Keto Desserts For Dummies
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The concept of keto desserts sounds like it’s an oxymoron, ranking up there with “giant shrimp” and “deafening silence.” After all, doesn’t the whole concept of keto revolve around eliminating all sweets? This is where understanding the basics of how keto works is crucial to know what desserts you can and can’t eat, and more importantly, why. This article discusses why desserts are important psychologically, what the dietary aspects of the sweet, final dinner course are, and how you can manage or avoid common social pressures.

One of the biggest downfalls we see in keto dieting is approaching this eating style from the wrong perspective. So many people are looking for a quick fix in a few weeks. Perhaps they need to drop ten pounds before a wedding, reunion, or bathing suit weather, and they want to take a bit of weight off for a few months. They don’t really care how it happens as long as the job gets done.

Often people end up crash dieting, which is broadly defined as any eating practice you use to lose weight that isn’t sustainable. Keto is a sustainable lifestyle choice, and adopting this mindset is something we encourage everyone who tries the diet to do. It doesn’t mean you’re committing to eating this way for life; it simply means that if you wanted to, you could. If you eat a keto diet, you’ll always be seeking balance. Eating sustainably keeps you out of trouble later when the cravings come, and the pounds want to creep back on.

Crash dieting — keto or not — doesn’t work long- term: you’ll see that weight come right back on within a few weeks of reverting to your former ways of eating. More importantly, though, your body is experiencing a type of digestive torture that often resembles a light form of starvation. This puts additional stress on your organs and digestive system that can potentially lead to serious health consequences.

Even more important, though, is what it can do to you mentally. Eating disorders are a real and serious problem. They almost always begin with body image issues, and they universally include an unhealthy, unsustainable approach to eating. That’s not what keto should ever be, and we’re strong proponents of never adopting an eating style that you can’t continue long term. Whether you choose to make keto a lifestyle or not is up to you, but you should approach it in such a way that you could keep going long term with no adverse health effects.

Dieting practices, good or bad, start with your mindset. This attitude guides your actions and determines your results. These three factors are always present: intentionally shaping them to fit your goals is often the difference between achieving them and failing to.

Comparing crash dieting and sustainable eating

Crash dieting and sustainable eating exist on opposite ends of the spectrum and are different in three main ways.
  • Your mindset
  • Your actions
  • Your results
You may find it interesting that food isn’t on that list. When you change your eating habits for a short-term fix, you can go with any number of approaches that span a broad range of ingredients, food groups, and macros. Crash diets tend to resort to drastically cutting calories rather than emphasizing the quality of what you’re eating, and because of how the body works that eventually hampers your ability to lose weight at all.

The following sections explain these three differences in greater detail.

The way you look at it: Your mindset

Sustainable eating starts with the proper mindset. You’re choosing to emphasize your health through what you eat, and doing so takes precedence over appearance. You’ll lose weight at a slower rate, but the weight loss will be steady, and the chances of experiencing that dreaded rebound weight get significantly lower. Rebound weight occurs when people achieve their weight-loss goals and then revert to old patterns of eating — the same patterns that put the weight on in the first place. When you do so, it isn’t surprising to see the fat you worked so hard to lose come rushing back, and sometimes it brings a few extra pounds with it.

Emphasizing health over appearance is where diet and health success begin. We’ve seen a popular social trend toward accepting all body types, regardless of condition. The underlying concept is fantastic: you don’t have to fit anyone else’s expectations of what your body should look like. Everyone is built differently, with unique strengths, weaknesses, and challenges. Everyone wants something about their bodies to be different, and most people have struggled at various times with wondering if they’re attractive enough to be accepted. We absolutely endorse not only accepting your own body but also falling in love with it.

Unfortunately, this movement has a nasty flip side. Although everyone should accept others for who they are, that doesn’t mean a particular person’s current state is automatically healthy. The United States is dealing with an epidemic of obesity, with nearly 40 percent of adults dealing with this condition. If we expand that demographic slightly to include people who are overweight, more than two-thirds of Americans aren’t living the best life for their bodies. Accepting your body is a wonderful thing, but treating that body poorly isn’t.

