As much as I love my job, there are days where I get stumped too. Had one such day a few weeks ago when a client of mine procured a so-called ‘fat-burner.’ While I of course said a flat-out no to it’s consumption, he insisted and attempted to rationale by making the following arguments:

“If we are allowed cheat days in the daily diet, why not cheat meds. too?”

“Okay, just tell me if it’s harmful or really bad for me with nasty side-effects.”

“What’s the worst thing that could happen to me by having this?”

“It has been labelled as a fat-burner! How could it be labeled like this if it does nothing?”

 To which, my explanations are as below:

 Two of the three ingredients contained in the ‘fat-burner’ are l-tyrosine and l-carnitine.

L-tyrosine: Tyrosine can reduce the production of stress hormones (less stress= less cortisol hormone release=less fat storage). Body also needs it to be able to produce thyroid hormones which aid metabolic processes. Perhaps this is why l-tyrosine is part of a fat-burning pill. BUT, lets not forget that tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid* which means that the body already makes it so one doesn’t necessarily need to obtain it via food.

L-carnitine: is a compound formed by two amino acids (methionine and lysine). What carnitine basically does is acts as a carrier or a porter and transports long-chain fatty acids into the cells of our body (mitochondria specifically). Inside this cell, fatty acids get metabolized and used as fuel. This once again answers why this ingredient is being sold as part of a fat-burning pill.

However, below are a few things to remember now:

  • Guess where else one finds pre-cursors of carnitine? In daal rice! Daal has lysine and rice has methionine.
  • Cartinine synthesis (formation) even requires certain B vitamins which the pill doesn’t contain but (drumroll!) rice would. 

What does this tell us? You’d be much better off eating daal rice for carnitine synthesis and subsequent fat burning as opposed to a ‘fat-burner.’ Unfortunately, no one’s labeling daal rice as a fat-burner because what sort of revenues would that generate?

*Amino acids are substances out of which proteins are made. There are 20 amino acids of which 10 are essential (need them through food) and 10 are non-essential (body already makes them so don’t necessarily need them through food). Think of 20 amino acids similar to the 26 alphabets in the English language. Different alphabets come together to make different words. Similarly, different amino acid combinations have different functions inside the body