Twenty-five years ago, the legendary Cher showed off her toned body and declared, “If it came in a bottle, everyone would look like this.”
Our brains have a hard time accepting this truth. Fat blockers, starch blockers, grapefruit and vinegar haven’t melted the pounds off. Nonetheless, two colorful new “miracles in a bottle” are flying off the shelves: red raspberry ketones and green coffee beans.
Red raspberry ketones are a natural compound that gives raspberries their aroma. They have been used as a food additive and in fragrances. They are being marketed for weight loss on the theory that they stimulate production of adiponectin, a hormone found in fatty tissue that improves the body’s ability to metabolize fat.
Just two animal studies have tested this hypothesis, but only one of them got results, and then at extremely high doses. Although it is an intoxicating aroma, the raspberry-ketone hype does not pass the smell test.
There is more data on caffeine or green coffee bean extract. An article published this year in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity found greater weight loss with green coffee bean extract vs. placebo. However, the study, which was conducted in India, involved only 16 people.
My advice: Forget the red and green “miracles in a bottle” and try a delicious red and green mix-up of kale and beets tossed with chopped shallots and a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon dressing.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.