We have merry news for this festive season: Many of the keto diet’s yummiest holiday treats can actually turbocharge weight loss! Everything from fudge balls and cookies to trendy hot cocoa bombs can boast ingredients that “suppress appetite, reduce blood sugar, increase blood flow, boost energy and even increase your rate of fat burning,” reveals University of Pittsburgh nutrition expert Joseph C. Maroon, MD, backed by studies from Harvard and Yale. “It’s kind of a miracle for weight loss!”
Women indulging in the goodies agree, reporting losses of up to 12 pounds a week. “Even options that are easiest to make are so delicious,” adds 135-pounds-slimmer Anita Breeze, 62, a British Columbia grandmother and blogger on KetogenicWoman.com. “They’ll knock your Christmas stockings off!”
While running a specialty cake company, Mary Alexander packed on pounds. “Eventually I felt like my 5’2 frame was being crushed by the weight, and I feared it would kill me,” recalls the Texas mom, 57. She’d read about keto and was intrigued. “I learned you can have keto treats and other yummy foods all day. That reeled me in.” As Mary cut carbs, she whipped up ultra-satisfying batches of keto truffles with ingredients like chocolate, nut butter, and coconut oil. “My hunger was nonexistent and pounds came off fast.” At Christmas, she “keto-fied” all her favorite cookies, inspiring her cookbook, Keto Celebrations. All told, she shed 80 pounds and transformed her health. “I eat what I love — and I’ve never felt better! ”
For those who aren’t familiar with keto, here’s the gist: You cut carbs to under 50 grams a day, which keeps your body from making enough blood sugar to be your fuel. “So your system begins turning fat into an alternate fuel called ketones,” explains Josh Axe, DNM, DC, author of Keto Diet and Ancient Remedies. Fat burn increases by 900 percent.
Now for the fun part! Compounds in certain foods can further stoke results — and a number of them are found in the decadent sweets on these pages. That includes the internet’s famous hot cocoa bomb. More than 21 million people have watched posts of silky chocolate “bombs” exploding in hot milk, releasing cocoa mix hidden inside. Just stir and enjoy luscious, upgraded hot chocolate. “At first, all the recipes were full of carbs and sugar. So I made a keto version,” shares Taryn Scarfone, a blogger for JoyFilledEats.com, who shed 50 pounds while experimenting with creations like the cocoa bombs. “They’re actually simple to make, just a little messy. There’s a lot of finger licking!” Luckily, you’re licking magic off your fingers.
How do keto treats burn fat?
Keto experts say treats made with any (or all!) of the following help pounds disappear…
Chocolate melts away over-50 fat.
A Harvard study showed that postmenopausal women who ate 100 grams of chocolate each morning — equal to about half a cup of chocolate chips — burned 25 percent more fat, lowered their blood sugar by four percent, and shrunk their waists, all without dieting, says Dr. Maroon, who adds that a much larger Harvard study linking chocolate, weight loss and improved blood sugar will be released soon. Chocolate’s secret? The doc says cocoa packs a wallop of antioxidants called flavanols shown to fight fat and lower blood sugar.
MCT oil blasts calories.
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids called MCTs that have a distinct advantage over other fats: Since MCT particles are so tiny and digest so rapidly, they create a blast of heat powerful enough to burn 300 percent more calories for six hours, per an Italian study. And a Columbia University team found women in their 50s given MCTs lost 600 percent more belly fat than those given olive oil!
Stevia sweetens and slims.
While sugar and most artificial sweeteners feed bad bacteria in our gut that cause weight gain, research shows the keto-friendly sweetener erythritol has no such effect. And stevia — made from an edible herb — has been shown to increase slimming “good” bacteria. It’s the likely reason a Louisiana State study found “stevia significantly reduced post-meal blood-sugar levels compared to sugar or the artificial sweetener aspartame,” says Dr. Axe. Stevia.
What kinds of keto treats can you make?
To slim down fast, use a free app like the one at CarbManager.com to get carbs under 50 grams per day. Enjoy as many charged keto treats as your carb budget allows. As always, get a doctor’s okay before trying any new diet.
PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE: Microwave 9 oz. sugar-free chocolate chips and 3 ⁄4 cup sugar-free peanut butter in 15-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Pour in a small parchment-lined pan; chill until firm. Cut into 18 squares.
KETO CHRISTMAS COOKIES: Mix 1 cup almond butter, 3 ⁄4 cup granulated stevia or Swerve and 1 egg. Shape as desired on a lined sheet; add sugar-free sprinkles. Bake at 350ºF until barely golden, 8–10 minutes. Cool.
SNOWBALL TRUFFLE: Mix 2 Tbs. coconut or MCT oil, 4 oz. cream cheese, 1 ⁄2 cup chia seeds, ⁄4 tsp. vanilla extract and 2 Tbs. Swerve. Chill to firm; roll in 16 balls. Dip in shredded coconut.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.