Choosing health over appearance is interesting because you’re not really making a choice. You’re just setting your priorities. Placing health first usually allows you to achieve the appearance you want whereas making how you look your highest priority will eventually ruin both. Sustainable eating allows you to start living your best life now, without having to force yourself through 60 or 90 days of unpleasantness, only to see those results quickly disappear.

The way you respond: Your actions

The mind guides the body, and your attitude toward dieting will drive your actions. Snacking, for example, isn’t bad, but like everything else you put in your body, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Discover how to snack well, and you can snack for the rest of your life. Try to hold your breath and avoid all treats between meals, and you’ll end up grumpy, hangry, and swan-diving into a pile of potato chips at the first opportunity.

Desserts are the same way. They’re a normal part of life and a natural way of eating. Sweets are a cornerstone of social life. Cutting out this entire course is certainly possible, but doing so is usually far from easy and often involves making yourself and others uncomfortable. A much better approach is to find a sustainable way of preparing and eating desserts that allows you to achieve and maintain your ideal body shape without making you feel like a social outcast.

Turning down “bad” (carb-laden) desserts is much easier if you actually have an alternative option. For example, choosing between lava cake and keto lava cake is a far, far better choice than choosing between lava cake and nothing. Again, your dieting practices (and success) comes back to what is sustainable. Take for instance the five most common New Year’s Resolution, which are as follows:

  • Exercise to get in shape
  • Diet to lose weight
  • Save money
  • Eat healthier in general
  • Something for self-care
It’s no coincidence that New Year’s ends the official holiday season, and everyone tries to work off the pounds they gained by eating too many sweets at parties. A recent study found that nearly 11 percent of gym memberships start in January, substantially more than any other month of the year. Unfortunately, the same trends occur here as they do everywhere else in the “dietsphere” (the world of people trying to lose weight): drastic actions don’t last. Social scientists have found that commitments to weight loss and health-related resolutions begin to drop off substantially a mere three weeks into January, and by the middle of February, the majority of individuals who made goals to lose weight have reverted to their old habits.

What the end goal is: The results

Depending on your personal goals, keto could address or at least facilitate four of the five of the bullets in the previous section. However, you’ll only find the success you’re looking for if you avoid the crash dieting mindset and subsequent actions. Results are the end goal, and you should correctly frame the outcomes you’re looking for. Focus less on what you’ll look like 30 days from now and more on how you’ll feel, how much your health will improve, and the satisfaction you’ll get by achieving the lifestyle you want through healthy eating habits.

We’re obviously huge fans of the keto lifestyle, but we also know that it isn’t a perfect fit for everyone, and some other approaches can be better for certain individuals, particularly when health issues are involved. One thing we’re absolutely certain of, though, is that the standard American diet (SAD) is far from the best way of eating. Many people have been using this approach since childhood, and reprogramming your life can be difficult to adjust to a healthier way of eating. Approaching your results with a crash dieting mindset will only work against your long-term health.

Desserts are, surprisingly, a pretty big part of making sustainable lifestyle changes. Everyone needs treats from time to time, and many dieters use cheat meals or cheat days as a reprieve from their new lifestyle. These can be helpful techniques while you’re transitioning from a SAD to keto in the first 30 or 60 days, but beyond that, cheating typically hurts your weight-loss goals more than you might think.

Enjoying the journey is absolutely critical to making a sustainable shift in your health, and desserts play a critical psychological role. Because keto changes your entire approach to food preparation, it isn’t like some diets where you continue eating the same things but drop your calories by 50 percent.

