells (and other cells in the body) in response to food ingestion and acts as a potent appetite suppressant. BCAAs also provide the liver with substrates to produce glucose (a process called gluconeogenesis) to regulate blood sugar—this helps keep sugar cravings at bay and increases dieting success. 


Burn it! The BCAA product you choose should have at least twice as much leucine as the other aminos. Take 5-10 g of BCAAs, upon waking, 30 minutes preworkout, immediately postworkout, and if you feel hungry anytime during the day/night. 

  • Fish Oil

The omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish have been shown to reduce inflammation, increase cardiovascular health, increase the efficiency of the heart during exercise, maintain healthy blood lipid profiles, and, more recently, increase fat metabolism and lean mass gain.


How does it help fat burning? Fish oil directly improves body composition by promoting anabolism, increasing fat utilization, and lowering cortisol (a catabolic stress hormone). It has also been shown to significantly improve exercise efficiency and ratings of perceived exertion—- which means fish oil can help you workout harder and longer without feeling as tired. 


Burn it! To reap all the health and exercise benefits of fish oil, take 1 to 3 grams of high DHA and EPA fish oil with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  • Creatine Monohydrate 

Creatine monohydrate has been the top muscle building supplement for decades. In terms of fat loss, increased muscle mass means elevated metabolic rate. Albeit, there are some people who think that taking creatine while dieting hinders fat loss—they are WRONG! 


How does it help fat burning? In an article published in Metabolism it was reported that subjects who took creatine (for 28 days) and didn’t workout had an approximately 3% increase in resting metabolic rate. Even more impressive, when subjects took creatine while completing a resistance training program their metabolic rate went up by almost 6%— therefore combining creatine, training, dieting will definitely increase fat loss.


Burn it! Although creatine monohydrate dosing is body weight and tolerance dependent, a good starting point is to first complete a loading phase of 5g, 4 to 6 times per day for a week. After a week take 5 g 30 minutes before and immediately after training. On rest days take 5 grams with breakfast and 5 grams later in the day.



Frestedt JL, Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA, Ward LS, Bastian ED. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008 Mar 27;5:8. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-5-8.


Akhavan T, Luhovyy BL, Panahi S, Kubant R, Brown PH, Anderson GH. Mechanism of action of pre-meal consumption of whey protein on glycemic control in young adults. J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Jan;25(1):36-43.


Chungchunlam SM, Henare SJ, Ganesh S, Moughan PJ. Dietary whey protein influences plasma satiety-related hormones and plasma amino acids in normal-weight adult women. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Feb;69(2):179-86.


Gran P, Cameron-Smith D. The actions of exogenous leucine on mTOR signalling and amino acid transporters in human myotubes. BMC Physiol. 2011 Jun 25;11:10.


Li F, Yin Y, Tan B, Kong X, Wu G. Leucine nutrition in animals and humans: mTOR signaling and beyond. Amino Acids. 2011 Nov;41(5):1185-93.


Rennie MJ, Bohé J, Smith K, Wackerhage H, Greenhaff P. Branched-chain amino acids as fuels and anabolic signals in human muscle. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):264S-8S.


Noreen EE, Sass MJ, Crowe ML, Pabon VA, Brandauer J, Averill LK. Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Oct 8;7:31.


Smith GI, Atherton P, Reeds DN, Mohammed BS, Rankin D, Rennie MJ, Mittendorfer B.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperinsulinaemia-hyperaminoacidaemia in healthy young and middle-aged men and women. Clin Sci (Lond). 2011 Sep 1;121(6):267-78


Kawabata F, Neya M, Hamazaki K, Watanabe Y, Kobayashi S, Tsuji T. Supplementation with eicosapentaenoic acid-rich fish oil improves exercise economy and reduces perceived exertion during submaximal steady-state exercise in normal healthy untrained men. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2014 Dec;78(12):2081-8.


Arciero PJ, Hannibal NS 3rd, Nindl BC, Gentile CL, Hamed J, Vukovich MD. Comparison of creatine ingestion and resistance training on energy expenditure and limb blood flow. Metabolism. 2001 Dec;50(12):1429-34.

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