Raspberry Ketones – Weight loss miracle or just another fad?

The internet is full of people claiming that raspberry ketones have helped them to lose weight. On Instagram alone #raspberryketones has been tagged nearly 27,000 times. All this fuss surely can’t be based on nothing? I looked into the real evidence to see if the claims behind raspberry ketones live up to the hype.

Holland and Barrett have joined in on the raspberry ketone bandwagon
Holland and Barrett have joined in on the raspberry ketone bandwagon

How they work:

Raspberry ketones are the main aromatic compound present in raspberries

The chemical structure of raspberry ketones.
The chemical structure of raspberry ketones.

They are thought to cause weight loss by lipid metabolism and lipolysis (essentially – burning fat). They are also thought to increase weight loss by elevating the levels of adiponectin- which is a hormone that increases fatty acid breakdown.

The evidence:

What makes me sceptical about the claims of raspberry ketones is that the evidence is very limited. There are no human clinical trials providing back up for the thousands of anecdotal claims on the internet, and part of me thinks that some of the success reports are from people promoting the sale of these somewhat pricey supplements.

However, there are some interesting animal model studies that have shown raspberry ketones to increase lipolysis and alter lipid metabolism. The rodents in the studies that were fed raspberry ketones stored less fat and lost weight. This shows promise for its use in humans for weight loss, but a controlled trial on humans needs to be done to see the full effects this would have on people, particularly to see if the supplements work better than actual raspberries and if they have an effect only if combined with a particular diet.


Because there are no studies in humans, this means there isn’t much safety data. I can’t imagine them being dangerous because they are a natural substance, but like any supplement they can be addictive. I think everybody that decides to take raspberry ketones should do so with caution because nobody knows the correct dosage for safe long term use.

My verdict:

I think there really isn’t enough evidence for the claims that raspberry ketones make. Sure, eat some raspberries, that’s always a good shout, but there isn’t enough scientific backup for me to part with my cash for these supplements. As much as I would love to believe all the success stories on the internet, I think a lot of it is a big placebo effect and I’m afraid it could be just another fad!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Till next time,




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