If you needed another reason to eat more oranges, here’s a good one: it might help in burning fat, not just during exercise but also in rest periods! A new study from the Spanish Foundation for Science And Technology analyzed the role of p-synephrine, a compound found in many citrus fruits, including oranges, mandarins, and grapefruit. The compound is widely used in weight loss products and food supplements for the way it stimulates adrenaline production with few side effects, but up until this point, there was very little research done on its metabolic effects and side effects.
Published in the ‘British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology’ the study aimed to determine the effects of p-synephrine intake per kg body mass on energy metabolism and the rate of fat and carbohydrate oxidation during rest and exercise. Eighteen subjects were asked to take a p-synephrine supplement before a exercise bike workout, with half of them being given placebos. While there was no visible effect on their heart rate, blood pressure or calories burnt, results showed that those with supplements burnt more fat than carbohydrates when exercising at low or moderate intensity. As per the data, the participants’ maximum fat-burning capacity had increased indicating that p-synephrine supplements could increase fat oxidation by 7g per hour of exercise.
Realistically speaking, the team estimates that we could lose 200-300g of fat per week when we boost our workouts with the supplement. In terms of numbers this isn’t a huge difference, but it’s significant when you consider that its pure fat that you’re working off instead of fluids, as is the case with most miracle diets. The authors argue that actual fat loss is a slower process which p-synephrine seems to support with physical exercise.
“That should be the aim: to lose a kilo per month, but a kilo of fat. It’s less attention-catching than miracle diet slogans, but scientifically speaking, effective change would be at that rate,” the experts pointed out.
It’s important to remember however that citrus fruits actually contain far lower amounts of p-synephrine than the dosage given to the subjects, and as such you would have to eat a mountain of oranges to burn fat at the same level. But for those who are aiming to lose weight and planning their diets accordingly, citrus fruits can make for a great pre-workout snack even if they’re not miracle fat-burners by themselves.