Keto Products: What Are They Made of?

Keto Food products dietary supplements diet Sofia NortonThe ketogenic diet has been growing in popularity over the past decade, and food/supplement manufacturers are taking heed. As a result, we’re seeing a growing range of keto products flooding the market. These products are generally low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Many contain ingredients that the keto diet may be lacking.

But what exactly are these products and what are they made of? To know that, we first need to understand what the ketogenic (keto) diet is all about.

The Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat, and adequate protein diet. The diet induces a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, fat oxidation in the liver is upregulated and the byproduct of this fat oxidation is ketones, which are alternative fuel substrates to glucose.

The diet was originally used to treat epilepsy after researchers discovered that ketones reduced seizure frequency. It eventually became popular as a weight-loss and health-enhancing diet. The enhanced fat oxidation coupled with anti-inflammatory effects of ketones are what makes this diet highly effective in treating a wide range of concerns such as obesity, high blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, inflammation, cognitive impairment, etc.

About Keto Diet Products

Keto diet products include a wide range of low-carb and high-fat food items such as olive oil, grass-fed butter, pasture-raised eggs, raw cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut milk, and many others. Although most of these are not produced for this diet specifically, some manufacturers are marketing them to low-carb communities.

There are also a growing number of products marketed specifically as keto-friendly. These include low-carb chocolate, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) bars, sugar-free nut butters, and drinkable meals; however, supplement products are the ones driving the keto diet food market. These products include MCT oil, exogenous ketones, and electrolytes, to name a few.

What Are Keto Products Made of?

Foods formulated specifically for the keto diet are often made with low-carb and high-fat ingredients such as peanut butter, cacao powder, collagen peptides, and coconut oil. Many are flavored with natural flavorings and non-nutritive sweeteners, notably stevia and erythritol. Supplement products are made with a handful of the same ingredients:


Medium-chain triglyceride oil is a purified source of C8 and C10 triglycerides. Some brands also include C12 fats. In 1963, V. K. Babayan filed a patent for the first ever MCT oil, which was then used as a liquid vehicle for pharmaceutical products and described as glyceride mixtures of fatty acids shorter than C12.

The product is made through industrial hydrolysis and fractionation of coconut oil; and sometimes palm kernel oil. Both oils are a major source of medium-chain triglycerides, which are a type of saturated fat. MCT oil is highly popular among people following a keto diet because it converts to ketones after reaching the liver and is rarely stored as body fat. It also has an appetite-suppressing and even thermogenic effect.

Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous ketones are either ketone salts or ketone esters. Most exogenous ketones on the keto supplement market, however, are ketone salts, also known as BHB salts. The products are relatively new, first introduced sometime in 2014. Exogenous ketone supplements are usually solutions containing pure BHB and sodium, magnesium, or potassium in a 1:1 ratio.

Exogenous ketones are synthetic ketones but are identical to ketones produced in the body. They are combined with salts to make them more bioavailable. Once ingested, they quickly raise blood ketone levels for several hours but do not induce ketosis.

Electrolyte Supplements

The ketogenic diet can have a strong diuretic effect, especially during the first week. A side effect of this is an imbalance in important electrolytes, which can manifest as a range of uncomfortable flu-like symptoms (popularly termed keto flu). To counteract this, some keto diet brands offer electrolyte supplements, often in combination with MCTs, caffeine, and exogenous ketones. Some of these products are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners as well. Most electrolytes used in these products are synthetic.

Other supplement products marketed towards keto dieters include collagen peptides made from marine, bovine, and pig collagen; creatine supplements, and fiber supplements, usually in the form of psyllium husk. These are marketed towards a range of other diets and lifestyles as well.

What’s the Future of Keto Diet Supplements?

The keto diet is still growing in popularity. The dietary supplement market is predicted to continue to rise by 2024. The keto supplement industry is definitely part of this trend, with some companies reporting a 700% increase in sales.

With that taken into account, manufacturing practices, including food labeling and packaging, will go through major advancements within the next few years. New products will continue to hit the market and we’ll be seeing more variety when it comes to supplements and foods designed for the keto diet specifically.

Sofia Norton Kiss My Keto Dietician Expert

Sofia Norton

Dietician Expert, Kiss My Keto

Sofia has more than 6 years of experience providing wellness and nutritional support in various capacities. After learning about “food deserts” as a kid, she became determined to devote her life to like to making healthy foods accessible to everyone, regardless of income or location. Sofia has traveled around the world, teaching nutrition to communities in extreme poverty.


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