7 Best Exogenous Ketones That Actually Work (2023)
Exogenous ketones increase blood ketone levels, but you still need to cut out carbs to lose weight in the long term.
The best exogenous ketones are free of sugars, taste great, and have at least 10 grams of BHB per serving.
Best Tasting BHB
Best Drinkable BHB
Best Drink Mix
Best Exogenous Ketones
1. Perfect Keto Base Base Exogenous Ketones
- Best tasting exogenous ketones for weight loss
- Very effective appetite suppressant by keeping cravings low
- 11.4 grams of BHB salts per serving (a lot)
- Helps transition into ketosis without the dreaded keto flu
- Works well in a morning coffee, as a pre-workout shake, and during fasting
- Quick energy source, no energy drops, doesn’t affect sleep
- Too much too soon can cause digestive issues (start with 1/4 scoop)
Perfect Keto Base is the best exogenous ketone supplement that actually tastes good because it doesn’t have the common bitter taste that many other supplements have.
The Perfect Keto BHB exogenous ketones are available in 5 unique flavors and what most surprised me is that it actually tastes great even when mixed with water (which isn’t usually the case).
The Perfect Keto BHB is a ketone salt blend made from magnesium BHB (3,800mg), sodium BHB (3,800mg), and calcium BHB (3,800mg).
Perfect Keto is available in both capsule and powder form, and is gluten and dairy-free.
It’s sweetened only with natural monk fruit, making it a zero-carb option for anyone following the keto diet and wanting to avoid artificial sweeteners.
Additionally, Perfect Keto contains added electrolytes, which can help to avoid the keto flu symptoms that many people experience when starting a ketogenic diet.
One serving comes with 11.4 grams of BHB and 45-60 calories (depending on the flavor). And best of all, it’s totally free of carbs, sugar, and any other weird artificial fillers and ingredients.
Type: BHB salt
BHB: 11.4g per serving
Form: Powder and pills
Serving size: 1 scoop
Servings per container: 15
Calories: 45-60 (depending on the flavor)
2. HVMN Ketone-IQ Ketone Ester Drink
- Has 10 grams of ketones per serving (as R-1.3-Butanediol)
- Free of caffeine and sugar
- Very clean and fast energy for the body and brain
- Used by Navy SEALs, Tour de France cyclists, and other high performers
- FDA and WADA compliant
- Best ketones drink for weight loss
- Keeps the blood ketone levels elevated for 4 hours, way more than other drinkable ketones
The HVMN Ketone-IQ is an exogenous ketone ester drink that was developed through $6M contract with the U.S. Department of Defense Special Operations Command (US DOD SOCOM).
Each serving of Ketone-IQ offers 10 grams of ketones in the form of R-1.3-Butanediol. It’s sweetened with natural monk fruit extract and free of caffeine and sugar.
The HVMN ketone ester can be consumed as is or mixed into any beverage. It’s best used in the morning to improve cognition and before athletic workouts to enhance endurance and energy levels.
Another benefit of this supplement is its effectiveness as an appetite suppressant, helping you to manage your food cravings and stay on track with your diet.
HVMN ketone esters are both FDA and WADA-compliant, ensuring it’s safe and legitimate.
The HVMN Ketone-IQ drinkable ketones will keep the blood ketone levels elevated for up to 4 hours, which is longer than other drinkable ketones.
Type: Ketone Ester
BHB: 10g per serving (as R-1.3-Butanediol)
Form: Liquid ketone drink
Serving size: 1.2 fl oz (35 ml)
Servings per container: 10
3. Real Ketones Elevate D-BHB Ketones Drink Mix
- 10-13g D-BHB + MCT per serving with 4x more electrolytes than competitors
- Best exogenous ketones drink mix
- An effective appetite suppressant and gives an energy boost
- Clinically tested to improve reaction time, reduce stress and anxiety
- Comes in convenient stick bags to use on the go
- Has 4 unique flavors (incl. caffeinated version)
- Free of sugar, salt, laxatives, and preservatives
Real Ketones exogenous ketone supplement is a D-BHB ketone drink mix that offers a great way to achieve a state of ketosis within 1 hour.
With the addition of C8 MCT oil and electrolytes, this supplement helps prevent the dreaded “keto flu” symptoms while also acting as an effective appetite suppressant.
The D-BHB salt contains zero sugar and is free from salt, laxatives, preservatives, and other unwanted ingredients found in many alternative options. This is essential for every keto follower.
Real Ketones ketone supplement drink mix has been clinically tested through a placebo-controlled, double-blind, and IRB-approved clinical study.
The study found that it improves reaction time, reduces stress and anxiety, and helps increase blood ketone levels for up to 4-6 hours.
