[Transcript] – The New Ketone Healthy Alcohol Alternatives – How To Get All The Effects Of Alcohol *Without* Drinking Wine, Beer or Cocktails, With KetoneAid’s Frank Llosa.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/frank-llosa/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:44] Podcast Sponsors

[00:05:14] Ben's “alcohol alternative” evening routine

[00:09:05] How Frank got into the Ketone industry

[00:13:49] What exactly is a ketone ester

[00:21:16] What exactly is a ketone salt

[00:30:21] Podcast Sponsors

[00:34:51] What's the difference KetoneAid's KE4 ketone ester and KetoneWater?

[00:38:35] One of Ben's hack for long flights

[00:40:10] KetoneAid's KE1 product focuses on taste

[00:42:35] KetoneAid's Snake Water contains no stimulants, yet really “packs a wallop”

[00:47:01] Ben's live tasting of KetoneAid's Keto Beer

[00:55:14] What would happen if you had both a regular alcoholic drink and a ketoholic drink at the same time?

[00:57:57] Ketohol might be a good alternative to giving up alcohol and not replacing it with others substances, like marijuana

[00:58:40] Has KetoneAid done studies on sleep architecture?

[01:03:02] Is R1,3 Butanediol performance enhancing or does it promote relaxation?

[01:08:42] Ben summarizes the types of Ketones and Ketone molecules, and their recommended uses

[01:16:43] End of Podcast

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Frank:  So, once it gets into your bloodstream, the ketone ester, the bond breaks apart and you have a readily available beta-hydroxybutyrate free acid. And then, separately, you have R1,3-butanediol. The R1,3-butanediol then is a slow release because after multiple passes, it goes through the liver and creates ketones, beta-hydroxybutyrate. So, you have a fast release and a slow release.

Ben:  Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

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Alright, folks. Well, you may have heard me talking lately about how I've been doing this new thing in the evening as an alcohol alternative. Now, don't get me wrong, I still have a glass of red wine. I had one last night. I'm probably down to three or four glasses of wine, maybe max in a week now because I'm now drinking ketones for my evening cocktails. And, if you don't know what a ketone cocktail is, don't worry, we'll get into it on today's show, but it's a shockingly close equivalent to the effects like the socially lubricating end-of-the-day relaxation effects of alcohol to use certain forms or blends of ketones namely what are called ketone esters as a cocktail alternative. But, if you're wanting to take a break from alcohol or alcohol doesn't agree with you or you don't want to deal with some of the side effects of alcohol, this is kind of like a new hack.

Now, what I've been drinking are these keto cocktails. They're canned keto drinks with flavors like gin and tonic and Moscow Mule and Pina Colada. And, they actually taste shockingly close to the real equivalent of those actual cocktails. And, the company that makes these drinks I've been consuming is called KetoneAid. I wanted to get the guy who's actually invented this stuff on the show to talk all things ketones, but specifically talk a little bit about these ketone esters because I think a lot of people are under the impression–because I've podcasts about this in the past that ketones are just a performance fuel, like something you'd use for triathlon or marathon, for physical performance because they are very good fuel for the liver and the diaphragm and the heart and the brain and can save you from having to consume a lot of carbohydrates in our very long-term source of energy. 

The other folks who use a lot of ketones are people who are fasting or who are doing the one meal a day or compress feeding windows and don't want their appetite driving them crazy during that time because ketones do a really good job kind of shutting down the appetite as well. You may have heard me interview researchers like Dominic D'Agostino, for example, probably being the most prolific about all the other side effects of ketones like their anti-inflammatory potential, the fact that they seem to have some type of effect on the whole longevity, and anti-aging component of things. But, this whole idea of using them as an alcohol alternative is a new thing. And, they actually no longer taste like rocket fuel like they used to, they can actually be rendered pretty tasty.

So, I decided to get this guy who is an entrepreneur who actually created this company, KetoneAid, on the show to talk all things ketone science and alcohol alternatives. Not only that, but I actually have one of the brand new hot off-the-press ketone beers that he sent to me that will do a little bit of a live tasting of, maybe as we go along here. I'm not really a beer guy. I haven't had a beer in probably 10 years, but I actually am going to give this thing a go during the podcast in real-time.

So, the shownotes for everything we talk about, including links to these new ketone cocktail alternatives are going to be a BenGreenfieldLife.com/KetoPodcast. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/KetoPodcast.

My guest on today's show is Mr. Frank Llosa. It's spelled with two Ls, right Frank/ L-L-O-S-A.

Frank:  Yup.

Ben:  Did I pronounce that right?

Frank:  It's like llama.

Ben:  Llosa.

Frank:  Unlike llama, the two Ls is a y sound.

Ben:  I nailed it and I promise I won't call you Frank llama.

How'd you get into all this, anyways man? How'd you get into the world of ketones?

Frank:  Sure, sure. So, it all started with a deep dive that I took. A friend of mine, Daniel Odeo, he did a blogpost on going down the rabbit hole with doing the ketogenic diet. I didn't know what it was. My only experience with it was this one friend of mine. We were about to go out partying and he ate a pound of cheese and he was overweight. I said, “What in the world are you doing, dude?” He's like, “I'm losing weight.” I'm like, “Okay, good luck. Good luck with that.” And, we kind of left it there. But, then when the blogpost–

Ben:  And, by the way, I think Tim Ferriss is the guy that made that popular when he was getting in the keto diet. He talked about all he ate was cheese. And, I think a lot of people began to associate a ketonic diet with basically massive amounts of cheese consumption, which I think backfired on some people both literally and figuratively.

Frank:  Yeah. So then, I went down the rabbit hole and started to learn about ketones. But, at the same time, my wife's godfather is Dr. Richard Veech, and he actually was on your podcast. He only did two podcasts before he passed away. And, he was on your podcast about five or six years ago.

Ben:  Yeah.

Frank:  And, this is him right here in the book, “Ketones, The Fourth Fuel“–

Ben:  That's a fantastic book, “Ketones, The Fourth Fuel.” Yeah.

Frank:  If you want to take a deeper dive. So, I was able to actually converse with him at a birthday party in a way that he's not used to. He's not used to people's saying, “Hey, what do you do?” He doesn't want to go into explaining what ketosis is from scratch. I was able to converse with him. I had some startup experience and I said, “Hey, maybe, I can help you raise some money and get this off the ground.” Because he'd been working at the NIH for about 40 years, working on a synthetic way to mimic the benefits of a ketogenic diet in a pill, in a drink form or something. But, the pitch went something like this. “We think people will drink $60 a day worth of a drink that tastes like vomit.” So, compared to all the CBD things that were floating around like, “Oh, we'll just stick with investing in CBD. Good luck with that vomit fuel.”

So then, I decided, put my money where my mouth is and ended up taking two to three years developing a way to get the price down because Dave Asprey spent $25,000 for one serving. And, one of the first servings–

Ben:  You kidding me?

Frank:  He paid $25,000 for 25 grams of d-beta-hydroxybutyrate, D1, 3-butanediol ketone ester.

Ben:  Which is basically what I've got here in this beer?

Frank:  No, no, it's not. We're going to go into that. There's two very distinct–

Ben:  Man, you had my hopes up that I had a 25,000 beer here for a second.

Frank:  No, no, no, no. No, that was–the ketone ester, which we'll talk about, the differences between that and what we call Ketohol. Ketohol is this new ketogenic alcohol alternative.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  So, the ketone ester, when we actually sent you some of the first batches five, six years ago, I hadn't even drank it myself because it was 500 to $1,000 each. I'm like, “Who cares if I can run around the lap faster? Let's go send it to Ben.” And, that's when you had the rocket fuel and your ketones skyrocket–

Ben:  Yeah. I think that was the one that I used in the Tough Mudder competition. That was one of the Tough Mudders I actually won. I did a shot of that and a shot of just fructose maltodextrin. So, I had both amped-up glucose and amped-up ketones which can be a good strategy in some scenarios such as a race to have both forms of fuel available. But nonetheless, the cost of making these things obviously must have come down.

Frank:  Right, yeah. So then, we were able to get the cost down to $1 per gram as opposed to $1,000 per gram when you pay one scientist to synthetically make one batch is going to be crazy.

So, yeah, we got the price down and for the next three or four years, we were constantly trying to scale up and meet the demand because the pro-Tour de France-type world tour athletes started catching on, they would buy huge quantities for their teams and we'd be sold out for our regular customers and having to move things around and work overnight. So, for the first three or four years, it was just a matter of keeping up with the demand and trying to make it. And then, also simultaneously trying to scale up, buying bigger equipment. This isn't something that we just buy from China like most ketone salts, which we'll get into. You just buy a product and you put in your packaging and you're done. No, we actually own the manufacturing equipment and we actually manufacture it here in the U.S. And, it's a very time-consuming expensive process, but we still got the price down to a reasonable rate.

