The challenges of sweetening the keto diet

High fat and low carbohydrates are the core tenets of the keto diets. In order to meet these nutritional demands, producers must have adjustments to their product ingredients.

The keto diet has enjoyed enduring popularity for its high fat, low carb approach

Most diets come and go with the seasons, but one fad diet has only grown in its popularity, even forcing major brand names to hop on the trend: the Keto diet.

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat method that is similar to the less new, yet familiar, Atkins diet. Keto’s appeal, however, is derived from its emphasis on foods that are high in fat like red meat, avocados, cheese, nuts, and a variety of other “taboo” foods not commonly approved by strict diet plans. Keto’s approach forces one to drastically reduce their carbohydrate intake — like grains, fruit, and traditional sugars — and replace it with fat to achieve a state of ketosis. In this metabolic state, the body is able to burn fat more efficiently for energy.

Over the past several years, followers of the diet have been able to keep the keto craze going, thanks in part to some of the diets’ reported and studied results, including: excess fat loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced levels of hemoglobin A1C.

Food and beverage manufacturers have followed suit. Innova Market Insights reports that keto-friendly food and beverage products peaked in 2020-2021 after its marked inception in 2017, but still continues to experience remarkably strong growth in the number of new launches each year.

Amongst the various food categories, baked goods are leading the way in adoption of keto. Also according to Innova Marketing Insights, an outstanding 27% of new product launches that mention “keto” fall into the bakery category.

In addition to baked goods and cereals, sports nutrition also has a 10% stake in keto-friendly product launches. This is in line with reports that 25% of US sports nutrition consumers are seeking out high sources of protein made with real, natural ingredients and low/no/reduced sugar — qualities that perfectly describe what keto dieters are looking for.

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