Raspberry Ketone vs. Green Tea
Raspberry ketone and green tea extract are both common ingredients in diet pills, and fans of both these ingredients defend them as being excellent weight loss aids. But, do either of them actually aid in weight loss and is there any clinical support to back up the sometimes dramatic claims made about them?
This article will investigate both of these ingredients to determine which one holds more promise as a weight management supplement.
What is Raspberry Ketone?
Raspberry ketone is the part of red raspberries that primarily produce the fruity smell of raspberries. Despite the name, raspberry ketone is also found in small amounts in other berries such as cranberries and blackberries. It has been used as an ingredient in food and perfumes for over 90 years, and the majority of the product available on the market, especially in diet supplements, is synthesised in a lab. This is because naturally occurring raspberry ketone occurs in such small quantities that it commands a very high price, as much as $20,000 per kilogram.
It is claimed by many, including Dr. Oz, that raspberry ketone is an incredible fat burner that stimulates the release of the protein adiponectin, which helps to break down fat cells. This is where claims that Raspberry Ketone melts fat originate. It has also gained attention from the dieting community because “the structure of Raspberry Ketone is similar to the structures of capsaicin and synephrine, compounds known to exert anti-obese actions and alter the lipid metabolism.” Because of this similarity, it is speculated that Raspberry ketone may therefore work in a similar way to both capsaicin and synephrine, by stimulating the hormone norepinephrine, which is a key component in encouraging weight loss.
Raspberry Ketone is available as a supplement or as a key ingredient in increasing numbers of diet pills available on the market at the moment. Raspberry ketone was been listed as a “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) food additive in the 1960s by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, this is based upon the assumption that less than 2 milligrams are to be consumed per day, as flavouring in foods. As most raspberry ketone supplements contain between 100mg and 500mg of the ingredient, the safety of these supplements is not fully established. Possible side effects are discussed in more detail below.
For more information about the weight loss benefits of raspberry ketone, we recommend you read our Raspberry Ketone review.
Benefits of raspberry ketone
There has been some research into the use of raspberry ketone in humans, although this has been in relation to skin elasticity when raspberry ketone is applied directly to the skin. The journal Growth Hormone & IGF Research published a 2008 study of 15 people, which found applications of raspberry ketone improved both skin elasticity and hair growth over five months. Again, whilst it is a positive sign that this research was conducted using humans, the small scale of the study means that this can only be considered as preliminary research.
There have actually been no human clinical trials that have studied the effects of raspberry ketone upon weight loss. Much of the information about how raspberry ketone may work is based upon preliminary clinical trials upon rats, mice and test tubes of fat, as well as speculation by researchers.
Tests done in vitro do suggest that raspberry ketone is effective in causing the breakdown of fats indirectly, as it stimulates the increased production of protein adiponectin. However, the amounts of raspberry ketone used in these types of studies may not be safe for consumption by humans.
One study, entitled Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone, researched the effect of raspberry ketone in relation to preventing obesity in rodents, and found that rats on a high fat diet that consumed raspberry ketone put on less weight than rats on a similar diet that did not consume raspberry ketone. Once rats that were fattened up following a high fat diet were given raspberry ketone, their weight reduced. The study concluded that raspberry ketone “prevents and improves obesity and fatty liver”, at least in rodents.
There is speculation that because the safety of large doses of raspberry ketone has not been verified, the chances of developing side effects whilst taking the supplement are increased in comparison to eating very small amounts found within foods. By looking at customer reviews of raspberry ketone, it is easy to see that whilst some people do lose weight and suffer from no adverse side effects, there are a significant proportion of users who experience unpleasant side effects.
The ingredient reviews available on WebMD show that users have suffered from localised rashes, increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate, anxiousness, a jittery feeling, increased urination. Users have also reported insomnia as well as feeling more irritable whilst using raspberry ketone. Some people have reported restless leg syndrome, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps. These are all clearly unpleasant side effects, which will make the user much less likely to complete an entire bottle of raspberry ketone, especially as many users state that side effects become evident almost immediately in the first few days of consuming the supplement. This causes concerns about raspberry ketone actually being a waste of money for many users who choose to consume it as a weight loss aid.
It may be that increased urination, insomnia and jitteriness can be accounted for in some of these cases by raspberry ketone supplements that have other ingredients as well, especially caffeine. Caffeine is often added to diet pills to stimulate the metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day, as well as to make the user more alert whilst dieting. However, the large amount of possible side effects reported by users does suggest that consuming such large amounts of raspberry ketone for a prolonged period of time is not totally safe. The risk of heart related trouble, such as increased blood pressure and erratic heart rate is of most concern, as this could interact with and worsen any underlying health problems the user may have.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea originates from the same plant that black tea comes from, Camelia Sinensis. The difference between the two types of tea is that black tea is fermented, whilst green tea is steamed, which halts the fermentation process. This causes each type of tea to retain different types of antioxidants, which results in each type of tea possessing slightly different qualities. Green tea contains high levels of catechins, a sub-group of antioxidants that are attributed to aiding weight loss. One catechin in particular, EGCG has been strongly linked with weight loss, and has been the focus of numerous studies on the subject. Caffeine is also present in green tea, and is widely known as a stimulant. Whilst caffeine is usually consumed in energy drinks, teas and coffee in order to boost energy levels and alertness, it also boosts the metabolism by stimulating the central nervous system. It is thought that the combination of EGCG and caffeine are what makes green tea potentially effective weight management supplement. Green tea is available loose, in teabags, or in diet supplements, which usually contain dried ground leaves in capsule form. It is also found in extract form in many popular diet pills and weight loss aids, such as Activ8 X, which comes in drop form. For those who do not particularly like the taste of green tea, flavoured brands are available, which usually incorporate some dried fruit into the mix, or the leaves are infused with flavour, which often makes the drink sweeter without adding many calories. For those who are caffeine sensitive, but still want the benefits of drinking a beverage high in antioxidants, there are caffeine free varieties available.
