The ketogenic diet is increasingly becoming a very popular method for achieving rapid, ultra-low body fat levels with utmost muscle retention (1). It is an act of deceiving the body into using the body fat as its main source of energy instead of carbohydrates.
Keto diets offer extremely fast weight loss with better muscle retention compared to carbohydrate or high protein diets.
Understanding the Exogenous Ketones
You must’ve known what ketones are and how they are produced. Are exogenous ketones the same? These are similar to the ketones your liver produces when you burn fat, except that they are ingested through a nutritional supplement. The ones produced inside your body are termed as "endogenous ketones". If you think you’re not producing enough ketones, try considering exogenous ketones because they provide you an instant supply of ketones and raise your blood ketone level (2).
What Happens When You Use Exogenous Ketones
Besides the effective weight loss benefit, there are some other advantages you may also know, such as enhancement of athletic performance, cancer prevention, improvement of cognitive skills, and anti-inflammation properties (1, 3, 4).
Exogenous ketones are efficient in suppressing hunger and overall food intake (2). As a result, weight gain is reduced. If these exogenous ketones become excessive in blood, they are filtered out instead of converted into fat tissues. Moreover, these are more tolerable than MCT oils. A mixture of exogenous ketones and MCT oil can be effective in reducing body weight.
According to research, exogenous ketones enhance athletic performance for many reasons (5). These ketones when ingested stimulate acute ketosis, which mimics starvation and lasts for many hours (6). They also elevate the blood ketone level without depleting muscle glycogen reserve, and hence preventing unsustainable physical performance. The athletes who are adapted to a fatty diet are known to have high glycogen reserves than previously believed and interestingly, they can refill their muscle strength as efficiently as the athletes running on carb diets.
Since the brain favors fat for fuel than glucose, elevated ketone levels improve cognitive skills and growth (7). Generally, glucose could’ve been used, but it’s just not as efficient as fat.
Exogenous ketones also aid in survival as they cannot be utilized by the cancer cells, which makes them an anti-carcinogen (8).
They not only protect your brains from neuronal disorders associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease (9), but also have anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Use Exogenous Ketones for Fast Weight Loss
Now that you’ve learned how essential exogenous ketones can be, it’s about time you should know how you can use exogenous ketones to lose weight faster than ever before.
Step 1: Set your weight loss goals. Before you do anything else, decide about how much weight you’d want to lose. Once decided, move on to step two.
Step 2: Make a plan. Oh no, it isn’t just your diet plan; by planning, I mean that you should plan your diet along with the intensity of exercise you need. Plus, you’ll also need to track your macros to keep a record of how you’re doing.
Step 3: Use exogenous ketones as a tool. Known by their high and rapid ketone production, exogenous ketones can be used to go into ketosis – fast and furious.
Step 4: Track your progress. From the moment you get into ketosis, take photos, measure your weight, and take body fat tests or body measurements to make sure you’ve lost some weight. Keep that progress up and you’ll notice some changes soon.
Step 5: If you see little to no difference, don’t worry. Make adjustments in your diet plan, exercise intensity and duration, and exogenous ketone intake to improve weight loss or ketone levels.
The idea behind keto diet is to get the body into a state of ketosis. If you are fit and eating a well-balanced diet, your body will control the amount of fat it expends, and usually, you do not use or produce ketones. However, when you reduce your carbs or calories, your body switches over to running primarily on ketones for energy.
At this time:
The body fat breakdown is considerably increased (10)
Muscle loss is substantially reduced (6)
Energy levels are maintained in a high and stable state (5)
Water retention is eliminated
Starting the Keto Diet
When you start with the keto diet, there is a tendency for your body to go through several changes. But after about 48 hours of starting the diet, the body would have been used to the new system and begins to use ketones in order to use the energy stored in fat cells more competently. This is why it is not a problem, during ketosis, to eat food that is rich in fat. This way, the body will begin to lose fat fast. Any excess ketones in the body are passed out in the urine (11). Additionally, the loss of muscle tissue is reduced, since most food consumed during ketosis is also rich in proteins that are good for your muscles.
Furthermore, one important thing about ketones is that it cannot be transformed back into fatty acids. Ketogenic diets offer a host of unique benefits that cannot be ignored if you are chasing the ultimate, low body fat figure or physique.
Exogenous Ketones for Weight Loss
Exogenous ketones are ketones which can not be found in the body. These ketones must be obtained by outside sources such as supplements, meal replacements, vitamins, etc.
These should be used only as an aid to boost your ketone levels quicker to kickstart rapid weight loss. However, these should not be used as a complete approach to keto dieting.
You must still track your macros, restrict your carbohydrate intake, and eat plenty of fat.
(1) Chang, C.-K., Borer, K. & Lin, P.-J. (2017). Low-Carbohydrate-High-Fat Diet: Can it Help Exercise Performance? Journal of Human Kinetics, 56, 81–92. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28469746.
(2) Stubbs, B.J., Cox, P.J., Evans, R.D., Santer, P., Miller, J.J., Faull, O.K., et al. (2017). On the Metabolism of Exogenous Ketones in Humans. Frontiers in Physiology, 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29163194.
(3) Paoli, A., Rubini, A., Volek, J. S., & Grimaldi, K. A. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (Ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(8), 789–796. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2013.116.
(4) Forsythe, C.E., Phinney, S.D., Fernandez, M.L., Quann, E.E., Wood, R.J., Bibus, D.M., et al. (2008). Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating fatty acid composition and markers of inflammation. Lipids, 43, 65–77. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18046594.
(5) Cox, P.J., Kirk, T., Ashmore, T., Willerton, K., Evans, R., Smith, A., et al. (2016) Nutritional Ketosis Alters Fuel Preference and Thereby Endurance Performance in Athletes. Cell Metabolism, 24, 256–268. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27475046.
(6) Cox, P.J. & Clarke, K. (2014) Acute nutritional ketosis: implications for exercise performance and metabolism. Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 3, 17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4212585/.
(7) Murray, A.J., Knight, N.S., Cole, M.A., Cochlin, L.E., Carter, E., Tchabanenko, K., et al. (2016). Novel ketone diet enhances physical and cognitive performance. The FASEB Journal, 30, 4021–4032. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27528626.
(8) Poff, A.M., Ari, C., Arnold, P., Seyfried, T.N. & D’Agostino, D.P. (2014). Ketone supplementation decreases tumor cell viability and prolongs survival of mice with metastatic cancer. International Journal of Cancer, 135, 1711–1720. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235292/.
(9) Hashim, S.A. & VanItallie, T.B. (2014). Ketone body therapy: from the ketogenic diet to the oral administration of ketone ester. Journal of Lipid Research, 55, 1818–1826. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24598140.
(10) Brehm, B.J., Seeley, R.J., Daniels, S.R. & D’Alessio, D.A. (2003) A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88, 1617–1623. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12679447.
(11) Comstock, J.P. & Garber, A.J. (1990) Ketonuria. In Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations (eds H.K. Walker, W.D. Hall & J.W. Hurst), p. , 3rd edition. Butterworths, Boston. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21250091.