Are Raspberry Ketones Effective?

When a bodybuilder is getting deep into competition prep, every small step contributes to body fat reduction before a big show. At extreme caloric deficits, it’s common for athletes to turn to fat-burning supplements to help achieve their goals. A supplement commonly marketed for weight loss is raspberry ketones. But are raspberry ketones effective? Let’s find out.

What are Raspberry Ketones?

Raspberry ketones have been a noteworthy ingredient among fat-burning supplements for decades. A raspberry ketone is a phenolic compound found in raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries. Besides its reported weight loss benefits, it is also the source of the berries’ aroma, so it can also be found in perfumes and cosmetics for an added berry scent.

As a nutritional supplement, companies claim that raspberry ketones make it easier for the body to break down fat. You can find this ingredient mixed in over-the-counter fat burners, pre-workouts, and as a standalone supplement.

Are There Benefits of Raspberry Ketones?

One study conducted in 2010 showed that using raspberry ketones helped dissolve fat tissue quicker than in their control group. Additionally, raspberry ketones increased the amount of adiponectin (a hormone that increases metabolism) in the tissue. [1]

That all sounds great, so what is the problem with this research? It was conducted on fat tissue gathered from mice and placed in test tubes. Ideally, this would mean it could be reproduced in humans as well. But that hasn’t been the case. So far, no similar results have been found in live human trials.

The main source for these claims is how similarly the body processes raspberry ketones and capsaicin (the compound in chili peppers that make them spicy). Both increase heat in the body, which can positively impact the metabolism.

Do Raspberry Ketones Help with Weight Loss?

Despite their prevalence on the market, raspberry ketones are unlikely to assist an athlete with any significant weight loss. The benefits claimed, like making fat easier to break down and increasing metabolism, can be found through other simple lifestyle changes. 

Get ample rest, eat well-balanced and nutritious meals, and combine strength training with regular cardiovascular exercise.

Side Effects of Raspberry Ketones

One of the reasons that raspberry ketones are so prevalent is most people can use them safely with little to no side effects. 

That said, they behave similarly to other stimulants, so look out for side effects like jitteriness, increased heart rate, or anxiety.  

You should also note that there are (so far) no long-term studies available tracking if these side effects worsen over time, so proceed with caution.

Do Raspberry Ketones Work?

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that adding raspberry ketones to a supplement protocol will make any noticeable difference for an athlete. 

Raspberry ketones are most likely to appeal to those looking for something less stimulating than caffeine. In that case, consider adding more capsaicin to your diet. This can have a similarly mild effect on the body’s metabolism, like the claims surrounding raspberry ketones. 

If the appeal is a simple addition to a supplement stack to aid in fat loss, that will be harder to find. Instead, consider looking at energy-boosting supplements. Supplements that boost energy can help when eating at a caloric deficit. Also, consider increasing your daily fiber intake, which can help you feel full longer between meals and curb the urge to snack.

What Supplements Should You Take for Weight Loss?

Research has shown that most supplements with weight loss claims have inconclusive evidence. Reducing calories, increasing activity, and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is the best option for weight loss. 

Another commonly overlooked building block to weight loss is getting good quality rest. Good sleep reduces your cortisol levels (which positively impacts the metabolism), empowers you to get better workouts, and helps you prioritize good decision-making with meal choices. Many experts say sleep quality is equally as important as exercise when it comes to fat loss. [2]

While they won’t help directly with fat burning or weight loss, some helpful supplements during a cut are:

  • Whey or other protein supplements (like a plant-based pea protein) – The increased protein in your diet will help you stay full longer and improve your body’s ability to recover after a workout.
  • Vitamin B – B vitamins can naturally support energy levels, which can be crucial for those that are dieting for extended periods.
  • Vitamin D – Research shows a possible link between vitamin D and weight loss, as it can help with hormone regulation.
  • Multivitamin – A good quality multivitamin will fill in nutritional gaps, which can help fight the urge to snack throughout the day. 
  • CLA – CLA supplements are often used for fat loss, with much more research backing them.

Conclusion

In summary, raspberry ketones are unlikely to have any substantial effects. When focused on fat burning, the uncomfortable truth remains the same: no magic ingredient will melt fat off the body. Instead, the focus should remain on supportive measures to help each athlete more perfectly adhere to their training and diet protocols.

  1. KS;, P. Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Planta medica Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20425690/. (Accessed: 21st December 2022) 
  2. Does sleep affect weight loss? how it works. WebMD Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diet/sleep-and-weight-loss. (Accessed: 21st December 2022) 
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Pierce Reiten
Pierce Reiten

Pierce Reiten is an NASM certified personal trainer with over a decade of experience in the gym. He's passionate about providing information to help you improve your fitness and life.

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