The ketogenic diet and the many ways it benefits the body is a hot topic at Konscious Keto and in the health and wellness community, as of recent. Understandably so; the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet make it a formidable dietary plan for anyone looking to lose weight and improve overall well-being—here's how!
What is Ketosis?
A ketogenic diet is one that requires followers to reduce the consumption of sugars or refined carbohydrates drastically—essentially limiting or eliminating any foods that will spike glucose and impair insulin regulation.
When we significantly restrict the intake of donuts and french fries, we deplete our glycogen stores—our typical energy source—and our bodies, being the brilliant machines they are, automatically seek out alternate fuel to support optimal function of the body and brain.
In the absence of large amounts of glucose for fuel, the body shifts into an alternative metabolic mode and begins to run on fat, and the ketone bodies produced by that fat, as a primary source of energy.
Also, our bodies naturally produce metabolic ketones—known as endogenous ketones—and there are quality ketone supplements available, like Keto Activate, that we can use to deepen our levels of ketosis.
Ketones can even help us quickly return to nutritional ketosis after a few too many fruity cocktails during Happy Hour, after work with the girls.
Types of Exogenous Ketones
There are three primary types of exogenous ketones—"exogenous" literally meaning produced outside of the body. The essential ketones the body runs on are acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone.
Of the noted ketone bodies, beta-hydroxybutyrate (or BHB) is the active form that is most easily used by our body tissues—making it the one most commonly utilized in supplements.
Ketone esters are the unaltered, raw ketone—unbound to any other compound. Of the various exogenous ketone forms, the body can use esters for fuel a bit quicker than its contemporaries.
Also, esters appear to have the best effect at increasing blood ketone levels as your body doesn’t have to use the BHB from any other compound.
But, despite this ketone's benefits, there are some trade-offs. For one, many describe the taste of esters as barely palatable, and two, some experience gastric distress when consuming the supplement.
Ketones in this form, most commonly BHBs, are delivered to consumers attached to a salt, usually either sodium, calcium, magnesium or potassium.
Again, as is the case with esters, there's a bit of giving and taking with this form of ketones. While the taste of ketone salts tends to be considerably milder and more tolerable than ketone esters, they are also less potent and will not elevate ketone levels as significantly as ketone esters.
Even with its lesser impact on ketone level production, ketone salts are still a viable exogenous ketone as every nudge in the direction of deepening ketosis matters, and this form of ketones is less likely to have you running to the bathroom in gastric distress.
Possibly the most commonly-used exogenous ketone, medium-chain-triglyceride or MCT oils (e.g., coconut, palm-derived oil) are highly accessible forms of exogenous ketones.
Also, MCT oil is handy on a ketogenic diet because it's easy to swirl into some keto coffee or a low-glycemic smoothie for an added boost of energy and mental clarity, even on-the-go.
MCTs are excellent conveyors of premium energy that's easy for our bodies to assimilate and use to maintain premium performance.
Also, MCTs are versatile as they are available in both oil and even powder form, easily located at most local markets—a fantastic means of elevating your ketone levels and depths of metabolic ketosis throughout the day.
Why Exogenous Ketones?
We all want to sleep a full eight hours each night, exercise at least three times a week, and eat a pristine meal plan each day while following a ketogenic diet, but life is rarely so perfect for most—it's messy, and we're all out here figuring things out, as best we can.
While we advise a diet filled with fresh-water fish and seafood, healthy oils, and premium fatty meats, among other low-glycemic foods, we realize how challenging it can be to adhere entirely to keto every day, especially in the haste of our modern lives filled with late work nights and impromptu drive-thru runs with the kids.
Exogenous ketones are useful to consume on days when your meal plan is coloring a bit outside the lines of your macronutrient targets—a way to loosen your carb macros a bit without compromising ketosis or your fat-loss efforts on a ketogenic diet.
When to Use Exogenous Ketones
Delicious and energy-boosting exogenous ketone supplements, like Keto Activate, can come in handy in a variety of ways to those on a ketogenic diet.
Here are a few instances where it's ideal to use exogenous ketones on a low-carb, high-fat, program—to maximize the diet’s effects:
In general, elevated ketones in the body and deeper levels of ketosis equates to more fat burning. Use a heaping scoop of Keto Activate, or your favorite ketone supplement of choice, to flood the body with fat-torching compounds that provide the body with a boost of added clean energy to boot.
