Keto pills promise to help you get into ketosis more easily. But do they? Here’s a look at the pros and cons and what the research has to say.
The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diets on the planet.
The promises of the diet are legendary: reduced belly fat, increased weight loss, more focus and clarity, and keto can even help with some chronic diseases like cancer and epilepsy.
(Fun fact: the ketogenic diet was originally used to treat people with epilepsy.)
But doing the keto diet is challenging.
While achieving ketosis (the process of using ketones instead of carbs for fuel) can be achieved through diet, keto pills are marketed as a way to speed things up.
However, do they actually work?
In this article, I will explore everything you need to know about the keto pill.
What are they? The pros and cons of taking them. And most importantly, do you actually need to take them when following a ketogenic diet?
Let’s jump right in.
Keto Pills – What Are They?
The ketogenic diet has a lot of benefits. It can promote weight loss, reduce appetite, and improve bloodwork.
Before we dive into the explanation of keto pills, it is important to understand the types of ketones.
There are two types of ketones: endogenous and exogenous.
Endogenous ketones are produced by your body. As I mentioned, this happens when your body doesn’t have enough glucose (carbs) running through it. Thus, it needs to find other ways to have energy.
On the other hand, exogenous ketones are pills manufactured by companies to increase your ketone levels and help you stay in a ketosis state.
Your body produces two types of ketones: beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate. However, this last one is unstable, making it not an ideal option to have as a supplement.
This means that all the keto pills are exogenous beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).
You can find keto supplements in two main forms: salts and esters.
- Ketone salts. They are typically linked with a salt like sodium, potassium, calcium, or magnesium. You can get them in powdered or liquid form.
- Ketone esters. They are linked to ester molecules. They are found in liquid form. Ketone esters are mainly used in scientific research and are not commonly found on the market.
So why take a keto pill?
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The primary purpose of keto pills is to help you produce ketones, reduce your appetite, increase your weight loss, and help you transition into a ketosis state (for beginners).
Pros of Keto Pills
There are several reasons why people take keto pills.
Here are the most common pros to using them:
- They increase your ketone production.
- They can help reduce your appetite.
- They can help you transition into a keto diet.
Let’s talk about each one.
⭐ Increases Your Ketone Production
One of the main reasons people take keto pills is to increase their ketone production. Remember that on a ketogenic diet, the primary energy source in the body are ketones.
Supplementing with ketones can help you get the same health benefits without actually following a ketogenic diet (however, this is not ideal).
In a study on ten healthy adults, they were given 11.7 g of BHB 30 minutes before exercise. Their ketone and glucose levels were measured before and after exercise. They saw a 306% increase in their ketone levels after consuming BHB1.
Another study compared the ketone effect on people following a ketogenic diet with and without the pills.
Over 6 weeks, 28 participants took either a placebo pill or a BHB salt supplement twice daily. Those who took the keto pills got into ketosis faster (in only 3 days) and saw an increase in their keto levels.
However, the two groups had no significant difference in weight loss2.
Wondering how much impact hydration has on the keto diet? Here’s a detailed look at how much water you should be drinking to hit ketosis effectively.
⭐ Keto Pills Can Reduce Appetite and Cravings
Ketone supplementation has been shown to reduce your appetite, causing you to eat less, which leads to a caloric deficit.
The suppressing effects might be due to a reduction in ghrelin levels, which is the hunger hormone. If more ghrelin is released into your body, your hunger levels go up.
In a study on 15 participants, they took a ketone ester drink. After only one hour, their ketone levels increased, which caused a reduction in their hunger levels by 50%.
This decrease in hunger lasted for 1.5 to 4 hours compared to a maltodextrin (carb) drink3.
However, this effect has a greater impact on you when on a fasted state. While you can still get the benefits after consuming a high-carb meal (your ketone levels can still rise), it might not impact your hunger levels as much.
Since glucose is available, fewer ketones are used as an energy source. Thus, it has better effects in a fasted state or a ketogenic environment4.
⭐ Can Help You Transition Into A Keto Diet
Finally, keto pills are very popular because they can help you transition from a high-carb diet into a ketogenic diet.
Since keto pills can help increase your ketone production, it appears beneficial for those starting a ketogenic approach5.
This can help reduce the time it takes to get you into ketosis, and for some people, it can decrease or eliminate the unpleasant keto flu symptoms.
As mentioned before, in one of the studies, people who took a ketone supplement got into ketosis after only 3 days, while for others, it might take more than 7 days2.
Cons of Keto Pills
While there are several benefits of taking keto pills, there are also some cons. Here are some to consider.
- They can give you side effects.
- The body can self-regulate ketone production.
- The FDA does not regulate them.
Possible Side Effects
Like with any other supplement or medication, you might get possible side effects when taking keto pills.
While some side effects might appear immediately, there are some cases where their appearance might take months or even years to appear6.
Although the side effects shown are not life-threatening, you might experience nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation which are symptoms that might affect the training sessions of your general well-being7.
The Body Can Self-Regulate
Another reason keto pills might be ideal is that your body can self-regulate ketone production.
The primary purpose of a ketogenic diet is to increase ketone production from fat sources to promote weight loss.
However, if there is an overproduction of ketones, your body might become too acidic, causing severe health concerns (like when people with diabetes get diabetes ketoacidosis).
To prevent this from happening, your body self-regulates ketone production, meaning that if you increase ketone levels from your keto pills, your body will cut back on its ketone production.
However, since you want your body to use the fat stores to create those ketones, this might not be ideal8.
Besides, as mentioned in one of the studies, there appear to be no significant weight loss results among those who take a keto or a placebo pill when following a ketogenic diet2.
The FDA Does Not Regulate Them
Finally, one of the reasons you need to be careful when taking keto pills is that they are not regulated by the FDA.
Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, meaning that in some cases, you don’t know what you are getting in the bottle. This can put you at risk for any possible health concerns.
While there are some good manufacturers, know the quality of the product you are getting. Some people can scam you.
Make sure to research the company before buying any keto pill supplement and consult with your doctor to ensure you can take them without causing any health issues.
The Bottom Line
Keto pills can be a handy tool for those starting a ketogenic diet. It can help you get faster into ketosis and decreases the chances of getting the keto flu.
However, since the FDA does not regulate keto pills, you must be careful where you buy them to avoid any possible health issues.
Always consult your doctor when taking a new supplement to ensure you can have it without endangering your health.
More Keto Guides and Resources
⭐ 5 Best Keto Pills: Supercharge Ketosis with these Supplements (Plus Buyer’s Guide and FAQ). Keto pills are a proven way to help kickstart your ketogenic diet efforts so that you can start losing weight and feeling better faster. Here’s a look at the best keto pills on the market right now.
Keto Custom Plan – An Athlete’s Full Review. Looking for a custom keto meal plan unique to you? Keto Custom Plan, a digital keto meal planner, is an excellent and easy-to-use option.
6 Best Keto Cookbooks for Mastering the Ketogenic Diet. The right keto cookbook can give you clarity and the recipes to keep your tastebuds happy and your weight loss goals on track. Here’s a review of the best keto cookbooks on shelves right now.