Ben:  Yeah.

So, just to back up here for our second. These ketone esters, can you explain what exactly a ketone ester is?

Frank:  Yeah. So, let's go a little bit higher. So, there's this umbrella concept called exogenous ketones. And, exogenous ketones are when you consume something that is either a ketone itself or it converts very easily to a ketone. So, that is opposed to endogenous ketones is when you are on a ketogenic diet or you're not eating for three or four days, your body will burn fat to make ketones. So, we're talking about the umbrella, exogenous ketones. Within exogenous ketones, some people will include MCT oil, the C8 version of MCT oil where 10% of it will convert to beta-hydroxybutyrate. So, you're consuming your ketones. That means you can have rice, you can be putting–Tim Ferriss would do this. He had rice and put C8 on it and technically his ketones would go up. But, that's not really ketosis. And, we'll get into that in a second. It's mimicking ketosis, but it doesn't really put you in ketosis when you drink exogenous ketones. So, there's MCT, C8, that's an exogenous ketone, there's ketone salts that have been on the market. And, we'll kind of explain what that is. And then, there's ketone ester, which is the most researched of all the exogenous ketones as far as efficacy. All the other companies, they cite the research of the ketone ester even though they have a different molecule. And, they try and say, “Hey, look, ketones work,” but then it's a different molecule. So, it's called science hijacking, which we'll get into.

And then, there's a separate molecule that we call Ketohol. So, ketone ester and the Ketohol, the R1,3-butanediol are related but two separate molecules. One is for performance and one is for relaxation, which we will get into. It's really, really confusing stuff. So yeah, the Hard Ketones, which is the name of that separate company that I make for this after-hours alcohol alternative, we call that Hard Ketones with the ingredient in it called Ketohol, which is this R1,3-butanediol for relaxation purposes.

Ben:  Okay. So, R1,3-butanediol is a ketone ester. And, when you consume–

Frank:  Nope, nope. No, no, no.

Ben:  It's not a ketone ester.

Frank:  It's very confusing. It is absolutely not a ketone ester. So, ketone ester, the word “ester” means a bond of 2 molecules.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  Okay? So, an ester bond. So, the ketone ester is D-beta-hydroxybutyrate, the free acid form bound to a molecule called R1,3-butanediol, a separate molecule.

Ben:  Got it.

Frank:  When you bind them together, it actually enters into the bloodstream intact as opposed to separating in the gut is what they initially thought. It actually enters into the bloodstream intact, so it's more bioavailable than the individual parts. So, some companies just poured in the free acid, poured in the R1,3, and said, “Hey, good enough, it's 40% less bioavailable when you have it separately.” So, you put it together, that is the ester. And, I asked Dr. Veech–so, Dr. Veech explained to me that the ketone ester is a fast release and slow release of ketones.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  So, once it gets into your bloodstream, the ketone ester, the bond breaks apart and you have a readily available beta-hydroxybutyrate free acid.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  And then, separately, you have R1,3-butanediol. The R1,3-butanediol then is a slow release because after multiple passes, it goes through the liver and creates ketones, beta-hydroxybutyrate. So, you have a fast release and a slow release. So then, I asked Dr. Veech, “Wait a second, the ketone ester is so expensive, why not just give 25% more of the R1,3-butanediol?” And, his answer was–yeah, because that would, in essence, convert to BHB at a similar level of the ketone ester apart from the way that the ester penetrates more readily. His answer was epic. He said, “The mice were stumbling.” So, the mice were drunk.

Ben:  The mice were stumbling. 

Frank:  The mice were drunk. So, they first tested this on mice.

Ben:  Because they had more of the 1, 3-butanediol only–

Frank:  Only. When they only gave them R1,3-butanediol to see how their cognition was, to see if they're sharper walking through the maze, they fall off the pool. So, they were–

Ben:  Whereas if the R1,3-butanediol was combined with the beta-hydroxybutyrate, that's when you get more of the performance effect, cognitive enhancing effect. But then, if you elevate R1,3-butanediol separately, meaning a non-esterified ketone, that's when you get more of that relaxation I've-just-had-a-couple-glasses-of-wine-type of effect.

Frank:  Right. So, it's more of a buzz. Someone might say, “Well, the ketone ester technically has alcohol in it because it has this half that's R1,3 , but the numbers aren't the same. So, the ketone ester, what we call a serving, this is our KE4, our main drink, which is 50% ketone ester, it was so strong that people started using one cap full. So, you're used to drinking the entire bottle, but people started using the cap as a measuring tool. So, we changed that to a serving size. 

So, for the ketone ester, it's so strong that people are using 2.5 grams of ketone ester, which means it's only 1.25 R1,3-butanediol, a tiny, tiny amount. One serving of our Hard Seltzers, which we'll get into is 12.5 grams of R1,3 and most people to feel the buzz will have to take two of them. So, we're talking 25 grams direct consumption of a fast-hitting R1,3-butanediol versus 1.25 grams as part of an ester is just night and day difference. So, it doesn't give you that intoxicating or that buzz affect that drinking it directly alone without this esterification having to break apart and just hitting you quicker.

Ben:  Admittedly, I've never actually had two. You're saying if you have two, you definitely feel it even more.

Frank:  Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So, depending on your tolerance. Some people won't feel two if they have a super high tolerance because the regular ethanol consumption they drink two to five–

Ben:  Yeah. I'm a total lightweight with alcohol, anyways because I rarely drink more than one serving of alcohol anyway, so I've never really even thought about having a couple. Maybe I'll try it now just to see. I want to make sure I adhere to my own values of temperance and sobriety. But, it actually will be interesting to see with two servings–

Frank:  I wouldn't recommend it for the podcast. I mean, you can take a sip of that beer that I sent you. So, you'll be the first person to have the prototype of the beer, but Tim Ferriss when he was talking about using it, he said that he would slur his words and bump into tables and get loopy.

Ben:  Interesting.

Frank:  That isn't what you want to take for your college entrance exams unless you have super high anxiety and your alternative is taking a shot of whiskey. Okay, maybe–

Ben:  Yeah. No, I've never experienced that with having one–I've drank that canned pina colada that you just held up. And, by the way, we are doing this as a video. So, if anybody goes to BenGreenfeldLife.com/KetoPodcast, you can see the video.

I've had probably 50 of these drinks over the past year always one at a time. I've had the pina colada. I've had the gin and tonic and the mule. And, I find it's about the equivalent of having a glass of wine for me to go through one serving. And, I've never had two just because I rarely would drink two glasses of wine. And, that's just me.

But, not to make this too complex but I want to ask you one other thing to clear the air on the chemistry of this. There's also another term that's thrown around out there of a ketone salt. What would be the difference between the ketone salt, the ketone ester, and then this isolated 1,3-butanediol that you'd get in the alcoholic beverage or the alcohol-mimicking beverage I should say.

Frank:  Right, right. Yeah. So, the ketone salt is a bond of the same free acid of beta-hydroxybutyrate. But, if you consume it by itself, it would burn a hole in your gut. The pH is too low. So then, the solution to that is adding a mineral, a salt to that. So, you add either sodium potassium, magnesium, or calcium. Either one of the four. Sometimes they say sodium-free and all they do is ramp up the other ones. But, there's some negatives of having each one of those four minerals too high. If you have too much magnesium, you're going to get the runs. Too much sodium, not good for the heart. So, all these different things. And, the sodium load or the salt load in these products are so huge that if you wanted to take megadoses, larger amounts compared to the ketone ester, if someone wanted to take a full bottle of ketone ester, if they wanted to try to mimic that and it keeps on salt form, it'd be consuming half of a restaurant shaker of salt.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  I'm all for salt, I wake up with salt pills, no big deal, but to have half of a restaurant shaker of salt, the salt load is too high. And, Dr. Veech, he had ketone salts 15, 20 years ago. He literally tossed them in the trash and he said your cardiologist would kill me if I put this out of the market because the salt is too high.

Ben:  Okay. I got you. So, if you wanted to use ketone salts to get your blood ketones elevated, you would have that side effect of having to consume so many salts that there would be some deleterious side effects.

