THE BLOG

What They Don't Want You to Know About Raspberry Ketones

02/28/2013 12:01 pm ET | Updated Jun 06, 2013
  • Becky Hand Registered dietitian; author, 'The Spark Solution'

Before you jump on the raspberry ketone bandwagon, there are a few things you should know about this over-priced, proclaimed weight-loss miracle in a bottle.

What is it? Raspberry ketone is the natural phenolic compound found in red raspberries (Rubus idaeus). In simple terms, this chemical compound gives berries their signature scent. Until recently, raspberry ketones were used primarily by the perfume and manufactured food industries, but now the compound is being sold in supplement form.

Raspberry ketones have been touted as the next weight-loss miracle drug, with manufacturers claiming that the ketones help your body break down fat more efficiently, helping you to lose more weight. Is it true?

Before you run to the pharmacy to pick up a bottle, at least finish reading this blog. What I'm about to share with you might surprise (or downright shock) you!

Raspberry ketones have never been tested on humans in scientific studies. That's right. You read that correctly. To date, there have been no human studies showing that raspberry ketones burn fat or benefit your weight loss. Now, if you are a rat, there are two studies of interest. One study gave male rats raspberry ketones, which resulted in an increased secretion of adiponectin, a hormone secreted by fat cells that helps the body break down fat. The result was less fat on the rat. In another rat study, the rodents were fed a high-fat diet with differing amounts of raspberry ketones. The rats that received more raspberry ketones burned more body fat and gained less fat tissue. A third study exposed fat cells in a test tube to raspberry ketones and found that the raspberry ketones stimulated the breakdown of the fat cells.

I'll agree that this is all very interesting research, but it is also considered very preliminary research. Before making health and weight-loss claims about a supplement, don't you think we should have some double-blind studies involving real humans showing actual results with specific amounts of the supplement and assuring safety for the person? As a registered dietitian, I do.

But what about the claims I've seen on TV? When you hear raspberry ketone claims such as "slicing up fat molecules," "burning fat easier," or "weight-loss miracle," change the channel. There is no evidence to back up these claims. There has been no testing to determine safety or dosage amounts.

Read the fine print. If you have aging eyes like mine, pull out your "cheaters" and read the small print on the raspberry ketone bottle. This information has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nor has it gone through the rigorous double-blind studies required before a particular product can be deemed truly beneficial or potentially dangerous and prescribed in the treatment of any condition or disease.

Supplements such as these are not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, unlike medications, which undergo rigorous testing. The bottom line: Buyer beware.

Have you ever tried raspberry ketones? Will you?

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