Raspberry ketone is one of several naturally occurring chemicals in red raspberries that contribute to their aroma. Ketones also occur naturally in other fruits such as cranberries and blackberries, but in smaller amounts. Because the amount of raspberry ketone found naturally is so low, it is also produced in a laboratory (and known synthetically as (4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2 butanone) for use as a flavoring agent in some processed foods such as ice cream. In these small quantities, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies it as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use in foods. Most people likely consume very small amounts (about 1.8 to 3.8 mg) of raspberry ketone on a daily basis from food.
There is no evidence that raspberry ketone is safe or effective as a dietary supplement ingredient for weight loss.
Raspberry ketone is also found in cosmetics and dietary supplements. In fact, raspberry ketone dietary supplements have been touted as a “miracle fat burner in a bottle” and often show up as an ingredient in supplement products marketed for weight loss. Serving sizes on product labels range from 100 to 1,400 mg per day, which is much higher than the amount you would consume from your diet.
What does the latest research say about raspberry ketone?
The latest research on raspberry ketone mostly involves animal and cell cultures. Some studies suggest rodents given large amounts of raspberry ketone had reduced appetite and gained less weight compared to those not given raspberry ketone. However, the amounts given to rodents in these studies were much greater than what you would get from any food source or product on the market. No studies have used such large amounts of raspberry ketones in humans. In fact, the only research that has been done in humans involves combination products (using multiple ingredients along with raspberry ketone), so even if an effect or benefit were reported, you don’t know whether raspberry ketone or another ingredient caused caused the effect.
Can raspberry ketone negatively affect a Military Service Member?
Raspberry ketone is structurally similar to synephrine, phenolphthalein, and ephedra. (Phenolphthalein and ephedra are on the list of DoD-prohibited substances.) Some analyses have shown that products listing raspberry ketone on the label could actually contain one of these prohibited ingredients. If this is the case, one of these prohibited ingredients might register for amphetamines on an initial military urine screening test, but subsequent confirmation testing would be negative.
There is simply not enough research to say that raspberry ketone in dietary supplements is safe. In addition, several adverse events have been reported to FDA regarding the use of products containing raspberry ketone. Military Service Members should use caution, particularly with products containing raspberry ketone in large amounts (100 mg or higher).
Bottom line about raspberry ketones
There is no evidence supporting the use of raspberry ketone dietary supplements to help Military Service Members reach their health goals for weight loss. In addition, there is no evidence that the amounts recommended on dietary supplement products are safe to use.
Updated 1 February 2021