Are Keto Pills and Supplements for Weight Loss a Scam?



I think it’s important for me to be upfront about my potential bias on this one. Although I claim no commercial or financial conflicts of interest, I am fascinated by the low-carb and ketogenic movement in nutrition. In fact, I am so compelled by the science that I deferred attending Harvard Medical School for three years to pursue a PhD studying the medical applications of ketone supplements in neurodegenerative diseases.


Given my interest in ketone science, I’ve often been asked questions by family and friends like “Nick, what do you think about this ‘Ketone Slim Pill’ for weight loss?” Now, while I’d love to say that ketone supplements can help with weight loss, scientific logic suggests otherwise. To understand why ketone supplements don’t help with weight, let’s think about where the myth comes from.



The ketogenic diet has recently come into vogue as a great weight loss and body shaping tool. Celebrities like the Kardashians and LeBron James have testified to its efficacy, and the best science shows that it really does work! But how? The ketogenic diet promotes fat loss in three ways: (1) By largely eliminating dietary carbohydrates, the ketogenic diet teaches the body to more effectively use fat as fuel. This means you can tap into your own body fat stores more effectively. (2) By eliminating carbohydrates, the ketogenic diet also massively decreases your body’s production of insulin, the master fat-storage hormone that’s like miracle grow for your adipocytes (fat cells). Finally, the ketogenic diet, as its name implies, causes your liver to make ketones from your own body fat, and ketones suppress appetite.



By comparison, ketone supplements won’t teach your body to burn your fat as fuel because you’re still supplying your body with carbs. Ketone supplements also won’t decrease your insulin, again, because you’re still taking in carbs. Finally, while ketone supplements may reduce appetite, ketones themselves also have calories, so the effects cancel out.



In summary, while I think supplemental ketones are a fascinating research tool and may have some very important medical applications, they are not an ideal weight loss tool because they don’t teach your body to burn its fat as fuel, they don’t reduce insulin, and, while they may suppress appetite, they also have calories.


Nicholas Norwitz