Frank:  Right. And, even the salt itself could block ketone utilization as well. So, the salt just harms everything at these super, super high levels.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  And then, the other problem with many ketone salts but not all of them but most of them that are just on Amazon is that they're the racemic form, which means that only half of it is bioavailable. You might have seen supplements like L-tryptophan or D-ribose, either the L or the D. The L or the D, one isn't necessarily better than the other, but for that molecule, the D form is what the body recognizes or the L form might be what the body recognizes. So, the ketone salts, they have the good form and the bad form. Well, that is relative. The form that can create energy and then the other form that the body doesn't know what to do with. Some people say that there's potential benefits because the body doesn't know what to do with it, it stays around longer, so potential. But, that hasn't been flushed out. Dr. Veech on your podcast six, seven years ago said he wouldn't touch the racemic ketone salts with a 15-foot pole.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  So, he was really against racemic because it's just not what the body is designed to use. So, the other problem with the ketone salts are some people think that they're–I'm going to get into the ketogenic diet and I'm going to use ketone salts and they feel, “Oh, it really helped me get over the keto flu and stuff like that,” these problems that you have when you enter the ketogenic diet. But, what I think they're really feeling is the salt load. So, when you enter into a ketogenic diet, you need to get bone broth, bouillon cubes, you got to really get your salt up because you lose so much water weight that all the salt goes out of your system. So then, people buy these ketone salts and they think that they're feeling the ketones, but they're really just feeling the salt. And, they could save a lot of money just by using salt–

Ben:  Yeah, like calcium, sodium potassium, et cetera. So, not to throw anybody under the bus, we have to name brands here. But, I had a smoothie this morning, and in the smoothie, I put a scoop of a product that says it has base BHB salts in it, sodium beta-hydroxybutyrate, calcium beta-hydroxybutyrate, and magnesium beta-hydroxybutyrate and then stevia and monk fruit where the main things on the label of this powder that I put into my smoothie. Was that an example of a ketone salt that for me to really truly get the effects of ketosis, I would have to consume so much of that I'd be getting too much of that calcium, magnesium, and sodium potentially?

Frank:  Kind of. And, most likely, that was racemic because it would go out of its way to scream because it cost three, four times more money to have the non-racemic form that it would be all over the bottle bioavailable, stuff like that–

Ben:  Yeah. I'm looking at the label of it right now it says beta-hydroxybutyrate, ketone supplement, exogenous ketones. And, what I just told you is what was on the label like calcium, magnesium, and sodium beta-hydroxybutyrate. What would the people who make a product like that say in response? I mean, is this just a deal where they're kind of creating a product that kind of sort of looks like ketones but isn't? What's the argument against what you're saying?

Frank:  Well, they would say it's less expensive. That's one thing. But then, we'll go into that. The Ketone Asher actually is less expensive than many of these products on a cost-per-gram basis. So, it's not our fault that you can take 20, 30 times more. So, when you actually break it down to the cost benefit, so your bottle, does it stay in the back 10 grams in the nutritional facts? Sometimes they hide it in a proprietary formula. So, they'll say 15 grams–

Ben:  It says 3,800 milligrams calcium beta-hydroxybutyrate, 3,800 milligrams sodium beta-hydroxybutyrate, and 3,800 milligrams magnesium BHB. That's what's on the label.

Frank:  Okay. So, that is racemic, almost definitely because they would have gone out of their way to say R beta-hydroxybutyrate. And then, 20% of it, they count the weight of the salt. So, let's say it all adds up to 10, it's actually 8 grams of ketones. But then, the bioavailability, because only half of it is bioavailable, it's 4 grams of ketones, and then the excess salt load blocks the ability for the ketones to be used. So, you're down to 3, and do you go down to 2 again because the ketone ester enters into the bloodstream? So, on a gram-per-gram basis, it is 40% higher than the free acid by itself.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  So, if you drink 10 grams of the free acid versus 10 grams of the ketone ester, your blood ketones go up 40%. So, people think that it's less expensive. It probably tastes better than our KE4

Ben:  Tastes amazing. It's salted caramel flavor tasted really good.

Frank:  Yeah, yeah, you would not want to put ketones into a smoothie. So, first of all, we always recommend taking it fasted. Just really exponentiates–I don't know if that's the right word, it really multiplies the benefit if you're already fasted.

Ben:  Oh, absolutely.

Frank:  You get the blood glucose spike and then it kind of interferes. And, people might say, oh the body prefers ketones, sure, in the absence of glucose coming in and wrecking the party and saying, “Oh, we want you to be the kindling. We want you to burn the kindling first, the glucose, as opposed to the slow-burning coal.” So, if you mix them together in a smoothie, I think you don't get as much benefit.

The other huge difference with the ketone salts is 80% of them will put in caffeine into the drinks. So, people think that they're feeling this these ketones but they're really just feeling the caffeine. And, the ketones, even a small amount will multiply and increase the delivery of the caffeine. So, you think that it's only 80 milligrams, you'd say, “Oh, I'm used to a cup of coffee,” but it might be double that. Again, you think you're feeling it. So, if you're going to play with the ketone salts, absolutely you'll absolutely get caffeine free, so you're isolating the variables and then get the non-racemic form. And, at that point– 

Ben:  It's kind of funny, the label on this formula just telling about it, says, “We use the highest quality racemic beta-hydroxybutyrate salts.” But, ideally should be non-racemic.

Frank:  Well, yeah. But, that's marketing, they're admitting that it's racemic and then highest quality racemic. I mean, racemic is also not plant-based by nature. When something is plant-based, it sticks with the nature's form, the deform, for example. But, when it's synthetic, that's when they make the D and the L form. And, it's just marketing, spin and trying to, I'm surprised it says the word racemic but saying the highest quality racemic. Yeah, it's saying the highest quality of this local, this is the best you [00:29:56] ____ out there.

Ben:  Yeah. In their defense, maybe the copywriter wasn't a chemist.

Okay, so these salts though, and a lot of the ketone products out there are powdered. You add them to a smoothie, whatever. Are the esters all always liquid?

Frank:  Yeah. So, the esters are always liquid. We can powderize it, but then you have to add three times more material on the outside to categorize it and mix it. Not worth it.

Ben:  I have on the back of my arm right now the one thing I can leave on my body for a couple weeks in a row that, probably in addition to HRV, is the number one thing that I can do on a real-time basis without going to give a bunch of tubes of blood in a lab to figure out what's going on with my body and how healthy I am. It's a continuous glucose monitor. It's also known as a CGM. I get mine from this company called Levels. Now, Levels has this app. It lets you see how your food affects your health by giving you real-time feedback on your diet via your CGM, your continuous glucose monitor. So, I can learn how a smoothie affects my body, if the reason I wake up in the middle of the night is because I have low blood sugar, what ketones do, what alcohol does. If it's up or down, if I'm feeling blah during a workout, did I not eat enough, what's my blood sugar at. There's so much that you can learn. I haven't like to track with breath work and heat and cold. It's just a real, real cool way to ninja hack your body like a true expert without having to do anything that's not advanced.

So, Levels is going to give all my listeners two for three months of Levels membership when you use my link, levels.link/Ben. When you purchase it, you get a one-month supply of continuous glucose monitors and a 12-month membership to their app. And then, they give you two free months of their annual membership on top of that. So, it's levels.link/Ben. That's levels.link/Ben. And, that's all you need. No code or anything, levels.link/Ben.

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Okay. Now, speaking of liquids, you talked about your ketone ester shot. This is the one that if I drink at the beginning of the day–I'm too much of a foodie to do the three to five-day fast things, but I don't think about food at all. It's crazy. If you want to eat it's not because you're hungry, it's because you're bored basically when you have this stuff in your system. I want to get to the alcohol in a second, but from what I understand, these shots that you guys also have at KetoneAid, those aren't supposed to mimic alcohol, that's more the thing you'd use for fasting performance, et cetera? What's in that this KE4 shot?

Frank:  Yeah. So, KE4 is 50% ketone ester, so it's that beta-hydroxybutyrate bound to R1,3-butanediol. So, it's 50 and then 50%–

Ben:  So, exactly what you were describing earlier.

Frank:  And, no sugar, no carbs.

Ben:  Okay.

Frank:  If you take as much as you probably have taken, some people if you take too much of the ketone ester, it actually lowers your blood sugar too much and actually increases hunger.

Ben:  Yeah.

Frank:  It can make you more hungry. But, some people, their bodies are more adaptable, more fat-adapted. They can take more or you can do what our other product, which is the KetoneWater, which is a 1% solution–

Ben:  That stuff is amazing, by the way. I keep that in the fridge and I've been drinking that instead of sparkling water because it's in the whole can is 14 calories. But now, what were you saying is in that, the sparkling water?

Frank:  So, that's 1% of the ketone ester. So, the same stuff as this, but our minimum effective dose, which is one capsule, we just dumped it into a KetoneWater. The KE4, we have protocols when to take it, do you take a pre-workout, post-workout before bed, different ways. The KetoneWater, there's no protocol, you just, when would you grab a sparkling water? You grab this and it tastes like a regular low sweetness sparkling water–

Ben:  Yeah, it's amazing. When you first sent that to me, I'm like, “Oh, this is my new Pellegrino.” Because you get that flavor so you got a black cherry, an orange vanilla. And, I think there's one other flavor, isn't there? Basin.