Real Ketones ketones BHB drink mix comes in convenient powder stick packages that are easy to use on the go.
Additionally, with a purchase, you’ll get access to a free keto app and a Facebook support group to help you stay on track and achieve your goals.
Type: BHB salt
BHB: 10g per serving (BHB+MCT)
Form: Powder sticks
Serving size: 1 stick (15 grams)
Servings per container: 30-60
4. TruBrain Ketones Ketone Ester Powder
- Made with raw ketone ester
- Has 12 grams of D-BHB per serving
- Best ketone ester powder
- Free of sugars, carbs, and stimulants
- Comes in a tasty chocolate flavor
- Works well as a morning bust or as a pre or during a workout
- Boosts mood, focus, and energy levels
TruBrain Ketones is a unique ketone ester supplement as it’s made with raw ketone ester while being in a powder form. Usually, ketone esters are in liquid form.
The TruBrain Ketones includes a combination of fast-absorbing raw ketone ester and electrolytes, which can help prevent the keto flu.
The fact that it’s made from raw ketone ester makes it extremely fastly absorbent by the body, providing clean and smooth energy without any ups and downs.
Each serving of TruBrain Ketones contains 12 grams of D-BHB, making it a highly concentrated supplement that’s effective in boosting mood, focus, and energy levels.
The only downside is that it only comes in one flavor, chocolate, but it actually tastes really good.
Type: Ketone ester
BHB: 12g per serving
Serving size: 1 scoop (16.5g/0.58oz)
Servings per container: 15
5. KetoSports KetoForce Ketones Drink
- 11.7 grams of BHB ketones per dose
- Best exogenous ketone drink
- Unflavored and unsweetened liquid BHB ketone drink
- Basically a form of pure energy for mental and physical performance
- The liquid form is easily consumable on the go
- Great for pre and during workouts and to reduce keto-flu symptoms
- Not a great taste, mix it with an acidic beverage
KetoSports KetoForce exogenous ketones drink is one of the original and trusted keto brands that started to offer exogenous ketones.
KetoForce is an unflavored and unsweetened ketone drink that is a great option to avoid added sweeteners or flavors but be aware that the taste itself isn’t good.
If the taste is essential for you, then choose the powder form instead.
One serving of KetoForce contains 11.7 grams of ketones, making it a highly concentrated and effective appetite suppressant.
To use, simply mix 2 tablespoons into 8-12 ounces of liquid, ideally an acidic beverage, and enjoy. This supplement can be taken with or without food.
The BHB drink is free from stimulants, flavors, sweeteners, and carbs. This makes it a great natural supplement that won’t interfere with cutting carbs.
Type: BHB drink
BHB: 11.7g per dose
Serving size: 30cc (2 tablespoons)
Servings per container: 16
6. KetoSports KetoCaNa
- Has 11.7 grams of BHB per serving
- One of the most well-known keto brands
- Has a great taste, naturally sweetened and flavored
- Comes in 3 different flavors
- Free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors
- Best BHB exogenous ketones powder
- High in sodium and calcium
KetoCaNa is the topline BHB ketone supplement from one of the most well-known keto brand KetoSports.
KetoCana ketones powder is naturally sweetened and flavored and comes in three different flavors.
Each serving of KetoCaNa ketone salts contains 11.7 grams of BHB, making it a highly concentrated supplement that’s effective in suppressing appetite and promoting ketosis.
To use, simply dissolve one scoop of KetoCaNa in at least 8 ounces of beverage, with or without food.
It’s ideal for pre and during workouts and can help increase blood ketone levels for several hours.
Type: BHB salt
BHB: 11.7g per dose
Form: Ketone powder
Serving size: 19 grams
Servings per container: 16
7. Zhou Keto Drive
The Keto Drive BHB Salts are made and sold by – as they say, themselves – a small team of nerds obsessed with wellness.
The ingredient list is pretty solid. Other than the regular stuff it also contains a small amount of silica and a gum blend, but they are keto-friendly and they attribute to the thick texture that the drink has.
What’s unique about this product is that it has just 5 calories per serving! That’s very, very low as compared to other brands.
Natural Stevia is the only sweetener of choice for all of the flavors.
It comes in 3 different flavors: Orange Mango, Matcha Lemonade, and Black Cherry (with 100mg Caffeine). I’ve tried the Orange Mango flavor and I actually liked it a lot, it is quite sweet, and it has a tanginess that tastes very similar to real orange juice.
