Raspberry ketones are chemicals from red raspberries that are thought to help you lose weight fast. Ketones are natural chemicals that give raspberries their enticing aroma, and they also occur in blackberries and cranberries. When ketones are taken from raspberries, they can be used to add fragrance and flavor to foods and products, such as colas, ice cream and cosmetics.
The raspberry ketone is actually one of the most expensive products used in the food industry — the natural compound can cost as much as $20,000 per kilogram. That’s why supplement companies use synthetic raspberry ketone, which is much cheaper.
Some research in rodents or in test tubes shows that raspberry ketones might increase measures of metabolism and affect a hormone in the body called adiponectin, which regulates metabolism. Raspberry ketones are claimed to cause the fat within cells to be broken down more effectively, which helps the body burn fat faster.
The big issue here is that these claims are not supported with human research, as there is no reliable scientific evidence that proves raspberry ketones improve weight loss when taken by people. Are raspberry ketones another common unhealthy way to lose weight?
Studies Involving Raspberry Ketones
A 2005 study published in Life Sciences evaluated whether or not raspberry ketones help prevent obesity and activate lipid metabolism in rodents. The study involved two groups of mice — one that was fed a high-fat diet and took raspberry ketone doses for 10 weeks and another group that was given a high-fat diet for six weeks first and then began receiving raspberry ketone doses for the remaining five weeks, along with the high-fat diet. The results of the study suggest that raspberry ketones prevent the high-fat-diet-induced elevations in body weight as well as the weights of the liver and visceral adipose tissues.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Medical Food found that raspberry ketone treatment, after a high-fat diet, can protect rats against nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is liver inflammation caused by a buildup of fat in the liver. Researchers reported that raspberry ketones had a dual effect of liver protection and fat reduction in the tested rats.
The issue with these studies involving rodents is that the doses are very high; in fact, the equivalent dose in humans is 100 to 300 milligrams a day, which is over 200 times greater than the average daily intake of raspberry ketones! This is a worrisome dosage, especially when compared to other fat-burning supplements that are on the market today.
If you’re going to use a supplement in that capacity, it would be best to have medical research involving humans that supports the biological effects first. There is no scientific research that evaluates the side effects of these doses on humans or the impact that they have on human cells and organs.
There is not a single study that evaluates raspberry ketones alone in humans. One human study includes other ingredients but does show promising results. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a 2013 study that evaluated 70 obese but otherwise healthy women who participated in an eight-week weight-loss program. The women were given a multi-ingredient supplement containing primarily raspberry ketone, caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger and citrus aurantium.
The program consisted of daily supplementation, a calorie-restricted diet and exercise training. Forty-five women completed the study after eight weeks, and significant differences were observed in body weight, fat mass, lean mass, hip girth and energy levels. The placebo group did benefit from the diet and exercise portion of the program as well, but the weight loss percentages were lower than the group who took the multi-ingredient supplement.
Although this supplement containing raspberry ketone was beneficial in this study, it’s impossible to know if it was the ketone or another ingredient in the supplement that made the difference. Of the six primary ingredients, any of them could have led to weight loss during this program.
Raspberry Ketone Supplements for Weight Loss?
Here’s the bottom line: There are a lot of companies that claim to have the new magic pill. Weight-loss supplements are popular because they don’t require work.
The truth is there is no magic pill. To lose weight and stay healthy, it’s best to eat a well-rounded diet. It’s only with food that you will get the vitamins and minerals that are necessary to thrive; you can rely on fat-burning foods that have been consumed by humans for thousands of years.
It’s only with daily exercise and healthy lifestyle choices that you can, for example, lose 20 pounds in 30 days. The interest in raspberry ketones is out there, and there has been an increase in scientific research. Hopefully more evidence involving human experiments will clear up this controversial topic, but for now the results are unclear.
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