How, then, can we achieve the same results as in ketogenic diet, without following a strict low-carb diet and shorter or longer fasts?
About 5 years ago the idea of producing exogenous ketones was born in America.
Quite simply, exogenous ketones are ketone bodies that come from a source outside the body. The term "exogenous" is used in science to refer to a substance that originates from outside the body.
For example, vitamin C ingested from a multi-vitamin supplement is considered exogenous. The nutrients obtained from food (sugars, fats and carbohydrates) are also considered exogenous.
Remember that ketones as part of the ketogenic diet they are a form of energy that your body uses instead of glucose (carbohydrates). In this sense, exogenous ketones are a supplemental form to the ketones that your body naturally produces (and therefore, have a variety of benefits).
The benefits of using exogenous ketones are quite similar to the benefits of ketosis, such as:
- Improvement of cognitive function
- Decreased appetite
- Lasting energy
- Improved cardiovascular function
- Benefits for health and longevity
Ketones as an alternative to sugar
Ketones serve as an alternative energy source for the human body, particularly for our mitochondria: the "powerhouse" of cells.
Some dieticians and nutritional scientists argue that glucose (sugar) is the main source of energy for humans, but sugar is not an essential macronutrient.
In other words, humans can live without consuming dietary carbohydrates.
Conversely, ketones are byproducts of fatty acid metabolism in humans when carbohydrate intake is exceptionally low. For this reason, dietary fats (and ketones) are essential nutrients for our existence.
Why use exogenous ketones?
Using an exogenous ketone supplement provides the body with an immediate source of BHB to use.
Even if you're not on a ketogenic or low-carb diet, exogenous ketones quickly transport you into nutritional ketosis by highlighting immediately the effects on your body. Easy enough, isn't it?
A shortcut to ketosis
If you've ever been on a ketogenic diet alone, you'll know that it typically takes two weeks for your body to become "fat adjusted" and produce a nominal amount of ketones endogenously (ie from within).
The other faster and less strenuous route is precisely exogenous ketones. This way people who consume carbohydrates regularly can benefit from the benefits of ketosis.
But, what are the benefits of ketosis in detail?