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T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
The Media's Empty Promises

Most of you have heard about raspberry ketones right? Or you’ve been told that vitamins are necessary supplements for health that can make up for questionable food choices? What about taking oils to get Omega-3s or following a Paleo, South Beach, Weight Watchers, etc. diet plan? There is an abundance of information broadcast every day by various media outlets and not only is it confusing and contradictory, but it’s probably depleting your health and making you heavier in the long run.

Let’s look at how raspberry ketones have been advertised. Dr. Oz called them a “miracle in a bottle” on his daytime talk show. Yikes! A MIRACLE? Seriously? Now let’s consider that the average viewer of the Dr. Oz show has a basic trust in his information because he is a doctor. In his segment (available here to watch), Dr. Oz speaks with a “weight loss expert” (no credentials shared) who claims there are “no side effects.” That statement alone is deceiving because there have not been any human studies to confirm that there are no side effects to taking the ketone pills.

They then proceed with a visual of putting balloons in liquid nitrogen to show them shrivel and then take them out to show them expand again. The claim is that the ketones make your fat cells shrivel, but when you don’t have the ketones to regulate adiponectin, the fat cells will become larger again. So they essentially show that the ketones aren’t really getting to the root of the problem and then they follow with an overwhelming comparison of needing to eat 90 pounds of raspberries to match what you get in the pills. This comparison will, of course, convince people that taking a pill is easier and, since Dr. Oz is a doctor, he must know that these are safe right?

The reality is, there have been no studies that confirm the claims that raspberry ketones improve weight loss in humans. WebMD notes:

“Raspberry ketone is a chemical from red raspberries that is thought to help for weight loss. Some research in animals or in test tubes shows that it might increase some measures of metabolism. It might also affect a hormone in the body called adiponectin. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is no reliable scientific evidence that it improves weight loss when taken by people.”

And they further clarify under the Side Effects section that “There isn’t enough information available to know if raspberry ketone is safe to take as a supplement.”

Registered Dietitian, Becky Hand, wrote this article for Huffington Post’s Healthy Living blog in which she strongly urges people to be wary of the claims and asks “Before making health and weight-loss claims about a supplement, don’t you think we should have some double-blind studies involving real humans showing actual results with specific amounts of the supplement and assuring safety for the person?”

Now this is just one specific product being advertised and yet another magical pill that will make you lose weight while you continue down a destructive nutrition path. Consider how many of these types of claims you experience daily on TV, on the internet, print ads in magazines or newspapers, on the radio and in even in your email box. How many of those supplements, diets and products are just marketing magic? The truth is, most (if not all) of them. Nutrition is complex and reductionist solutions do not respect the complexities. Give your body a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day and it will work the real magic of taking what it needs and using different nutrients to balance each other. If you fuel your body properly or poorly, it will respond accordingly. The choice is yours…

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