Are in full swing, so you’ve probably heard of the ketogenic diet, the trendy eating plan that calls for getting more than 70% of your total calories from fat, about 20% from protein, and 10% or less from carbs. The whole idea is to enter a metabolic state known as ketosis, when your body burns fat for fuel.
You may have also heard about a Keto 30 Challenge, a month-long diet program marketed by KetoLogic that involves a whole slew of special supplements. Honest Keto Diet, a company recently featured on Shark Tank, sells similar weight-loss pills. Pricey keto supplements include ingredients like ketones designed to suppress appetite, electrolytes for the dehydrating effects of the diet, certain vitamins and minerals, and even caffeine.
The packaging claims are abundant too: They allege they’ll help you achieve ketosis within “three days,” “fuel performance,” and “clear brain fog,” among other benefits. The problem is that these powders and pills come at a hefty financial cost, and could have some unintended, undesirable consequences for your health.
While the keto diet gives me pause for a number of reasons, these keto supplements worry me even more. Here’s what you need to know before you spend $150 on a 30-day “challenge.”
Keto supplements may mess with your metabolism.
When you’re in a starvation state, your body uses ketones for energy in a similar way to how they’re used on a ketogenic diet — for fuel — and converts them into glucose. In this state, all those ketones also stimulate an increase in leptin (the hormone that makes you feel full) and a decrease in ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates your appetite). The higher your blood concentration of ketones, the less hungry you feel. Why? Because in the history of human evolution, periods of famine forced our bodies to adjust so that you would be less likely to eat something poisonous if there was no food available to you. Here in the 21st century: Taking supplemental ketones to help enhance this biological process will likely decrease appetite by raising blood levels of ketone bodies.
They’re expensive (and you probably already have them in your pantry).
Electrolyte supplements provide sodium — sometimes up to 40% of your recommended daily intake for the day. They’re typically used by athletes for endurance training, but the keto-friendly ones claim to energize you and offset the physical side effects of the keto flu.
The keto flu is host of flu-like symptoms such as aches, cramping, exhaustion, diarrhea, constipation, and general weakness experienced during the first four days the keto diet.
It’s not an actual virus but the result of dehydration that occurs when switching from glucose to fat for energy. Low-carb diets generally have a diuretic effect within the first few days, meaning you lose more water and electrolytes (like potassium and sodium) in urine than normal. It happens because you’re body is losing water as it turns to muscle glycogen for energy and your body’s insulin levels decrease.
Anyone who is planning on doing keto will need to drink additional fluids with electrolytes — especially in the first four days of starting — to help mitigate the increased heart rate associated with dehydration.
Ketoburn and KetoLogic do provide electrolytes in supplement form, but my gripe (beyond messing with your body’s biochemistry to the point of increasing your heart rate for no reason): Ketologic is $100 per container, Ketoburn is $40 per container, and the predominant electrolyte you’re getting in each is sodium. That means you’re literally spending up to 100 times more money than you would if you went to the supermarket and picked up a container of sodium chloride, a.k.a. table salt. It’s about $1, max.
Beating brain fog is more easily achieved with a Starbucks run.
KetoLogic also claims to beat the brain fog many people experience when they start out on keto. That makes sense since the caffeine in it is, of course, energizing! (By the way that lethargy you feel is a result of your brain not receiving enough glucose.)
While research supports the idea that consuming moderate amounts of caffeine is a good thing, the science suggests that the benefits are seen primarily in coffee and tea, two plant-based beverages with antioxidants. So while some of these supplements attempt to do the same (Ketoburn provides beta carotene), consuming supplemental forms of antioxidants simply does not have the same biochemical effect as drinking them in their most natural form. Plus, there’s no guarantee that antioxidants are really in there as the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements.
And again on the $$ front: Keto supplements with antioxidants and caffeine cost you up to 100 times more than a regular cup of coffee to get an unsubstantiated benefit, when you could just brew a pot of coffee at home.
The MCT oil in some mixes can mess with digestion.
Supplements like KetoLogic’s KetoMeal and keto-friendly bulletproof coffee recipes also contain MCT oil. The acronym stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which are fat sources that take less time to digest than the long-chain triglycerides usually found in fatty foods.
Rapid Keto X Keto Pills for Weight Loss and Fat Burn – Advanced Ketogenic Diet Supplement – Boost Ketosis – Women & Men Metabolism Boost Burner – Suppress Appetite
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