It’s January, which can only mean one thing – the entire nation, comatose after overdosing on turkey and mince pies, vows to stop drinking/give up chocolate/finally get fit.
But if that sounds a little too much like hard work, don’t worry – there’s a brand new get-slim-quick fix on the market, and it’s based on the humble raspberry.
Raspberry ketones are fragrant compounds that occur naturally in raspberries and a number of other fruits.
They’re normally used to give a fruity smell to cosmetics and foodstuffs but, because you only get between one and four milligrams from every kilo of fresh fruit, a synthetic version is often used to get the same result. And now these ketones are being sold online, in supplement form, as a slimming aid.
The key lies in the fact that raspberry ketones appear to boost levels of a hormone called adiponectin, which regulates metabolism. Higher levels of this hormone are associated with fewer fat stores.
Millions of Americans have become convinced of their powers to ‘melt’ away fat after they were recommended by Dr Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
He says raspberry ketones are ‘the number-one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat’.
So do they really work? Ann Ashworth, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, urges caution, pointing out the only published research into the effects of raspberry ketones on weight loss is small studies on mice.
‘Although this sounds very exciting, this evidence cannot be transferred to humans without further clinical trials,’ she says.
‘We need to know if it’s safe, if there are side-effects, or if it interacts with other medicines.’
Consultant nutritionist Helen Bond agrees. ‘People want a quick fix, especially at this time of the year, but when it comes to weight loss, no supplement can take the place of a healthy diet and exercise,’ she says.
‘It is not very glamorous but it will save you quite a few pennies along the way and will help you keep the weight off in the long term.’