Truth about exogenous ketones: Do they work ?

As the keto diet increases in popularity, we are seeing more and more keto-related products flooding the market. One of the most popular of these is the exogenous ketone supplement, which claims to boost the effects of a keto diet and even give you some of the benefits of keto without restricting carbs.

Let’s First understand What are ketones?

When you restrict carbs (carbohydrates) and consume moderate amounts of protein, the liver begins to convert fat into ketones – small molecules that can be used as fuel when blood sugar is in short supply.Using ketones instead of glucose for fuel is associated with a number of benefits, including appetite control, improved mental performance, more constant energy and increased physical endurance.

What are exogenous ketones?

You may have heard the terms endogenous and exogenous being thrown around in relation to ketone supplements, but what do they actually mean? Well, endogenous ketones are produced naturally inside the body by the liver as a result of restricting carbs and sugar. The word comes from the Greek, endon, which means “within”.But scientists have also discovered a way to administer ketones to people, usually in the form of a drink, meaning that you can take ketones into your body from outside. These are exogenous ketones, which comes from the Greek word exo meaning “outside”.

There are two types of exogenous ketones available in market

  1. Ketone esters : Ketone esters consist of a ketone body combined with a ketone precursor. There are a small number of these available on the market to consumers and there appears to be more robust science in support of their benefits.
  2. Ketones salts : Ketone salts consist of a ketone body combined to a mineral ion, often sodium. There are different types of ketone body, but ketone salts use beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).

Let’s look at the claimed benefits of exogenous ketones supplementation

  • Increased fat burning/ accelerated weight loss
  • Maximized cognition/ improved focus
  • Increased energy
  • Better mood
  • Improvement in athletic performance
  • Appetite suppression
  • Help getting back into ketosis after consuming carbs
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Better sleep

Potential side effects of the exogenous ketones supplements : 

  1. Price :The supplements are expensive – very expensive. 60 servings per month would cost you around 300-400USD.
  2. Secret recipes : Some companies do not disclose full information about the contents of their products, stating instead that theirs is a “proprietary blend”. The trouble with this is that although you know the ingredients of the product, you often don’t know the quantities, and you have no idea how much BHB you are getting for your money.
  3. Lack of science : Although at first glance it seems as though ketone supplements are supported by heaps of fantastic science, a closer look shows that a lot of the scientific articles used on the sites refer to the benefits of endogenous ketones or ketone esters, not ketone salts.
  4. Reported side effects : side effects are more common with ketone salts than ketone esters and include nausea, diarrhea and stomach discomfort.

Take away : Ketone supplements are claimed to put your body into ketosis without having to follow a ketogenic diet. One study found that exogenous ketone supplements may decrease appetite for over four hours when taken in a fasted state, but other research suggests that they may hinder weight loss efforts. Until more research is available, there’s no real support for using ketone supplements as a weight loss aid.

What’s ideal to Follow?

Nutritious keto diet is always recommended for weight loss and to recover from other ailments. When following a ketogenic diet, carbs are typically reduced to 20 to 50 grams per day, though looser versions of the diet exist Fats should replace the majority of cut carbs and deliver approximately 75% of your total calorie intake.Proteins should account for around 10-30% of energy needs, while carbs are usually restricted to 5%.This carb reduction forces your body to rely on fats for its main energy source instead of glucose a process known as ketosis.While in ketosis, your body uses ketones molecules produced in the liver from fats when glucose is limited  as an alternate fuel source.Though fat is often avoided for its high calorie content, research shows that ketogenic diets are significantly more effective at promoting weight loss than low-fat diets Plus, keto diets reduce hunger and increase satiety, which can be particularly helpful when trying to lose weight.

What do we do in Mama keto ?

Switching over to a ketogenic diet can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. We balance all the macronutrients as per your body’s requirement, also ensuring the meals are not monotonous and making it interesting with multi cuisine to suffice the taste palate. We at Mama keto majorly focus on reducing carbs while increasing the fat and protein content of the meals. In order to reach and remain in a state of ketosis, carbs must be restricted.While certain people might only achieve ketosis by eating 20 grams of carbs per day, others may be successful with a much higher carb intake. Generally, the lower your carbohydrate intake, the easier it is to reach and stay in ketosis.This is why sticking to keto-friendly foods and avoiding items rich in carbs is the best way to successfully lose weight on a ketogenic diet.