For more information about green tea, we recommend you read our Green tea article.
Benefits of green tea
The benefits of green tea go beyond aiding in weight management. Various studies have indicated that catechins have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Further to this, recent research in animals shows that catechins may also affect body fat accumulation and cholesterol levels. This is further supported by research on humans, which show that regular consumption of green tea could lead to a decrease in LDL cholesterol levels, which is usually a good indicator of physical health. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased chance of developing heart disease, and so finding ways to lower them without taking medication is incredibly beneficial to long term health.
Drinking Green Tea for weight loss
Simply drinking green tea regularly could lead to weight loss. By replacing the consumption of high calorie drinks such as coffee and black tea laden with milk and sugar, or high calorie soft drinks and energy drinks, with a cup of unsweetened green tea, the number of calories consumed in a day could be dramatically reduced. This difference alone could lead to a calorie deficit, which would lead over time to weight loss. This is because a cup of unsweetened green tea contains no calories, whereas a large latte purchased from a high street chain coffee shop could contain upwards of 260 calories, before sugar is added. When attempting to calculate their daily calorie intake, many dieters forget to include the calories that are present in drinks, which can easily derail a diet.
It is also possible that by drinking green tea, especially immediately before a meal, the user could experience some appetite suppression because of the volume of water filling the stomach. This could then lead to less food being eaten at meal times, further enhancing the calorie deficit that leads to weight loss.
However, by drinking green tea, it is difficult to regulate the amount of caffeine and anti-oxidants that are consumed. It may be easier to take a capsule of green tea extract, which would contain all of the same benefits as drinking green tea, but would make it much easier to regulate the dosage. This alternative is also ideal for those who do not like the taste of green tea, even when flavoured with fruit.
There is extensive evidence from numerous studies to support the theory that green tea boosts the metabolism and can therefore aid in weight loss. These studies are a mixture of lab-conducted experiments upon rats and other rodents, test tube based studies, and trials featuring humans. The presence of human studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of green tea is the strongest supporting evidence, as tests upon rodents are only indicative of what may happen in humans.
A 2005 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who drank a bottle of tea fortified with green tea extract every day for three months lost more body fat than those who drank a bottle of regular oolong tea. This difference in weight loss was significant; with those who drank the tea, containing 690 milligrams of catechins lost an average of 5.3 pounds, whilst the other group who drank unfortified tea containing only 22 milligrams of catechins lost an average of 2.9 pounds over the same period. Considering that their calorie intake was controlled to be as similar as possible between the two groups, the higher level of catechins is almost conclusively responsible for the increased rate of weight loss, as well as significantly greater decreases in BMI, waist size, and total body fat.
The Institute of Physiology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland found in 2000 that EGCG and caffeine in green tea increase thermogenesis by between 28% and 77%, depending upon dosage. Thermogenesis is the generation of heat within the body, and is a key contributor to the body’s natural metabolic rate. By increasing thermogenesis, even for a relatively short period of time, the body’s metabolic rate is increased, and more calories are burnt by the body. Abdul Dulloo, who led the study wrote, “Our studies … raise the possibility that the therapeutic potential of the green tea extract, or indeed a combination of EGCG and caffeine, may be extended to the management of obesity,”
It is possible that some side effects will occur from consuming green tea in either liquid or capsule form. Because of the caffeine that is naturally present in green tea, side effects may include insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns and jitteriness. Because caffeine is also a diuretic, increased urination may also be noticed, and excessive consumption of caffeine without sufficient intake of water can lead to dehydration.
For people who are taking medication to regulate their blood pressure, it is advisable to consult a doctor before beginning to take green tea supplements, or before deciding to add regular cups of green tea to a daily regime. This is because blood pressure medicine is often based upon diuretics, to decrease the amount of water held in the body, which in turn decreases blood pressure. To increase the amount of diuretics consumed from unregulated sources could interfere with this medication.
The side effects listed above can all be minimised by regulating caffeine content from other sources, as well as ensuring that the user consumes enough water daily to stay fully hydrated.
Raspberry Ketone vs. Green tea
Considering the currently published research on both green tea and raspberry ketone, it is easy to state that green tea has a significant edge over raspberry ketone. There is a much wider bank of evidence to support green tea’s role in weight loss over raspberry ketones. Further to this, considering the significant list of adverse side effects that can occur whilst using raspberry ketone, it is hard to recommend it as a safe weight loss aid. Until further research is conducted into the safety of raspberry ketone consumption in the human body, as well as raspberry ketone’s effect upon the body’s ability to burn fat, it is difficult to say whether raspberry ketone is actually a viable weight loss aid at all. Those who claim to have lost weight whilst using raspberry ketone may be underestimating the role that diet and exercise play in their weight loss, causing them to incorrectly state that their use of raspberry ketone was the main cause of their weight loss.
Whichever supplement is favoured by an individual, it is important not to overstate the role that these supplements can play in weight loss. Without adjusting activity and exercise levels, as well as monitoring calorific intake through following a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet, people are unlikely to see huge amounts of weight loss, just by consuming a natural supplement. Both raspberry ketone and green tea should be viewed as potential boosts or aids to weight loss efforts, rather than a miracle weight loss solution in a capsule.
See below for a list of diet pills that contain raspberry ketone.
See below for a list of diet pills that contain green tea.
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