Raspberry ketones – a fat loss miracle or wishful thinking?

What do you think? The supplement is rapidly being snatched off shelves all over the USA. This morning a client living in a small town in Bulgaria complained she can’t find it anywhere. Pretty soon people all over the world will be trying to buy this thing. What I love about the Internet is that information spreads fast. What I hate is that all information spreads fast.

From what I understand the whole raspberry ketone thing started after a fitness expert brought the product on the Dr.Oz show and he pronounced it to be a ”weight loss miracle in a bottle!”. Somewhere toward the end of the show he also mentioned you need to combine it with exercise and diet. Rally Dr.Oz? Groundbreaking.

raspberry ketones shmasberry ketones

So let me go back a bit. Raspberry ketones is a supplement that has been on the market for decades. It’s been used in the food industry and cosmetics, and I have seen it in thermogenic supplements way back when I was using Biotest’s Fahrenheit – remember the raspberry burps, that’s what caused them! I am no researcher by heart, but all I have seen is a few small mouse studies, no human trials, and lots of hype and advertising. Manufacturers claim that the product helps with fat burning, literally shrinking down fat cells. They also claim it’s natural. If you do a quick Wiki search you will see that the way they derive it is not by killing thousands of innocent cute raspberries, but by chemical means, and please someone show me how crossed aldol-catalytic hydrogenation is the same as extracting it from raspberries. The price of the natural compound is comparable to gold. Natural and safe, yeah. We wish, and the truth is we really don’t know. We just wish.

I recently read ”The Believing Brain”, where Michael Sherman explains that first we choose what to believe in and then we look for proof. I am just not convinced that the people who ”want to believe” even went online to do some searching for clinical data. They didn’t. They went to GNC, paid the 50$ per bottle, then went home started taking it and waited for the miracle to happen. This reminds me of physical therapist and great mind Gray Cook saying that random acts like that are like ”shaking a bunch of letters in a box, throwing them against the wall and hoping for a dictionary to appear”.

If you spend some time online reading reviews on Amazon, and sites that published articles reviewing the product you will see opinions ranging between: ”I lost 36 lbs in 3 weeks”, to ”I’ve been taking it for 3 days and gained 3 lbs” to ”It makes my heart race” and ”It gave me panic attacks!”. If the product can jack up your heart rate and affect your nervous system there is probably good reason to believe it’s not as safe as people would like to think!

It’s precious reading the comments on Supplement Geek! About.com also have a bunch of people with interesting and varied comments.

I have seen a few small studies looking for mechanisms of action of raspberry ketones, all pointing to increasing lypolisis and fatty acid oxidation, in English, helping with fat loss. One of the studies says this mostly due to increase in the adrenal hormone norepinephrine/noradrenaline. Adiponectin is another hormone that is affected by raspberry ketones, however the hormone itself was only discovered in 2007, so how much do we know about higher levels of it? Studies were all small and there are no studies in humans, so I am skeptical to say the least. Does such a mechanism exist? Probably! Does that mean it can help humans and how much of it do we need to take for long term effects? Is it safe? What are the contraindications? Does it work on its own or does it need to be combined with caffeine? Seems like we don’t know. More research is needed and in the meantime we should probably practice a bit more common sense. Common sense is something many people seem to be deficient in and I think a daily intake of it could help with weight loss!

The reason I sat down to write this is that I keep being amazed at how many people out there listen to TV shows and read sensationalist magazine articles to get their information on how to lose weight. I keep being shocked at how people who continually claim they cannot afford a gym membership, which in the US can be as low as 10-20 dollars a month have no problem buying shakes, wraps, pills, and miracle creams without doing research and without any regard for the possible long term damage these things can do to both your wallet and your mental health. If you are constantly on the lookout for something in a bottle to ”fix” you, aren’t you just avoiding looking at what will really impart long term lasting change – your own actions, habits, attitudes and priorities. Aren’t you checking out? Abandoning your true self behind? I really think so and when I get to thinking like that I get sad. So let’s conclude.

If you are one of those people who have been following a healthy diet and moving well for a long time and you are still having trouble with weight loss, look for an expert who can help you. There is a growing number ofย  medical doctors and functional medicine practitioners who will look in depth into your case and find out why you are having a hard time. Buying a bottle of a supplement that has no proven effect in humans and that has possible side effects is only keeping you away from getting to the root of the problem, if you actually have a health problem that diet and exercise will not improve. While someone is making a lot of money on the backs of people who ”want to believe” you are spending more and more time not getting better and possibly getting worse.

So what are you spending your time and money on? Watching TV shows or reading about how to really help yourself? Paying for a supplement company CEOs fourth vacation home or a functional doctor’s student loan? Think about it and make true steps to health! And please let us know what you think about that supplement craze, we like to hear from you!

8 thoughts on “Raspberry ketones – a fat loss miracle or wishful thinking?

  1. Joe Cannon

    Thanks for linking to my website in your review of raspberry ketones. You both have a very interesting website – and I enjoyed the title of your book too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. ute stein

    hi galya, you really speak my mind with that post. ever since i have started occupying myself with fitness and nutrition some decades ago i was amazed by how people will jump on every new “magic pill” that promises wonders in return for next to no effort at all, besides doling out considerable amounts of cash, of course. and how willingly people tend to neglect that small hint about how diet and training will “help” the wonder.


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