by Lewis Chang, PhD
A ketogenic diet is a dietary approach that promotes nutritional ketosis by restricting carbohydrates and increasing the intake of fat with adequate consumption of protein. According to systematic reviews and meta-analyses, ketogenic diets may prevent an increase in appetite on reduced calorie diets1 and help achieve long-term body weight reduction.2 Emerging studies have suggested that ketogenic diets may be beneficial in diabetes management and exercise performance.3,4
Compliance with ketogenic diets can be difficult because the amount of carbohydrate allowed is very low (usually <50 g/day), with 60-70% of total energy coming from dietary fat. Therefore, there has been a surge of commercially available products supplying exogenous ketones (such as beta-hydroxybutyrate [βHB] salts) to enhance compliance and facilitate the induction and maintenance of ketosis. However, there has been insufficient information in scientific literature on the oral response to exogenous ketone products in human subjects.
A new study recently published in the Journal of Nutritional Health & Food Engineering investigated the circulating βHB response in healthy volunteers following acute consumption of βHB salts.5 In a randomized, cross-over design, 10 men and women consumed placebo control or exogenous ketone salts, providing either 11.7 g (full dose) or 5.85 g (half dose) of βHB, with a wash-out period between intakes.5
The investigators found that:5
These data are in line with another recently published human study in which circulating βHB levels reached 1.0 mmol/L during the first hour after 15 subjects consumed 12 g βHB.6 These studies provide evidence of acute-dose efficacy and safety of exogenous βHB salt supplements.5-6 However, long-term safety and efficacy of exogenous ketones in humans remain to be investigated.
Why is this Clinically Relevant?