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Raspberry Ketone -- All Show, No Go

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Updated February 16, 2014

Raspberry ketone is a compound found in red raspberries that gives the berries their fruity aroma. It's used commercially in cosmetics, perfumes, foods and beverages. Recently, raspberry ketone has become popular as a dietary supplement, but there's little science to back it up.

Does It Have Any Health Benefits?

Maybe, but the research hasn't advanced far enough to know for sure. Preliminary studies on laboratory animals suggest raspberry ketone might increase fat metabolism, similar to capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers. Raspberry ketone is already marketed as a weight loss aid, even though there is very little research available on humans. In fact, no well-designed randomized control trials have been completed, so we don't know how much you'd need to take, how safe it is, or even if it works at all.

What Do I Need To Know Before I Try Raspberry Ketone?

Natural raspberry ketone is expensive; in fact it's one of the most expensive natural flavorings available, so it isn't easy for manufacturers to buy enough of it at a reasonable price. Most of the raspberry ketone products are artificially created from other ingredients. Don't be fooled by product labels. The label may have words like "natural" and "high quality" even if the product contains only artificial raspberry ketone.

There's no solid evidence that backs up the claims that it will help you lose weight (whether your find natural or artificial raspberry ketone), so if that's your goal, you'll still have to cut back on calories or exercise more. If you want to take dietary supplements of any kind you should talk to your health care provider, or a dietitian or nutritionist first.

Can't I Just Eat Lots of Raspberries?

I doubt if you could eat enough raspberries every day to get enough of the raspberry ketone, but raspberries (like all berries) are low in calories and a good source of vitamins and fiber. Eating raspberries may help you lose weight if choose them over higher-calorie desserts and treats. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables every day, so eating raspberries can help you increase your intake.

Sources:

Morimoto C, Satoh Y, Hara M, Inoue S, Tsujita T, Okuda H. "Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone." Life Sci. 2005 May 27;77(2):194-204.

Natural Standard, Professional Monograph. "Raspberry Ketone." Accessed February 2, 2013. http://naturalstandard.com.

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