Question from the Field
Is it safe to use a product with raspberry ketone for weight loss?
Raspberry ketone, touted to be an effective fat-loss and weight-loss supplement, occurs naturally in various red raspberries. The raspberry ketone in supplements is probably produced in the laboratory, as it would be too expensive to extract it from real raspberries. FDA recognizes that raspberry ketone as a food additive is “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) to consume in small amounts. However, the long-term effects in humans who consume it as a supplement are unknown. For more information, read HPRC’s InfoReveal on “Raspberry ketone.”
Raspberry ketone is the naturally occurring chemical responsible for the aroma of red raspberries; it also occurs in cranberries and blackberries. The natural abundance of this compound within these berries is very low, and the ketones found in dietary supplements are probably produced synthetically. They are most often used in cosmetics and as a food additive. However, recently it has been marketed as a dietary supplement ingredient. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled raspberry ketone as a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) flavoring substance back in the 1960s, safe to consume in small quantities (less than 2 mg a day).
Raspberry ketone is a supplement touted by various media outlets to be “all natural” and to “shred fat fast” and promote weight loss.
What We Know
The limited number of studies done on cells, mice, rats, and other small animals indicate that raspberry ketone may improve fat metabolism in these subjects. However, to date no studies have been performed with human subjects to test the effects of raspberry ketone on human fat metabolism, and it is not obvious that raspberry ketone’s effects on small animals necessarily mimic those on humans. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to conclude with any confidence that raspberry ketones can control or reduce body fat/weight in humans.
Raspberry ketone has insufficient scientific evidence to support its use as a weight-loss supplement, and the long-term health consequences of raspberry ketone supplementation are unknown. The serving sizes typically found in weight-loss supplements (50–100 mg twice a day) exceed the GRAS threshold of 2 mg a day.
Debrief (Military Relevance)
Raspberry ketone is marketed to “shred fat” and promote weight loss. To date there is not enough evidence to show any significant fat and/or weight loss effects in humans or to demonstrate the safety of raspberry ketone as a supplement. Whether you are active duty or a military family member, HPRC has resources to help you in your efforts to lose weight. See HPRC’s Fighting Weight Strategies for more information.