The little red berry may soon become the latest fat-burning food fad. Scientists in Japan have been experimenting with a range of different foods in an attempt to find an alternative to capsaicin, a substance found in red pepper that dissolves fat, and they have hit upon raspberries.
Researchers from the Japanese cosmetics firm Kanebo, working with Ehime University and Kumamoto Prefectural University, found that raspberries are even more effective as fat burners than pungent peppers. In addition, they taste and smell is a great improvement on the red pepper.
"While trying to find a substance which has a similar chemical structure to that of capsaicin which is known to burn fat, we discovered raspberry ketone," said Mariko Hara, a researcher at Kanebo's basic research laboratory in Odawara, on the outskirts of Tokyo.
"The essential oil of raspberries melts human fat more than three times as much as capsaicin," she told Reuters.
Kanebo has created diet pills and adhesive sheet-type plasters containing the slimming raspberry substance and plans to market them in May.
"Through clinical tests, 70 per cent of those tested were found to have lost about one kilogram after taking tablets with raspberry ketone for a week.
After using plasters for about one month, about five per cent of the fat or one millimetre of fat under the area covered by the plaster was found to have disappeared.
We consider this a very new and unique discovery," added Hara.
Further research is required to confirm the Japanese findings but in the meantime a generous bowl of fresh raspberries will certainly do no harm.