Frank:  We have a black cherry and orange vanilla of the Ketone–

Ben:  Okay. Okay, just those two. Yeah. But, it kind of has a little bit of that appetite-satiating effect that goes over and above what you get from sparkling water. But, you're saying that's just kind of like feather dusted with a little bit of the 1,3-butanediol beta-hydroxybutyrate bound together is the ketone ester.

Frank:  Yeah. If your first experience is the KetoneWater and you're looking to rock it to the moon, you're not going to notice it. It's more people who have used the KE4 and they understand the dosing and what it does to you, and they're like, “Oh, I'd rather have a better taste”–

Ben:  Yeah. And, it's obviously cheaper too.

Frank: I mean, this is still kind of rocket fuely. No, it's actually less expensive. It's more expensive on a cost-per-gram basis. So, you've got to be looking at yes, this is a $30 bottle and this is a 4 or $5 can. But, on a cost-per-gram basis of ketones, the KE4 is always the least expensive.

Ben:  Yeah. But, you don't drink a whole bottle of the KE4 necessarily. Because three bottles of the KE4, that's a $90 box. The KetoneWater, again, eight-pack for 40 bucks. But, those three little bottles that come in that box, what is it, a fourth of those, I think, like a quarter of it would be a dose?

Frank:  So, initially, Dr. Veech wanted people to take two to three bottles of this a day. That was the $60 taste-like vomit pitch. And, he thought that people wouldn't change their diet at all, they're going to go to McDonald's and they're going to drink their ketones at the same time. But, what we found over time is that less and less works. So now, we're down to 12 servings in one bottle so much so that the cap, literally the cap became 5 mL measuring tool. And, people will take, yeah, 12 of–

Ben:  I have to admit when I go through security at the airport and then I take one of those out of my bags. If I'm going a long-haul flight, I just slam the whole bottle just because I know about all the anti-inflammatory and cellular protective effects of ketones. I don't want to think about food on the plane and I'll just blast through a long-haul flight, just having drank the whole bottle. But technically, I could just drink a capful 1/12th of it and still get some of the effects of ketosis.

Frank:  And, if you're doing long flights, people have used it for jet lag. Some doctors that actually only use it for their flights and every two hours, they take one capful every two hours on a 16, 20-hour flight. And, I tell them not to eat on the flight as well because the bad food, the glucose spiking, and just the radiation protection effect, which was one of Dr. Veech's passions. When you land, you take another 5 mLs and people just aren't feeling any jet lag after 20-hour flights and especially if you're an elite athlete having to fly across the world to compete and it affects you much less. That helps a lot.

Ben:  Now, is the reason that you guys have one other product–then I want to shift to alcohol and talk about alcohol for a little bit because this is what initially made me want to get you on the show because I'm like, more people got to know about this way to get all the effects of alcohol without actually drinking alcohol. But, is the reason that you have this other product that's a blend of a ketone ester and a ketone salt, which is the KE1 instead the KE4, which is the pure Ester just to allow for people to be able to get that at a better price or why do you have that last one that's the blend of the ketone ester and ketone salt?

Frank:  Yeah. So, the KE1 is all about taste. So, it says six times more water and the equivalent of what we call somewhat of the equivalent of two capfuls of KE4. So, people would drink half of a bottle would be one serving. And, what we did here was we had 60% ketone ester, 20% Ketone free acid, which by itself you can't consume because the pH would be too low, burns a hole in your gut, doesn't penetrate in as well as the ketone ester, and then 20% ketone salt, just the D form. So, the total salt load is still 80 to 90% less than a ketone salt. But, the mixture of all of them, what happens is if we just did the ketone ester, which is what I'd like to get to, the taste isn't there yet. So, for people, sometimes elderly people will take it for energy and mental clarity, the KE4 is too rough even diluted, it just isn't good. The KE1, when you have 60% as opposed to 100%, and then free acid actually counters the ester flavor, together it works and taste great–

Ben:  Yeah. For me, I never really cared about flavor that much. I mean, I'll just dump powders of this and powder that in my mouth. So, the KE1 never really resonated with me that much because I didn't really care if it didn't taste that great. Although, I have to admit with the alcohol drinks, I'm more picky. If something says gin and tonic on it, I want to taste gin and tonic or Moscow mule or pina colada or whatever. But, if I'm just going for the pure performance metrics or cognitive enhancing benefits, I don't care about the flavor. So, I'm full on that KE4 instead of the KE1.

Frank:  One benefit for someone like you might be to slow release it into a water bottle. So, if you have a 1/2 liter water bottle that you're drinking in a tennis match and you're going to be drinking every few minutes, having a KE4 diluted is going to be pretty nasty. And, you might not care about the taste once, but if you're doing a multi-five-hour cycling ride, you don't want nasty, nasty, nasty–this one tastes like a–

Ben:  That makes sense. If I was still doing Iron Man, because back in the day — but, when I was doing Iron Man, the ketones had barely hit the street. So, I was using MCT oil because I was doing a lot of the ketosis experimentation during Iron Man and MCTO, even that just tasted nasty after a while. But, what I would have used if it had been available would have been that KE1 instead of the MCT oil.

Frank:  Or, our other product which is the Snake Water.

Ben:  Yeah, I didn't mention that, but that stuff is a whole different level. You just took the ketones and combine it with a bunch of stimulants.

Frank:  Yeah. We took the KE1. Actually, no stimulants. I'm anti-stimulants and anti-caffeine.

Ben:  Well, I mean, you know what I mean, like huperzine and theanine and theacrine. That thing packs a wallop. I have to admit. I've got all sorts of different energy drinks that companies send me. I've even talked about Snake Water before on the podcast, but you basically took the ketones, the ketone esters and ketone salts and combine them with, what else in there? Theacrine, theanine.

Frank:  Theacrine, dynamine, L-carnitine, huperzine, B12, CoQ10, a super high-end CoQ10, taurine, cordyceps, again, a super high cordyceps, beta-alanine, just the kitchen sink approach on that one.

Ben:  Yeah.

Frank:  So, that's the one that we then made a 12-ounce version, and that is to try to rival the Monster Energy, Red Bull, but with no caffeine. So, it's very rare to have no sugar and no caffeine drink that still gives you a similar effect.

Ben:  I know. I think people probably get tired of me talking about energy drinks because they get confused. I've talked about the drink Update Energy Drink and Feel Free. And, yeah, there's a lot of options out there I understand. And, if you walk into my garage, you've basically got eight different options. But, that Snake Water stuff, I have to admit, in terms of the combination of the ketones and the energy drinks, in the past, what I've done is I'll take some of your KE4 and have a little bit of that and then combine it with a Feel Free or an Update or something like that if I want to kick in the pants, the afternoon slump or something. But, that Snake Water, it's pretty convenient. I actually like that canned sparkling beverage version versus the more concentrated shots that you guys have.

Frank:  The shots are better for that Iron Man. So, if you're doing that Iron Man or even a workout where you don't want carbonation, I've seen people with a Red Bull at a gym, I was like, “Oh, I didn't know people took carbonated drinks.” So, it's more of a work environment. When you would normally drink a Red Bull, you'd grab this instead. It also has one other ingredient. It has isomaltulose, a slow carbohydrate. So, it won't spike your blood glucose. And, the idea behind the isomaltulose is that if you take too much ketones, it can drop your blood sugar and impair performance. So, this gives it a little bit of a floor so that you don't go down and start having the negative effects. So, it's a little bit better for higher cardio-type workouts. And, the concentrate will dilute really well, but the 12-ounce is it's very sweet, it's not like the KetoneWater. The KetoneWater is like any other sparkling water out there. The Snake Water is more definitely sweeter and more along the lines of these energy drinks that are out there. But, it's also very different than you mentioned the kratom, it doesn't have the potential certain people that might have an addictive personality.

Ben:  That's the big problem with kratom. Even with that Feel Free energy drink, I tell people, dude, check yourself. If you find yourself craving it–even the people that frequently drink kratom in the Philippines and Southeastern Asia, they talk about how these folks will just go for years on this stuff. They still do take breaks from it because of that opioid-like effect. You do need to be careful. Don't get me wrong, I love that Feel Free stuff, but I'll talk to people and they're like, “Yeah, I drink three or four a day.” I'm like, “Yeah, you're addicted.” Any of these energy drinks. My metric is if I stop drinking it and feel like I have to come back and have it again, then I basically will just quit cold turkey and go through whatever withdrawal issues that go along with that. But, I've been like that for years, even with coffee. For a while, coffee was my only energy drink and I would still switch to decaf for one week out of every month just to reset my receptors and keep myself sensitized to the caffeine and also to make sure I didn't have an attachment for anything.

