Why are there no added BCAAs in Giant Keto?
This is the question I came into the office to find in my e-mail inbox:
“…wondering why you guys did not add in a good dose of 2:1:1 ratio BCAAs right into the Giant KETO powder product? Is this not a natural fit? Athletes love BCAAs and there is quite a bit of research demonstrating BCAAs are effective for athletes. What gives?”
For virtually all athletes – but especially for non-keto adapted athletes, BCAA powders have become almost a required staple in their arsenal of effective dietary supplements. I’m going to provide some links to some studies for people who are unfamiliar with BCAAs and what they do (or may not do)/how they work right here in a variety of settings:
So there are a dozen reference (out of many dozens available, I decided to stop here).
The studies are a mixed bag – some show a lot of benefit with BCAA supplementation, some show some benefit with BCAA supplementation,, some show minimal to no benefit with BCAA supplementation.
One key point to remember, is that most people using BHB salt products like Giant KETO are in ketogenesis or keto-adapted as they are trying to lose bodyweight/bodyfat. As such, a large part of their diets are going to come from BCAA rich foods (most keto-adapted people are eating somewhere around 25% of their calories from whole proteins which are typically have plenty of BCAAs in them in peptide/polypeptide form). So I am not sure that additional, free-form BCAAs are even needed. Some of the studies cited above would also seem to indicate that in people trying to lose weight using caloric restricted (not necessarily using a ketogenic diet) tend not to see much or any benefits to BCAA supplementation.
Further, there is one study I am aware of (and it is JUST ONE STUDY) that seems to indicate that higher levels of BCAA and lipogenesis/adipogenesis:
Again, one study, and it’s still theoretical but if this is validated in the future, it would seem that having an overabundance of BCAA’s might cause more fat storage which is the very thing most people who use BHB salt products are trying to avoid.
And while leucine (arguably the most important of the BCAAs) is a ketogenic amino acid – it can’t be converted to glucose via direct gluconeogenesis and it might actually be useful for people in ketosis/a keto-adapted state, it is well known that valine is a glucogenic amino acid and isoleucine is both ketogenic/glucogenic.
So if I wanted to be really safe about this and I want to use BCAAs in this situation, I am probably looking at just using free form leucine or a really leucine heavy blend of all the BCAAs, looking to eliminate or minimize free form valine and free form isoleucine ingestion.
There is some evidence too, to be truthful and transparent, that taking in additional BCAAs may not adversely affect ketosis although the sample size (N = 8) was small and the patient populace consisted of children with intractable epilepsy. Of note, about 38% of the study participants experienced a slight increase in heart rate, which was ameliorated by removing the excess free-form BCAAs form their diets.
There are also some anecdotal comments on Reddit that read on added free form BCAAs possibly kicking people out of ketosis.
At the end of the day? The added costs versus the “debatable” benefit and possible negative effects of added free form BCAAs led me to leave it out of this formula unless you just want to augment with free form leucine only or a really heavily weighted leucine BCAA blend. If you feel you want to augment with additional BCAAs nonetheless, Giant Sports sells a really good 12:1:1 “l-leucine heavy” BCAA formula you can purchase below:
Check out the Giant Keto Product page, here Giant Keto