Raspberries are often listed among the top ‘superfoods’ for healthy diets. But recent health claims, initiated by supplements manufacturers and perpetuated by health experts like Doctor Oz, argue that a chemical extract of red raspberries, called raspberry ketone, can help promote significant weight loss and fight obesity. Scientists and doctors remain skeptical, especially since no major human trials support these claims.
This compound, also found in cranberries and blackberries, has been connected to early studies and advertisements promising potential benefits like improved metabolism, increased fat burning, and reduced diabetes risk.
Manufacturers often use ketones to add flavor or aroma to food, supplements, and even cosmetics. However, raspberry ketone has only recently been advertised in supplements for dietary purposes. Is this diet safe and effective? Here are some things to consider:
Clinical Studies of Raspberry Ketone
The Raspberry Ketone Diet’s popularity stems almost entirely from anecdotal evidence and media publicity. Only two clinical studies were found that made any reference to raspberry ketone’s anti-obesity action, and these studies were both performed in rodents. Even in these two animal models, weight loss of only 2% and 0% was found in the two studies.
The first study, sponsored by a Japanese dietary supplement manufacturer, did show a small improvement in the animals’ abilities to secrete fat cells more quickly. The supplement also reduced the rats’ chances of developing fatty liver syndrome. However, these studies were not performed on humans, and have raised more questions than answers among scientists and nutritionists.
Raspberry Ketone Side Effects
While there have been no human-focused scientific studies that prove raspberry ketone has the ability to positively impact weight loss in humans, no known negative side effects have been found for the supplement either.
For now, the Food and Drug Administration and other scientists place raspberry ketone on their “generally recognized as safe” lists and are withholding judgment about any potential weight loss or other health claims until scientific data shows otherwise.
The raspberry ketone diet is a vastly unproven method of weight loss for humans. For most consumers, the supplement is an expensive placebo, not a long-term answer to weight loss and health. Physicians, scientists, and dietitians agree – long-lasting weight loss comes through a healthy diet and exercise, not fad diets and magic pills.