Should I Be Taking Exogenous Ketones?
Exogenous ketones were introduced in 2014… About the same time I really started diving into the health benefits of more fat in the diet.
But let me back up here, you may not even be familiar with the word “exogenous” so let’s start there:
Exogenous vs Endogenous
Exogenous = Originates from a source external from the body
Endogenous = Originates from a source internal to the body
Exogenous ketone bodies are just ketone bodies that are ingested through a nutritional supplement. Ketone bodies produced in the liver are more properly referred to as endogenous ketone bodies.
What does the science say?
Although I don’t think eating a diet ample in healthy fat is a fad, I do know that when science proves something is beneficial for us, there is a company working relentlessly to manufacture a product related to that discovery that will fly off the shelves.
Remember when resveratrol, found in red wine, was proven to be good for us? Supplement companies went crazy marketing pills and drinks with even just the tiniest hint of resveratrol in it promising anti-aging and weight loss.
What about garcinia cambogia? Remember that? It was marketed as a product that stopped the body’s ability to make fat and reduce appetite. Very small studies were shown that garcinia cambogia slightly raised levels of serotonin in the brain…that was all. There was no proof that it inhibited fat production and actually suppressed the appetite enough to generate any weight loss.
Most of the research put into exogenous ketone supplementation has been for the medical treatment of conditions such as cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s/dementia. Any other research has been done for athletic performance. The goal is to see if the use of exogenous ketones provides any additional fuel sources for the body when pushed to its limit.
For weight loss
However, I know that most people who are considering supplementing their diets with exogenous ketones are wanting to do so for weight loss. This is where research is lacking.
So let’s just say that you were eating a diet with lots of healthy fat and are producing your own endogenous ketones…would supplementing with exogenous ketones also help me burn fat even faster? No!
Let me explain:
Your body has a natural response to significantly elevated blood ketones. It will actually increase insulin secretion (the current thinking behind this is to restrict ketone production to prevent ketoacidosis). Remember, insulin is our fat storing hormone. Ketones may actually decrease fat oxidation if consumed in high enough amounts, just like other macronutrients. This is why in The MADE Diet, I have most people between 40 and 60% fat.
And from what I hear, there are some companies that will tell you that you can, “Eat carbs and stay keto-adapted.” UGH! NO!
Burning fat for fuel
If there is one thing you take away from our conversation, it’s that a diet higher in carbs and fat is detrimental to your health. Having spikes of insulin in your bloodstream and lots of fat in your diet is one sure fire way to never lose the weight you’re after.
What we really want is for our bodies to start burning fat for fuel instead of sugar. The production of endogenous ketones is what makes this a reality. Many people now measure their blood ketones through urine, breath and/or blood. Nutritional ketosis is a range of .5 to 3.0 mmol/L.
Most people who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) will measure in at a .2 or .3. Getting to .5 and up only requires fewer carbohydrates (and those chosen to be from quality sources), a moderate amount of protein and a good amount of healthy fats. That’s when the body will start to burn fat for fuel.
Personally, I usually measure at .8 mmol/L and have a body fat percentage of 17%.
This girl just doesn’t believe that you need added ketones from external sources in your diet in order to be a great fat burner.
Are you feeding your machine (aka your body) with real food?
When I overhear, “I’m hungry, let’s get a burger or pizza” I die a little inside!
It’s obvious that we eat to stay alive but because something has the label of ‘food’ doesn’t mean that’s really what it is. Food is meant to be fuel…it’s supposed to help, not harm, us.
The food that we eat actually gives our bodies information. We are made up of millions and millions of cells, and the nutrients in food are what tell these cells to do what they’re supposed to do.
No nutrition -> lack of function = big problems!
The hunger pangs…
When we get legitimately hungry, our bodies are telling us we are missing nutrients that help us function properly. Ingesting a cheeseburger and fries does not “feed” us and certainly doesn’t allow us to perform as we should. In fact, eating such processed foods (if you even dare to use that word), creates more harm than skipping that particular meal altogether. There is so much damage control your body has to tend to after eating that Extra Value Meal at lunch.
Real foods have certain phytochemical properties that help prevent and combat cancer, stop inflammation and provide us with antioxidants that will keep us living long lives. Remember, it is these Big Food companies’ jobs to make the MOST profit off of their sales. They will do whatever they can to cut costs. That includes creating a chemical derivative blueberry- “like” substance to put in their muffins, bars and pancakes – you know, instead of actually using a real blueberry!
