Raspberry Ketone

Raspberry ketone, more specifically, 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)butan-2-one, is an organic compound, a phenolic or ketonic compound depending on which end you focus on, present in red raspberries, it’s the main chemical that gives them their distinctive aroma. As such, it is used widely in perfumery, cosmetics, and the food industry, giving products a fruity, raspberry odour. It is present in raspberries only at very low concentration and as such has to be synthesised so that the additive costs about $20,000 per kilogram.

What makes raspberry ketone rather interesting is that it is now at the heart of a fat-loss scam based on the fact that when mice are fed very high doses (up to 2% of their body weight!) Such mice then don’t get fat when given a high-fat diet. The high dose effect is reported to stem from the alteration of lipid metabolism, increasing norepinephrine-induced lipolysis. But, there is no evidence of the effect in people and even if there were you weigh 100kg you would have to eat 2 kilograms of the stuff neat. Or you could try eating raspberries, but given that 1 kg of raspberries can be used to obtain a mere milligram of raspberry ketone, you’d have to eat 2000 tonnes of the fruit…that right?

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This article has been reproduced from Sciencebase Science News. Copyright David Bradley.

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About David Bradley Science Writer

David Bradley has worked in science communication for more than twenty years. After reading chemistry at university, he worked and travelled in the USA, did a stint in a QA/QC lab and then took on a role as a technical editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry. Then, following an extended trip to Australia, he returned and began contributing as a freelance to the likes of New Scientist and various trade magazines. He has been growing his portfolio and and has constructed the Sciencebase Science News and the Sciencetext technology website. He also runs the SciScoop Science Forum which is open to guest contributors on scientific topics.
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