A tale of two keto dieters

Picture two different people: one who approaches keto as a sustainable lifestyle change and one who uses it as a short-term fix to lose weight. Both have an initial target of staying on keto for 90 days. The first person embraces keto wholeheartedly, making appetizers, entrees, soups, and desserts. If she craves something, she finds a low-carb replacement. The second person, however, doesn’t see the point of slow, steady weight loss. He wants results now and is willing to adopt a far stricter approach to maximize his short-term gains: no appetizers, no desserts, nothing but the bare minimum he needs to get by. However, this plan is pretty tough, so he allows himself a single cheat meal every week.

Both dieters become fat adapted after about five days. Their bodies have transitioned to ketosis, their stores of glucose and glycogen are depleted, and they begin burning through fat. By end of the first week the sustainable eater celebrates by making a keto dessert, treating herself to a low-carb fudgy chocolate truffle or strawberry shortcake. Her macros remain steady, her body stays in ketosis, and her weight loss continues uninterrupted.

However, the second dieter celebrates by having a carb-loaded cheat meal. It’s only a single meal in seven days, so he doesn’t believe it will affect him too much. By the end of the meal, though, his body has reverted to glycolysis and is focused on burning through the sugar he just consumed. His body stores anything beyond his immediate needs (which is quite a bit) as glycogen, replenishing the stores he spent five days depleting during his initial transition. The body’s ability to store glycogen isn’t unlimited, however, so the body converts some of this single cheat meal gets to fat, actually increasing what he’s worked so hard to deplete. Because glucose binds with approximately two to three times its weight in water, he also retains more water weight. By the end of a single cheat meal, he can wipe out his weight loss from the previous week.

The two dieters begin the second week. The sustainable eater has continued an uninterrupted course: she hasn’t gained any weight back, and she loses more weight this week. The crash dieter returns to his strict regimen and spends the next two to three days convincing his body that he’s actually back on keto. After he becomes fat-adapted again, he begins to lose weight. The problem is that he’s now approximately ten days into keto and might very well be the same weight as when he started, but at the ten-day mark for the first dieter, she’s lost four pounds.

Over time, the second dieter’s system will become better at switching back to ketosis more quickly, but losing a day, or even two, of progress for every carb-laden cheat meal is extremely common. The first dieter continues chugging along, losing weight less drastically than the crash dieter, but the progress is steady and uninterrupted. At the end of the 90 days, sustainable dieters will have transitioned, discovering a variety of recipes that taste just as good — or better — than their SAD counterparts. The first dieter lost 30 pounds and is happy continuing on to day 91 and beyond. The crash dieter lost 15 pounds, which isn’t shabby at all, but he’s been counting down the days until he can abandon this restricted way of eating and get back to normal. On day 91, he dives back into old ways of eating with a vengeance, and more than likely will gain back most of the weight he lost within the first month. By day 120, however, the sustainable eater is just as satisfied with her eating habits as he is, and she has lost another 10 pounds. Final score: the sustainable dieter lost 40 pounds, whereas the crash dieter focused on holding his breath through an unpleasant weight-loss journey lost 5.

Dividing fat bombs and keto desserts

If you’ve been around keto for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly heard of fat bombs, the delectable treats that are filled with low-carb ingredients, focusing less on protein and carbs and heavily emphasizing fats. They can taste phenomenal and be both a delicious and nutritious snack sufficed to say, we’re big fans.

The difference between low-carb desserts and fat bombs lies mostly in how you use them. Most people intrinsically know that they can’t eat dessert all the time, but keto’s emphasis on drastically increasing fat consumption can sometimes create confusion. Low-carb eating is substantially different from SAD, and many people struggle with getting enough fat, especially at first. Fat bombs can be an excellent way to increase this essential macro, but you have to be careful. These treats are often sweet, and although they’re still keto-approved in moderation, even small amounts can add up, pushing your carbs over the allowable limit.

Remember that fat bombs are a snack and not the main course. They’re absolutely fine in moderation, but you can’t use them as meal replacements without your macros getting out of whack. Snacks are fine, as are desserts; you just need to make sure that you’re eating them in moderation and staying within your macros, which is the foundation of healthy eating.

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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