Raspberry ketone is marketed as a weight loss aid that you can find in most any store that carries dietary supplements. It’s an aromatic compound found in red raspberries that are extracted and used in perfumes and cosmetics, and it’s also used as a flavoring agent in some fruit-flavored foods. It works well for those purposes, but it’s often touted as a semi-magical weight loss aid.
Does it work? Who knows. There’s very little research evidence that shows if it works for humans or not.
Lab Studies and What They Mean
Some raspberry ketone studies have been done in laboratories. Mice were given raspberry ketone, and it appeared to prevent weight gain when the little rodents were fed high-fat diets. Apparently, the anti-obesity effects were due to stimulation of lipolysis (which is how the body breaks down fat in fat cells called adipocytes) in both regular fat tissue and brown fat tissue. It also suppressed the release of pancreatic lipase, a digestive enzyme needed to break down dietary fats so they can be absorbed through the small intestinal wall.
But this research was done on mice. We’re humans, not rodents. We have different physiology and different emotional reasons for eating (or not eating) fats and other foods. So just because mice didn’t get fat doesn’t mean raspberry ketone will work the same way in humans. We need actual clinical research with humans to know that, and I can’t find any research on people.
So will it hurt you to take raspberry ketone supplements? Probably not. Will it help you lose weight? Probably not. More than likely it will just make your wallet a little lighter.
What to Know Before Trying Raspberry Ketone
Natural raspberry ketone is expensive, 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 the label — it may have words like “natural” and “high quality” even if the product contains only artificial raspberry ketone.
Since there’s no reliable evidence that backs up the claims that it will help you lose weight (whether your find natural or artificial raspberry ketone), you’ll still have to cut back on calories or exercise more if you want to lose weight.
Can’t You Just Eat Lots of Raspberries?
You probably can’t eat enough raspberries every day to get enough of the raspberry ketone, but raspberries are low in calories and an excellent source of vitamins and fiber. Eating raspberries may help you lose weight if you eat them instead of 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.