Keto Desserts For Dummies
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When going from a high-carb diet to a low-carb one like the Ketogenic Diet, you’ll experience a pretty substantial shift in your mind-set, your ingredients, and even some of your cooking and baking techniques. Sometimes you may be tempted to cut out entire parts of the meal (such as dessert), but that isn’t a great long-term approach. Everything you do on keto should be sustainable: whether you choose to stick with it for years is entirely up to you, but the way you eat should be healthy enough to keep you going for that long.

chia pudding with strawberry ©SewCream/

Dark chocolate chia pudding with strawberry

Why Dessert Is Important on the Keto Diet

Part of that journey is emotional health. Completely cutting out desserts wouldn’t be good for your emotional state. Attending social gatherings and bringing a delicious low-carb dish that has everyone’s mouthwatering is a much better approach — they don’t have to know it’s low-carb and healthy. You don’t have to eliminate desserts to lose weight and stay healthy; you just have to do it the right way.

One of the first things to know is that not all carbs are created equal. Two classes of carbohydrates don’t count toward your daily macros, and they can make all the difference in the world.

Type of Carbohydrate Why It Isn’t Counted Common Sources
Fiber Fiber is mostly nondigestible. Even though it’s technically a carbohydrate, your body can’t break it down into sugars and absorb them into your bloodstream. Broccoli, avocado, pecans, cauliflower, raspberries
Sugar alcohols Although these begin as sugar, their properties change through the fermentation process; they still taste sweet, but the body can’t absorb them completely, and most are passed through the GI tract untouched. Erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, lactitol


Find the Right Ingredient Substitutions When Baking on the Keto Diet

You’ll want to explore three main areas for substitute ingredients: flour, sugar, and dairy. The following tables delve into common replacements for each and some of their more critical and applicable properties.

Table 1: Flour Substitutes
Replacement How It Compares to Wheat Flour Special Baking Considerations
Almond flour Similar consistency, although somewhat heavier; contains approximately 60 percent more calories than wheat. Baked goods will be flatter and denser.
Almond meal Coarser than both wheat and almond flour. Should be used primarily in recipes that call for cornmeal.
Coconut flour Very absorbent substitute; can make baked goods dry. Compensate for drier nature with more eggs; also sift flour before using to avoid gritty texture.
Flax meal Although it’s meal, it’s used as an egg substitute. A staple for vegan baking because it can be used to replace eggs; always grind before using.
Sunflower seed flour Similar to almond flour and useful when nut allergies are present. Store in seed form and grind before each use; otherwise, oils can go rancid.
Pumpkin seed flour One of the higher fat content alternatives (14g per cup). High oil content complicates recipes; best used in conjunction with other flour replacements.
Psyllium husk Used primarily as a binding agent (acts as gluten in non-wheat flours). Use with dryer flours (such as coconut) to bind to a wheat-like consistency.


Table 2: Sweeteners
Alternate Type How It Compares to Sugar Special Considerations
Erythritol Sugar alcohol Tastes as sweet; similar consistency. It’s 70 percent as sweet as sugar. Has virtually zero impact on blood glucose.
Monk fruit extract Plant-based 300 to 400 times sweeter than sugar; very healthy. Very difficult to gauge appropriate quantities due to concentration; monk fruit-erythritol blends are easier to use.
Stevia Plant-based Can be purchased in easy-to-use granular form. Longer-lasting aftertaste than sugar; less bulk is required, so some recipe adjustment may be necessary.
Xylitol Sugar alcohol Does have some impact on blood sugar, although low. Can be used as 1:1 replacement for sugar; handles heat well; doesn’t caramelize.
Truvia Plant-based/sugar alcohol blend Combination of stevia and erythritol; appears virtually identical to sugar. Must mix with sugar in 3:1 ratio, compromising low-carb benefits; not recommended for baking.
Splenda Chemical Tastes as sweet as sugar with one-third of the calories. Stable at high temperatures; excellent for baking; no aftertaste; doesn’t caramelize.
Sucralose Chemical 300 times sweeter than sugar. Breaks down at temperatures higher than 250 degrees F; not recommended for baking.
Yacon syrup Plant-based Taste is similar to molasses or caramelized sugar. Valuable alternative to caramelized sugar, though isn’t the lowest in carbs.
Aspartame Chemical Closest taste to sugar of all artificial sweeteners. Can have a sweet or bitter aftertaste, depending on individual.
Saccharin Chemical Often combined with other sweeteners to approximate sugar. Heat stable and useful for baking, although it can create a bitter aftertaste in high concentrations.


