Love it or hate it, the buzz around the ketogenic diet has proved to have staying power. Last year, the eating plan dominated the wellness world, bringing the love for healthy fats back in a major way. Food brands of course took notice, brainstorming ways to capitalize on the trend and give consumers what they want.
Now, practically any food that was once painful to give up in order to live the keto life—pancakes! potato chips! fruit smoothies!—have now been reformulated to be fully high fat and low carb, making it easier than ever to go keto (if that’s your thing). I got a first look at some of the newest ketogenic products coming out later this year at ExpoWest, a.k.a. the world’s largest natural products convention, and here are some of the most innovative finds coming to shelves this year.
Breakfast is notoriously not keto-friendly because it tends to be, well, pretty carby. Pastries of any kind, cereals, oatmeal, toast, and fruit-based smoothies are all ketogenic no-nos. Yet there’s a limit to how many days in a row someone can look forward to eating eggs—which is why perhaps the biggest keto miracle of the year is Birch Benders’ new keto pancake mix and syrup.
“It wasn’t easy to make a keto pancake,” says Lizzi Ackerman, the brand’s co-founder and CMO. “We wanted it be five to six grams net carbs, so we had to search for ingredients that were low-carb and met your daily macros.” One of those ingredients includes tiger nut, which adds a hint of natural sweetness and acts as a gut-friendly prebiotic fiber. But Ackerman says they also wanted it to truly taste like a buttermilk pancake. “Fortunately on the keto diet, clean dairy is okay, so we used a touch of buttermilk to amp up the flavor and make for a balanced texture,” she says. “This is one of my favorite flavors we’ve ever developed, and you’d never believe it’s only five net carbs per two pancake serving.” As for the syrup, it’s made with MCT oil and collagen, two major keto power players.
If you’re more of a smoothie person, you’re covered too. Organic nutrition brand Orgain will soon be releasing a keto powder made with MCT oil and collagen in both vanilla and chocolate flavors. One scoop works as a full serving of protein. And frozen smoothie brand LiveMore Naturals is coming out with a ready-to-blend keto smoothie made with avocado and cacao. Yum.
Even your coffee routine can be optimized for keto. (Sorry Bulletproof, you’re not the only one owning this now.) New from Karma Kafe is a creamer made with—can you guess—MCT oil. It also has coconut milk and either vanilla extract or butter, depending on which blend you go with. “My friends and family saw results on the keto diet, but complained that the current keto products either didn’t taste good or were too expensive,” says David Kerdoon, the Karma Kafe chief enlightenment officer. “Also, a lot of the keto products on the market contain artificial additives, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice natural ingredients for any diet.”
Okay, so breakfast is clearly covered. But what about when that 4 p.m. hunger hits? If it’s chips you’re looking to nosh on, you have options. Food startup Quevos just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign for their egg white chips, which were formulated in three different flavors. “It took us 15 months to perfect the product,” Quevos cofounder Nick Hamburger says. Hamburger and his co-founder Zack Schreier—who has been his best friend since they were nine—came up with the idea because Schreier is type 1 diabetic and frequently cooks egg whites as a low carb snack to avoid an insulin shot. “His favorite part of any egg dish he makes are the crispy pieces left in the pan,” Hamburger says. “In June 2016, he was eating some egg white crispies and couldn’t help but think about how they crunched and cracked just like potato chips.”
Hamburger doesn’t see the popularity of keto going away anytime soon. “While the diet is certainly trending right now, there is a large population that has been living by the keto guidelines for a long time and has seen incredible results in weight loss, sleep quality, and daily energy levels,” he says. He thinks it’s popular because the rules are adaptable to fit into people’s lifestyles. (It should be noted that keto is a very divisive eating plan, and isn’t backed by a ton of human clinical trials to draw definitive conclusions like these either way.)
Another keto-approved chip comes courtesy of Avolov. Their avocado chips are made with avocados and seasonings—that’s it. But the seemingly simple formula was tough to get right. “Avocados are one of the most difficult ingredients to work with,” founder Eric Healy says. “They turn brown very quickly after being exposed to air, they develop off flavors if heated or frozen. Our drying process is very unique, it drys the avocados very delicately at low temperatures to preserve all the color, nutrition, and flavor.” Figuring out the perfect way to dry an avocado took him two years, but it’s paying off for chip-loving keto followers now.
If you’re looking for a pre-workout snack, you may be looking more for a bar than a bag of chips. In that case, there is DNX Foods’ new grass-fed beef and uncured bacon jalapeño bar, which is out now. One bar has a whopping 14 grams of protein—without any sketchy additives inside.
If you’re a home cook, the low-carb options have finally caught up to the many keto snack offerings out there. GMO-free cooking line Chosen Foods pretty much has this sector covered. Besides a whole slew of avocado oil sprays, they are also coming out with a ketogenic mayonnaise made with MCT oil. “We wanted to give those following a keto diet a tasty, healthy mayo option and an easy way to get those MCTs in.” says Natalie Morse, the brand’s vice president of marketing and innovation. The mayo will be on shelves later this year.
Even if you don’t want to fully commit to keto, the new products are still a win for anyone looking to cut back on carbs or who are searching for products with minimal ingredients lists. So whether we’ll still be talking about keto a year from now or not, having more healthy snacks and cooking products on the market is still a major plus.
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