What Exactly Is the Keto Ultra Diet Supplement and Should You Take It?

You want to lose weight, and you've heard that everyone — from your neighbor to LeBron James to Halle Berry — has had success going "keto," the high-fat, low-carb diet plan that promises fast, effective weight loss and protection against chronic disease.

The supplement Keto Ultra Diet claims to "boost" the effects of following a keto diet. (Image: Getty Images/Innocenti)

The supplement market has also jumped on the keto bandwagon and offers numerous options meant to support ketogenic eating. Keto Ultra Diet (which also goes by "PureFit Keto") is one of these supposed magic pills.

Before you spring for this or any similar product, though, you should have a good understanding of the keto diet and how the supplement is meant to support it.

What is the Keto Diet?

Keto stands for ketogenic. The ketogenic diet is moderate in protein, low in carbohydrates and very high in fat, explains Colette Raymond, a registered dietitian in Colorado Springs. The ratio of these nutrients at most meals, according to Precision Nutrition, is approximately 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbohydrates.

This diet forces your body to turn to fat, rather than carbs, for energy. To use fat, the body must first break it down into compounds called "ketones" that the brain and body can use to operate.

While you're on a ketogenic diet, your meal plan includes a very low amount of carbohydrates — often fewer than 50 carbs per day, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This means you restrict foods such as bread, pasta and sugar as well as many healthful foods such as dairy, some vegetables, most fruits and whole grains. You eat primarily fat, from sources such as coconut oil, avocados, meats, eggs, fish and poultry.

How Ketosis Works

A ketogenic diet acts almost like a fast in that your body perceives that it has no food to operate. The difference, though, is that ketosis doesn't force you to burn off lean muscle for energy as you would if you were starving.

In a normal diet, carbohydrates serve as the primary source of energy, especially for your brain and other internal organs. Your body converts carbs into glucose for fuel. If you're truly fasting or starving and your body is missing glucose, it turns to lean mass for fuel. Essentially, you burn valuable muscle.

With the high-fat emphasis of a keto diet, however, your body starts to produce ketones to provide energy for your heart, kidneys, brain and muscles. During ketosis, your lean mass is preserved while fat melts away.

Benefits of Going Keto

The International Journal of Environmental and Public Health published an analysis of the ketogenic diet in February 2014. The researchers found that the diet can be effective in treating obesity when correctly understood and followed under the guidance of a physician.

Raymond agrees that keto can be effective for weight loss, but notes that the results of the diet really do depend on adherence and consistency.

About Keto Ultra Diet

The rising popularity of the ketogenic diet has also led to a rise in supplements that tout similar benefits. The Keto Ultra Diet, for example, is marketed as a fat burner.

The supplement claims to put your body into a state of ketosis so you lose weight naturally, build up lean muscle mass and boost cognitive functions. Other purported benefits of the supplement include reduced fatigue, controlled appetite and faster muscle recovery.

The recommended amount is two pills daily — one in the morning and one in the evening — with plenty of water. The supplement's manufacturer claims that you can lose up to 1 pound of fat every day.

How It Works

The supplement contains what it calls a "powerful fat-burning ketone" known as beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). This ketone allegedly pushes your body into the metabolic state of ketosis.

A 2016 animal study published in Nutrition and Metabolism showed that supplementing rats' diets with oral ketone supplements, including beta-hydroxybutyrate, caused a sustained elevation of the BHB in the blood and reduced blood glucose levels. Researchers determined that oral ketone supplementation can induce nutritional ketosis even if the rats followed a normal diet and not a ketogenic one.

It's unclear how much of the BHB ketone is in Keto Ultra Diet supplements, however. Plus, as the experts at Precision Nutrition point out, almost no human studies have been conducted using ketogenic supplements such as Keto Ultra Diet, meaning there's no real confirmation that the claims made by the product are true.

"Supplements are not as regulated as prescription or over-the-counter drugs," Raymond explains. She notes that supplements are not required to go through clinical trials to evaluate their efficacy and side effects, and their claims also do not require approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Plus, Keto Ultra Diet's marketing materials suggest that users boost the supplement's effectiveness by following a diet that consists primarily of fat, with a meal ratio of 75 percent fat, 25 percent protein and 5 percent carbohydrates. Essentially, the supplement suggests you follow a diet that puts your body into ketosis, but it's unclear whether and how the supplement "boosts" the effect of that diet.

Is Keto Diet Ultra Safe?

The verdict is still out when it comes to the safety of Keto Diet Ultra, since not enough research has been done in this area. A September 2014 paper published in the Journal of Lipid Research suggests that exogenus ketone supplements are generally considered to be a safe and effective way to increase ketone body concentrations — after all, your body naturally produces BHB when you enter a dietary-induced state of ketosis — but the long-term effects are still unknown.

However, it's important to keep in mind that ketosis is not recommended for everyone. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that those with liver conditions, thyroid problems, a history of eating disorders (or active eating disorders), pancreatic disease, gallbladder disease or a missing gallbladder are not good candidates for a keto diet. If you have any of these conditions, you should consult with your doctor before taking Keto Diet Ultra or any similar supplement.

Possible Side Effects

Beta hydroxybutyrate is bound to minerals in your body that include the electrolytes potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium. Electrolytes are important for hydration and balancing your body's pH levels, but they also drive muscle function and nerve impulses. An electrolyte imbalance could cause side effects such as cramping or muscle weakness.

If you notice side effects such as dehydration, weakness or fatigue while taking Keto Diet Ultra, you may be experiencing a disruption in your electrolyte balance. Drink plenty of water and see your doctor if your symptoms are severe.

Also keep in mind that a ketogenic diet with or without Keto Diet Ultra supplementation has potential health concerns. In the first few weeks of this change in eating, you may notice flu-like symptoms that include headache, fatigue, dizzy spells and/or nausea. These symptoms may be caused by the changes your body's metabolic system undergoes to switch to ketone production.

Constipation is also a common problem on a ketogenic diet. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics point out that a keto diet tends to deprive your body of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, all of which contain fiber to help keep you regular.

Long-term concerns for those on the keto diet include kidney stones and a deficiency of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, C, K and folate, due to the limitations the diet places on certain healthy foods.

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