The Raspberry Ketone Diet
There has been significant media attention recently surrounding the latest new dieting product to hit the market, while these new products represent themselves slightly differently they all revolve around raspberry ketones as their main active ingredient.
The reason for this surge in popularity came when the ‘raspberry ketone diet’ was endorsed on the Dr Oz Show; this endorsement carried a significant amount of weight as Dr Oz was a regular contributor on the Oprah Winfrey show between 2004 and 2009 and as such holds a certain amount of influence within the United States. Add this endorsement to the fact that what is successful in the US is generally successful in the UK then it is no surprise that raspberry ketones are firmly within the mainstream.
What Exactly is A Raspberry Ketone?
A raspberry ketone is actually a lot simpler than it sounds; they are the primary compound responsible for the smell that raspberries produce. Strangely enough, raspberry ketones are also present in cranberries and blackberries although the diet products exclusively use ketones from strawberries. They also possess a unique flavour which is why they are often used in strawberry products to give them a distinctive sweetness such as strawberry ice cream. Due to the favourable smell they generate raspberry ketones are also found in the majority of perfumes. The extraction of raspberry ketone from naturally occurring raspberries is not sufficient for large scale production and so raspberry ketones are created from synthetic raspberries grown in laboratories. This is reflected in the cost difference between naturally produced and synthetically grown raspberry ketones; a kilogram of naturally produced raspberry ketones can fetch up to $20,000 while its synthetic equivalent is a mere $4 per kilogram.
What Uses Do Raspberry Ketones Have?
The benefits that are often associated with raspberry ketones are often overstated and there have been no clinical trials conducted on humans and therefore no basis for these claims to be founded upon. A study undertaken by Sportstol and Scheline (1982) discovered that when raspberry ketones were ingested by guinea pigs and rabbits, roughly 90% was excreted in the urine whereby only 10% of the ketones were retained. It would be logical to assume then that the product may not be as beneficial as first thought otherwise a much higher percentage of product would have been retained.
A possible reason why raspberry ketones have developed a fairly recent association with weight loss is that they share a very similar structure to capsaicin and synephrine. Capsaicin is predominantly found in hot red peppers and has been scientifically proven to decrease fatty tissue and increase metabolic rate whereby enabling weight loss (Kawada et al, 1986). Synephrine, on the other hand, is predominantly found within citrus plants and changes the bodies preferred energy source from carbohydrate and more toward burning fat stores (Carpene et al, 1999). While the exact effects of raspberry ketones are unknown it is assumed that similar effects can be reproduced in humans.
Do I Have to Make Any Drastic Changes to my Lifestyle?
There are no drastic changes you have to make in order to accommodate raspberry ketones into your lifestyle; on the contrary you may already be consuming them especially if you enjoy artificially flavoured products such as strawberry ice cream. It would go without saying that if you do not currently exercise or have a balanced diet then this is probably something you should think about doing before resorting to diet products. The exact dosage per day ranges from either one tablet or two tablets per day; this is dependent upon the concentration of raspberry ketones within each dose.
There are many products which create a raspberry ketone ‘hybrid’ such as those including green tea or caffeine. These products are perfectly safe for consumption and as little research exists in regards to raspberry ketones, these ‘hybrid’ products may prove to be more effective.
It is important to reiterate that all of these studies are animal based and therefore the effect of raspberry ketones on humans are impossible to accurately predict. So whether it is an actual product claim or endorsement by a third party such as Dr Oz, please bear in mind their claims are nothing more than mere speculation. They are always careful to say that the product works in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, although if you had a healthy diet and exercise regularly then you should have no need for the product.
A study conducted by Morimoto et al (2005) examined the weight loss potential of raspberry ketones in a population of mice. In order to test the effect of raspberry ketones the mice were subject to two stages of experimentation; the first stage involved the mice being fed a high fat diet for a period of ten weeks with a 2% raspberry ketone content, stage two involved the mice being fed a high fat diet for six weeks with no raspberry ketone content followed by a five week high fat diet with a 1% raspberry ketone content.
