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Weight Loss

It’s Easy to Turn This 2-Ingredient Dough Into Protein-Packed Bagels and Donuts — And Science Says It Can Boost Weight Loss

It worked for Diane Hatfieled-Zencak, 67: “I get to have my bagels and shape up too!”

Lose weight while eating pizza, bagels, pretzels and even donuts? It may sound too good to be true, but there’s a viral 2 ingredient dough that can help make that dream a reality. Over 430 million fans can’t get enough of it — including many who follow the Weight Watchers program and tell us the stuff is helping them lose fast. “You’ll flip over how good everything tastes,” promises one popular food blogger, whose fans have shed up to 200 pounds apiece. And it’s not just foodies who are excited. This is a bandwagon health experts hope we’ll jump on. Read on to learn how you can enjoy cozy, comforting carbs and slim down with 2 ingredient dough. 

What is 2 ingredient dough?

The ingredients seem humble enough — 2 ingredient dough is made using just Greek yogurt plus self-rising flour. So what’s so great about the combination? For starters, baked foods made with the simple dough weigh in at less than half the calories of traditional options. For example: “There are approximately 150 calories in one of these bagels versus 400 calories in a typical bagel,” shares Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, co-author of the bestselling Carb Lovers Diet.

But there’s so much more to it than just calories. Each creation packs the flavor of your favorite deli bagel or donut-shop pastry but with 90% fewer carbs and a whopping 250% more protein. And that shift in 2 ingredient dough gives us both expected and surprising advantages when it comes to slimming down.

Related: Protein Brownies: Women Over 50 Are Eating Them for Breakfast and Losing 100+ Lbs — The Science Behind the Succes

How 2 ingredient dough encourages weight loss

While no one is saying you can eat endless 2 ingredient bagels and slim down, the beauty is that they boost protein intake. Research shows that our metabolism burns up to five times hotter as we’re digesting protein. So when you enjoy a 2 ingredient dough treat, and especially when you replace empty-calorie refined carbs with protein, “it’s a superb choice,” says women’s health expert Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Fight Fat After 40. “You make it easier for your body to burn fat.”

And on top of that, protein delivers a flood of leucine and other amino acids that help firm our muscles and turbocharge metabolism, per Dr. Peeke. The effect is so powerful, a Duke University team found that older women who get more protein are able to double their weight loss compared to women getting the exact same calories but less protein.

Related: Weight Loss Success: “I Lost Faster At 71 Than Ever Before With This Protein Trick”

How 2 ingredient dough steadies blood sugar

By now, most of us have heard that “carb bomb” foods like white bread, bagels and pretzels tend to cause blood-sugar spikes that drive hunger and promote fat storage. Eat a lot of them, and experts note they cause long-term issues that keep us chronically hungry, gaining weight and at high risk for diabetes and other problems. (Click through to learn how coffee can improve blood sugar control.)

Indeed, studies show that just 12 weeks of high-carb eating led to more energy-draining swings in blood sugar, and study subjects gained notable weight compared to those eating fewer carbs. But when we combine a lower-carb treat with a healthy dose of protein, like we get from 2 ingredient dough, our bodies are better able to release insulin and process glucose for energy instead of storing it as fat.

Related: This Surprise Olive Oil Trick Is Helping Women Over 50 Balance Blood Sugar to Lose Weight Effortlessly

How 2 ingredient dough staves off hunger

A higher protein intake decreases levels of our main hunger hormone while simultaneously increasing levels of three different appetite-suppressing hormones. So as we eat more protein-rich fare, we automatically want about 494 fewer calories a day, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington.

Also a big factor: Those of us carrying extra pounds tend to get cravings at night. Interestingly, protein helps neutralize this urge. In one test, people who aimed to eat more protein cut cravings by 60% and the desire for late-night snacking in half. (Click through to learn how orange essential oil curbs cravings.)

