Keto? Yes, it is still very much a thing! No diet hangs around for over 100 years without being effective and sustainable. As you have surely heard, the Keto diet has a myriad of health benefits. From weight loss to optimizing insulin levels, lowering brain fog and inflammation, increasing energy, and more. For some folks though, results can be slow and tedious. So, what can you do to speed up those amazing results that so many have seen? The answer is clear: Supplementation. No matter how strict you are with a keto diet, there are 5 keto supplements that can help make it even more effective.
1. MCT Oil and the Power of Coconuts.
By now, most of us have heard of MCT oil and coconut oil and their uses in the Keto diet and low-carb living in general. How effective are these, though? And are they worth using? The simple answer is, yes! Our bodies use these products for fuel in the keto lifestyle.
MCT and coconut oil come in at the beginning and duration of the diet. MCT or Medium Chain Triglycerides is a fractionated or refined type of coconut oil. Once ingested, roughly 50% of the main MCT in most MCT products, Caprylic Acid or C8, turns into the predominant ketone body, beta-hydroxy-buterate. This acts as a “boost” to our system to either help speed our way into ketosis or further our current state thereof. And for pennies on the dollar per serving, it is the cheapest keto promoting supplement on the market.
2. Saffron and Tryptophan.
Hunger stinks. And, it's why most people fail their diets. Rather, I would say it is why most diets fail them. It is possible to stave off hunger, and the keto diet is a shining example of this. Being allowed higher amounts of fats and protein in comparison to other diets helps in this endeavor. Still, for many people, it is hard to eat enough at one sitting, or properly time adequate snacks to reduce those cravings. This is no fault of our own. Our hormones, Ghrelin, Leptin, Insulin, Cortisol, Serotonin, and more all contribute to this dance of hunger and satiety.
Right now, chances are you’re insulin resistant. Roughly 88% of US adults are. This means that insulin is working too well and, when not satisfied with carbohydrates, is going to begin a cascade effect. It will first be noticed with a dip in blood sugar and thus an increase in fatigue. Next, Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is signaled to initiate those pesky cravings. High stress-induced hypercortisolemia (high cortisol) will also do this. This causes a drop in serotonin, and serotonin can also cause a rise in Ghrelin. Serotonin, the “happy hormone” dips and we begin to get hangry. So why do we crave cake instead of steak? Well, steak does not spike blood sugar, insulin, and then serotonin fast enough. Protein is efficient at increasing leptin, the satiety hormone, and reducing Ghrelin. But it is not fast. At best, protein will yield a small boost in blood sugar short term, and even smaller insulin signals. So, our bodies want the quick fix! And until our metabolism is flexible after dieting for a few weeks, the quick fix is what we crave.
Here is where the combo supplement of Saffron and Tryptophan or 5-Hydroxy-Tryptophan (5-HTP) shine.
Taking these keto supplements while in the beginning stages of your diet may help to prop up your serotonin levels and reduce stress-induced eating and that hangry feeling. This will then help to reduce that hunger hormone, Ghrelin, from having such an influence. Meanwhile, you will be less likely to fall off the wagon, and more likely to go for that beef jerky rather than the little debbie in the company break room. And your coworkers will be less fearful of you around 2:30 pm.
3. Exogenous Ketones.
Like MCT, if you’ve followed any keto talk for any amount of time, you have heard of ketone salts, pills, powders, and more. These are exogenous ketones, or ketones produced outside of the body. These are bio-identical ketone bodies consisting of the predominant ketone body, beta-hydroxy-buterate. They are bound to minerals like sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium and become a ketone salt. You’ll notice when drinking the powder how salty and tart they are. This is still preferable to the pills in most cases because of the price per serving and the number of pills that are usually required for dosing. Like MCT oil and caprylic acid, ketone salts contribute to a much faster ketotic state.
In my own experimentation, I have seen blood levels rise from no detectable ketones to .5-1mml/L (millimolar per liter). This is a significant amount of blood ketones and tends to help in many facets of the diet. I see clients have reduced hunger during times of fasting, improved energy levels during the early weeks of the diet, avoidance of the “keto flu”, better hydration likely due to the high amounts of electrolytes contained in the powders, and improved cognitive function. Though not as inexpensive as MCT and coconut oil, ketones are twice as effective and need a lower dose.
4. Fast-Breaking Shake.
Nowadays, we have to differentiate words containing “fast.” Breakfast is no different. Considering the publicity and benefit of time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting, this comes as no surprise. Many people now have breakfast or their “fast-breaking meal” outside of the typical breakfast window. Many, if not most of these people are in the low carb or keto community. This beneficial meal timing does not come without its challenges. Namely, ease of eating that first meal. This is where a meal replacement shake comes to the rescue. When constructed with quality protein, nutritious and clean fats, flavor-packed nut butter, or even a few berries, this type of fast-breaking meal is efficient and effective!
Furthermore, shakes are cost-effective. Shakes don’t have to be restricted to one time in particular. They come in handy during times of craving, when you don't have access to a low-carb/quality meal, after a hard workout, and more! You don’t have to pack a shake full of other ingredients to make it effective either. A quality protein powder added to water will suffice in a pinch. Protein is satiating and affordable compared to almost any “snack food” you might find at a grocery store or gas station.
5. Green Superfood Powder.
A lot of us don’t love veggies. Some of us don’t even like ‘em! But, many of the nutrients fortified in most processed foods that those turning to a low carb or keto lifestyle remove are contained within this food group. Yes, there are other ways to get these nutrients, like organ meats for example. But most people dislike those more than veggies! So, here is where a high-quality powdered superfood supplement can make a difference. Is it the same as the real thing? No. Is it as effective? Now, that’s a bit more complex. See, most vegetables grown in this country are sprayed and genetically modified. Sure, you can buy organic but that doesn’t mean you will be getting “nutrient-dense”. The average vegetable contains somewhere around half of the nutrient density it did 100 years ago. This comes from soil depletion.
With a high-quality greens powder, you can make up a lot of the slack left from poor soil quality. And even help detoxify some of the bad stuff in or sprayed on the non-organic veggies you may be currently eating. In a perfect world, we would love to eat a ton of clean, quality vegetables and never need a supplement. But, this is by no means a perfect world. And the fact of the matter is that it is impossible to get all the nutrients we need from food alone. Try adding a superfood powder to your fast-breaking shake and see how that helps you kick start the day!
Supplements Can Get the Results You Want
The keto diet alone has proven to be one of the most effective lifestyle changes for weight loss. Using some of or all of these keto supplements will help anyone struggling with the new dietary approach, jumping over a plateau, or just wanting to try something new! In the words of the Beatles, “I get by with a little help from my friends." This applies to many things in life and diets are no different! A strong support system of keto supplements can serve to bulletproof your new or current dietary lifestyle. Try one, a couple, or all of these wonderful products, and see how your keto diet results can go from good to great!
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