It’s no secret that the keto diet has helped millions of people reach their weight loss goals. But if following the low-carb, high-fat diet sounds just too hard or you’re not getting the results you want, there’s a simple hack that top experts say can make all the difference: super-salts called exogenous ketones. Even doctors are using them themselves and women who spoke to Woman’s World say their mood lifted, energy rebounded and hunger all but disappeared. Keep reading to see how exogenous ketones could help you.
What are ketones?
When you cut carbs and don’t make enough blood sugar to fuel yourself, your system produces ketones as an alternate fuel. The compounds are created by the liver as fat breaks down. “Because ketones are made from fat, they help promote faster loss,” explains Complete Book of Ketones author Mary Newport, MD. Studies show burning ketones also kills hunger, revs energy, boosts brain function, lifts mood and more.
What are exogenous ketones?
Turns out, following a strict, low-carb diet isn’t the only way to shore up your ketone levels. Indeed, certain supplements can jumpstart extra ketone production. MCT oil is one example, and special super-salts called exogenous ketones are another. When ingested, the supplements elevate ketone levels, mimicking the effect on the body that occurs when eating low-carb. (Click through to learn more about MCT oil for weight loss.)
In fact, exogenous ketones are so powerful that you are able to be more lax on a low-carb plan. You can enjoy a cheat meal, “and within 30 minutes, you’ll have the same ketone level as if you were strictly low-carb for days,” notes Dr. Newport. The doc herself tried Prüvit brand exogenous ketones while on a low-carb plateau. “I lost 34 pounds in three months!”
How exogenous ketones enhance weight loss
By putting you in a state of ketosis, the body can rely on burning stored fat for energy. In fact, studies show simply staying in ketosis helps you burn fat about 648% faster. Exogenous ketones are also known to tame hunger by suppressing the release of ghrelin, the hunger-triggered hormone. According to Oxford scientists, folks who sipped drinks made with exogenous ketones cut hunger by 50% for four hours. Plus, their overall desire to eat following the drink was significantly lower. That means you’ll eat automatically fewer calories to encourage effortless slimming. (Click through to learn about delicious and healthy keto detox soup.)
Exogenous ketones before and after success story
“Who goes through chemo and doesn’t get skinny?” muttered Carol Ubertaccio-Hathaway, as she struggled to get comfortable in a narrow hospital bed. Her frown became a chuckle, which sent pain shooting through her belly. After 30 surgeries and countless treatments for gastric issues and leukemia, she was cancer-free and had survived a last-chance GI procedure. Yet she was still over 300 pounds, too weak to walk and seemed unable to bounce back. Carol was preparing to die. I wish I’d had the chance to see what being thin and healthy felt like, at least for one day, she mused wistfully. She’d been heavy her whole life and had little luck with diets. Did she give up too soon? A thought came to her: If I live, I’ll give it one last try.
As months passed, Carol very slowly began to improve. With help from her husband, Bob, and an amazing rehab team, she rebuilt some of her strength. Doctors encouraged her to begin losing weight, saying it would speed her progress. So when a Facebook pal posted about the keto diet, Carol took note. “She lost 20 pounds in just two weeks,” Carol shared with Bob. “Maybe I could do that.”
In the past, Carol had occasionally shed 10 or 20 pounds, but she could only fight her constant urges to snack for so long. She would go back to old habits, easily polishing off bags of chips or candy between meals. This says keto helps with hunger and cravings, she noted as she did research on her laptop. She also read that if she cut carbs enough, her body basically would be forced to start turning fat into energy. That’s exactly what I need, Carol thought, jotting down a low-carb grocery list.
Carol’s slim-down journey begins
With her doctor’s blessing, the next day, Carol fixed a tuna-topped salad for brunch. She carefully measured and tracked the ingredients in a free app. Dinner was a serving of roasted chicken, some broccoli and berries with homemade whipped cream.
