It’s undeniable that keto (i.e. the ketogenic diet) has gone mainstream. Keto recipes are flooding the internet and keto food products the supermarket shelves. Sports supplements are not an exception, with Keto Nutrition being one of the newest brands in the market dedicated to athletes who choose this nutrition strategy.
- I received a sample pack free of charge from the manufacturer.
- I do not advocate for a ketogenic diet for healthy people or athletes as a blanket statement.
Keto Nutrition offers a range of sports gels, protein bars, hydration powders and exogenous ketones (exogenous = from outside, meaning ketones you consume instead of produce in your body).
Keto fat bomb gels
These are the polar opposite to regular sports gels. They are basically nut butters with added maltodextrin and MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil to boost energy. They serve the same function as traditional gels: they are meant to provide energy in a form that is easy and quick to consume while participating in a sporting event.
The manufacturer also suggests dumping the gels into coffee to make a bulletproof-like concoction.
Some athletes may experience digestive distress with traditional gels due to the carbohydrate content; the same can be said about the keto fat bomb gels, due to the fat content, in particular the MCT oil. As advised in a previous article, try these out weeks before competition to see if they work for you.
- Keto fat bomb gel – berry: Coconut oil, peanut butter, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, collagen, whey protein concentrate, maltodextrin, MCT oil, salt, flavouring, citric acid, sucralose
- Keto fat bomb gel – coconut: Coconut oil, peanut butter, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, collagen, whey protein concentrate, maltodextrin, MCT oil, salt, flavouring, sucralose
- Keto fat bomb gel – coffee: Coconut oil, peanut butter, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, collagen, whey protein concentrate, maltodextrin, MCT oil, coffee powder, salt, caffeine anhydrous, sucralose
per serve (20g)
per serve (20g)
per serve (20g)
|Fat, total (g)||13||13||13|
|– Saturated (g)||9||9||9|
|– Sugars (g)||0.6||0.6||0.6|
|Dietary Fibre (g)||0.4||0.4||0.4|
Unlike other “protein” bars, these contain 20g of protein per serve, which comes form a mix of collagen, whey and pea. Note that the protein from collagen does not go to build muscle, but mainly to repair connective tissue. The bars have been designed to be easy to consume on the go. Last but not least, they are sugar- and gluten-free.
- Keto bar chocolate: Protein blend (collagen, whey protein concentrate, pea protein), prebiotic dietary fibre, palm oil (sustainable), coconut oil, MCT oil, cacao powder, flavouring, sucralose
- Keto bar coconut: Protein blend (collagen, whey protein concentrate, pea protein), prebiotic dietary fibre, palm oil (sustainable), coconut oil, MCT oil, natural flavouring, sucralose
- Keto bar lemon cheesecake: Protein blend (collagen, whey protein concentrate, pea protein), prebiotic dietary fibre, palm oil (sustainable), coconut oil, MCT oil, citric acid, natural flavouring, sucralose
per serve (65g)
per serve (65g)
per serve (65g)
|Fat, total (g)||9||9||9|
|– Saturated (g)||8||8||8|
|– Sugars (g)||0.5||0.5||0.5|
|Dietary Fibre (g)||23||23||23|
The hydration powders come in two variaties: Enduro Plus (with extra carbs, aimed for long and/or intense endurance sessions) and Hydro Plus (for general peri-sports hydration purposes). Both contain L-Glutamine and BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) for recovery.
- Enduro Plus (orange): Fructose, maltodextrin, L-glutamine, BCAA, citric acid, electrolytes (sodium chloride, di potassium phosphate, calcium carbonate, magnesium citrate), flavoring, xanthum gum, sucralose, colorant
- Hydro plus (lemon): L-glutamine, BCAA, citric acid, electrolytes (sodium chloride, di potassium phosphate, calcium carbonate, magnesium citrate), flavoring, xanthum gum, sucralose, colorant
per serve (24g)
per serve (10g)
|Fat, total (g)||0.1||0.1|
|– Saturated (g)||0.0||0.0|
|– Sugars (g)||9.4||0.2|
The first application for exogenous ketones was in the military. Special forces members often need to perform operations with little to no food and needed a way to maintain physical and cognitive performance. Currently, they are being used by biohackers and athletes to achieve high levels of ketones without necessarily committing to eating a ketogenic diet. I will write more about this topic in the future.
