Given the growing popularity of Ketogenic diet in the last decade, it only made business sense to develop products specifically catered to people looking for quick results.
Ketogenic diet (or even Low Carb diet) has proven to be extremely effective in weight loss, improving brain function and memory, reducing blood sugar levels, and proving other health benefits for thousands of people across the world. The benefits are simply derived from the logical benefits offered by reducing carb intake and running the body on Ketones instead of glucose. These are benefits that come naturally by just following the lifestyle or putting your body into ketosis.
Thus, many companies developed products that cater to this lifestyle specifically.
Major products related to the Ketogenic diet available in the market currently include:
1. Exogenous Ketone Supplements
These products increase the level of ketones in the body by externally adding ketones in the body in the form of powder or drinks. Typically ketones are produced in the body naturally by breaking down Free Fatty Acids in the liver. This process is called Ketosis.
However, inducing Ketosis naturally can take time and requires extreme restrictions. Here, adding exogenous ketone supplements in the diet can drastically expedite the process and even improve the results. These can aid people who struggle with maintaining the strict requirements of nutritional ketosis.
Note that most exogenous ketone supplements include BHB or beta-hydroxybutyrate salts, which is only one of the three ketone bodies produced in the body. The other two being Acetone and Acetoacetate.
2. MCT Oil/Powder
Medium chain triglycerides or Medium chain fatty acids are a type of fatty acids that are readily absorbed by the body giving it a quick energy boost. They are especially effective in Ketogenic diet because the body is anyways looking for fats for energy and a supplement of MCTs can really give it a tremendous energy boost.
MCTs are naturally available in Coconut oil (62-65%) and other fats such as cheese and butter (from grass-fed cows). However, supplement companies’ now offer more concentrated and easy-to-consume forms of MCTs with added salts or nutrients.
Some companies are also offering emulsified versions and powder versions with other ingredients for easier use, carry-ability and taste.
3. Protein Supplements
Because the Ketogenic diet deprives the body of glucose, its preferred fuel, to compensate for the fuel it might break down muscles (proteins) for energy. Thus, the diet requires you to include adequate rather more than average portion of protein in your meals.
Thus, many supplement companies’ have come up with protein supplements either standalone or with MCTs or BHB salts to ensure there is no protein deficiency in the body. The most popular protein supplements is Collagen supplements. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and helps in maintaining strong joints, muscles repair, digestive system, and improving the quality of skin, hair and nails.
4. Performance Enhancers
Crafted for athletes or people engaged in high-intensity activities, performance enhancers provide a punch of energy and protein boosts for a heavy duty workout. They typically contain a combination of BHB salts, MCTs, Caffeine and Proteins to provide quick energy boost and ensure muscle repair and building. Some even contain small levels of sugar to compensate the quick burnout of glycogen.
With strict restrictions on diet, such supplements are a God-send for heavy lifters and athletes because most workout-related products are not allowed in Keto. So people can now workout heavily and not have to worry about leaving Ketosis.
Since, they contain most of these supplements they are usually also the most expensive of all Keto supplements available in the market.
5. Digestive Supplements
Due to the restriction of carbs in the diet and relatively higher level of proteins, the body is deprived of much-needed fiber. As such, dieters may experience problems with digestion especially if they don’t accompany the diet with sufficient workout.
Since, fiber is welcome in Ketogenic diet sans the carbs, several companies have developed products that include concentrated fiber usually derived from natural sources. They could be a great inclusion in regular Keto diet to avoid any digestive disorders.
In some cases, fiber is added with other supplements such as collagen to boost the supplements impact and use.
Besides fiber, probiotics are another popular supplement for Keto. These supplements include concentrated quantities of probiotic bacterium that aid in digestion and improve gut health. They even provide heavy doses of calcium and other minerals.
Micronutrients are lacking in most diets and Vitamin or other mineral supplements are readily available in the market. Due to the restricted consumption of vegetables (only non-starchy) and nuts in Ketogenic diet, dieters are vulnerable to a deficiency in essential micronutrients especially Omega-3s, Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, Sodium, Phosphorus and several Vitamins.
As such, many supplement companies have created their own combination that provide all or some of these nutrients. These products can generally be included in regular diets as well.
Exogenous supplements for Keto where first patented by Patrick Arnold, Dominic D’Agostino and Shannon Kesl at the University of South Florida in 2014 (published in 2015) and since then plethora of companies have used the patent to create their own versions of supplements. In an extremely short period, many companies, mostly small, have sprouted across the world providing their own versions of supplements.
While, most companies struggle to make boast-able sales, companies like Prototype Nutrition, Perfect Keto, PruvIt, Giant Sports International, BPI Sports, Ancient Nutrition, KissMyKeto, Onnit, etc. are growing rapidly. Know more about the top Keto-related product companies here.
In fact, several large supplement/medicine companies have found interest as well. But, the market largely remains ruled by small-scale companies. Who knows what added investments and researches in the field will throw up. Times are certainly looking up!
The verdict is still out on whether Keto supplement products prove beneficial in the long run and whether the market will survive and grow. But, from the limited feedback we have received from dieters, it seems the products are effective, have tremendous potential and here to stay!