At the start of your journey to ketogenic bliss, you can expect to encounter one or more snags. Food restrictions can be a real bummer, but nothing spurs keto dietary transgression more than the dreaded “keto flu” or “carb flu,” especially if you’ve never before tried keto dieting.
If you normally follow the traditional Western diet, sugars and carbohydrates probably comprise a substantial portion of your daily food intake. Within the first few weeks of keto dieting, your body transitions from burning carbohydrates as fuel to burning fat as fuel—which can lead to undesirable side effects: irritability, bloating, lethargy, and headaches.
Keto Diet Health Benefits Outweigh the Woes
Mastering the keto diet requires strict adherence to nutrient-specific meal plans that can be difficult to follow from day to day over the long haul. Consuming conventional comfort foods loaded with carbs is a no-no with the keto diet. But once you enter a steady state of ketosis, here are a few incentives to look forward to:
- Energy surge
- Better gastrointestinal performance
- Increased brain function
- Metabolic boost that supports weight loss
- Stable glucose and insulin levels
Ketones are an energy supply that gradually build up in the body over time to yield these healthy rewards. Ketogenesis is the process that produces ketone bodies in the blood when glycogen reserves in the liver are depleted. The rate at which fat is metabolized accelerates, as fatty acids are converted to ketones.
MCTs Help Span Arduous Gap to Ketosis
Exogenous ketone supplementation helps to lessen the symptoms you will likely suffer the first few weeks before your body shifts into full-mode ketogenesis. Esters, BHB, and MCT are popular ketone supplements that aid the process.
Esters and BHBs are ketones that the body readily absorbs. Esters have an infamously appalling taste, and most people are discouraged from consuming them daily for this reason. The body naturally synthesizes beta hydroxybutyrate, or BHB, which is a compound produced from fat endogenously when carbohydrate levels plummet. Exogenous BHB supplements are often bonded forms of mineral salts. BHB is usually produced as oils or powders. Medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are not ketones; instead, MCTs travel from the stomach to the liver where the fatty acids are easily converted to fuel and are, therefore, an immediate energy source.
Understanding how the body responds to different fats is important. Long chain triglycerides (LCTs)—derived from olive oil and avocados, for example—are fatty acids that require more time to absorb into the body and convert to fuel. Because LCT lag time delays much-needed energy and other more immediate keto health benefits, MCTs are a better choice as you are struggling to achieve consistent ketone production.
MCT Supplementation for Convenience Sake
You can consume MCTs from food sources, as well. Palm kernel oil and coconut oil are rich sources of MCTs, which have close to 10% fewer calories than LCTs. This is all well and good, but monitoring the sources of your fatty acids on a daily basis is a cumbersome endeavor, which is why reliable exogenous keto supplements like MCT Oil Softgels make sense, and they are easier to consume than repeated doses of the malodorous free-form oil. To boost your ketone levels, take these once a day with at least 8 ounces of water and you can get on with your day with fewer to no ketosis symptoms and more energy.
Scientific studies have also proven a myriad of other benefits from the consumption of MCTs. Maintain steadier ketogenesis with MCTs during your keto diet. Fervent partakers of MCTs can potentially enjoy these other benefits:
- Antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties
- Improved brain support in the absence of sugar for Alzheimer’s patients
- Improved response in patients with other neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease)
- Improved cognitive response in autistic children
- Enhanced fat-burning during athletic performance
- Improved memory, mood, and intellectual clarity
- Increased satiety levels
- Promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut
- Hinders the accumulation of excess body fat
- Hinders cardiovascular complications (e.g., dyslipidemia and hypertension)
- Improved absorption of fat-soluble nutrients