Exogenous ketones are one type of dietary supplement that seem to be all the rage on the internet, especially within the ketogenic community.
With keto growing in popularity, it’s no surprise more and more companies are looking at this as a new business opportunity.
Are there any hidden dangers in using exogenous ketones? Are they doing what they say they are doing?
Here are some things to consider before spending your hard earned cash on a ketone supplement.
More fuel than you need
On a standard keto diet, the body naturally produces ketones when it is in a metabolic state of ketosis.
This is triggered when the body has burned by storing glycogen and begins to use fat for energy.
Despite the claims, consuming exogenous ketones by itself does not automatically put you into a ketogenic state.
This just means more work for the body as EKs take precedence over most other energy sources.
Yes, that means that ketones can actually put you back in your weight loss goals and stop you from burning fat!
Exogenous ketones are expensive AND profitable
EKs prices vary widely by brand, but it’s not uncommon for each serving to be more than $ 7.
The chemical components such as ketone esters and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) salts are difficult and time consuming to extract in a laboratory.
While this may be true, the products are also extremely profitable, especially when combined with aggressive marketing.
The biggest problems I see with exogenous ketones are the predatory marketing tactics.
Over the years this has grown into a number of exaggerated claims such as:
- A prerequisite for losing weight with keto
- The ability to eat whatever you want and maintain ketosis
- The only way to beat the keto flu
None of the above claims are true.
Beginners often see these supplements as a prerequisite to following keto and that can prevent them from even trying.
Companies that supply exogenous ketones typically operate under a multilevel marketing (MLM) structure, which in itself is a controversial topic.
It’s not uncommon for influencers to stop taking these supplements multiple times a day, often in exchange for free products with no disclosure.
Ask questions and always remember who and which companies are marketing for you.
What can you expect from taking ketone salts and esters?
While the initial claims are often exaggerated, some people find benefits from exogenous ketones.
Most often, increased energy, focus, and less hunger seem to be the greatest improvements.
It is important to note that these effects are also typical when following a standard ketogenic diet.
If you check your blood ketone levels, you will likely see increases in ketones as well.
This does nothing to make the ketogenic diet more effective. It simply means adding more fuel (ketones) to help your body burn out.
Some conditions can be improved with the use of exogenous ketones, such as epilepsy, but more research is needed.
MCT and coconut oil can deliver results similar to exogenous ketones for a much cheaper price.
If you can’t stand eating coconut oil, I highly recommend trying MCT oil powder.
MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) are easily digestible sources of fat that have been shown to aid in weight loss and improve brain function.
As with EKs, MCT side effects also include increases in energy and alertness, improved blood sugar levels, and satiety.
Cons of MCT Oil
Remember, too much MCT oil can cause some negative side effects like nausea and diarrhea.
Because MCT oil is made entirely of fat, it contains a whopping 115 calories per tablespoon.
This can add up quickly if you use MCT oil frequently.
Who Should Use Exogenous Ketones?
As mentioned earlier, there are potential benefits for certain medical conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
EKs can also be helpful for those who do not make efficient ketones naturally and have no overall energy.
I could also see them being used as appetite suppressants, although there are many other cheaper options.
While they can help certain medical conditions, exogenous ketones are a glorified energy drink for most people.
They are not required for a keto diet to be successful.
What do you think about exogenous ketone supplements?