The advantage of having elevated ketones in the blood is that they can be used as a source of fuel for the brain and the body. This is meant to spare glycogen for use by the working muscles during athletic endeavours. In addition, as ketones readily cross the blood-brain barrier, they may enhance cognitive performance.
Keto-exo contains Beta-hydroxybutyrate salts (BHB-Na), plus BCAAs, glutamine and electrolytes. The recommended dose is a sachet (22g) before intense physical activity or half a sachet before low intensity activity or in the morning as cognitive enhancer.
Keto-exo: Beta-hydroxybutyrate, L-glutamine, BCAA, electrolytes (Na, K, CMg), collagen hydrolysate, whey protein concentrate, citric acid, flavouring, xanthum gum, stevia, colourant
per serve (22g)
|Total Fat (g)||0.1|
|– Saturated (g)||0.0|
|Total Carbohydrate (g)||0.3|
|– Sugar (g)||0.1|
|Dietary Fibre (g)||0.1|
I’ve tried Keto Nutrition products in the past few weeks around my workouts. As you may or may not know, I do not partake on any sort of endurance exercise and I do not own a ketone monitor. Therefore, take my personal experience with a huge grain of salt.
- Gels: I’ve had single-serve nut butter sachets before, so these were not a surprise for me. Flavoured nut butters were, on the other hand, a new for me. I enjoyed the three flavours although I wouldn’t mind savoury options. If you participate in long events I’m sure your palate would appreciate these as well. The coffee flavour is a bit gritty due to the coffee powder, so keep this in mind. I found the product easy to consume in a short period of time and they worked well to top up my energy needs before or in between workouts. I also tried mixing a sachet with coffee as recommended in the package – it was ok but I prefer the smoother texture of butter + MCT oil in the odd occasion I choose to consume a fatty coffee in the morning.
- Protein bars: The bars are a bit chewier than what I normally like but not impossible to eat. Having said that, I think the consistency is right for eating during competition, as they will not crumble. Flavours are nice and not chemical-tasting, although also a bit too sweet for my taste. Again, would be good to explore the possibility of savoury flavours to beat palate fatigue.
- Hydration: My pack included a serve of Enduro Plus, which I tried during a sand dunes workout. In hindsight, I wish I had kept my shaker in a cooler as it was pretty warm. I found it a bit too salty for my taste, which could well be due to the fluid temperature. Hydration-wise it seemed to do its job.
- Exogenous ketones: I tried the half dose before morning (fasted) weightlifting sessions. I found the flavour quite pleasant. While I did not notice a huge cognitive boost (I was fasting anyway), I did not feel I needed coffee at all.
- All the products have been formulated as per WADA regulations. Therefore, you can rest assured they do not contain banned substances.
- They are made in South Africa, but have local distributor in Melbourne.
- Great customer service.
- Good not only for athletes following a ketogenic diet, but also recreational exercisers who need or choose to lower their sugar intake.
- Not widely available (yet).
- I found a few typos and inconsistencies in their labels and website, which I’m sure will be fixed promptly.
- If you’re an athlete, read my article on eating for training and competition.
- Consult with your dietitian before consuming any keto supplements if you have health conditions that impair fat metabolism, including familial hypercholesterolemia, gall bladder issues, etc.
- Don’t try keto supplements if you haven’t tried a keto diet before and determined it works for you.
- The bulk of your nutrients should come from food, not supplements.
Head to the manufacturer’s website for more information, social media links and to shop online.