My rule is if you drop me off on a desert island and I don't have any of my inner drinks or my energy drinks or my supplements, my head's not going to explode because I don't have this or that. So, I'm constantly just like–and, I use to travel a lot for that. I'll travel and I'll just say, nope, not going to take that, not going to take that. And, if it's at home, I just don't even have it around.

Alright, let's talk alcohol. So, first of all, this is going to be fun, and condition to the video, I want to kick off our discussion about Ketohol, even though we've all covered some of it, by trying this new beer. Now, obviously, this stuff is not yet available to the market, so what I'm doing is going to be different than what people would be experiencing because it's all going to be packaged together. But, you sent me this can, and I know that this is totally just, whatever you'd call it, like a beta. So, I've got one 1.13 mL vial of R1,3. I'm going to open it up here. So, this is just pure R1,3-butanediol.

Frank:  With some flavoring.

Ben:  With some flavor.

Frank:  So, you're going to add that to a glass.

Ben:  Okay. So, I'm going to open up this. Now, when you actually bring it–just one, right?

Frank:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay. So, when you bring this to production, you would have this combined with this?

Frank:  Yeah, it'd be in the can ready to go.

Ben:  Okay. So, I basically open this, I'm going to pour this into my glass. I told you, it's been 10 years since I've had a beer. So, I'm probably the worst test audience ever for this, but I'm going to do it anyways. I do remember what beer tastes like. What were you trying to nail? A Michelob or Bud Light?

Frank:  Yeah, exactly, Michelob ULTRA. So, we have to be low carb too–

Ben:  So, this would be like I'm going to the football game in the afternoon, I want to drink with all my buddies but I don't want the alcohol.

Frank:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay. So, I'm pouring all this in here. See, now I'm glad we're doing the video podcast. And, he said make sure it's cold, which it is, I just took this out of the fridge. Okay, I'm going to swirl it around a little bit. I got this giant wine glass, not exactly a beer mug, but whatever.

Frank:  Yeah. It should already mix because you put the liquid [00:48:41] _____–

Ben:  Oh, my gosh, dude, you just took me back to college. Holy cow.

Frank:  It's fine. I mean, it's not going to win awards–

Ben:  That taste just like beer.

Frank:  It's not going to go to the beer festival and win the gold–

Ben:  No, but it reminds me when you sent me the champagne. I didn't mention you guys had a champagne and I drank it. I told my wife, I'm like, “There's no way this isn't champagne.” And, it nailed the flavor pretty close. This is pretty good, man. 

Frank:  Yeah. So, we're really excited about–

Ben:  I'm not going to drink the whole thing obviously just because, yeah, it's the middle of the morning. But, holy cow, that tastes like beer.

Frank:  Yeah. Tastes like beer. And, we're going to start off by making it also low carb because I could make a full-bodied experienced beer but then it's going to have 20 grams of sugar and just all these calories. So, it's just a low-carb beer with this Ketohol

Ben:  If I were to drink this entire thing, how many calories are actually in this?

Frank:  That would be 75. So, that's exactly the same–actually, no, no, no. The other Seltzers are 75 calories and that's just the Ketohol, just the R1,3-butanediol. The beer is going to have an extra 25 on top of that, so it'll be 100.

Ben:  Okay. So, all the calories are coming from ketones?

Frank:  75 out of the 100 would come from the Ketohol. Whereas, our other beverages only have stevia and monk fruit. They don't have any other calories other than what comes from the Ketohol.

Ben:  Okay. Now, I don't want you to have to totally give away your secret sauce, no pressure here, but how did you actually get the flavors so close? When I drink the Moscow mule, why does it taste so close to a Moscow mule?

Frank:  So, we tried several flavor houses and had them try to send us stuff and it just didn't work, so we brought it in-house. So, the same place that we manufacture it. We have a full-time person, all they're doing, eight hours a day, is trying to tinker with all these different flavor options to see if they can get it to match a GnT or the Champs. And, the Champs, which is a champagne alternative, is a hint of champagne. We're actually working on getting full-on de-alkalized real champagne and then putting in the R1,3. So, it's actually going to be another level versus what you've tried before and also wine. 

Actually, this molecule for 20 years in the racemic form has been a grape flavoring molecule. So, it enhances great flavoring. So, when I tried it in red wine, that was low sugar and dealkalized, it actually tasted better than the red wine that was dealkalized. It made it thicker, fuller, and the mouthfeel, it increased the grape. So, we have a big road map of different drinks that we could be making with this all to mimic regular alcohol.

Ben:  Okay. What happens if I were to have one of these and also have a cocktail or have alcohol? Yes, no, danger, chemical explosion, what would actually occur?

Frank:  If I kind of back up real fast and explain real quick how this compares to ethanol.

Ben:  Yeah.

Frank:  So, ethanol, I find that 70% of the public doesn't understand or didn't know that ethanol is the base molecule in alcohol. They kind of assume beer and vodka are different alcohols. No, when you distill them all, they're all ethanol. So, that's the first foundational concept that people need to understand that. For the last 2,000 years, the only thing that humans could drink is ethanol. 

So, this is a ketogenic and one can call it an alcohol. I have a quote here from Dom D'Agostino who says that they're researching this 1,3-butanediol in NASA in the '60s and '70s in the racemic form and they didn't really know what to call it. It was not an alcohol, it was a glycol or a diol. So, depending on the chemistry of how you look at it, is it an alcohol? Not in the traditional sense of 70% of the Americans that think of ethanol and alcohol. Some people say, “Oh I don't drink,” and I say, “Oh, yeah, you don't drink ethanol. This is not ethanol,” it's just drastically different. And, ethanol converts to acetyl aldehyde. That is the toxin that ruins your liver, gives you cravings, gives you all the negative effects, and wanting more and addictions.

Ben:  Right. This is when a guy, Dr. Andrew Huberman, blew up the internet when he did the whole podcast about alcohol and a whole bunch of people quit drinking alcohol after that. The main issue with what he was talking about was the actual acetaldehyde.

Frank:  Yup, exactly. So, Asians, 30% of Asians will actually get red face, it's called Asian flush or Asian glow because of the acetyl aldehyde. They'll drink two or three cans of ours and they will get zero Asian flush because there's no acetyl aldehyde. If we invented an alcohol that converted to water, it would be the Star Trek's Synthehol. In the Star Trek, Scotty was drinking some whiskey and he spits it out, he goes, “What is this?” And, he's like, “This is Synthehol. We've invented a new form of alcohol that is less toxic.” So, if we had just done that, it'd be Synthehol, Star Trek stuff. But, this is actually one step better. So, not only does it not create acetyl aldehyde, it doesn't create something neutral like water, it actually creates something beneficial. It converts to ketones. So, you get the buzz with the benefits. And, it is a real buzz too, it's not some products you might take some kava and maybe notice something here. We say if you don't feel the buzz, it's free. So, if you don't feel it, you don't like it, we just refund you. But, it's a real buzz–

Ben:  I'm sure one of our podcast listeners is going to drink it and get plastered and [00:54:34] _____.

Frank:  That's probably the reason why we have 12-ounce cans is we want you to drink the entire thing. We don't want to have shots of that and have people misusing it. We do say limit three on the can. And, we don't want it to be abused. This is not a party-get-wasted-type drink, this is a relaxation.

Ben:  No, that's not my jam anyways. Yeah, I just like the idea of being able to relax at the end of the day and to have something with dinner besides just water. It's nice to have that kind of pallet cleanser and something fun to drink. And, I mean, it works surprisingly well. I'll even squeeze a little bit of lemon or lime into it and it's amazing.

So, back to my initial question that got you down that chemical rabbit hole though, what would happen if I did have one of these and then a glass of wine, for example?

Frank:  Right, right. So, we found that with regular ketone esters, the other molecule, the KE4, when people have taken that at the same time as alcohol, they felt in the morning their one glass of wine felt like two glasses of wine. It was kind of like the caffeine, the ketones increase the caffeine potency. So, it might do that for people who might have not only the ketone ester but might have this Ketohol with it. It might increase the alcohol. However, we've had people that say, “Hey, normally I go out and I'll decide this weekend it's going to be a bender.” Three to four bottles of wine a night. They drink two or three of our drink during that time and then they find themselves they only drank one bottle of wine instead of the three or four. And then, they wake up much better. So, the ketones in this or the Ketohol that converts the ketones makes people feel more full. So, you actually don't feel as inclined to grab another one where beer, you have one sip of beer and there's this visceral feeling to have another.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly. Alcohol makes you want to eat more. That's the other cool side effect of this is because it has the ketones in it, I can have this with dinner, finished dinner, and not feel like I got to have dessert because it's appetite satiating. 

