Do keto pills work?

posted in: Enhancing Ketosis

Until now, there have only been two types of keto supplements on the market.  Although both have some impact on ketosis, neither is sufficient to adequately enhance ketosis. Please see “What are ketosis pills and are keto pills safe for weight loss?” for information on supplements specifically designed to enhance ketosis.

The first type of supplement is based on adding exogenous ketones to the diet.  Basically, the ketones that your body produces during ketosis are taken in pill form (or other route) to raise your blood ketone levels. 

These might be helpful during the Induction Phase by giving your body adequate fuel during the period that your body has stopped relying on carbohydrates, but isn’t yet producing enough ketones on its own.  However, if you are using keto for weight loss, these supplements are counter-productive. 

The whole point of dietary ketosis for weight loss is to burn your own fat to produce the ketones you need for energy.  If you take them as a supplement, your body will burn less of your own fat for energy. 

Another problem with these supplements is that they artificially increase your ketone blood levels, which will show up in urine, blood and exhalation ketone testing.  So, even if you are not in active ketosis, your tests may tell you that you are.  False positives like this can make you think you are burning fat, but you may not be.  See: “Should I take exogenous ketones?” for a full discussion.

The second type of supplement is based on one of the targets previously discussed on the Enhancing Ketosis FAQ page.  The term Carb Blocker is used for these supplements (although technically, they are Starch Blockers, not Carb Blockers).  Although these can be helpful, most people on ketogenic diets don’t have much use for them. 

Blocking the breakdown of starch into smaller digestible sugars would be beneficial to reducing blood glucose and insulin secretion, but starchy vegetables are considered “bad” carbohydrate sources, so aren’t consumed in large quantities on the diet. 

That being said, there is a place for these supplements during “cheat days” when a dieter intentionally breaks ketosis. Remember, any additional carb will be stored as glycogen, so blocking starch on a cheat day will shorten the time needed to get back into ketosis. 

However, these only help with starch and have no effect on simple sugars or starch breakdown products, or any other target to enhance ketosis.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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