Raspberry Ketones? Why, if Two Grande Caffe Americano Could Suffice To Keep Your Belly & Liver Fat Free and Your Heart Healthy, Even on a +40% Hypercaloric Crap Diet?

Image 1: If I had the choice to have a tasty cup of coffee with the beautiful young lady or a couple of overpriced  raspberry ketone caps with Dr. Oz, I would not even need scientific studies to make my choice ;-)
I am a huge fan of innovation, but when the name of the innovation begins with “raspberry” and ends on “ketones”, is pimped by TV doctors and sold on the 24h shopping channels, I can do well without it and better drink another cup of coffee and eat a couple of lycopene-laden tomatoes, whenever I feel the need to prevent hepatic steatosis on an obesogenic diet. I know this may not be as hip as investing 30-50 bucks in an underdosed “scientifically proven” (by exactly two dubious rodent trials, i.e. Miromoto. 2005, Wang. 2012) raspberry ketone supplement, but, on the other hand, it is also half as stupid and probably at least as efficient (Bahcecioglu. 2010; Vitaglione. 2010; Birerdinc. 2011; Molloy. 2011).

And what's more, picking cafeine over raspberry ketones would not only protect me and my virility from potential anti-androgenic effects of the latest nutraceutical rip-off (Ogawa. 2010), it could, according to a recently published study from the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, also help me to stay lean by simply blocking fatty acid synthase (FAS) in my adipose tissue (Panchal. 2012).

Caffeine? how boring is that!?

Contrary to the, as of late, often-cited study by Wang et al. on raspberry ketones (Wang. 2012), which is by the way one out of two peer-reviewed in vivo studies (the other one is Morimoto. 2005) to support the claim that raspberry ketones do anything, when they are not administered in unrealistic amounts to cells in a petri dish, Panchal et al. did not just measure a couple of serum markers, but investigated a host of metabolic parameters and structure and function of the heart and the liver of their 6-8 week old male Wistar rats that had been randomly assigned to what you might jokingly call the “pest or cholera” diets for 16 weeks: Corn starch diet (control), corn starch diet plus caffeine (CC), high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (H), or high-carbohydrate high-fat diet plus caffeine (caffeine supplementation with 0.5g per kg chow took place only in the last 8 weeks of the 16-week study period).
Figure 1: Final body weight and body composition after 8 weeks without and another 8 weeks with caffeine supplementation (based on Panchal. 2012)
If we assume that the cornstarch only diet is pest and the high fat high carbohydrate diet is cholera, the data in figure 1 clearly indicates that 28.1mg/kg body weight caffeine ARE sufficient to reverse the effects of the pest and that 47.9mg/kg body weight caffeine are potent enough to survive any cholera epidemic; or put straight, the rodents on the
  • standard cornstarch diet, which consumed 28.1mg caffeine per kg body weight (~360mg for a human being) per day, were leaner than their peers in the “control” group and that despite a 20% increase in energy intake
  • high carbohydrate + high fat diet, which consumed 47.9mg caffeine per kg body weight (~612mg for a human) per day, were about as lean as the rodents on the standard diet and that despite a 40% higher energy intake (3% more than their peers in the high carbohydrate high fat diet without caffeine supplementation)
I guess none of you but maybe a few less educated minds could now reply: "Whatever... Dr. Oz said raspberry ketones are healthy; and everyone knows caffeine is not!" So, is this another case where Dr. Oz was at least partially right (cf. "Every Dog Has His Day: Dr. Oz Was Right, Exercise Does Not Just Make You Hungry, But Reduces Energy Intake!")? The increased glucose clearance and the reduction in visceral fat pad weight do speak a different language (cf. figure 2):
Figure 2: Parameters related to glucose and lipid metablism as well as visceral fat depot weight expressed relative to the non-supplemented rodents in the cornstarch control level (based on Panchal. 2012)
The same goes for the cardiovascular and liver parameters who give a damn about the increases in total cholesterol, free fatty acid and triglyceride levels, if those are the result of increased lipolysis (release of fattty acids from aidpose tissue), decreased fatty acid deposition in adipose tissue and an overall increase in metabolic rate, which is a long-established consequence of methylxanthine (=caffeine) intake in rodents and human beings (Bracco. 1995):
"[...] there was removal of fat from the abdominal area, and this fat was not transported to the
other fat-storing areas, including subcutaneous fat [...] The increase in plasma lipid components, especially NEFA, reflects the removal of fat from the abdomen [...with] the excess plasma
lipids are being metabolized rather than stored in the organs [...]" (Panchal. 2012)
The fact that the fat is simply "burned off" also explains that the increased non-esterified fatty acid concentrations, scientists usually associate with cardiovascular dysfunction and hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) did not lead to any of these complications in the study at hand. On the contrary, ...
[...] despite much higher plasma concentrations of NEFA in the caffeine-supplemented rats [..t]hese rats showed decreased infiltration of inflammatory cells, decreased collagen deposition, and decreased diastolic stiffness in the left ventricle, attenuation of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis [...]
Now, the question still remains: Why, are not all Starbucks customers lean then? The answer is pretty simple and "visualized" in image 2, it carries names such as "Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha" contains the sugar equivalent of 8½ scoops Edy’s Slow Churned Rich and Creamy Coffee Ice Cream and is "America's Worst Espresso Drink" - at least according to foodfacts.com. And while you can easily make it worse by adding some caramel syrup or junk, the average normal weight woman (if those still exist today) would almost get the +40% caloric intake the rodents in the high fat high carbohydrate diet consumed from that one "coffee" alone!

2-3 cups of black coffee would suffice!

Image 2: Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream, 660kcal, sugar equivalent: 8½ scoops Edy’s Slow Churned Rich and Creamy Coffee Ice Cream (foodfacts.com)
If you pass those diabolic sugar bombs and pick up one Grande Caffe Americano (225mg caffeine per serving) in the AM and another one in the afternoon or before your workout (cf. "Pre-Workout Caffeine: Fat Liberator, Substrate Modulator, Trans-Fatty Acid Eliminator & Performance Upregulator!"), make sure to get your 20g+ of protein with every meal and refrain from drinking 100 bottle of Pinot Noir every day, to make sure to  get your share of fat-burning, strength building and endurance enhancing resveratrol (cf. "Resveratrol from 100l of 1994 Pinot Noir Could Increase Fat Oxidation by 71%, Strength by 18-58% and Endurance by 20%"), your liver, heart and metabolic health will thank you for that. Your belly and the raspberry ketone producers and snake oil vendors, on the other hand, will probably be offended - but I guess, you can live with that, right?

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