Frank:  Yes. And, some people actually use it instead of dinner. They just flat out, “Hey, I'm just not hungry, I don't want to eat, no big deal.” And, the beer munchies is also a big part of people's withdrawal symptoms. Not only that they had two or three beers, it's in the garbage that they ate after it because they got the munchies. This, you get no munchies.

Ben:  The other thing is that a lot of people, especially what's the recent tread, it's like the no masturbation, no alcohol. It's like this new trendy thing. I'm blanking. I'm sure somebody's screaming through the podcast trying to remind me what the word is. But anyway, so people are giving up alcohol, giving up porn, giving up masturbation. It's kind of this trend, but I have noticed increasingly a lot of those people, they're smoking weed. They're like, “Okay, I don't have any of these things, so I'm going to have weed.” That's the other nice thing about this is you get that relaxing socially lubricating effect, but you also don't get some of the, well, essentially what THC is doing to the neural mitochondria is it's causing a free radical leakage that essentially starts destroy brain cells and make you stupid. And, whereas, I understand if you're like a musician or an artist and a little bit of marijuana helps you with your creativity or you have some pain that you have to manage, I think it's fantastic for that. But, I mean, gosh, if you're quitting alcohol but picking up weed as a substitute for alcohol, I'd much rather someone pick up ketones than weed.

Frank:  Yeah, with dry January. We said that it was dry January compliant. And, people say, “Well, but, is it technically alcohol? Is it not?” The dry January goal is to get people off of ethanol for sure. But, if you're getting off of everything, if you're getting off of ethanol and you stopped smoking and you stopped caffeine, you went clean, okay, great, then maybe you shouldn't take the Hard Ketones. But, if you're still doing all those other stimulants, this is 10 times better than the ethanol. And, that's really the goal is getting off of ethanol.

Ben:  Yeah. By the way, I think it's NOBNOM, no booze, no masturbation. I think that was the acronym I was looking for. But, yeah, the NOBNOM people are smoking a lot of weed, basically is what it comes down to at least. That's my experience.

Now, in terms of sleep architecture though, obviously we know that alcohol, you get that surge of gamma-aminobutyric acid, the inhibitory neurotransmitter, it peaks and then it wears off at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., and the rest of your night of sleep you get–well, you get good sleep latency, you fall asleep quickly, but then the actual overall sleep architecture, deep sleep score, and restfulness score tends to be pretty crappy. Have you guys looking into sleep architecture much with these ketone alcohol alternatives?

Frank:  Yeah. We have not done actual clinical trials. So, what we're going by is Oura Ring data of our customers and just the trends. And, what we find is that one can actually improves people's sleep over just regular water just versus their neutral base, they're getting more deep sleep. And, we also had found that with the ketone ester, if they take half of a capful to one capful immediately before bed, they're seeing 30 minutes more deep sleep. So, Mike Mussel's Oura Ring data was flat all week and then suddenly just shot up the day he had ketone ester and then back down the other days.

So, one can of the Hard Ketones tends to improve people's sleep. Once you get to two or three cans, then it can start showing up on your Oura Ring a little bit. So, one person sent us data saying here's two shots of vodka one night and their Oura Ring data was 35. And then, he said, here's two cans of your drink and it was 75. Now, his baseline might have been 80, 82, but just drastically different than ethanol. But yeah, it'll have some diminishing returns over a certain quantity. And, we do pretty much say that it's no hangover, but someone can always overdo it and challenge that. And, I do recommend drinking water before bed because it does have a little bit of a kind of almost the ketogenic diet, you lose lot of water weight. So, drinking water right before bed will help that as well.

Ben:  Yeah. I haven't done a whole lot of precise self-quantification with the Ketohol drinks, but when I was first starting to experiment with the KE4, the full ketone esters that you were sending to me, that resulted in an improvement overall in sleep architecture. And so, just this idea of going to bed in a state of ketosis seems to be something that works at least for myself and for a lot of people when it comes to enhanced sleep architecture.

Frank:  Yeah. If you take too much of it, though, it'll ruin your sleep. So, there are some protocols that we have online that if you're an elite athlete doing a five-hour cycling event, they'll take half of a bottle, sometimes a full bottle, but I hesitate mentioning that because–

Ben:  You mean of the KE4?

Frank:  Of the KE4. They'll take half to even a full and it's just way, way too much. For me, if I'm already in ketosis because I'm keto vegan for the last seven or eight years, I can only take half of a cap full because it has a cumulative effect. I already have a baseline of ketones. If you take too much, my wife, she goes in and out of keto and I came up one day. She was like, “Reorganizing the closet.” I said, “What happened?” She's like, “Oh, I took too much of the ketones before bed, it kind of kicked into this energy source as opposed to a signaling molecule.” So, too much will ruin your sleep, but you have to find that right amount. But, one-third of our Amazon reviews are, “Oh, my goodness for sleep, I woke up with a cell phone on my chest and normally I wake up two or three times. Sorry, I went to sleep with the cell phone on my chest, normally I wake up two to three times a pee. I woke up eight hours later and the cell phone was still in my chest.” Not only did they not wake up, they didn't roll around and they were 30 minutes more deep sleep.

Ben:  But then, too much you get the crack cocaine effect. I want to go vacuum the whole house. Okay, noted.

So, possibly a little bit of a controversial question here, but this is something I've kind of wondered because when I'm looking at labels, I've seen that this same R1,3-butanediol when added or taken as a supplement seems to be marketed in some other categories. From what I understand, you don't hold a patent on this and there's other companies that are marketing this same molecule but marketing it as a performance enhancer, which is kind of a head-scratcher for me because I'm asking myself, well, which is it? Is it an alcohol substitute that makes you a little groggy and relaxed and socially lubricated or is it a performance enhancer? Like you said, “The mice were stumbling.” So, that's one thing to bear in mind. But, I wasn't sure if it's the amount is different, if they're mixing other things in there to make it so it's not alcoholic.

What's the deal with the confusion around what 1,3-butanediol actually is? Enhancing performance or serving as an alcohol substitute or both?

Frank:  Sure, sure. So, great, great question and it is confusing now that we've explained that the ketone ester is drastically different than the R1,3. Now that we've separated the two, we can kind of talk about it. Yeah, there are some companies that–there's one company that had the ketone ester, and they for whatever reason, undisclosed, they lost the rights to the ketone ester. But then, they got a $6 million contract for ketone ester for hypoxia for the military to figure out how to use the ketone ester. So, if you lose the rights to sell ketone ester and here you are with $6 million in venture capital funding, you better start doing some spin. So then, what they did is they said, “Let's go out into the marketplace, let's see if we can find another molecule that's not a ketone salt that's readily done. Let's see if we can find the next best thing and then just call it 2.0 new and improved.” So, they scoured the internet and they found the R1,3-butanediol. And, by the way, we do have a patent pending on it, which would close in a few months. So, we do. There is protection there.

So then, they found R1,3-butanediol and they looked at, “Oh look, it raises the blood ketone levels the same way.” You might have to take 40% more of it but it's just far beyond what the ketone salts. And, the salts have the sodium limiting factor. So, here, you can just take a little bit more. And, they had 25 grams per serving of the ketone ester, but then they cut it back to 10 grams per serving. Well, why did they do that? Because they know that you'll be wasted at the 25 is what I think. So, they have this $25 million contract and they put on their website. We were given $6 million to review exogenous ketones. That is a correct statement, but it's implying that the $6 million was for this molecule that research was done for this molecule. No, that $6 million was for ketone ester. Don't be tricked by it. 

Then, they cite all these clinical trials saying, look, ketones are great for performance. Which papers are they citing? Ketone ester papers and they're doing this science hijacking saying, “Look, we can get your ketones to 1 millimolar.” That paper was 1 millimolar; therefore, it's the same benefit. And, they even sponsored a presentation where they talked about ketone ester for hypoxia, the military study. And, at the end, they said, but because it tasted so bad and cost so much, we came out with the version 2.0 and then I asked at the end, I said to the people that did not work for the company, can you just assume that one product that goes up 1 millimolar is the same as another product that goes up 1 millimolar? Is it all the same if your blood ketone levels are the same? And, they said, “Absolutely not.”

And, Dr. Veech, I've got a video I just put on YouTube last night, talks about how C8, MCT oil, it'll get you to 1 millimolar but it doesn't work. And, it doesn't work because 80 to 90% of it, I think he said, is burned up in the mitochondria, which reduces Q and destroys the ability to increase energy. So, you still have the 1 millimolar but it's not the same thing. So, you can't just take the science from 1 molecule and apply it to the other. And, the ketone salt companies have been doing that for five years.

