We all know that carbs, fat, and protein are energy sources for the body. But according to Business Insider, there's a "fourth macronutrient" that could supercharge the body like nothing else. Most of what we eat contains carbs (fruit, veggies, pasta, potatoes), and they're ultimately broken down into sugar, or glucose, for energy. When robbed of carbs, the body turns to fat for fuel.
In the process of digging into its fat stores, the body releases molecules called ketones. A high-fat, low-carb diet (also known as a ketogenic diet) is a shortcut to the same goal. If you could ingest those ketones directly, rather than starving yourself or turning to a keto diet, you could essentially get a superpower.
San Francisco–based startup HVMN recently launched a drink made of pure ketone ester that it says can help people harness its performance-boosting qualities. The company partnered with Oxford University to leverage $60 million worth of scientific research with elite athletes. Studies with athletes have found that combining ketones and carbs produces a "stacking effect," according to Brianna Stubbs, a postgraduate student at the University of Oxford who leads research at HVMN.
That performance boost is "unlike anything we've ever seen before," says Kieran Clarke, a professor of physiological biochemistry at the University of Oxford. The drink promises improved athletic ability and energy and a heightened sense of focus. Before you ditch your iced latte for a ketone drink, dietitians say there's still a lot of work remaining to determine if ketones can translate to better health—and they warn against a keto diet.