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DeltaG vs. Ketone-IQ: One Product Was 3X More Effective In Testing

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Last Updated: Apr 04, 2024

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DeltaG and H.V.M.N.’s Ketone IQ are two of the most popular exogenous ketone supplements on the market. But how effective are they for raising blood ketone levels?

To answer that question, I used both products for several weeks (on alternate days) while recording any changes in blood ketone levels using a Keto-Mojo blood ketone meter. I also used Biosense, my trusted breath ketone meter, to record changes in my acetone levels. (Unlike beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB, which can be measured via blood testing, acetone is a volatile ketone molecule you can measure by analyzing your breath.)

Here are the key points to know about these two products:

  • The deltaG monoester actually contains BHB and metabolizes into three times more BHB than the butanediol in Ketone-IQ.
  • Based on my testing (see the results below), the monoester in deltaG is significantly more effective at raising blood ketone levels than the butanediol in Ketone-IQ.
  • DeltaG costs $5.28 to $32 per serving, whereas Ketone-IQ costs $3.60 to $5.00 per serving.

Note that despite its higher cost per serving, deltaG is actually the more cost-effective product because you get more BHB at each serving size. 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let me briefly share the history of H.V.M.N. because it illustrates why many people still believe that Ketone-IQ is an ester, when it is actually an alcohol.

Back in 2017, H.V.M.N. sold a product called Ketone 1.0. It was relatively expensive and out of reach for the average consumer, but it contained the highly effective “Oxford ketone ester,” which was developed by the National Institutes of Health and the University of Oxford as part of the DARPA-funded Metabolic Dominance program of the U.S. military

However, H.V.M.N. lost the license to distribute that ester (for reasons that have not been made public), so they had to develop a new product without relying on it. 

In 2022, the company launched Ketone-IQ, which leverages R-1,3-Butanediol (a ketone alcohol) instead of an ester. At the same time, H.V.M.N.’s marketing team was clever enough to not advertise the change in ingredients, which led many consumers to believe that Ketone-IQ was a much more affordable but equally effective version of its predecessor (Ketone 1.0).

Ingredients: Monoester vs. Butanediol

Energetics of deltaG (left) vs. Ketone-IQ (right).
Energetics of deltaG (left) vs. Ketone-IQ (right).

The bottom line is that 10 grams of deltaG ketones has three times more BHB than 10 grams of Ketone-IQ, though understanding why requires working through the somewhat complicated chemistry described below.

DeltaG features the original Oxford ketone ester, a monoester known as (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate. This compound is an ester of the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) with 1,3-butanediol, specifically in its (R) enantiomeric forms for both components, making it a monoester rather than a diester.

In contrast, Ketone-IQ includes only R-1,3-Butanediol. While that may seem like a minor difference, it has measurable implications regarding the effectiveness of each product.

From a chemical perspective, the ketone ester in deltaG metabolizes into 1 BHB + 0.5 BHB + 0.5 Acetoacetate (AcAc), leading to a BHB to AcAc ratio of three to one. On the flip side, the butanediol in Ketone-IQ metabolizes into 0.5 BHB + 0.5 AcAc, leading to a BHB to AcAc ratio of one to one.

I’m telling you this because in the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell), BHB and AcAc are in an equilibrium reaction catalyzed by BHB dehydrogenase (BHBDH), which sets the NADH to NAD ratio, which (in turn) controls the amount of energy (ATP) generated. 

So the higher the BHB to AcAc ratio, the more ATP is generated, leading to all the benefits of exogenous ketone supplementation (including improved cognitive and athletic performance). 

Effectiveness: Changes In BHB Levels

As shown in these Keto-Mojo readings, 27 grams of DeltaG caused a dramatic increase in my blood BHB levels.
As shown in these Keto-Mojo readings, 27 grams of DeltaG caused a dramatic increase in my blood BHB levels.

The million dollar question is how all the science mumbo-jumbo above translates into elevated levels of BHB in the bloodstream. 

In other words, which product is better at raising BHB levels?

To find out, I set up an experiment. For a few days in a row, I would consume a set amount of ketones on an empty stomach (in the morning), and then measure my blood and breath ketone levels (using a Keto-Mojo blood ketone meter) at the 30, 60 and 90-minute mark. 

I think the results speak for themselves:

Before30 mins60 mins90 mins
deltaG Performance (27 grams)0.3 mmol/L4.8 mmol/L3.0 mmol/L2.1 mmol/L
Ketone-IQ (30 grams)0.2 mmol/L1.3 mmol/L1.1 mmol/L0.8 mmol/L

As you can see, a slightly smaller amount of deltaG ketones resulted in nearly four times higher blood ketone levels than Ketone-IQ at the 30-minute mark, and nearly three times higher blood ketone levels at the 90-minute mark.

