La Ketogenic or keto diet is a very poor diet carbohydrates and rich in proteins and fats; not eating carbohydrates for several days puts the body in "ketosis”, A nutritional state characterized by increased ketone bodies in the blood and urine and weight loss.
Although the ketogenic diet can provide benefits in terms of weight loss, it is very difficult to follow it consistently without creating complications for the body.
According to some studies, exogenous ketone supplements can mimic ketosis and increase ketone bodies in the blood without changing the diet, will that really be the case?
What Happens to the Body During Ketosis?
On a standard diet, where all macronutrients they are balanced, the cells of the body rely on glucose for energy; glucose comes from carbohydrates, including sugars and starchy foods like bread and pasta and some vegetables.
Eliminating these food sources causes the cells to seek out another source of energy; fat is used as fuel, which produces ketone bodies when burned in excess and quickly.
Most people experience one state of ketosis during a fast or when making intense physical exertion.
What are exogenous ketones?
Ketone caps can be produced in our body (endogenous) or come from an external synthetic source (exogenous); the ketones present in supplements are, therefore, exogenous ketones.
There are two main forms of ketone supplements:
- ketone salts: are ketones bound to a salt, mainly sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium; they are often found in the form of powder and should be mixed with a liquid;
- ketone esters: they are ketones bound to another compound called an ester and packaged in liquid form.
Both forms of supplementation increase the levels of ketone bodies in the blood, mimicking what happens in ketosis when following a ketogenic diet.
Benefits exogenous ketones
Supplementing with exogenous ketones is believed to have some benefits:
- facilitated weight loss
- reduction of the time to reach the state of ketosis
- decrease unpleasant effects of the clean cut of carbohydrates
- reduction of ketosis symptoms: constipation, headache, halitosis, muscle cramps
- decreased appetite.
Negative aspects of exogenous ketones
The long-term benefits of a ketogenic diet and the use of exogenous ketones have not yet been proven, so ketone supplements cannot be recommended to date.
Among the various negative aspects of their use we have:
- fat breakdown inhibition: when blood ketone levels are too high, the body goes into alarm and produces less, preventing the use of fat as fuel
- ketones contain calories: ketones contain about 4 kcal per gram, like carbohydrates and proteins; depending on how many supplements your body requires to maintain ketosis, there is a risk of no weight loss benefits.
The most reported side effects of using exogenous ketones include:
- stomach upset
- bad aftertaste
- high level of minerals
Have you ever followed a ketogenic diet and used exogenous ketone supplements? Let us know in the comments and remember to follow us on our Telegram channel
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