5 Best Exogenous Ketones in 2019 [incl. Who Should NOT take Them]

In a hurry? My favorite exogenous ketone supplement right now is Kiss My Keto Exogenous Ketones!

If you are following keto, then during some point of time you will consider giving exogenous ketones a try.

Before you go all in, let's set all the hype and marketing aside, and ask if you really need it?

Well, do you need a Tesla? Probably not, but it's a damn excellent way to travel. Do you feel that:

best exogenous ketone supplement for keto diet
  • Adapting to ketosis is difficult?
  • The keto-flu is unbearable?
  • You have been kicked out of ketosis because of that delicious burger or jar of Ben&Jerrys?

If yes, then you may benefit from exogenous ketones. But, if you think that taking then will make the fat disappear overnight, then I'm sorry to inform you - it doesn't work that way.

But worry not, we will teach you everything you need to know and help you choose the best one!

Exogenous ketones we cover in this article:

Ketone Esters vs.
Ketone Salts

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 vs ketone esters
  • Ketone salts are made by binding the raw ketones to a salt, typically sodium or more rarely potassium, or magnesium, to improve its absorption rate.

  • Ketone esters, on the other hand, are simply raw ketones, without any salts or other compounds bound to them.

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.

Studies show 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.

esters vs salts 2
  • If you are about to hit the gym or go for an intense cardio session, a ketone ester supplement might be a better option.

  • If you are however looking for a steady source of energy for the next few hours, a ketone salt is your best bet.

And lastly, although both forms of ketone supplements struggle taste-wise, 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

  1. Reduced inflammation - 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. (1) Even though it’s just one among few current studies, the results are very promising and future research should expand upon these findings.

  2. Appetite suppression - 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 (hunger hormone). (2)

  3. 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. (3) And unlike glucose, ketone molecules are small enough to easily cross the “blood-brain” barrier and quickly provide energy to the brain.

  4. Ketone boost - 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, that happens in a matter of minutes. The body itself may not be ketogenic yet, but it is still in a state of ketosis because there are ketones in the blood, making the transition easier. 

  5. Reduced keto flu symptoms - As exogenous ketones can make it easier to get into ketosis, they can also help alleviate side-effects associated with early stages of the Keto diet, such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, diarrhea, constipation, and overall low energy levels.

Do Exogenous Ketones
Help With Weight Loss?

As we briefly discussed earlier, regularly using an exogenous ketone supplement can definitely 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. 2-4 hours after consumption, insulin and ghrelin levels of the ketone ester group were significantly lower than the other group, and their reported hunger and desire to eat was significantly suppressed. (4)

  • 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.

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

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.

raspberry ketones are not exogenous ketones

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.

The 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 which 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.

A lot of people hear positive things about exogenous ketones, and purchase raspberry ketones thinking it’s the same thing but they are not the same.

How to Choose
Exogenous Ketones?

  1. Impact on blood ketones - While most exogenous ketone supplements are of the BHB salts type, depending on your needs, you might want to look for an ester type.
    Also, the amount of BHB per serving is very important. The higher the BHB amount, the more ketones you will have in your body. This doesn’t mean that more is always better, but we suggest that you go for the higher range (about 11g per serving).

  2. 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 carbs, large amounts of caffeine, and even MCT powder as a cheaper alternative to using real BHB.

  3. Taste - Taste is a crucial factor in the way that it can decide whether you will consume the supplement you bought regularly, or you will hide it in the closet and never use it again. And since exogenous ketone supplements are known not to have the best taste, it would be smart to see what previous buyers think before purchasing.

  4. Price - 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.

  5. 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 nasty multi-level marketing schemes to get the sales up. The problem is that this often skews the salesman viewpoint, and they only try to sell, not help you. This might not always be the case but be aware, and before you buy ask yourself if the product is a part of the MLM scheme.

Best 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, 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 big and established companies (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 little effect and are just usual fat burners designed to take your hard earned money.

1. Kiss My Keto Exogenous Ketones (our favorite)

Kiss My Keto is the new kid on the block and was founded by 2 keto enthusiasts who got tired of all the low-quality and shady products on the market.

This exogenous ketone has a simple ingredients list with 11.7g of BHB per serving.

The reason it's my favorite right now (apart from taste) is that it also includes added electrolytes and caffeine which most BHB salts don't have. You just get more for your money.

It is sweetened with a natural Stevia blend, has zero carbs and 30 calories per serving.

kissmyketo exogenous ketones

It has a fairly good taste and it’s pleasant to drink. To me, it tastes just like sour patch kids candy, or like a tart Gatorade.

PS! If you want to give it a try, use the code KMK10 and save -10% sitewide.

» Check the price of Kiss My Keto Exogenous Ketones here

The good

  • Added electrolytes and caffeine
  • Zero carbs per serving
  • Very good price for value ratio
  • Good amount of BHB per serving
  • Established company in the keto community
  • Excellent customer support

The bad

  • Only 2 flavors available (during longer periods can get boring)
  • Strong taste for some (if you like sour patch candy or Gatorade you are good)

Type: BHB salt
BHB per serving: 11.7g goBHB™
Multi level marketing: NO
Taste: Fairly good, tastes like tart Gatorade
Other notable ingredients: Electrolytes, caffeine, Stevia Blend

2. Perfect Keto Base

This is another exogenous ketones product, but from a brand called Perfect Keto - another leader in the keto community.

