If you’ve done any research on a ketogenic diet, you have likely been bombarded with ads on social media about a variety of miracle keto pills. There are a variety of different companies selling these keto diet pills, but they all promise the same thing: these supplements will instantly get you into ketosis!
Are keto diet pills safe? While keto diet pills are not likely to harm you, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and have not shown any benefit over a traditional ketogenic diet.
Are you considering taking supplements to get into ketosis? Keep reading to find out why this probably isn’t a great idea.
What Are Keto Diet Pills?
Many companies are making supplements that they are touting as a miracle pill that gives your all the benefits of eating a ketogenic diet without actually having to do the work. While that might sound great, that claim alone should be enough to turn off anyone who’s done any type of keto research at all.
People who know keto are not the targets of these predatory companies, though. They are targeting those who are overweight and have heard of people having great results with the keto diet. Let’s be honest, starting a diet is hard, and if you can skip all the hard work and go straight to the results just by taking a pill, why wouldn’t you?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve tried a lot of unconventional things to lose weight because I was frustrated with what I allowed myself to become. Pills and drinks are among the different products I tried. They all had one thing in common: none of them did a thing.
Since so many diet pills on the market don’t work, what do these companies claim make their product different? The answer is exogenous ketones. Ketones are what your body produces when you eat a ketogenic diet. They are what causes your body to shift into fat-burning mode.
Before you get started with keto pills, here are some things to consider.
1. There’s Only One Way To Get Into Ketosis
If you need ketones in your body to get into ketosis, the exogenous ketones provided by these pills can only help, right? That’s what the manufacturers want you to think. Yes, they do put exogenous ketones into your bloodstream. The problem is, they don’t actually do anything.
The only way to get into ketosis is through nutrition, most specifically eating a diet that is low in carbohydrates, high in healthy fats, and moderate in protein. This diet provides your body with endogenous ketones, which are the types of ketones you want.
2. You’ll Stop Burning Fat
Keto pills are explicitly marketed towards people who want to lose weight. One of the claims is that you’ll have so much more energy, which will lead to more weight loss. Exogenous ketones have been shown to increase energy levels slightly, but if losing weight is what you’re going for, these pills may hinder your progress.
As long as you have exogenous ketones in your bloodstream, your body is going to stop burning fat. This is thanks to your body seeing these fake ketones as a form of carbohydrates and will be burned until they are completely depleted. Since you’re supposed to take keto pills 2-3 times each day, your body will have a hard time getting back into fat-burning mode.
3. Keto Pills May Cause Digestive Distress
Some keto pills have medium-chain triglycerides listed in the ingredients, which is known to cause stomach problems by those who are not yet fully into ketosis and adapted to burning fat. Since keto pills won’t actually put you into ketosis, this is one side effect you might experience regularly.
Some of the more common stomach issues to watch out for include intense cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. If you decide to try keto pills, this side effect may be lessened by taking them with food and taking a magnesium supplement as well.
4. Keto Pills Engage In False Advertising
One of my favorite television shows is Shark Tank. I haven’t seen every episode, so I don’t know every single product that the sharks have invested in. One thing I do know is that if a product is not backed up with proof that it works, the sharks are not going to invest their hard-earned money.
Imagine my surprise when I opened Facebook and was met with an advertisement for keto diet pills that stated it was not only featured on Shark Tank but that Mark Cuban had actually invested in the company. Mark is always one of the hardest when it comes to companies peddling supplements and is well-versed in things like the placebo effect.
The advertisement laid it on thick, claiming that their presentation was the first to ever receive offers from every shark as well as a standing ovation when Mark invested. It sounded way too good to be true, and according to this Snopes article, no Shark Tank investors have endorsed a ketogenic diet pill.
If a company is willing to lie about something so easily proven to be false, what makes you think they’ll be honest about what their product does?
5. Keto Pills Hide Their Ingredients
Would you eat food if you had no idea what it was or the ingredients that went into it? If your answer was no, why would you take a keto pill that doesn’t tell you what it’s made from?
This isn’t true for all companies that produce keto pills, but I see more and more being sold that list only “proprietary blend” where the list of ingredients should be. If there are ingredients listed, many brands will still hide behind the proprietary blend, so they don’t have to list how much of each component is used.