The study discovered that when the raspberry ketones were introduced into the diet the mice lost both body weight and internal body fat percentage. The greatest difference was observed when raspberry ketones accounted for 2% of calorific intake. These outcomes were attributed to the ability of raspberry ketones to alter the metabolism of the body so that it would burn a higher percentage of fat tissue as opposed to carbohydrates or glycogen. The two concerns about this study are that this effect was seen in mice and so its translation into humans cannot be truly estimated, additionally the dosage of raspberry ketones was not specified and even if it was would not be relevant in terms of correct human consumption.
A study conducted by Park (2010) investigated the effect of raspberry ketones on the presence of adiponectin, lipolysis (burning of fat) and fatty acid oxidation within specially prepared cells.
The study discovered that the presence of raspberry ketones increased the production of adiponectin and supressed build-up of fatty tissues. Adiponectin is a hormone produced naturally by the body which regulates glucose levels and fatty acid oxidation, an increase in adiponectin prevents build-up of fatty tissues. A simple description of fatty acid oxidation is when a fatty acid is broken down and replaced by a by-product such as water. Normally it is carbohydrates that the body predominately breaks down but an increase of adiponectin alters this and instead promotes the breakdown of existing fat stores.
What do Reviews From Consumers Say?
Even though the theoretical scientific backing of raspberry ketones in terms of weight loss may be lacking, there is no real substitute for real results experienced by real human consumers. So what exactly do consumers have to say about the product?
Our first port of call is to look at reviews of raspberry ketone products on amazon as the popularity of the website among consumers is sure to give an accurate representation as to if the product is deemed to be effective. The average rating is exactly 3 out of 5 and so it seems that consumers are unable to decide if the product works for them. Further reading has discovered that the positive reviews have a consistent theme which is that consumers often admit to incorporating exercise into their lifestyle which would play a major role in their weight loss. Alternatively many of the negative reviews are from consumers who have complained about the steep price increase following the Dr Oz recommendation, less common are complaints relating to allergic reactions to the product. As no clinical studies have been conducted in regard to the safety of the product, reviews such as these are vital in establishing if any side effects may exist. It is therefore recommended that you check with a doctor before taking raspberry ketones.
A similar story can be found on the Holland and Barret website where there is an average consumer rating of 2.3 out of 5. The positive reviews once again admit to incorporating exercise into their daily routine which is probably the reason for the majority of weight they have lost. The negative reviews simply state that the product didn’t work and is quite expensive, in addition no reviews state that they experienced an allergic reaction so the likelihood of negative consequences doesn’t appear to be too likely.
From the reviews posted on these two websites it is clear that consumers cannot decide if the product is useful or not, furthermore without the scientific backing that a product needs it would appear that raspberry ketone is popular solely based on the endorsement of a popular TV show host. It is always difficult to judge a product if the reviews are as opposed as in this case. In order to decide if the product works you would need to carefully analyse the daily routine of all the reviewers to determine if other factors are the cause of the product working or not (e.g. stress, exercise, diet).
A Note of Caution
Due to the popularity of raspberry ketones in recent months, a vast number of cheap imitation products have emerged from China. These pills often come with a long list of side effects. It is highly recommended that you research carefully the raspberry product you intend to buy and where possible do not buy from companies based in China. A reliable supplier would have their own website, have easily accessible customer reviews and if they are sold in a store such as Holland and Barrett then it is likely to be a legitimate product. For more information please read ‘Side effects of Raspberry Ketone’ as this will alert you to the potential dangers of both raspberry ketones and counterfeit raspberry ketone products.
This article has hopefully provided you with some knowledge that you can use if you plan on embarking on the raspberry ketone diet. We have learnt why the raspberry ketone diet has become mainstream in a very short amount of time; unfortunately this was due to a celebrity endorsement rather than hard scientific facts. The studies that have created the buzz currently surrounding raspberry ketones have both been conducted on mice; however the results do show promising results whereby prompting advertisers to perhaps overstate the potential unproven benefits for humans. Usually this lack of evidence is forgiven by consumers if the product can work in a real world situation. It would seem that raspberry ketones have divided opinion among consumers as well; some consumers say they have lost weight while taking the product with an equal number saying that the product did not work for them.
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