Food should NEVER be a problem to our health, it’s supposed to help us remain healthy. But if we keep abusing it and eat too much from the factory packaged in a fancy wrapper, then disease runs rampant and our health suffers greatly.
You cannot trust labels and you cannot trust companies out there making highly addictive and incredibly insubstantial “food” for us. They’re best friends with the pharmaceutical companies and keeping us sick is highly profitable. Instead, eat food without labels or wrappers. Crazy, I know but it can be done and it can taste amazing!
Admit it, when a friend tells you that they’re considering going on a high-fat low-carb diet, you instantly want to warn them that it’s common knowledge that eating plenty of fat means eating saturated fat and saturated fat means heart disease and heart disease means you die! Right?!
Won’t you also admit that human breast milk is the most perfect food for a human being? Would it surprise you to know that just one cup of breast milk has 11 grams of fat, and 5 of those grams come saturated fat?
We’ve been afraid of fats for decades now. And I’m here to tell you it’s ok to fear some fat… But not the fat you’re probably thinking of.
Saturated fats: good or bad??
We’ve been told to steer clear of saturated fats, like butter and coconut oil, that these were the fats that were causing our rapid health decline.
But it’s the man-made fats, the artificially saturated fats or trans fats, that are the real villains. Margarine was our Lex Luthor!
I don’t think too many people would argue with you if you stated that trans fats are very bad for us but the problem is, is that people just hear the word fat and come to the conclusion that ALL fats are bad.
But what about my heart?
If you put google to good use and check the more recent studies, probably in the last five years, they show that the percentage of saturated fat you eat really has no correlation to heart disease. It’s been shown that people who eat a lot of saturated fat (from healthy sources) don’t get more heart disease.
It’s actually kind of silly to me to think that, at least my parents thought, that man-made fat was healthier for us then God-made fat. We’ve been eating saturated fat since the beginning of time, but when man-made fat was introduced into our diets is also when, coincidentally, all of these new and life debilitating diseases started to pop up.
The good fats to eat
Now, you’re not getting permission from me to eat a 24 oz ribeye steak every single night but if the fat that you’re getting in your diet is from a healthy source, then it’s probably the least of your worries when it comes to your diet.
Instead of picking food apart so much, maybe what we should be thinking about is, where did the food come from? How healthy was the source that it originated from? Was it in the factory or the farm?
As Dr. Shanahan so poignantly said, “Nature doesn’t make bad fats, factories do.” If you’re eating fat from the factory, it’s not going to be good for you…no matter what else they add to it!
What are your thoughts on Good Fats!
It’s not easy to read food labels, unless you know what to avoid…
Don’t tell me when you see a new and promising “healthy” product on the grocery store shelf, that you don’t flip it over and immediately scan the calories, fat, carbohydrate and the protein content … Right?!
We have been trained to look for this stuff. You ask why?? Well, let me enlighten you!
The Big Food Companies want you to care about that because it’s VERY easy to market “Low Fat,” “High Protein,” “Low Calorie” and now “Low Carb.”
We are made to believe THAT’S what’s important! But let me go against these guys (again) and tell you that it’s what’s under the ingredient list that is way more important.
Here are a few examples why:
You find some yogurt to have in the morning (to replace that cereal) and look at the calories, fats, proteins and carbs – they all look good. You think, “SCORE!” However, that yogurt has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it, which has been proven to pack on the pounds faster than any other ingredient. It also increases your LDL cholesterol levels and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage. That more than undoes the good of replacing that cereal. Look at the ingredient list for yogurts without HFCS, they’re out there!
You go for a nice run and feel really parched afterward (nice job pushing yourself). You decide to reach for a sports drink, because if all those athletes you admire drink it too…it has to be good for you, right? If you check the ingredients list, you’ll see there’s Blue #1 and Blue #2. These food dyes are banned in Norway, Finland and France. It’s been thought to contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked food colorings to cancer. It’s also believed it may cause chromosomal damage. Again, there are some sports drinks without the crap, but you’ve got to look at that ingredient list to know for sure!
I could go on but the point is this: Continue to scan the macronutrients of your food (paying close attention to the trans fat and sugar content up there), but don’t stop until you look at the ingredients and make sure you don’t see any of these included in there:
I’m not trying to make eating complicated, because in fact, healthy eating is very simple. But I want you to remember that the government is about profit and not people. Many of these ingredients have been banned in other countries because they are harmful to our health, but we are left not knowing this. My job, my calling, is to just share what I learn in my own research. Copy this list and keep it on your phone for the next time you go shopping… Or better yet, just do what I always say… Eat more from the farm!