6. Keto Pills May Be Bad For Your Heart
Keto pills consist of ketones that have been bound to sodium. This can cause problems for people who have issues with their heart function or some form of heart health.
Taking these supplements can be especially troublesome for those who deal with high blood pressure or other forms of cardiovascular disease. On top of that, many people report that the salty taste is overwhelming and not easy to get past when taking the pills.
7. Keto Pills May Deplete Minerals
Taking exogenous ketones reduces the number of electrolytes found in your body by demineralizing magnesium, potassium, and sodium. When you first begin taking these pills, you may notice that you have to use the restroom a lot more often, and you may also feel like you’re incredibly thirsty all the time.
If you decide to take the pills, make sure you’re drinking as much water as possible. It is possible to become dehydrated as a result of these minerals being depleted from your body.
8. Keto Pills May Cause Muscle Cramps
Another side effect that comes with all of those minerals being depleted is muscle cramps. One of the most common forms of muscle cramps you’ll experience as a result of depleted minerals is a charley horse.
A charley horse is a muscle spasm that occurs in the leg and is marked by painful muscle contractions. These cramps happen a lot in the middle of the night, especially when you stretch your legs. The spasm occurs quickly and can last for several minutes.
One of the worst things about a charley horse is that it can wake you up from a deep sleep, and the soreness in the muscle can last for days.
9. Keto Pills May Cause Ketoacidosis
Ketosis and Ketoacidosis are two terms that are often confused when it comes to a ketogenic diet. As mentioned above, ketosis is what happens when your body burns fat for energy. Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a potentially serious condition that takes place when there are too many ketones present in the body.
While ketosis is good for you, Ketoacidosis is a potentially deadly condition, especially when it comes to diabetics. Many Ketoacidosis symptoms are the same as symptoms of high blood sugar. Some of the most common are being extremely thirsty, dry mouth, and frequent urination.
If you feel like your blood sugar may be high, test it as soon as possible. If you find that your level is higher than 240mg/dL, it’s time to try to bring it down. After a half-hour, check the levels of ketones in your blood and consider contacting your doctor.
The following symptoms of Ketoacidosis require immediate medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing
- Vomiting for a period greater than two hours
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Brain fog
If you have diabetes, it is probably better not to take keto pills in the first place because you are more at risk of developing Ketoacidosis.
10. Keto Pills Are Not Regulated
Unlike over the counter medication such as pain relievers and cold medicine, keto pills are considered a supplement. Unfortunately, supplements are not a regulated industry. If I wanted to, I could put sugar pills in a bottle, and as long as I call it a natural supplement, I can sell it with any benefits I make up attached.
The United States Food and Drug Administration, more commonly known as FDA, is responsible for regulating many of the products you see on the shelves in every store you visit. They control products like drugs for humans and animals, medical devices, and biological products to ensure they’re safe for human consumption.
Since supplements are not in the same class as drugs, the FDA doesn’t put the same requirements on them. Any medications you buy must be proven to be safe and effective against the claims they make, while supplements can make any claims they want.
11. Keto Pills Are Expensive
You can buy keto pills at virtually any retailer you can find. On Amazon, bottles of the supplement average about $30 per bottle, with each bottle including 60 tablets. That might not sound like a lot, but if you take the pills as directed, you’ll end up spending over $2,500 per year on these supplements alone.
12. Keto Pills Have Other Potential Side Effects
In addition to those mentioned earlier, clinical trials published by the United States National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health showed these potential side effects:
- Chest Pain
- Mild Anxiety
Although these so-called miracle keto pills claim that you can get into ketosis in 30 minutes and have all the benefits of fat-burning weight-loss without any of the efforts of actual dieting, the results don’t add up. These pills will boost your ketone levels, but all that does is give you very expensive urine when they leave your body.
Whether or not you want to try keto pills is ultimately up to you, but I know I have plenty of reasons not to.
Why am I starving on the keto diet? You shouldn’t be hungry if you’re following a ketogenic diet correctly. If you are, you need to identify what’s causing the hunger and correct it.
What is keto rash? Keto rash is an itchy rash that appears on both sides of your body. It is most commonly seen on the neck, chest, armpits, or back.
Can I have coconut oil while on the keto diet? Yes, coconut oil is perfect for keto because it’s low in carbohydrates and has multiple health benefits.