- Zero carbs and only 5 calories per serving! Perfect to drink while fasting
- Good taste
- Good amount of BHB per serving
- Pretty solid, keto-friendly ingredients list
- Competitive price
- The taste could be overly sweet for some people
- Not as “Pure” as competitors
- No added electrolytes
Type: BHB salt
BHB per serving: 11.7g goBHB™
Multi-level marketing: NO
Taste: Pretty good. Sweet taste, very similar to real orange juice (orange mango)
Other notable ingredients: Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Natural Orange Flavor, Silica, Stevia, Natural Color, Gum Blend
Ketone Esters vs. Ketone Salts
The keto diet trend statistics show the rapid rise of keto products, including exogenous ketones. There are two main types of exogenous ketones: ketone salts and ketone esters. They are different from each other in a few ways, so, depending on your needs, one will be better for you than the other.
- Ketone salts are made by binding the raw ketones to a salt, typically sodium or more rarely potassium, or magnesium, or calcium, or all of the above, to improve its absorption rate.
- Ketone esters, on the other hand, are simply raw ketones, without any salts or other compounds bound to them. This is less commonly found in commercial products.
Almost every single ketone supplement that’s available on the market right now is a ketone salt. Lately, a couple of brands started making and selling ketone ester supplements as well, but they are mostly used for research purposes.
Both of these forms have the ability to significantly increase blood ketone levels, which is what happens naturally when you follow a Ketogenic diet. (1)
One study shows that the biggest difference between the two types is their duration. While ketone salts provide a longer-lasting, less potent spike, ketone esters give you a more intense, short-lasting spike in blood ketones.
- If you are about to hit the gym or go for an intense cardio session, a ketone ester supplement might be a better option to give you that quick energy you’re looking for.
- If you are however looking for a more steady source of energy for the next few hours, a ketone salt is your best bet.
Although both forms of ketone supplements are lacking in taste ketone esters are currently way worse and have a potentially unbearable taste, while ketone salts are mostly tolerable and some are even delicious!
Benefits of Exogenous Ketones
In a quite recent study from 2017, the researchers managed to significantly improve a patient’s Crohn’s disease (autoimmune disease causing chronic inflammation) by a combination of exogenous ketone supplementation, mild daily movement, and a low-carb, Keto diet. (2) Even though it’s just one among the few current studies, the results are very promising and future research should expand upon these findings. (3)
Multiple studies have shown that supplementing with exogenous ketones helps suppress appetite, which may indirectly help you lose weight by eating less. This study from 2017 found that using a ketone ester drink is directly correlated to suppressing appetite, as the increase in blood ketones resulted in lowered plasma ghrelin levels (the hunger hormone that regulates appetite). (4)
Mental clarity boost (cognitive benefits)
Exogenous ketones may also help reduce “brain fog” and improve mental clarity. The human brain uses 25% of the total energy used for our whole body to function, and ketones can provide up to 70% of the brain’s energy needs. (5) There are many studies currently looking at the use of the ketogenic diet as well as exogenous ketones on reducing mild-cognitive impairment and the severity or onset of Alzheimer’s. (6, 7)
If you just had a cheat day or you are just starting out with Keto, it may naturally take a long period of time to get (back) into a state of ketosis. By taking an exogenous ketone supplement, getting you back into ketosis can happen in a matter of minutes. Your food choices may not be all ketogenic yet, but it can still be in a state of ketosis because there are ketones in the blood, making the transition easier.
Reduced keto flu symptoms
As exogenous ketones can make it easier to get into ketosis, they can also help alleviate side effects associated with the early stages of the Keto diet, such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, diarrhea, constipation, and overall low energy levels. (8)
Do Exogenous Ketones Help With Weight Loss?
As we briefly discussed earlier, regularly using an exogenous ketone supplement can potentially help you lose weight, but not in a direct way.
Firstly, for the most part, it may help you lose weight by appetite control. In one study involving 15 healthy people, the subjects drinking a ketone ester drink experienced 50% less hunger after an overnight fast than the subjects consuming a sugary drink.
Two- to four hours after consumption, in the ketone ester group, insulin and ghrelin levels were significantly lower than the other group, and their reported hunger and desire to eat was significantly suppressed. (9) There are other studies supporting the appetite suppressing nature of ketogenic diets and ketone bodies. (10)
Secondly, an exogenous ketone supplement may help you lose weight by helping you achieve and/or stay in a state of ketosis. The rapid surge in blood ketones can kick start the body into ketosis so that producing and using your own ketones for fuel can happen quicker and easier. Being in a state of ketosis makes it easier for your body to regulate your insulin and blood glucose levels, which is critical to losing weight. (11)
So, while an exogenous ketone supplement may help you lose weight through these indirect ways, it doesn’t burn fat on its own and you still need to follow a well-balanced ketogenic diet plan to see results.
Raspberry Ketones Are NOT Exogenous Ketones
Supplements marketed as “raspberry ketones,” despite their name, have absolutely nothing to do with Keto, ketosis, or exogenous ketones.