Table 3: Dairy Substitutes
Product Properties Special Baking Considerations
Heavy cream Low-carb; excellent milk alternative. 36 to 38 percent fat (versus 1 to 4 percent for milk), so reduce butter or shortening and add eggs to compensate.
Almond milk Low fat content. Additional butter, shortening, or heavy cream should be used to compensate for the lack of fat. Use in recipes that call for almond extract.
Coconut milk Can be used as 1:1 replacement. Depending on the desired thickness, use coconut milk or coconut cream (the difference is the coconut-to-water ratio).
Cashew milk Has milder, sweeter, less nutty flavor than almond milk. Use in situations where almond taste would be distracting.
Flax milk Very thin milk: zero protein, low fat. Use flaxseed meal or xanthan gum to create an effect that more closely resembles dairy milk.
Hemp milk Very high protein content. This milk behaves more like dairy than other alternates, but has a strong taste more suitable to savory dishes than sweet; add lemon juice or vinegar if the recipe calls for baking soda
Soymilk Can be used as a 1:1 replacement for milk Relatively low-fat content means you should add butter or heavy cream; soymilk can also result in a blander, less rich taste.
Oat milk Can be used as a 1:1 replacement for milk. High sugar content generally prevents this from being a keto-approved option.
Rice milk Very thin; requires thickening agent. With twice the carbs of regular milk, this definitely isn’t a keto-approved replacement.


Table 4: Nuts
Type Net Carbs Per 1 Oz Serving Special Considerations
Brazil 1 Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of selenium, an essential mineral that’s also an antioxidant.
Pecan 1 Pecans are a rich source of numerous vitamins and minerals. Rather than purchasing supplements, consider adding pecans to your diet.
Macadamia 2 Macadamia nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats.
Hazelnut 2 Hazelnuts are high in magnesium and calcium, both of which are essential on keto.
Walnut 2 Walnuts have more healthy omega-3 fats than any other common nut.
Almond 2 Almonds are a versatile, keto-approved nut. Almond flour, meal, and milk form cornerstones of alternate baking supplies.
Pine 3 Pine nuts are a relatively common allergen and, in extreme cases, can lead to anaphylactic reactions.
Peanut 4 If you use peanut butter, be sure to choose an all-natural variety without sugary additives that increase the carb count. Peanuts, although technically a legume, are one of the most common nut allergens.
Pistachio 5 Great source of vitamins and minerals including manganese, phosphorous, copper, and vitamin B6.
Cashew 8 Although cashews themselves aren’t recommended, unsweetened cashew milk is keto-approved.


Use Fat for Flavor in Your Keto Dessert

People have grown so used to flavoring food with carbs that many have forgotten about the richness that good fat can impart. Here are a few of the most delectable fatty foods. If you’ve gone a week or more without using one of these, find a recipe that sounds good and experiment.

  • Avocados
  • Dark chocolate
  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Full-fat yogurt
  • Nuts
  • Whole eggs

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Rami Abrams and Vicky Abrams are entrepreneurs and devoted foodies who were so impressed by how keto transformed their lives that they founded, a leading low-carb lifestyle blog; Total Keto Diet, one of the most popular keto apps; and So Nourished, a low-carb product company, to help share keto's health benefits around the world.

Rami Abrams and Vicky Abrams are entrepreneurs and devoted foodies who were so impressed by how keto transformed their lives that they founded, a leading low-carb lifestyle blog; Total Keto Diet, one of the most popular keto apps; and So Nourished, a low-carb product company, to help share keto's health benefits around the world.

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