2 ingredient dough before and after: Diane Hatfield-Zenack

Before and after photos of Diane Hatfield-Zenack who lost 52 lbs with the help of 2 ingredient dough
Luigi Ciuffetelli

Looking at a photo of herself from her grandson’s graduation, “I was shocked,” remembers Delaware retiree Diane Hatfield-Zencak, 67. “The extra pounds kind of snuck up on me. But as soon as I saw that picture, I knew it wasn’t healthy.” After pulling out her old Weight Watchers materials, she stumbled on the Dish with Dee YouTube channel. “I knew I had to make her bagels because I always miss bagels when I’m trying to eat better.”

The dough seemed too sticky at first, “but I was thrilled by how they turned out!” They were ultra-satisfying topped with light cream cheese, and Diane also seemed less hungry after eating one. Soon, she was experimenting with dough pizza and dough-topped casseroles. “It really helped keep me on track. I make dough and freeze it so I always have it ready.” So far, Diane has lost 52 pounds. “I get to have my bagels and shape up too!”

2 ingredient dough success story: Dee Mulranen

Dee Mulranen, star of the Dish with Dee YouTube channel, has a reputation for creating very tasty recipes you’d never know are lightened-up. She’s maintaining a 105-pound loss, but she still vividly remembers her first Weight Watchers meeting, when she heard early buzz about two-ingredient bagels. “I went home and made them for my first meal on my new plan,” she says. “I loved them!”

Not only were they satisfying, Dee also found that getting more protein helped shrink her appetite so she could painlessly eat within her “points” budget — something she’d struggled to do during previous attempts at Weight Watchers.

“My motto became, ‘Lose it like you’re going to live it,’” Dee recalls. “I looked for little changes I could make that felt good, that worked and that I could see myself sticking with indefinitely.” This dough has definitely stuck. Dee created her own version (below) and uses it to make bagels, rolls, pizza and Danish.

“Everyone always wants to know about this dough,” Dee shares. “People can’t believe how easy it is, but that’s why it’s great. Because if something’s too hard, you’re not gonna do it.” Dee urges folks to try the dough. “You’ll be amazed!”

What can you make with 2 ingredient dough?

Using the simple recipe below, you can turn 2 ingredient dough into bagels, pretzels, pizza, even donuts. Experts say that anytime you can replace regular carbs with this protein-rich alterative, it helps boost health and weight loss. Want to lose at top speed? Use a free app, like the one at, to set a calorie budget, then aim to stay within that budget while enjoying 2 ingredient dough as your go-to swap for baked goods. That’s all there is to do!

2 ingredient dough recipe

This dough comes together in a flash!


  • 1½ cups self-rising flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt


  1. Mix ingredients. On floured surface, gently form into a ball.
  2. Then follow one of the recipes below to turn the dough into a good-for-you treat.

To make bagels…

Cut dough into 6 pieces, roll into ropes and form rings. For golden finish, brush with optional beaten egg. Add desired toppings. Arrange on a lined tray misted with cooking spray. Bake at 350ºF degrees until done, 18–22 minutes.

To make donuts…

Roll dough into 6 (9″) ropes and form donuts. Mist well with cooking spray; air-fry at 350ºF for 8 minutes, flipping halfway. Dust with sugar or desired sweetener.

To make pretzels…

Roll dough into 6 (12″) ropes and twist into pretzel shapes. Brush with beaten egg, add salt or desired toppings and bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.

To make pizza…

On floured baking sheet, shape dough into a 12″ round. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Add sauce and toppings. Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes.

Bonus recipe: Dish with Dee’s upgraded 2 ingredient dough

For a more flavorful and tender result, mix 1 cup self-rising flour, ½ cup drained Greek yogurt, 1 egg and 1 tsp. instant yeast. For bagels, cut into 4 pieces. Shape and top as above. Bake at 375ºF until golden, 15–18 minutes.

For more on how protein enhances weight loss, check out these stories:

Eating More Protein for Breakfast Can Help Reverse Muscle Loss as You Age

MD Reveals the Protein Pasta Tip That’s Helping Women Over 50 Lose a Meno-Belly

Study Shows a Low-Calorie, High Protein Diet Aids In Losing Body Fat and Improving Bone Density

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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