Ketones are a hot topic in the fitness and nutrition world right now. They’re a bi-product of fat that’s an alternative fuel source to sugars that’s used by your body when you consume a low carb, high fat diet. Research has shown there’s a number of great benefits of being in ketosis. But, because people (myself and probably you, included), like to get more from doing less, scientists have developed a way to supplement with exogenous ketones. The idea is that you can get the same benefits of eating a low carb, high fat diet without changing your diet. But, is it actually possible to get the same benefits by supplementing with ketones while continuing to eat carbs? In this article, I’ll explore the pros and cons of exogenous ketones to help you find the best approach for your lifestyle.
What are Ketones?
Ketones or ketone bodies are what’s generated when your body breaks down fat to use as fuel because your carbohydrate intake is low. There are three different types of ketones produced when the body’s in ketosis. These are:
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- Acetoacetate (AcAc) – The first ketone that’s created as your body breaks down fatty acids. Will convert into BHB or acetone.
- Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB) – BHB technically isn’t a ketone but is used by your body like one.
- Acetone – Simple side product that breaks down quickly. If it’s not needed for energy, it’ll be removed from the body by waste water or the breath.
What are Exogeneous Ketones?
Exogeneous just means something that originates from OUTSIDE of the body. So, exogeneous ketones are simply ketones that are ingested, instead of being produced by your body.
When it comes to exogeneous ketone supplements, there are two main types:
- Ketone esters – These are a raw BHB ketone that’s not bound to any other compound. As such, ketone esters can be used by your body quite quickly and have the potential to raise your blood ketone levels more than other forms of exogeneous ketone supplements. They often taste not so good and can cause an upset stomach.
- Ketone salts – These are a form of BHB that’s bound to a salt (usually sodium, calcium, magnesium or potassium). They usually taste better than ketone esters and don’t usually cause digestive issues.
The Pros of Exogeneous Ketones
Exogeneous ketones can provide a number of useful benefits including:
- Weight loss – Supplementing with ketones helps your body to become more efficient at burning fat for energy and supresses the appetite, helping with weight loss. Most excess ketones are simply excreted by the body instead of being stored as fat.
- Increased physical performance – Ketones increase endurance by providing a steady source of energy. When supplementing with exogeneous ketones your body has an immediately usable source of lasting energy. If you’re also including more carbs in your diet than you’d normally be consuming on a keto diet, you’ll also have higher glycogen stores to fuel more explosive types of movements.
- Improved cognitive ability – Ketones are a much more efficient source of fuel for the brain. This results in an increase in thought processing, memory formation and recollection. It’s even been suggested that exogeneous ketones may help prevent cognitive decline from aging and related conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Potential protection from cancer – Although research into the effects of exogeneous ketones on cancer cells is in its early stages, ketone supplementation in mice has been shown to improve cancer survival rates. This is thought to be because cancer cells can’t use ketones like the rest of the body can – thus the cancer cells starve a die.
- Gets you into ketosis faster – It takes at least 2-3 days on a low carb, high fat diet to deplete your glycogen stores enough to kick-start ketosis. However, taking exogeneous ketones are instantly taken up by your body so their effects can be felt sooner.
- Allows you to enjoy a more flexible diet – If you feel like having a cheat meal on a keto diet, it’ll take you those 2-3 days to get back into ketosis again. So, taking exogeneous ketones allows you to make room for when life happens!
The Cons of Exogeneous Ketones
As with any supplement, there are potential downsides. These include:
- Potential gastro-intestinal discomfort – Some exogeneous ketones (especially when taken in high doses), can cause GI discomfort. Ease into Keto supps over a few days.
- Bad breath – Acetone causes a normal but sometimes unpleasant smell on the breath. When taking exogeneous ketones, this won’t last like it does on a ketogenic diet. You might want to chew on gum or mints if it bothers you.
- Electrolyte imbalance – Being in ketosis is naturally diuretic. When you’re not used to it from consistently consuming a low carb diet, exogeneous ketones can cause electrolyte deficiencies and/or dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of water with an electrolyte solution if needed.
- It’s not teaching your body to use fat – After taking exogeneous supplements your body temporarily runs in a state of ketosis. But, it’s not helping your body to adapt to consistently burn fat around the clock so the benefits only last for as long as you supplement.
Ideally, you would start on suppliments, and ease up on the carbs, finding a happy medium between a sustainable diet and decent results.
- It’s easy to undo the weight loss benefits – Supplementing with ketones doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want and lose weight. If you’re still eating way to many calories and not providing your body with the nutrition it needs, weight loss probably won’t happen.
Aske me for a holistic approach to weight loss with out exercise or dieting.
Supplementing with Exogeneous Ketones
Supplementing with exogeneous ketones do provide benefits similar to those you’d experience on a true ketogenic diet. But, it’s almost like putting a band-aid over the real problem. Without changing what you’re using to fuel your body, how can you expect your body to respond the exact same way?
However, in saying that, exogeneous ketones are a great option for a lot of us!
Carbs are usually a well-ingrained part of our lives. Meals are planned around potatoes, bread, rice or pasta and socialising over a couple of beers and a pizza is a normal way to have a good time.
Ketogenic diets can be restrictive.
So, for those of us who find it hard to stick to a keto diet or don’t want to go that low carb, exogeneous ketones are a great way to still reap a lot of the benefits.
If you’re looking for a great exogeneous ketone supplement, I’d recommend Keto OS. Similar to a protein shake, all you do is mix the supplement with water and drink. It’s also got a unique blend of BHB ketones and amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to help you build muscle and strength while losing weight. To try it, get in touch with me today.
Weight Loss Specialist
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