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A raspberry contains 200 molecules that contribute to its distinct raspberry flavor. One of those, raspberry ketone, was singled out by food manufacturers decades ago for its potent smell. Berry-flavored candy, soaps and candles made today likely use raspberry ketone. More recently, the raspberry ketone garnered public attention again, but this time as a purported weight-loss aid.
Raspberry ketone is actually found in cranberries, blackberries as well as red raspberries, or the species Rosaceae Rubus idaeus L. Red raspberries are native to Europe, Northern Africa and Central Asia. They have essential nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamins A, E and C. Only trace amounts of raspberry ketone are found in the fruit, so berry-flavored foods typically use raspberry ketone produced in a lab.
Around 2010, scientists noticed that raspberry ketone had a similar molecular structure to capsaicin, which is the chemical responsible for the heat in chili peppers. Preliminary studies also suggested that capsaicin prevents weight gain. In light of these findings, scientists ran studies in mice and on human tissue to see if raspberry ketone also influences weight gain.