I’m not a regular Dr. Oz viewer or fan, but after seeing a ton of pop-ups and the tagline “As seen on Dr. Oz” I started to wonder why was everyone getting so excited about raspberry ketones for weight loss (including Dr. Oz!). In this latest “Myth or Not” post, let’s try to figure out if this is the real deal or weight loss fad #1,332,654.

Weight loss: I’ve been there, you’ve been there – why it’s such a problem

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in which case you aren’t a likely regular reader), we’ve got a problem with people trying to lose weight. Here’s a replay of a recent Dr. Oz segment on raspberry ketones:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8_dmmkvPkw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

When faced with a promise of rapid weight loss from a pill, versus taking months or YEARS of hard work and sacrifice with no guarantee it will work, its a difficult choice to make for many. New moms in particular are an interesting group because they have immediate and real need to lose weight after baby arrives. Permanent or long-term weight gain can be a consequence after having a new baby so there’s a real issue.

Raspberry ketones – what are they and why do people think they’re good for weight loss?

Bottom line – raspberry ketones are what makes raspberries smell like raspberries: they are aromatic chemicals. From a chemical perspective, they look very similar to things like capsaicin. If you’ve seen some of the other “Myth or Not” posts here then you know I rely on scientific data to try to form an opinion on supplements. So off to Pubmed we go! First glance, very FEW references there. Not a good sign, but maybe I’m not looking with the right terms. I went back to Dr. Oz’s site and found a link summarizing scientific articles on raspberry ketones. Unfortunately, many of the references are kind of old, were conducted in rats (not people), and were for other agents like capsaicin.

Why raspberry ketones are thought to be good for weight loss – because they are believed to stimulate production of the protein adiponectin. Now some research has shown that increases in adiponectin are associated with weight loss. the issue that I have is that people seem to be confusing CORRELATION with CAUSATION. in other words did adiponectin increase BECAUSE OF the weight loss, or did weight loss CAUSE adiponectin to increase? Kind of a subtle but important distinction.

Drum roll…..Raspberry Ketones for weight loss = MYTH (or at least unproven)

So, there’s very little scientific data and people who’ve taken it (at least in Dr. Oz’s world) also dieted and exercised. Not prepared to say it absolutely DOESN’T WORK, but sure not jumping on the bandwagon. If you’re considering using these, please talk to your doctor first and be careful. If you’ve already tried it, I’d love to hear about your experience – worth it or not?

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