Yesterday I stumbled upon an online article which talked about a new diet craze: Raspberry Ketone pills. Apparently, this stuff is now very hard to acquire as so many people have gone out and bought it. Why the craze? It’s because Dr. Mehmet Oz talked about Raspberry Ketone as a fat burning miracle on his ultra-popular show a short while ago. Since then, the craze for this produce has been on.
The moment I read this I thought this was like the Acai Berry scams of a few years ago, but then I stopped and remembered that this was recommended, in no uncertain terms, by Dr. Oz, whom I’ve always respected. Surely, there must be something to justify his recommendation.
What is Raspberry Ketone?
Raspberry Ketone is the stuff in raspberries which gives them that special aroma. This is why it is often used in cosmetics and perfumes. It is simple an appealing smell.
However, raspberries contain very little of the stuff. So little in fact, that it’s vastly cheaper to make the same chemical compound synthetically instead of harvesting it from raspberries. In fact, making this stuff hardly costs anything and the price tag on raspberry ketone pills, though less than other supplements, is more than enough to cover the cost of manufacturing and leave a healthy profit.
So, when you buy these pills, you’re actually buying a synthetic product, not something which is actually derived from the fruit itself.
The Raspberry Ketone Claims On Dr. Oz’s Show
I want to start by saying that I have nothing against Dr. Oz or the other expert he hosted on his show during the Raspberry Ketone segment. He always seemed like a nice guy. However, after watching his Raspberry Ketone: Fat-Burner in a Bottle bit, I felt the need to take a long, hot shower. The segment seemed like a 5 minute long commercial and not like proper medical advice or even diet advice. Just looking at how the pill bottles were arranged on the table and how the camera focused on them made me cringe. It reminded me of late night shady infomercials.
Dr. Oz claimed that Raspberry Ketone was a fat burning miracle in a bottle. He said that he makes this claim based on all the “research” that has been done on this compound which, he asserts, show how remarkable it is. He also claims that Raspberry Ketone can trick your body into “thinking it is thin”. I’m not sure what that means, but I don’t think your body can really “think” much of anything. There was very little said about this whole “thinking” stuff, so I don’t really know what the good doc meant by it.
Furthermore, it was said that this stuff can can slice up the fat inside your cells. This does seem magical. In addition, it was said that this is totally healthy with no side effects. Then, photographs of two women who have been taking Raspberry Ketone pills were shown and they both exhibited a great amount of weight loss.
One thing that was emphasized on the program is how this is all based on research. In fact, the “diet expert” Dr. Oz had on his show said that these claims were based on “research, research, research.” This if funny as I could find only two studies which looked at the fat burning effects of this compound, so she actually said the word research more times than the actual studies which were performed.
Is This Really Safe?
No one knows.
Wait a minute, didn’t the TV segment say that this was totally safe? Yes, it did. I find that totally irresponsible. I looked up what WebMD had to say on this supplement. Here’s a quote:
There isn’t enough information available to know if raspberry ketone is safe to take as a supplement. Raspberry ketone has never been scientifically studied in humans to determine if it causes side effects.
Two things: First, we don’t know whether this is safe to take, especially in the long run. Second, this stuff hasn’t been studied on humans!
So, what is this research that Dr. Oz alludes to? As I said, there were two studies I found, neither of which was performed on humans.
The first study was published in 2005 and it examined how Raspberry Ketone affects mice . Yes, mice not people.
In this study, mice were fed a high-fat diet with ketone being 0.5% – 2% of their entire eating routine. The study found that it actually helped the mice avoid the weight gain they were supposed to experience with their high fat diet. Again, this was more about preventing weight gain and less about losing weight.
Seems impressive, right? There are just two problems:
- Mice are not people.
- On his show. Dr Oz and his guest recommended taking 100 – 200mg of Raspberry Ketone each day, but the mice got a much higher dose for their weight. In fact, a person would need to take a much higher dose to resemble what this study showed.
So, let’s just say that this study shows very little, if anything about the safety or effectiveness of Raspberry Ketone as a fat burning compound in humans.
The second study wasn’t performed on humans either, nor on any animal. It examined the effects of Raspberry Ketone on 3T3-L1 adipocytes, a substance which is connected to fat loss. The study found that there is room for hope that this may be a good way to lose weight . However, no actual tests have been done and finding out the effect of ketone on a human is far different than looking at what happens in a lab.
I found no actual human research that supports anything that Dr. Oz said on his show. I just don’t understand how he gave such a glowing recommendation.
Not Really a Miracle
Right at the end of the segment, after Dr Oz and his guests finished extolling the virtues of this supplement, came the necessary disclaimer that it must be used in addition to a healthy diet and an exercise plan. So, is this really a miracle? If I need to workout and eat right to lose weight and if Raspberry Ketone has never been studied on humans and shown to be effective scientifically, I don’t see anything miraculous about it. In fact, those people who lost weight may have done so with proper eating and rigorous exercise. The supplement may have had nothing to do with it.
The bottom line is that there are no miracles. There are just desperate people, eager to lose weight, who will try ANYTHING to get thin. When they see such a recommendation from an authority figure they rush to try this product. In this case, when you dig a little deeper, you find that there is no real miracle and that this is a supplement that may not work at all.
I am not going to be trying any Raspberry Ketone pills. I will wait until actual human research is performed and this is proven to be effective. You may choose to do as you like, of course. However, if you’re expecting a miracle, you will likely end up disappointed.
- 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. Epub 2005 Feb 25.
- Park KS. Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Planta Med. 2010 Oct;76(15):1654-8. Epub 2010 Apr 27.