They are aromatic compounds, naturally found mostly in red fruits and berries, but they are also present in trace amounts in other fruits such as apples, kiwis, and peaches. (12)
These compounds contribute to the fruity flavor and smell of fruits, which is why even before being marketed as a supplement, they were used to flavor food and drinks like ice cream and soda.
Last few years, companies started selling raspberry ketone supplements, most often as a part of a “fat burner” formula. They claim that raspberry ketones will help your body burn fat faster and more efficiently since they allegedly raise levels of adiponectin – a hormone that is involved in regulating glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown. And somehow, that led to raspberry ketones being sold as a weight-loss supplement.
But even though they are heavily marketed and have strong fat-loss claims, there is no scientific data to support those claims. There are a couple of studies on rats and mice suggesting that a super-high dose of raspberry ketones may help these rodents hold off weight gain. Yes, you can see yourself how that sounds like, like a scam. Other than this research, there are no human studies whatsoever. (13)
A lot of people hear positive things about exogenous ketones, and purchase raspberry ketones thinking they are the same thing but they are not the same.
How to Choose Exogenous Ketones?
Impact on blood ketones
While most exogenous ketone supplements are in the form of one type of ketone body, beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB salt. Depending on your needs or goals, you might want to look for an ester type. Also, the amount of BHB per serving is very important. The higher the amount of BHB, the more ketones you will have in your circulation after consumption. This doesn’t mean that more is always better, but we suggest that you go for the higher range (about >10g per serving). (14)
Brand and ingredients used
You should also pay attention to how transparent the company of the product is. There are some brands out there that find ways to hide the real amount of BHB used and don’t specify it on the label at all. Other than that, some of them also add unnecessary additives like hidden carbs, large amounts of caffeine, and even MCT powder as a cheaper alternative to using real BHB.
Taste is a crucial factor in deciding whether or not you will consume the supplement you bought regularly, or you will hide it in the closet and never use it again. Since exogenous ketone supplements are known to not have the best taste, it would be smart to see what previous buyers think before purchasing.
Last but not least, the price is also quite important to pay attention to. Although most exogenous ketone supplements are quite similar in terms of BHB content and ingredients used, there are some companies that overprice their products while not providing any additional value to justify the higher price.
Multi-level marketing (MLM)
This is something no one talks about. The reason why you have probably seen so many exogenous ketone products being promoted to you is that the companies are promoting their lucrative multi-level marketing schemes to get their sales up. The problem is that this often skews and biases the salesman’s viewpoint. So not only are they trying really hard to sell, they are not looking to help you. This might not always be the case but be aware, and before you buy, ask yourself or research if the product is a part of the MLM scheme and if you want to get involved in that.
What NOT to do When Choosing Exogenous Ketones
Before we dive into the best ones, I wanted to say a couple of things.
There are soooo many different keto brands and products out there. Here are my favorite products that I feel comfortable suggesting. This means they are high-quality, labeled correctly and the companies stand behind their products.
DO NOT just buy any product that has the word “KETO” on it. There are so many shady companies who are just there to make a quick dollar. If you don’t know how to assess the quality, then lean towards bigger and more established companies that have been in business for a while (like KissMyKeto, Perfect Keto) in the keto community, when you are just starting out.
DO NOT buy keto fat loss pills. This topic requires an article on its own. Although there are some BHB products that come in a pill form, more than half of the products on the market have very little effect, are not tested or studied and most don’t actually have what they claim to in their supplements. They are designed to take your hard-earned money.
From the reviewed supplements in the previous section, in our opinion, the Kiss My Keto Exogenous Ketones takes 1st place.
It checks all of our requirements for a great exogenous ketone supplement. While the difference from some of the others may not be huge, it’s definitely our favorite one overall.
Considering the average price of exogenous ketones, it’s quite affordable, especially considering that it also comes with added electrolytes and caffeine (optional) while providing top quality.
If not KissMyKeto, then go for Perfect Keto. It uses both Stevia and Monk Fruit (yes, it’s Keto-friendly) as sweeteners, unlike the other brands which use just Stevia – and that’s most likely why it tastes the best (at least for us).
But what we like most about it, is the very simple ingredients list. It contains a generous BHB amount of 11.7g, some cocoa powder, and sweeteners. That’s it. And on top of that, it tastes awesome.
Alex is the founder of Bodyketosis, an author, low-carb enthusiast, and a recovering chubby guy who reclaimed his health using the ketogenic lifestyle. The need for the keto life began after his aunt and cousin were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and he was next in line. Through personal experience and extensive scientific research, Alex offers insightful tips for everything keto.