Ketogenic, or keto-induction, diets are being used by many to achieve fat loss and performance benefits. What are ketones, what can they do for you, and what’s the best way to take them for fast and effective fitness results?
Ketones are chemicals created by our liver from fat when we don’t have enough insulin to turn glucose into energy. A ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that involves drastically reducing carb intake, replacing it with fat to induce ketosis.
As byproducts of the breakdown of fatty acids, ketones are an effective way to enhance mental clarity and mood, optimize fat loss, and increase energy. To enjoy these and other related benefits, people from all walks of life are turning to very low-carb/moderate-protein/high-fat ketogenic diets to increase ketone production.
Without adequate carbs, though, some athletes find that performance may suffer when working out at high intensity and/or for long durations. The full range of micronutrients included in a more balanced eating plan might also be lacking when going full keto. In short, while some experience great success on ketogenic diets, others do not.
Rather than following a true ketone-inducing diet (thus entering into full ketosis, where carbohydrates are severely restricted and nutritional variety is curtailed) there is a more practical and effective alternative to benefit from ketones.
BHB for fuel
Exogenous (originating from outside the body) ketones are naturally produced in the liver during fasting states. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is the body’s most common exogenous ketone. When supplemented, BHB sends a signal to body fat, transforming it into the body’s primary fuel source to assist with fat loss. With BHB, the additional health benefits of ketosis (including low blood sugar and improved mood) may also be experienced without having to restrict entire food groups.
Supplementing with BHB may help to enter ketosis more easily by tricking the body into thinking it’s already in ketosis (eliminating the typical pre-ketogenic groggy state). By sensing it’s already in ketosis, the body can begin using fat as a main fuel source, even when a regular, balanced diet is consumed.
Because exogenous ketones induce nutritional ketosis without dietary restrictions, they can be used by ketogenic and non-ketogenic dieters alike to help promote fat loss and performance.
Another group of exogenous ketones are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a specific group of fats which, upon consumption, are converted into ketones. An efficient fuel that transforms stored body fat into energy, MCTs work together with BHB to burn fat, improve health, and increase energy.
As a high-performance coach and professional fitness-industry writer, David Robson specializes in communicating and teaching the benefits of healthy living and physical excellence.
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