There is no denying that ketones and the ketogenic diet are all the rave right now across fitness forums and the rest of the world.
This goes doubly true for those on a ketogenic diet and those who are looking to key in on the fat-burning benefits of ketosis.
But, what are these “ketones” that everyone seems nuts over right now? Is there any truth to the huge fat-burning benefits they can supposedly bring?
Furthermore, what are the advantages of working with “exogenous ketones,” and where, exactly, do the fit in with all of this? Below we’ll take a more detailed look at some of the key components of the ketogenic diet, and why so many people are utilizing supplements like exogenous ketones to help them with the process.
What Are Exogenous Ketones?
Let’s start with an easy one! Exogenous ketones are a hot new product fresh on the health and fitness market that can be used for various applications related to the process of ketosis, which is most often associated with the ketogenic diet.
From enhancing physical performance, burning fat as well as reducing the symptoms of ketosis the benefits of supplementing with ketones numerous.
We’ve detailed a couple of good ketone supplements here on TheDietDynamo.com – KetoCaNa, and KetoForce, so if you’re looking for two reputable products, I would start there.
But wait, what is Ketosis?
For those who are new to the subject, ketosis is a natural metabolic state where the body prefers to use ketones as a fuel rather than the regular glucose which is transformed from carb intake.
This metabolic state (learn more about it here) can be especially effective in reaching your fitness goals, helping burn fat, and building that lean, muscular look so many of us are striving for.
You should know that there are different ketones produced by the body in the absence of carbohydrates to make glucose, which is often stored in fats. Nevertheless, there are also ways to get ketones from exterior sources as well, these are called exogenous ketones.
There are three types of ketones the body can use to create fuel for muscle energy. These are acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetoacetate.
Beta-hydroxybutyrate is the most common ketone manufactured for exogenous ketones as it is the most easily to assimilate of the three.
Types of Exogenous Ketones
Ketone Esters are ketones in their raw form, such as Beta-hydroxybutyrate, which are not bound to any other compounds and are therefore free flowing.
These have a potentially beneficial faster way of working and have a generally better effect on increasing ketone levels in the blood since the body doesn’t have to extract beta-hydroxybutyrate from any other compound.
There is a drawback, though, most people who have tried ketone esters have found they bear a severely disagreeable taste. Furthermore, gastric distress can be a common complaint as well.
Another pópular form of exogenous ketones are supplements that come in the form of ketone salts. This is where the specific ketone, most commonly beta-hydroxybutyrate, is bound into a salt such as magnesium, calcium, sodium or potassium.
While exogenous ketones in the form of salts may not have the dramatic ketone raising effects of esters, the taste they provide is considerably more agreeable. For the vast majority of users, this is the ketone to use.
Medium chain triglyceride, also called MCT (learn more about MCT here), as well as a few other smaller chain fats, can be used to increase ketone levels in the blood through an indirect route.
Unlike BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) which can be used immediately by the body, MCT has to be taken to the cells where they are broken down. Ketones are produced as a by-product.
MCT is also a fairly dense oil and is not the best solution for those looking to keep calorie counts low and burn fats. It also lacks the ketone raising capacity of other exogenous ketones.
Why Do People Use Ketones?
There may be times and situations where committing to the full ketogenic diet is not feasible.
The diet plan itself is very rigid and can be difficult to produce the required effects without a full focus to the task.
Some people may experience a severe lack of energy from the diet and exogenous ketones can be used to improve benefits between meals.
If you lead a very athletic life, you need a good source of carbs to give you the energy to perform well in your day and exercise routines.
The full benefits of a ketogenic diet may very difficult to produce. You need the carbs to give you energy yet you also want the longer lasting effects provided by ketones. This is where ketogenic supplementation can be very effective.
When to Take Them
Burning fat is probably the most popular reason that people want to get into ketosis. While taking exogenous ketones will not suddenly drop your extra pounds, it will help you to enter ketosis more quickly, and it makes the transition go more smoothly.
Taking the extra ketones will tell your body it is time to use this form of energy and this boosts the process. Once you have completed your supplementation, your body will begin creating its own ketones to keep up the energy trends.
If you’re following the ketogenic diet correctly, you should be able to get into ketosis without needing the help of exogenous ketones, but if you’re struggling at all, they are one thing that may be able to help push you over the edge.
I completed the ketogenic diet recently, and I never used these supplements. I was able to hit ketosis by keeping my carbs at about 20 grams per day, eliminating sugar, and eating plenty of proteins and fats, but there are still some cases when you may benefit from the extra boost that exogenous ketones can give.
Finally, if you are a normally active person looking to gain the benefits of a ketogenic diet but feel the urge to eat certain foods that can offset your ketogenic process.
This is where a little supplementation can save your diet plan and keep you on course. If you consume excessive carbs and proteins you can take a few supplements rather than adjusting your diet plan for the next few days.
KetoForce and KetoCaNa (checkout KetoCaNA here) are two reputable supplements that can help with the process of ketosis.