Health & Food

FAQ Friday: Do Raspberry Ketones Work?

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I’ll never forget the moment I was introduced to Raspberry Ketones.  I was at work, in the supplement aisle, and I was approached by a customer who said,“Do you have Raspberry Ketones”?  I was confused. “No, I don’t think so.  What are they used for”?  I asked.  “A Doctor on TV said they could help me lose weight”, the customer replied.

Interesting…….

That day I had about five more women ask me for Raspberry Ketones.

Source: iStockPhoto

Raspberry Ketones are a compound found in raspberries, which are similar to capsaisin found in chili peppers.

As I do with most of the supplements I hear about via Doctors on TV,I looked it up on The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database(subscription required) and found out there was evidence to support that it might help with…….alopecia (hair loss).  There was absolutely nothing about weight loss or “fat burning”.  As the months went by I continued to get questions from customers about this “miracle in a bottle”.  But as we all know, if raspberry ketones really worked, we’d all be taking them, there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic, and of course, the pills would cost thousands of dollars (not $15.99 for three bottles, as I’ve seen it advertised online). But who knows, maybe one day scientists will prove that they do really work, in certain doses, but until then I can’t justify recommending them as a weight loss tool.

To be fair, The Doctor on TV did tell his viewers to use this product in addition to adhering to a healthy diet and exercise regimen.  But after you talk about a pill that can help you lose weight, most people tune out anything else.

Source: iStockPhoto

I mean, if there was a pill that could really burn fat and help you lose weight,  wouldn’t we have learned about it by now? It would be all over the news.  But wait….Raspberry Ketones are all over the news these days, but not necessarily for any good reasons.  This article from Today’s Dietitian gives a great overview of Raspberry Ketones, what they are, how they are supposed to work, and the research that has been done on the supplement.  This article from the LA Times is also a quite interesting read.

Here is a summary of the two articles, as well as my thoughts on Raspberry Ketones; 

  • Not only are Raspberry Ketones touted as a “fat burner” because of their capsaisin (same compound found in chili peppers) but they are also thought to indirectly help with weight loss because of their ability to increase adiponectin circulation(a hormone secreted from fat tissues, which has been indirectly associated with lower BMI and insulin resistance)
  • There have been zero human trials with Raspberry Ketones.They have all been done with mice.  We are not mice.  While the research has been hopeful, I’d like to see some evidence that it can work in humans, wouldn’t you?
  • Raspberry Ketones might have some interactions with certain drugs,and may have stimulant-like effects (hence the ability to possibly help you lose weight?).  Use with caution.
  • Most Raspberry Ketone products on the market are not justRaspberry Ketones, but instead they are a combination of several other weight loss compounds and supplements.  Be sure to read the label and be aware of what you are taking.  And of course inform your doctor.
  • If you want to try Raspberry Ketones, that’s fine, but don’t expect miracles.  You still need to exercise and eat a well-balanced diet.Even The Doctor on TV can agree with that!
  • I’ll be back for another post on this supplement after there are some human trials. Who knows, maybe it doeswork, but until I see human studies I don’t feel right recommending it to clients.

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