You may have heard some of the buzz around Ketone drinks and be a bit in the dark about what they are/do/mean for endurance athletes. Well, let's answer some questions.
What are Ketones?
Ketones already exist in your body. Whenever your body is pushed to its limits, it converts stored body fat to Ketones for energy to fuel your body, especially your brain. Ketone drinks elevate your natural ketone levels without you having to fast.
Why do I want Ketones?
Ketones are an additional fuel your body can use for energy. They are magical in the brain and increase your mental acuity. In terms of sports performance, they help you preserve your most efficient energy source, glycogen, so you have more glycogen reserves for later in your workout, race, or stage of the Tour de France.
Will Ketones help me lose weight?
Yes and No. Ketones will suppress your desire to eat (i.e., the hunger hormone Ghrelin), so you won't be as hungry. If you eat less, since you are less hungry, you will lose weight.
How do Tour de France riders use Ketones?
We know a thing or two about this as we are the world's largest seller of Ketones, especially to the Tour de France Teams. They are three ways they are using Ketones:
1) Recovery: Most teams use Ketones immediately after the stage and again before bed to assist in recovery. A study done a few years ago showed that after multiple weeks of hard training/racing, the group using Ketone Esters had a 15% higher level of recovery.
2) Energy: Some teams are using Ketone Esters during the stage. Typically drinking 15g to 25g every 90 minutes or so. This converts into energy they can use during the stage, but the most crucial benefit is that the riders burn less glycogen while also burning Ketones. This helps them preserve more glycogen for the final climb or sprint on the stage.
3) Mental Acuity: Other riders report that when they are severely mentally fatigued at the end of the stage, drinking 15g to 25g before the last hour of the race helps them "wake up" their brain and be more focused, avoid crashes, and be more mentally alert for the finish.
Are all Ketones the same?
No. First, the drinks you see as Ketone "Salts" often marketed by multiple-level marketing companies are not what we are talking about here. Athletes can consider three options on the market as effective Ketone drinks:
1) TΔS DeltaG: The original Ketone Ester developed at Oxford University and is generally considered the gold standard.
2) KetoneAid: Also a Ketone Ester and now the official partner of the Quickstep team that is using KetoneAid heavily at the Tour de France.
3) HVMN: Originally, they licensed the DeltaG product. Now they have their version called KetoneIQ that will elevate blood Ketone levels but is not considered an Ester. It is less expensive, has slightly better taste, and is growing in popularity.
What about us regular people not racing the Tour de France?
There are two significant use cases for Ketones:
1) ☕️ Morning Coffee. My favorite usage of Ketones is for boosting mental acuity. It is my experience that it is almost as good as many ADHD pharmaceuticals for focus. You can now get deltaG® without any flavor made to go into coffee known as Delta Gold. Add 4ml to 5ml to your coffee in the morning, and you will feel an increased level of focus for the next few hours.
2) 🥇 A big ride/event. Ketones are expensive, but if you have been training for months for a big ride or event, it is worth the investment to use them these days. Use Ketone drinks for the recovery benefits in your heaviest training weeks and for extra energy on your big event day.
What do Ketone Drinks taste like?
Ketone drinks all taste terrible. I mean, really bad. Don't be surprised. I would say they taste slightly worse than drinking diesel fuel straight from the fuel pump at the gas station. You've been warned. KetoneIQ is somewhat better tasting than the other options.
Enjoy the super fuel of Ketone Drinks.