Ben:  So, to clarify, if I've got my ketones elevated, let's say, to 1 millimolar, what you're saying is that cellular utilization of a strategy of elevating ketones with, let's say, the beta-hydroxybutyrate R1,3-butanediol ketone ester, that's going to be utilized differently by the mitochondria?

Frank:  Yeah. Sorry. You said that right, yeah. D-beta-hydroxybutyrate R1,3-butanediol ketone ester–

Ben:  Yeah. And, that's going to be utilized differently at a cellular energy level than using the same strategy to get the 1 millimolar using just say R1,3-butanediol?

Frank:  Or C8. C8 is a better example because 80% of the C8 MCT oil creates this negative effect. And, he kind of explained it also with NAD, NADPH ratios. So, if you're on an elevator and the elevator goes up three floors and then you jumped, you're not three stories high plus 6 inches. So, it's about that delta. So, we can only measure how far the elevator has gone up, the 1 millimolar, but we can't test for that ratio. So, that's why he said that the C8 will never work.

Now, as far as the R1,3-butanediol, it doesn't necessarily have that effect, it just happens to have this intoxicating relaxing effect.

Ben:  Yeah.

Frank:  So, you can call it sports performance because you have enough marketing and you can cite all these papers that are not 1,3-butanediol. There's actually two papers where they actually used 1,3-butanediol albeit the racemic form and they gave it to professional cyclists. Both of them showed a decrease in performance. It was worse for performance. And, the side effect was nausea, lightheadedness, euphoria, sound familiar, alcohol. They were drunk.

Ben:  Yeah.

Frank:  And, this company is recommending people take one to three servings and then get on a bicycle and try to go down French Alps at 70 miles per hour while having the equivalent of what we're saying maxing out of three of these. They're saying to do that, I think it's highly dangerous. I think someone's going to get hurt. And, I'd like to disclose that it's a ketogenic alcohol, alcohol alternative but really explain the molecule. They make no reference to alcohol. They say it's more sugar alcohol. Your kids have sugar alcohol in their candy, erythritol. That's not getting anyone drunk. No, no, no. So, I think it's misleading. So, that's marketing.

Ben:  So, the summary for people in case folks' heads are spinning on it from a scientific standpoint, it sounds to me like what you're saying is ketone salts and especially the racemic version of ketone salts, if you're using those as a strategy for performance or appetite satiation or whatever, the amount of salt that you have to consume as a delivery mechanism for those ketones is going to negate most the benefits that you'd be getting from the ketones themselves. Furthermore, if you're looking for something for performance enhancement and for cognitive enhancement, you should be consuming the ester form, the R1,3-butanediol combined with the beta-hydroxybutyrate if you're looking at a label, that should be the form that you'd use for performance appetite satiation daytime use, et cetera. And then, finally, if you want that relaxation effect from ketones, that alcohol-simulating effect, that's when you look for the R1,3-butanediol.

Frank:  By itself, yeah.

Ben:  Okay. So, if people only listen 60 seconds of this whole podcast, that's kind of like the summary of how to use the ketones properly.

Frank:  Yeah. And, we have found that people can take microdoses. So, we've had professional riders that will do five hours of cycling and they'll not have breakfast and they'll take one to two capsules every hour. And, they can go five hours at whatever their crazy high watts are sustain that. And, the coaches are like–

Ben:  Of the ketone ester.

Frank:  Of the ketone ester. So, small amounts. You might say, “Oh, well, why can't you take small amounts of the salt?” It just doesn't work the same way. And, this is part of the Dr. Veech saying that it's the NAD, NADPH ratio, it's just more clean, it just goes straight to energy without all the negative effects. And, they're able to do five hours of cycling. And, at the end, they said that they weren't hungry, they're like, “Should I eat dinner?” I'm like, “I think you should because you're going to melt after seven days of altitude camp without eating.” So, they can ride for seven hours empty stomach. And, he's like, “Mathematically, this should not work. The calories in the bottle should be burned up in five minutes. What's going on?” And, the theory is that it might be triggering endogenous production.

Now, not to be confused with sitting on the couch drinking ketones, it does not burn fat for you. We don't even like to use the phrase, “Gets you into ketosis,” because that's misleading because I think “Gets you into ketosis” makes people think that it's fat burning. No, it skips fat burning and puts ketones in your blood. And yes, you can prick your finger and test for ketones and you'll have ketones. But, some scientists will call that ketosis, but I don't really think that's ketosis. Ketosis is burning your own fat. But, in a cycling context, we think that it's kind of triggering this fight or flight mode that humans are used to giving it a little bit of ketones, it increases fat burning so that they have whatever calories that they need for that five hours because like I said, mathematically, the 10 calories will be burned up right away. And then, the benefit of these fasted rides is they're not sore the next day. So, their HRV reading is much better the next day. So, the glucose is drastically harmful. And, one paper–

Ben:  Yeah. Just because you're engaged in less glycolysis, less hydrogen ion production, a little less acidity.

Frank:  And inflammation. And, glucose will give you lactic acid. Ketones create zero lactic acid. So, there's no lactic acid buildup. And then, there's one most of the scientific trials, which I don't necessarily like the protocols that give huge amounts, they do the dual fuel which happen to work for you, but the dual fuel and they give it to them fed and then they're scratching their head saying, “Hey, this isn't working.” What they're missing out on is that the glucose is even though people say carbs are king, that might be doing more harm than good. 

And, there's a clinical trial coming out soon where they showed increase in energy by using just the ketones versus ketones plus glucose. That'll be groundbreaking where everyone thought they had to have both of them because it sounds sexy, dual fuel, but they found that when they just had the ketones, they were able to analyze the breath and energy consumption, they were creating more energy. So, in 10 years, I would love to find some protocols where you're not using glucose or you're just using a slow carbohydrate in the Snake Water and you're not using that harmful effects of sugar.

Ben:  Yeah. Slow carbohydrate, maltulose is one that you said, allulose is another. I think that you can overdo it. I had a friend, and I would only say this [01:13:09] _____ said it publicly, podcaster Mark Bell who is training for a marathon and he took a whole bunch of a slow release carbohydrate. I think he was using super starch combined it with a high dose of ketones and experienced hyperglycemia because apparently what occurred was that there was an insulin desensitization that occurred and this starch-resistant carbohydrate flooded his bloodstream with extra glucose. His glucose is up into 300. So, as with anything, you can overdo it.

Now, this was one of those high molecular weight resistant starches. It wasn't maltulose or allulose. I think that the idea that you just presented of combining ketone esters with trace amounts of a low glycemic carbohydrate that isn't a resistant starch, and I realize we're going to deep in the chemistry here, but like allulose, maltulose, et cetera, I like that as a pretty good strategy like you've done with the Snake Water stuff. And so, I think that's perfect for performance.

Frank:  Yeah. We use isomaltulose is what we use, a slow carbohydrate. But, we only put in 5 grams. So, these companies that sell isomaltulose by itself, they'll recommend one serving be 30 grams and then people will then double that, so they're at 60. So, it's just a tiny, tiny amount that the goal is to keep you in that fat-burning mode without dropping your blood sugar too much. And then, you have endless calories with what you're running with.

Now, you should never use this stuff on game day because we've had people drop out of the race because they use it wrong or they added an apple variable. They work out, fasted, great, and those perfect, and then they added an apple before their race. I'm like, “Why'd you do that?” They're like, “Oh, I felt horrible.” I'm like, “Yes.” You have to really get it down in practice before taking it to game day.

Ben:  Yeah. Sage advice, never try anything new before a competition. Explosive diarrhea and the like may result.

So, obviously if people are listening, I would recommend if you want to try this stuff get the sparkling KetoneWater, try a few different flavors of the ketone alcohol like the gin and tonic, the Moscow mule, the pina colada. I'm not much of a beer guy, but this does taste just like beer. So, if you're a beer person, just check it out, try a little bit of the Snake Water. Maybe throw in some of the KE4. I do have a free shipping code–

Frank:  We have a sampler pack now.

Ben:  Yeah.

Frank:  We put it all together to get one of each can and then one of each concentrate.

Ben:  Yeah, that's perfect. And, you guys gave me a free shipping code. I think it's just BEN. I'll put a link. It's like BenGreenfieldLife.com/KetoneAid. And then, free shipping is just the code BEN. And, I also understand that you might have a lot of questions about this stuff, so you can also go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/KetoPodcast. BenGreenfieldLife.com/K-E-T-O-Podcast. Leave your questions there and either Frank or I will be happy to reply.

