Raspberry ketones have relativity recently reached the health market in the UK, and are marketed as an effective weight loss supplement. This article will explain what raspberry ketones are, and investigate the scientific evidence for their claims.
What are raspberry ketones?
A raspberry ketone is a small volatile organic compound which is obviously found in raspberrys. It not only found in raspberries though, and it can also be found in cranberries and other brightly coloured berries. These ketones are found in extremely small quantities in these fruits, which means that natural ketones are extremely expensive to obtain. As a result of this raspberry ketones can be made synthetically for a fraction of the price. This is the first source of concern, as synthetic versions of natural chemicals are not always the same. You just need to look at the difference between synthetic and natural vitamins. There is also the unfortunate case of the morning sickness pill thalidomide, where the synthetic version caused 100s of cases of deformed babies, but the natural form was absolutely fine. Now I’m obviously not saying that synthetic raspberry ketones will cause illness or sickness in anyway, I’m just illustrating the fact that they can be different from natural raspberry ketones, and so may behave differently.
As raspberry ketones are volatile, they have been used for a long time in the perfume and food industry to give a natural and fruity smell to products. They have only recently been introduced to the supplement industry as a weight loss supplement.
Science behind the supplement
To date, there is no clinical evidence to support the claims that raspberry ketones can promote weight loss, or that they posses any health benefits. There are only a small number of animal studies which have investigated the weight loss properties of raspberry ketones, and only one has shown an ability to prevent any additional weight gain in mice (see reference). So this has shown that it can help you not put extra weight on, not lose weight you already have, which often isn’t the point…There are no human trials to date, and so the claims of ‘amazing weight loss’ are not substantiated.
There is much better research into the weight loss properties of things like green tea and CLA. As weight loss supplements go, both CLA and green tea get my vote over raspberry ketones. Not only do they have more supporting science, but they also have more health benefits than an ability to help you lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, I beleive these are more weight loss aids than weight loss supplements, alone they won’t melt the pounds off, and the same defiantly goes for the raspberry ketones.
Raspberry ketone supplements are synthetic versions of a plant chemical which can be found in raspberries. The lack of clinical research makes it impossible to draw any conclusions about how effective raspberry ketones are. It would appear that there is potential form them to interact with the mechanism which contribute to fat gain, but that is all. There is currently no real evidence to suggest that raspberry ketones will aid with weight loss or provide any health benefits. Any claims suggesting they will aid with weight loss are just marketing I afraid.
You would be better of investing the money you would spend on raspberry ketones on buying some nice healthy food on your weekly shop, or saving up for some sports shoes. The fact of the matter is, if you want to lose weight you need to work for it, some supplements can help, but lasting effects have to come from hard work and a good diet.
Morimoto, Chie; Satoh, Yurie; Hara, Mariko; Inoue, Shintaro; Tsujita, Takahiro; Okuda, Hiromichi (2005). “Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone”. Life Sciences 77 (2) 194–204.