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Ask the Diva: Are Raspberry Ketones Safe?

Raspberry ketones are the newest painless solution to weight loss. Are they just another fad? Nutrition Diva explains.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Are Raspberry Ketones Safe?

Good question! For those who haven’t yet heard of them, raspberry ketones are the latest weight loss fad. 

The evidence on raspberry ketones as a weight loss aid is limited to one or two small studies done in test tubes and on rats, showing that ketones increased fat-burning metabolism. Although anecdotal testimony abounds, no scientific trials have been conducted in humans. Not surprisingly, those hawking raspberry ketones note that they work best when used in conjunction with exercise and a reduced calorie diet. Hmmm.

As for safety, raspberry ketones have been used as a flavoring agent in food manufacturing for years and have GRAS status (generally recognized as safe). Unfortunately, we don’t know very much about the short or long-term effects of using raspberry ketones as a dietary supplement, which involves much higher dosages than are used in food manufacturing.

Chemically, raspberry ketones resemble ephedrine--the stuff that’s kept behind the pharmacist’s counter to prevent its being used to produce methamphetamine.  People with high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, anxiety disorders, or who are pregnant or on asthma medicine are advised to avoid medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.  If you’re in that category, I’d strongly advise that you avoid raspberry ketones as well.

Bottom line: The alleged benefits of raspberry ketones are too small to warrant either the cost or the unknown risks and side effects.

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About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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