Frank, I've been excited for this episode for the past couple of months just because every time I've been drinking this, I'm like, more people need to know. There are options out there besides rum and gin, whiskey and vodka, and wine and beer. So, it's really cool and I'm excited to get the word out about this. So, thank you so much for coming on for sharing your knowledge and your wisdom with us and for creating these Ketohols.

Frank:  Thank you.

Ben:  Awesome. Alright, folks. Well, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Frank Llosa signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Again, the shownotes are at BenGreenfieldLife.com/KetoPodcast. FRANK'S website, you can get to at BenGreenfieldLife.com/KetoneAid where you can use the free shipping code BEN and get yourself some goodies. Alright, folks, have an amazing week.

More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.



You may have heard me talking lately about how I've been enjoying an evening cocktail comprised of ketones instead of alcohol. We're talking about a shockingly close equivalent to both the taste and effect of popular drinks like Gin & Tonic, Moscow Mule, Pina Colada, etc., but without any toxic side effects of alcohol (while I have no problem with a glass or two of organic, biodynamic red wine or a healthy cocktail here and there, it's been really nice to have a tasty alternative).
The company who makes the drinks I've been consuming – KetoneAid – was founded by my guest on today's podcast, Mr. Frank LLosa, a serial entrepreneur who has an incredible track record of success in a number of fields from real estate, to highly technical photography for National Geographic, to one of the first cloud-based storage systems available to the public. Mr. LLosa was also an elite Division I track athlete who currently incorporates biohacking to stay competitive in all his endeavors, including a vegan ketogenic diet, hitting levels over 8.0mm on diet alone (as mentioned in a podcast with Dave Asprey, CEO of Bulletproof, where Frank made a cameo at the end).

Frank has a unique ability to find a path where others have failed. He knew this could be the perfect challenge for his unique skill set.

The first roadblock to bringing the product to market was finding a commercial laboratory able to actually make the Ketone Ester at scale and under $100 a serving (Dave Asprey spent $25k for one serving in 2015!). Frank and his team were warned in advance that multiple huge public companies over the last ten years had tried and failed to deliver the Ketone Ester at an acceptable purity level and price.

Within six months Frank’s team contacted hundreds of labs to find the perfect partner. Ultimately having to buy all the necessary equipment three separate times to scale from bench to pilot and ultimately to full scale production. Working together as a team, they succeeded in making small batches of the purest Ketone Ester ever tested.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Ben's “alcohol alternative” evening routine…05:15

-How Frank got into the Ketone industry…09:06

  • Daniel Odio's blog post on the ketogenic diet: Two Years in Ketosis: My Health Update
  • Tim Ferriss eating massive amounts of cheese on the ketogenic diet
    • Responsible for popularizing this correlation
  • Frank's wife's godfather is Dr. Richard Veech
  • Frank sent Ben some of the first batches of ketone esters to test out 5-6 years ago
    • Ben won the Tough Mudder competition he was competing in at that time
  • KetoneAid is manufactured in the US (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)

-What exactly is a Ketone Ester…13:50

  • Exogenous Ketones vs. Endogenous Ketones
    • Exogenous Ketones – when you consume something that is a ketone, or something that converts easily to a ketone
    • Endogenous Ketones – when your body burns fat to make ketones or when on a ketogenic diet
  • Ketone Esters are under the umbrella of Exogenous Ketones
    • MCT Oil – C8 version where 10% converts to β‐Hydroxybutyrate
    • Drinking exogenous ketones does not put you into ketosis; only mimic ketosis
    • Ketone Ester – most researched of all exogenous ketones
    • Ketohol or R-1,3 Butanediol and ketone esters are related but not exactly the same (different molecule)
    • Ketone ester is for performance while Ketohol is for relaxation
    • Ester is a bond between 2 molecules
  • Ketone Esters is the D-β‐Hydroxybutyrate molecule bound to an R1,3 Butanediol molecule
    • Enters the blood stream intact (more bioavailable than the individual parts)
    • Both a fast release and slow release of ketones
    • The bond breaks apart once it gets into the bloodstream
      • Readily available β‐Hydroxybutyrate free acid (fast release)
      • R1,3 Butanediol after several passes goes to the liver and creates ketones (slow release)
    • R1,3 Butanediol was tested on mice
      • Mice behaved as though they were “drunk”
    • A serving of the KetoneAid KE4, is 50% ketone ester
    • The bond between the two molecules creates balance
  • Recommended to drink ketone esters in a fasted state
  • Ketone esters are always liquid

-What exactly is a Ketone Salt…21:20

  • Ketone Salt is a bond of the free acid D-β‐Hydroxybutyrate with sodium, potassium, magnesium or calcium added to neutralize the acid
    • Consuming Ketone Salts can have deleterious effects due to the high salt content
    • Most Ketone Salts on the market are of the racemic form (only half is bioavailable)
    • Some people use them to get into ketosis, but are being tricked
      • High salt content that is causing them to “feel” like they are in ketosis
    • Many Ketone Salts on the market also include caffeine, which can interfere with the feeling of ketosis

-What's the difference KetoneAid's KE4 Ketone Ester and KetoneWater?…35:50

  • KetoneAid KE4 Ketone Ester (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)
    • 50% Ketone Ester (D-β‐Hydroxybutyrate bound to R1,3 Butanediol)
    • 50% water
    • No sugars, no carbs
  •  KetoneWater (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)
    • 1% Ketone Ester
    • Sparkling water
    • Ben's new “Pellegrino”

-One of Ben's hacks for long flights…38:36

  • Drinks a whole bottle of KetoneAid KE4 Ketone Ester (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)
    • Anti-inflammatory effects
    • Cellular protection
    • Hunger suppressant
    • Helps with jet lag

-KetoneAid's KE1…40:11

  • The KE1 focuses on taste (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)
  • Six times more water than the KE4
    • 60% Ketone Ester
    • 20% Ketone free acid
    • 20% Ketone salt (D form)

-KetoneAid's Snake Water contains no stimulants, yet really “packs a wallop”…42:35

  • The Snake Water contains:
    • BCAA 2:1:1- Brain Chain Amino Acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) 375mg
    • NALT Tyrosine
    • Beta Alanine
    • L-Taurine
    • B12
    • Dynamine
    • Teacrine
    • L-Theanine
    • Isomaltulose – a slow release, low glycemic index carb
    • Huperzine A
    • Niacin
    • Potassium Sorbate
    • Monk Fruit, Stevia
    • No regular “fast” carbs or sugars
  • Contains a slow carbohydrate to balance blood sugar
    • Ideal for cardio workouts
  • Sweeter than the other KetoneAid beverages (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)
  • Isn't addictive
    • Kratom-free

-Ben's live tasting of KetoneAid's Keto Beer…47:11

-What would happen if you had both a regular alcoholic drink and a ketoholic drink at the same time?…55:15

  • May increase the potency of regular alcohol
  • Some people reported drinking less alcohol if they drink ketohol at the same time
    • Makes them feel full
    • Alcohol often makes people want to eat more

-Ketohol might be a good alternative to giving up alcohol and not replacing it with other substances, like marijuana…57:50

  • “Dry January” compliant
  • Could help you get off of ethanol

-Has KetoneAid done studies on sleep architecture?…59:00

  • No clinical trials yet
  • Looking at Oura Ring data of customers
    • One keto beverage improves deep sleep by 30 minutes
    • 2-3 keto beverages resulted in an Oura Ring sleep score of 75, which is good
  • Drinking water before bed will help
    • Upping water intake while in ketosis is recommended
  • Ben's sleep improved with the KetoneAid KE4 Esters (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)
    • Too much KE4 consumption will negatively impacts sleep
  • One third of Amazon reviews are about improved sleep architecture

-Is R1,3 Butanediol performance enhancing or does it promote relaxation?…1:03:05

  • How R1,3 Butanediol differs from Ketone Salts
    • No sodium limiting factor
  • Some “science-hijacking” has occurred in the ketone industry to show that R1,3 Butanediol enhances performance
  • Two studies on professional cyclists that took R1,3 Butanediol show a decrease in performance
    • Reported symptoms of being drunk
    • Not safe to take when performing sports
  • Much of the marketing is misleading
  • Snake Water (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)

-Ben summarizes the types of Ketones and Ketone molecules, and their recommended uses…1:08:42

  • Ketone Salts, especially the racemic version, require you to take large amounts
    • The amount of salt negates some of the ketone benefits
  • Ketone Esters are for cognitive and performance enhancement
  • Ketohol (R1,3 Butanediol) is for relaxation
  • KetoneAid Packs (code BEN auto-applied for free shipping up to $20)

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

– Frank Llosa:

– Podcasts:

– Other Resources:

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