Carol ate similar meals day after day. “It’s not really helping my hunger or energy like it’s supposed to, but I’m losing weight,” she said to Bob after a few weeks in. But I’m used to not feeling that great, she’d tell herself and keep pushing through. She shed an astonishing 160 pounds in nine months.
Yet it felt hard. And Carol started to slip. A few chips led to a few cheat days. I’m gaining and losing the same 15 pounds over and over, she realized. She’d sometimes get angry at fellow keto dieters who were all smiles as pounds melted away. They aren’t even being as strict as I am, she fumed. Then it hit her: I should try it their way.
How Carol discovered exogenous ketones
Scrolling through Facebook for ideas, Carol found herself drawn to women who sipped “ketone boosting” drinks. Carol read more about them. The drinks were made with ingredients that either helped spur the body to make more ketones or contained bonus doses of actual or exogenous ketones. They help your system keep using ketones as fuel. As a bonus, Carol read that higher ketone levels could help with hunger, energy and mood.
She ordered online and was soon whirring exogenous ketone powder into a smoothie. She took a cautious sip. “I like it,” she said aloud. She began having ketone drinks twice a day, sometimes smoothies, sometimes just a lime-flavored drink mix stirred in ice water.
At age 60, the drinks seemed to restore Carol’s get-up-and-go for the first time in a decade. “I finally have energy!” she said to Bob. “I was really surprised how big a difference I felt. It was like a storm cloud over my head disappeared — and I could finally get excited about all the progress I was making,” she shares. But would the drinks also let her to be less strict at meals? She was ready to find out.
She and Bob were soon digging into low-carb wraps, cheesy burgers on keto waffle buns and keto ice-cream bars from Costco. On Friday nights, they made pizza in a bowl with loads of mozzarella, pepperoni, veggies and more. Before, if I ate something not strictly keto, my body would fight for two weeks to get me back into keto fat-burning mode, she recalled. Now, no matter what she ate, she was moving steadily toward her goals. “The drinks are my saving grace,” she said to daughter Skylar, who had begun slimming down with keto. “I can eat like this forever. And I want to feel like this forever!”
Carol today, healthier and slimmer
Today, Carol is 207 pounds lighter, her cancer in remission and her GI issues vastly better. Maintaining for over two years, “I still drink my ketones every day,” she shares. “I call it my ‘happy juice’ because for the first time in my life I am truly happy! My energy is high, my mood is high. It’s amazing.” Her advice: “No matter how bad things seem, it’s never too late to try. I went from dying to living my best life!”
How to use exogenous ketones
How much can Carol’s way of eating help you? It’s easy to see for yourself! Start with a relaxed version of the keto diet that includes a serving of protein, good fat and a little nonstarchy produce at each sitting (get more info at CarbManager.com). Then add 2–3 daily servings of ketone-boosters like MCT oil or an exogenous ketone mix to any food or drink you like. Brands to try: Perfect Keto and Kegenix Prime (a mix of exogenous ketones and MCT). Here are some ideas to get you started:
Iced Power Coffee: In blender, blitz 1 cup cold coffee, 1 serving exogenous ketones and/or MCT oil, 1 cup ice, splash heavy cream and optional sweetener.
Easy Keto Mousse: Whip 1 cup heavy cream until fluffy. Whip in 3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa and 2 servings chocolate exogenous ketones mix. Serves 4
Cool Keto Pops: In blender, blitz 1 cup berries, 14 oz. can coconut milk, 2 servings exogenous ketones and/or 2 Tbs. MCT oil. Freeze in molds.
Bonus recipe: Exogenous ketone gummy candy
It’s easy to make your own treat that you can customize with your favorite flavors and shapes
- 1 small box sugar-free gelatin, any flavor
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin powder
- 1 serving exogenous ketones, unflavored
- Mix ingredients with ⅓ cup boiling water until fully dissolved. Pour into candy molds or a baking dish.
- Refrigerate until firm, about an hour. Pop from molds or slice. Keeps in fridge up to a month. Serves 4
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This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.