Keto Diet Pills: Do They Help To Lose Weight?

One of the most talked about diet trends floating around in recent years is “keto”. The ketogenic diet aims to lose weight by putting you in a state of ketosis – a process where the body uses fat for energy instead of glucose. This is usually done by changing your eating habits, but there may be an easier way – taking a pill. Do keto pills work and more importantly, are they safe?

Key takeaways:
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    Keto diet pills are meant to help people stay in a state of ketosis instead of or in addition to following the keto diet.
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    Ketosis is when the body burns fat for energy versus using glucose which typically comes from eating carbohydrates.
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    There are three main types of keto diet supplements – keto esters, keto salts, and MCT oils.
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    Studies show that keto pills may help increase athletic performance, but there is limited evidence that they help promote weight loss.
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    They may also come with uncomfortable side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What are keto diet pills?

One study found that people who followed a low-carbohydrate diet for 24 weeks had an average weight change of -12.9% vs. -6.7% for those on a low-fat diet.

Most people enter ketosis by keeping their carbohydrate intake low, and fat intake high so that the body starts to burn fat. It can be challenging to follow a strict diet, which is why many people want a quick fix or a supplement without limiting their food intake too much. Keto pills are designed to help induce a state of ketosis without having to stick to a keto diet, or in addition to it.

There are a few main types of keto diet pills or exogenous ketone supplements:

  • Ketone esters
  • Ketone salts
  • MCT oil

​​Do keto diet pills work?

It’s tempting to reach for a quick-fix pill versus having to completely overhaul how you eat, but do keto pills work? That depends on what your goals are.

Much of the research done on exogenous ketone supplements has been focused on athletic performance versus weight loss. Endurance runners who consume a ketone salt and MCT supplement before running a 5k showed a slight, but non-significant time difference of 4.06%. Similar studies were done using ketone esters, however, they did not show an improvement in endurance or athletic abilities.

The use of MCTs, medium chain triglycerides may help people lose weight, but that’s not necessarily by putting them into ketosis. Besides some potential benefits from MCTs, the effects of ketone supplements on weight loss are inconclusive as of now.

How do they work?

Keto diet pills help put the body into ketosis using exogenous ketones to raise the level of ketones in the body, mimicking what would happen when someone is on a ketogenic diet. Ketones are acids that are created when your body breaks down fat for energy. Exogenous means they’re coming from outside of the body.

The two main types of exogenous ketones are ketone esters and ketone salts. Both of these types of supplements contain a ketone known as beta-hydroxybutyrate. What makes these supplements different is how they are packaged.

Ketone esters

These are packaged in liquid form and are bound to an ester – a chemical compound derived from an acid. As of now, ketone esters are mainly used in research and aren’t widely available to the public.

Ketone salts

These are typically powder supplements that are sometimes ingested by mixing with liquid. The ketones are bound to a type of salts like magnesium, calcium, sodium, or potassium.

Another supplement that can potentially raise ketones in the blood is MCT oil. These are medium-chain fatty acids. MCT supplements are often extracted from coconut oil, but can also be found in dairy and other substances. MCT oils are widely available at many health food stores and online.

Are keto diet pills safe to take?

A common concern when taking any type of supplement is whether or not it is safe. Keto diet pills are generally considered safe, but they can come with some potential side effects.

Possible side effects of the keto diet pill

One of the biggest concerns with ingesting ketone salts is the high amount of minerals you need to ingest to stay in ketosis – up to three servings per day. Excessive consumption of minerals can lead to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and other uncomfortable side effects – which are uncoincidentally some of the same potential side effects as taking ketone salts.

Other potential side effects of keto diet pills include:

  • Stomach discomfort.
  • A poor aftertaste.
  • Can be high in calories which may counteract weight loss goals.

Although some people may experience discomfort, overall keto diet pills are relatively safe. That being said, the long-term effects of using them are not yet known.

What is the keto diet?

The goals of both the keto diet and keto diet pills are to help put the body into a state of ketosis. This is when the body burns stored fat for fuel instead of its go-to – glucose. Unlike supplements, the keto diet helps the body to create endogenous ketones. These are ketone bodies that are produced by the liver as an alternative energy source to glucose.

A consistent state of ketosis can help people achieve quick weight loss. People can lose up to ten pounds in their first two weeks of keto, and an average of one to two pounds per week from weeks two to four. Other potential benefits of the keto diet are a decrease in the risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases, lower blood sugar levels, improved insulin sensitivity, and management of endocrine disorders like PCOS and metabolic syndrome.

The general guidelines for the keto diet include:

  • 90% of your daily caloric intake comes from fat.
  • A 4:1 ratio of fat-to-carbs and protein.
  • Limiting carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day.
  • Limiting daily protein intake to less than 1 gram per pound of body weight.

Do keto pills work without the keto diet?

Some people experience discomfort when they first start the keto diet, what’s known as “The keto flu”. Keto flu can cause symptoms like insomnia, stomach discomfort, and low energy.

Using keto pills may allow them to reap the benefits of being in ketosis, without any unpleasant symptoms from eating ketogenic. While you may help to avoid some uncomfortable side effects, there’s limited evidence to suggest whether or not keto pills work without following the keto diet.

Keto diet pills for weight loss: what can you expect?

Keto diet pills will most likely not help you achieve your weight loss goals on their own, although they may be helpful in addition to following the keto diet. On the other hand, keto diet pills may prevent the body from breaking down fat.

Your blood can become dangerously acidic when ketone levels become too high, like say from taking a supplement. The human body has a mechanism that slows down the production of ketones when they get too high to prevent this from happening. This means your body would produce less ketone, potentially preventing body fat from being used as energy.

What supplements can I take when on a keto diet?

Keto diet pills aren’t the only supplements you can take while on the keto diet. The keto diet can potentially lead to a deficiency of vitamins from cutting out certain foods.

Your keto goals may also benefit from taking:

  • Vitamin D
  • Fish oil
  • Spirulina
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