If you've been keeping up with the latest dieting trends, there's no way you've missed reading about the keto diet. Although its roots go back almost a century, the keto diet has recently emerged as one of the trendiest methods of losing weight. As a result of its massive popularity, a whole industry has sprung up over the years popping out magazines, diet books, DVDs, cookbooks, and now, keto supplements. But if keto is just a method of dieting, what are keto supplements supposed to do? Today we'll be looking at what keto supplements are, what people claim they can do, and whether they're able to help you in your diet regimen.
First off, since not everyone knows exactly what keto is, we'll briefly explain what it is here. The keto diet was originally developed as a technique for treating epileptics, but its use as a way to lose weight has grown significantly. In a nutshell, the keto diet is a way to restrict carbs in order to reach a state called "ketosis," in which your body ceases to burn glucose (sugars broken down from carbs) for energy, and starts to instead metabolize fat cells, breaking them down into power units called "ketones" that can be used for energy. In essence, the idea is to starve your body of carbs to the point where the body goes right to breaking down stored fat for energy. If done right, say promoters of this diet, people are supposed to see quicker fat loss than they would if they'd done a typical calorie restricted diet.
You might be saying "Hey, that just sounds like a low-carb diet!" And you're partly right. While the keto diet has a lot in common with a standard low-carb diet, the difference is the degree of carb restriction: while low carb diets reduce carbs significantly in order to cut out a major source of calories, the keto diet is meant to go to the extreme.
So what is a keto supplement supposed to do, and how does it help? Essentially, keto supplements are meant to do two things: 1) prepare your body for ketosis, and 2) support your body while it's in ketosis.
Keto supplements typically contain some of the following ingredients:
BHB (Beta-hydroxybutyrate): This is a ketone - yes, the energy molecule your body breaks fat cells into during ketosis - but instead of one that your body produces, this one is created outside the body in a lab. Also called an exogenous ketone, BHB is meant to help your body get used to burning ketones for energy, and increase your energy levels to offset the exhaustion and fatigue that can come with entering into ketosis.
MCT oil: This oil is made up of things called medium-chain triglycerides, a type of fat that the body can metabolize and break down. Because of the way that the body breaks this type of fat down, it's thought to help promote fat loss and make you lose weight even quicker.
Keto salts: While not literally "salt" in the way we think of it, these are small molecules containing crucial nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and sodium, which are vital nutrients the body needs - but since many foods that contain them are usually cut out of the keto diet, people can end up not getting enough, so it's important to make sure you get them in supplement form to make up for any dietary deficiencies.
These supplements usually contain no side effects at all, and can help some people by giving them support, because ketosis can sometimes take a lot out of a person. And most importantly, don't believe the hype of some keto supplement makers- they are not supposed to induce ketosis in your body. That would be nice, but unfortunately, no pill can "remove" the carbs you put into your body. Instead, as you can see, these supplements are intended to help your body get used to burning ketones, provide extra energy, promote more fat burning, and give your body the nutrients it needs during the process of getting to - and staying in - ketosis.
So is ketosis for everyone? Well, to put it simply, no. Ketosis is an extreme diet, one that requires diligence, discipline, and fanatical commitment, and that's just not something most people are willing to give to a diet. Not only that, but many people find it difficult to follow because of how the body can react to being in ketosis - fatigue, mood swings, and bad breath are only some of the side effects of this diet.
That said, if you're willing to put up with it, then ketosis might give you the results you're looking for. And if you need some extra help that might give you the edge you need, ketone supplements could offer a little bit of that help. Just don't expect a miracle pill - the real miracle has to come from you and your dedication to following through.