Ever since Dr. Oz promoted raspberry ketones on his show back in 2012, they’ve been all the rage and hailed as the biggest fat-burning miracle supplement. You’ve likely seen the Google ads, the advertisements on TV, and the online “testimonials” talking about its amazing weight loss benefits.
But how true is all of this, really? And do these raspberry ketones actually have anything to do with real ketosis?
The truth is: raspberry ketones are pointless when it comes to ketosis, and we’ll go into the details here. But first, let’s get a good understanding of what they are and what they claim to do.
What are Raspberry Ketones?
In its true form, a raspberry ketone is actually found naturally in trace amounts in red raspberries and other fruits like blackberries, cranberries, and kiwis. It’s what gives berries their nice, appealing scent and flavor.
Before being sold as supplements, raspberry ketones were mostly used in processed foods like ice creams and soft drinks and in perfumes and cosmetics.
How Do Raspberry Ketones “Work”?
The claim is that raspberry ketones help the body burn fat faster and more effectively because they supposedly increase levels of adiponectin, which is a hormone that regulates metabolism and blood sugar levels.
This is appealing because adiponectin typically increases when you lose weight and those with low levels of the hormone tend to have a higher risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and fatty liver disease.
Also, the molecular structure of raspberry ketones is close to molecules that have been shown in studies to boost metabolism: synephrine, a stimulant, and capsaicin, a component in chili pepper. The claim here is that raspberry ketones can also boost metabolism because of the similarities.
However, there are problems with these claims for several reasons. Let’s look at the reasearch on raspberry ketones.
Research on Raspberry Ketones
There are absolutely no studies with humans showing a ketogenic benefit of taking raspberry ketones, and nothing in regards to ketosis or advantage in the context of a ketogenic diet. Those selling the supplements will cite a few studies with rats and mice to bulk up their credibility, but they aren’t as impressive as they’d have you believe:
- In one study, fat cells were isolated from rats and grown by researchers in a test tube with raspberry ketones added. This made the cells release more adiponectin and increased the breakdown of fat, but this doesn’t demonstrate that the same could happen in a living human, or even a living rat.
- Another study involved feeding some mice an unhealthy high-fat diet for six weeks, and some were given raspberry ketones while others weren’t. At the end of the six weeks, the mice given the raspberry ketones weighed 50 grams while those not given the ketones weighed 55 grams. Neither group lost any weight; the first one just gained 10% less than the second group.
- In another study, 40 rats were given a fattening diet along with raspberry ketones. Their adiponectin levels were increased, but they were given the raspberry ketones in HUGE amounts—much higher (over 100 times) than would be feasible (or likely safe) for a human to take at all, much less on a regular basis.
We also need to recognize that there are better, more natural ways to increase the presence of adiponectin in the body and reduce fat, like eating a very-low-carb diet, getting regular exercise, and even drinking coffee!
Raspberry Ketones Have Nothing to Do with Promoting Ketone Levels
For a complete breakdown of the types of ketone supplements available on the market, check out the Perfect Keto guide to ketone supplementation. An entire category is dedicated to phony ketone supplements that don’t actually improve your ketosis. These fall into the bottom-right quadrant.
Most Raspberry Ketone Products Aren’t Legitimate Ketone Supplements
Most flavors you’ll find in raspberry ketone supplements are artificial, and it’s much harder to find real raspberry ketones. In fact, most of the supplements you’ll find use mostly ground up anise seeds and with just a touch of real raspberry ketone.
In fact, before the Dr. Oz show, there were only a few people making a supplement with real, natural raspberry ketones powder—and that’s because the cost of the raw ingredients was so high. Most have to use fillers and fake ingredients to keep the supplements affordable.
The Long-Term Effect of Raspberry Ketones is Unclear
Unlike human ketones we can take in supplement form that actually benefit the ketosis process, we can’t be completely sure raspberry ketones are safe to consume. They were recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a “Generally Recognized as Safe” food additive, but that was back in the 1960s before people were taking them in much larger amounts in their supplements.
Raspberry Ketone Recap: They Don’t Have Anything to do with Ketosis
Even though they sound fancy and contain the word “ketones,” raspberry ketones really have nothing to do with entering or keeping the body in ketosis. It’s easy to get pulled into the appeal of the product due to the name’s association with the fat-burning and health benefits of a low-carb diet. However, these ketones are completely different than those made by our bodies, so they have no relation to or function within ketosis or the ketogenic diet.
Plus, even if you weren’t trying to emulate ketosis and just wanted to use raspberry ketones for burning fat, you will unfortunately be left with nothing more than a much lighter wallet and disappointing results.
Best bet: don’t waste your time or money on these, put your energy into following a healthy, ketogenic diet for real results, and only spend your hard-earned dollar on quality ketone products (like Perfect Keto Base) that are proven to further your health goals.