Berry Slimming

Raspberry ketones bring fat-fighting power to healthy weight management.

July/August 2012

by Lisa James


Once regarded by most people as simply a refreshing summer treat, the raspberry has achieved superfruit status over the past several years for its ability to promote optimal well-being. A rich source of fiber, manganese, vitamin C and other nutrients, raspberries contain antioxidant
substances that have been linked to prevention of cancer and an eye condition called macular degeneration, as well as other health benefits.

Scientists have also isolated a family of compounds called berry ketones from the raspberry, substances used in foods, cosmetics and perfumes for their delicately fruit-like aroma. In addition, research indicates that ketones can promote weight control by helping the body burn off excess
fat deposits.

Where Fat Goes

Fat under the skin helps insulate the body against temperature extremes, while that within the abdominal cavity protects vital organs against trauma. But the main function of fat is to serve as an energy reservoir against times when calories are scarce—a situation much more common over previous centuries than it has been for the past hundred years. Besides its lack of visual appeal, too much abdominal fat correlates with increases in such health risks as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic inflammation.

Fat deposits mostly consist of adipocytes, specialized cells that can expand and contract depending on the amount of fat within them. This happens when an enzyme called lipase frees fatty acids from lipoproteins; these acids are then assembled into triglycerides within the fat cells. The process is regulated by the interplay among a number of hormones, such as insulin and leptin.

Breaking It Down

One of the substances that help control the fat buildup-and-breakdown process is the hormone adiponectin, which is secreted from the fat deposits themselves. Higher adiponectin levels in the bloodstream have been linked to lower amounts of body fat, as well as reduced risk of diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and other metabolic disorders.

Korean researchers working with mice have found that berry ketones boost adiponectin production and effectiveness, leading to an increase in fat breakdown, a process known as lipolysis. As a result, adipocytes in the mice accumulated less fat (Planta Medica 10/10).

The Korean study supports an earlier study done in Japan. This research team fed different groups of mice a high-fat diet; some of the groups were also given various levels of berry ketones. Those mice that didn’t receive the compound not only gained abdominal fat but showed greater fat deposits in their livers, a sign of metabolic dysfunction. In contrast, the berry ketone groups didn’t develop body fat and their livers remained healthy (Life Sciences 5/05).

Raspberry ketones do their best work when combined with other natural weight control aids. Some, such as CLA and Coleus forskohlii, also promote fat breakdown. Others, such as sea vegetables and white bean extract, block carb absorption, which helps keep blood sugar on an even keel.

Some aids, such as green tea, guarana and the theobromine found in cacao, increase energy and boost metabolism. And one, Synaptose, helps regulate the brain to cut cravings and allows people to establish a healthier relationship with food.

We already knew that raspberries were good for you. Now it seems they may help you manage your weight naturally as well.

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