This was my first exogenous ketone product I started using and I cannot say enough good things about it.

The reason I chose Kiss My Keto over this one is just because I have being using Perfect Keto for so long and I wanted some change.

But if you are first timer, and can't decide, then this is probably the safest choice for you.

Sweetened with natural Stevia and Monk Fruit, it tastes surprisingly well for a BHB salt, and it's made from very few ingredients.

perfect keto exogenous ketones

PS! If you want to give it a try, use the code BODYKETOSIS and save -15%.

» Check the price of Perfect Keto Base here

The good

  • Great taste
  • Minimal, simple ingredients – no unnecessary additives and fillers
  • Zero carbs and only ~15 calories per serving! Suitable if you are fasting
  • 5 different flavors available! Chocolate, Coffee, Peach, Vanilla, Salted Caramel
  • Made by a leading brand in the Keto world
  • Good amount of BHB per serving

The bad

  • Only 3 flavors have ~15 calories per serving – the rest have about 50kcal, which might make them not suitable if you are fasting
  • No added electrolytes like competitors have (e.g. KissMyKeto)

Type: BHB salt
BHB per serving: 11.38g BHB
Multi level marketing: NO
Taste: Rich choco milkshake taste… definitely the best-tasting one personally
Other notable ingredients: Cocoa Powder, Stevia Leaf Extract, Monk Fruit Extract

3. Pruvit Keto//OS NAT

Pruvit is quite popular in the keto world, probably because it's also a Multi Level Marketing.

Never the less, their new NAT product is a successor to not so well tasting and quite overpriced Keto OS MAX. BUT, the NAT product really surprised me in a positive way.

As they state, it's world’s first ketone salt supplement made through a patented naturally fermented process known as Nutritionally Advanced Technology™ (NAT).

Basically it absorbs faster, inducing ketosis faster. The product has also probiotic effects and caffeine option.

pruvit keto os nat

In my opinion the flavor has gotten some trastical upgrade since it's predecessor. I have only tried the Maui Punch, which has a rich and fruity taste. It's nowhere like KissMyKeto or Perfect Keto, but it's good enough for a BHB salt.

I also like that they offer smaller packages for testing.

» Check the price of Pruvit Keto//OS NAT here

The good

  • Made through a naturally fermented process - Nutritionally Advanced Technology™ (NAT)
  • Contains a Rapid Repair C-Med 100® Blend which helps promote rapid repair and recovery of the body
  • Better Bioavailability as a result from its proprietary N8 Max NAT™ Blend™
  • 8 flavors to choose from
  • Caffeine option available

The bad

  • Multi level marketing company
  • Quite pricey

Type: BHB salt
N8 Max NAT™ Blend per serving: 12.6g
Multi level marketing: YES
Taste: Bearable, but not the best on the market (Maui Punch)
Other notable ingredients: Erythritol, L-Taurine, Fermented L-Leucine, Stevia, Caffeine

4. 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.

keto drive exogenous ketones

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.

» Check the price of Zhou Keto Drive here

The good

  • 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 bad

  • 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

5. HVMN Ketone Ester

This is the only ketone ester in this list and one of the very few publicly available.

It's made by HVMN and is designed to enhance your physical and cognitive performance and resilience, and support your fasting and dietary goals.

If you are just starting out with exogenous ketones then I don't suggest this, but if you are a seasoned ketoer or just like to give a boost to your physical performance then this might be it.

It's FDA and WADA compliant. The taste was quite alcohol like for me, not awful but drinkable. 

hvmn ketone ester

It really provides quite fast boost in energy levels but more pricery thab BHB salts. So, if you have the resources then this is really interesting product to try. If not, then go for the first two options in this list.

» Check the price of HVMN Ketone Ester here

The good

  • Compliant with fasting, ketogenic diet, and professional sport
  • Ketone ester which absorbs quickly and raises ketone levels higher
  • Has fairly quick effect on energy levels
  • Natural ingredients list
  • Sweetened with natural Stevia

The bad

  • Quite pricey
  • Not the best taste

Type: Ketone ester
ΔG® Ketone per serving: 25g
Multi level marketing: NO
Taste: ​Bearable, but not as good as the first 2 in this list.
Other notable ingredients: D-betahydroxybutyrate Ester (ΔG® Ketone Ester), Stevia Leaf Extract, Natural Flavors, Malic Acid, Potassium Sorbate & Potassium Benzoate.

The Takeaway

From the reviewed supplements in the previous section, in our opinion, the Kiss My Keto Exogenous Ketones takes the 1st place.

It ticks all of our requirements for a great exogenous ketone supplement, and 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.

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 the sweeteners. That’s it. And on top of that, it tastes awesome.

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