Out of curiosity, I performed the same test using Biosense (a breath ketone meter that measures acetone) and here are the results:

Before30 mins60 mins90 mins
deltaG Performance (27 grams)2 ACEs5 ACEs10 ACEs12 ACEs
Ketone-IQ (30 grams)2 ACEs3 ACEs4 ACEs5 ACEs

Interestingly, my breath ketone concentrations increased steadily and remained elevated for extended periods (compared to my blood ketone levels). 

In this round of (breath) testing, I noticed only a 2.4x improvement with deltaG compared to Ketone-IQ. But keep in mind that a blood ketone meter measures BHB, while a breath ketone meter measures acetone; although both BHB and acetone are ketone bodies, they metabolize differently in the body, making a direct comparison difficult.

As shown here, 30 grams of Ketone-IQ caused a moderate increase in my blood BHB levels.
As shown here, 30 grams of Ketone-IQ caused a moderate increase in my blood BHB levels.

I performed these tests using different concentrations of each products and noticed similar patterns each time.

In other words, deltaG outperformed Ketone-IQ by 200-300%, regardless of the dosage.

The bottom line is that a ketone ester such as the one found in deltaG is more effective at raising ketone levels. That translates into more robust health benefits.

Flavors and Taste

DeltaG Gold is my favorite product to boost cognitive performance.
DeltaG Gold is my favorite product to boost cognitive performance.

DeltaG is available in various flavors, formulations and strengths, including:

  • deltaG Tactical includes a whopping 32 grams of Oxford ketone ester per small plastic bottle. It’s meant for tactical operators like military personnel and elite athletes such as cyclists and ultra-endurance runners. It’s an unflavored product that’s meant to be mixed or diluted with water or other liquids. You can also drink it like a shot, but be warned, it has a fairly harsh taste. 
  • deltaG Performance contains 27 grams of ketone ester and is the formula I used for my testing. The bitter blueberry flavor tastes reasonably good for a ketone ester supplement. I like that the product ships in a small glass bottle instead of plastic, but I wish deltaG would use stevia or monk fruit instead of sucralose to mask the bitter taste of the main ingredient, because artificial sweeteners are terrible for your health.
  • deltaG Gold Ketone Coffee Booster might be my favorite product in the company’s lineup because each glass bottle contains six servings of five grams of ketone ester, which you can mix with black coffee to completely mask its taste. This product is also available in sachets, which is convenient for frequent travelers. 
  • deltaG Ketone Health is one of the products I haven’t tried. It’s similar to the Performance formula but contains only 10 grams of ketone ester per serving instead of 27. 

Ketone-IQ is available in two sizes, including:

  • A multi-serving bottle with 10 servings of 10 grams of butanediol each (sold in sets of 3, 6, 12 or 24 bottles).
  • A single-serving travel bottle (sold in sets of 24, 48, 144 or 288 shots).

For this review, I purchased a set of six bottles at Sprouts, but I’ve also seen Ketone-IQ sold at Whole Foods.

Pricing

You can find Ketone-IQ in many grocery stores.
You can find Ketone-IQ in many grocery stores.

High-quality exogenous ketone supplements aren’t inexpensive, but comparing apples to apples is essential.

In other words, it would be misleading to compare 10 grams of deltaG with 10 grams of Ketone-IQ because they’re not the same product.

Ultimately, you’re paying for BHB, and deltaG contains three times as much BHB as the same amount of Ketone-IQ. The increase in blood BHB levels from consuming each product reflects that.

Here’s a table to help you visualize the difference in pricing between the two brands.

PriceAmount per bottlePrice per gram of BHB
deltaG Tactical$9530 grams of ketone ester$0.99
deltaG Performance$8527 grams of ketone ester$1.06
deltaG Gold$9530 grams of ketone ester$1.10
Ketone-IQ$120100 grams of butanediol$1.2
Ketone-IQ Shots$120100 grams of butanediol$1.5

As the table above shows, deltaG is actually less expensive when you consider the amount of BHB in each of the products. 

Shop deltaG

To get deltaG for even less, you can use code MICHAELKUMMER and get 20% off your first purchase. Alternatively, you can sign up for a subscription and save 10%.

Ketone-IQ is available directly from hvmn.com, but you can also find it on Amazon or in select grocery stores, including Sprouts and Whole Foods.