When You Want to Get Into Ketosis Quickly
A decadent dining experience can be supremely delicious but may also pose a compromise to ketosis, if filled with carbs and refined sugars.
Despite the possibility of stifling your weight-loss efforts, we get it; sometimes you want to dive head first into a massive bowl of cheesy nachos.
Here's the thing, go ahead and take a quality exogenous ketone supplement after indulging, to return to metabolic ketosis quickly, despite a little splurge, and you're a lot less likely to compromise ketosis.
To Avoid the Keto Flu
If you've just started eating a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet and you're experiencing headaches, joint pain, and overall irritability, you may have the bug—or the keto flu, that is.
When we reduce our carb intake low enough to trigger the metabolic state of ketosis—where our bodies are running on fat and ketones for fuel—we release increased levels of body fluid, minerals, vitamins, and other essential electrolytes.
It is imperative to stay mindful about replenishing the body with adequate hydration, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals when following keto to prevent the unpleasant symptoms associated with the unpleasant keto flu.
For Endurance Exercise Benefits
A protein bar with higher carb macros may be useful immediately before a sprint, but those who prefer taking long, low-impact hikes in a steady state will fare better if relying on fat for fuel.
A ketogenic diet is especially beneficial to those engaging in endurance activities (e.g., yoga, pilates, swimming, dancing, et al.), as a ketotic state provides us with high levels of steady energy to support elevated, consistent levels of physical performance.
For Mental Productivity
Ketones are a critical tool we can use to maximize brain health and optimize mental cognition and performance—especially when engaging in activities that require significant stamina.
By the way, we consider motherhood a steady-state endurance activity, an Olympic-level sport really, and you can go ahead and get comfortable with the idea, as well.
But seriously, if you’re a super-busy mama juggling to achieve the experiential unicorn that is work-life balance or you're exploring and crisscrossing the globe in search of your next life's adventure, a ketogenic lifestyle can provide the nutrition and increased vitality needed to enjoy life, fully!
When to Supplement with Ketones
Ending our co-dependent relationship with sugar and breaking up with grain-based bread, and other high-glycemic carbs that trigger glucose spikes, is advisable for anyone looking to improve their health and well-being.
Utilizing exogenous ketone supplements, in addition to making lifestyle adjustments that promote increased levels of endogenous ketone production, have a multi-faceted benefit to the body and brain. Aiding in everything from accelerated fat loss to the bolstering of brain agility, supplements can help you power through your days noticeably better than when reliant on glucose.
The thought of something called a ketone could seem off-putting without any previous knowledge of their immense health benefits.
But learning how these beneficial bodies impact the development and maintenance of our brain and body health, reveal an impressive list of bonuses to those following a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.
Add some Keto Activate to your daily meal plan for an energizing pre-workout jolt, along with a hefty serving of MCT oil, or a myriad of other satiating, fatty foods you enjoy that are perfect for anyone looking to shed some stubborn body fat on keto.
The best news to take away from this read is that keto is possible, even for us mere mortals who sometimes fall short of perfection in our efforts to keep it completely keto, all day, every day.
Consider exogenous ketones a secret weapon, or a reset button you can press and restart along your wellness journey, when you stray from your meal plan. Also, be kind to yourself as you work to improve your health, and don't dwell on your unexpected dietary detours for long—look, this is life, so you get to make mistakes.
Still curious about the many benefits of adding exogenous ketones to your low-carb program? Check out our recent article here, to learn seven benefits you need to know about adding BHBs to your wellness plan on keto.
Finally, relax a little and use exogenous ketones as a safeguard you can employ to enjoy the low-carb, high-fat lifestyle without fretting over the macros of every morsel you munch.
- The use of exogenous ketones to improve protein-sparing during experimental starvation. (1988). Clinical Nutrition,7, 41. doi:10.1016/0261-5614(88)90305-6
- Veech, R. L. (2004). The therapeutic implications of ketone bodies: The effects of ketone bodies in pathological conditions: Ketosis, ketogenic diet, redox states, insulin resistance, and mitochondrial metabolism. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids,70(3), 309-319. doi:10.1016/j.plefa.2003.09.007