How I Use deltaG Ketones

I've had great success using deltaG Performance before intense workouts.
I’ve had great success using deltaG Performance before intense workouts.

I followed a low-carb (paleo) ketogenic diet for several years because my mind worked better while I was in ketosis. That’s because ketones are the brain’s preferred fuel source. However, I’m not into endurance sports. I prefer glycogen-depleting types of exercise, such as CrossFit, that benefit from carbohydrates as an energy source. 

Supplementing with exogenous ketones offers all the cognitive performance benefits of a keto diet without limiting my carb intake. 

When I first began supplementing with ketone salts, I noticed they were negatively impacting my gut. (I’ve struggled with, and cured, IBS in the past.) Ketone esters don’t come with such side effects.

I strategically use deltaG Gold to spike my morning coffee, allowing me to quickly push through mentally challenging tasks such as writing blog posts or recording YouTube videos and podcasts.

I also leverage deltaG Performance and Tactical for select workouts and friendly competitions.

For example, I used deltaG in 2023 to fuel me during a grueling CrossFit workout (the Murph) that I did before breaking a 48-hour fast. 

Using deltaG Performance, I improved my fasted Murph time by a whopping 10 minutes! You can watch the video of my first fasted Murph attempt (without deltaG) on YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions

DeltaG vs Ketone IQ
How much more effective is deltaG compared to other products?

According to the company behind deltaG (TdeltaS), the ketone ester in deltaG is 20 times stronger than MCT oil, 10 times stronger than ketone salts, and five times stronger than products containing butanediol (e.g., Ketone-IQ).

Based on my tests, deltaG is two to three times stronger (i.e., more effective at raising blood BHB levels) than Ketone-IQ.

To learn more, check out my side-by-side comparison of the different exogenous ketone supplements I have tested so far.

Can you use ketone supplements instead of following a keto diet?

That depends on your specific goals. If improving athletic or cognitive performance is your primary goal, you can undoubtedly leverage ketone esters to achieve the desired results. That’s what I do.

But if weight loss is your primary goal, adopting an appropriate dietary framework, such as a paleo, keto or carnivore, is likely more efficient because you have to be in ketosis to enable fat burning (in the form of fatty acids and endogenous ketones).

Supplementing with exogenous ketones can help suppress hunger and make fasting easier (which can be helpful if you’re trying to lose weight). Still, you’ll likely achieve better results with the appropriate dietary framework.

What scientific research is there to prove the efficacy of ketone esters?

There are over 50 clinical studies demonstrating the benefits of ketone esters in a variety of areas, including traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, longevity, depression, alcohol use disorders, diabetes, heart failure and more.

To learn more about the available research involving deltaG, check out the company’s science section.

Summary and Final Thoughts on DeltaG vs. Ketone-IQ

One bottle of DeltaG raised my blood BHB levels much higher than three bottles of Ketone-IQ.
One bottle of deltaG raised my blood BHB levels much higher than three bottles of Ketone-IQ.

While DeltaG and Ketone-IQ are both exogenous ketone supplements, there are significant differences in their ingredients and effectiveness. 

DeltaG uses the original Oxford ketone monoester, which has been extensively studied for its effectiveness. H.V.M.N. uses butanediol in its Ketone-IQ product, which has been around for much longer but is less effective in raising blood BHB levels, as demonstrated by the testing I conducted for this review.

That doesn’t make Ketone-IQ a lousy product. It does raise blood BHB levels, after all. But it’s worth pointing out that deltaG is more effective and less expensive when comparing BHB levels.

I like the taste of Ketone-IQ and appreciate that the company chose monk fruit extract and Rebaudioside M instead of sucralose as sweeteners. But for daily use, I prefer deltaG Gold mixed into my black coffee in the morning, or a shot of deltaG Tactical if I need top cognitive or mental performance. 

Have you tested either of those two products? If so, what’s your opinion? Let me know in the comments below.

Medical Disclaimer

The information shared on this blog is for educational purposes only, is not a substitute for the advice of medical doctors or registered dieticians (which we are not) and should not be used to prevent, diagnose, or treat any condition. Consult with a physician before starting a fitness regimen, adding supplements to your diet, or making other changes that may affect your medications, treatment plan or overall health. MichaelKummer.com and its owner MK Media Group, LLC are not liable for how you use and implement the information shared here, which is based on the opinions of the authors formed after engaging in personal use and research. We recommend products, services, or programs and are sometimes compensated for doing so as affiliates. Please read our Terms and Conditions for further information, including our privacy policy.

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