You’ve heard of the keto diet, but what about keto bread? What is keto bread made of and is it connected to the keto way of eating? Plus, what’s wrong with eating ‘normal’ bread if you’re keto eating?
What does keto mean?
Keto is short for ketogenic. Following a keto diet involves eating food that’s high in fat and low in carbs. Eating this way will put your body into a metabolic state that’s known as ketosis.
When you’re in a state of ketosis, your body burns fat rather than carbohydrates for fuel. Usually, the body will naturally burn glucose, which is a sugar that’s found in carbohydrates. But if there aren’t any carbohydrates in your system, the body will burn fat. Ketosis also allows fat to be transformed into ketones in the liver to supply energy to your brain.1
Changing to a keto diet, means the fat that you consume, or that is stored, is burnt. It’s precisely why the keto diet has become such a popular way of people losing weight. (For more about eating keto read, ‘What is the keto diet?’)
Can you eat bread on the keto diet?
You can, maybe a slice or two here and there, but you ideally don’t want to be eating too much of it. This is because a keto diet involves eating minimal carbs; less than 50g a day. However, a slice of bread contains around 20g of carbs, which is quite a chunk of your daily carbohydrate allocation.2
Overall, the general intake guidance when following a keto diet is – 70 to 80% fat, 15 to 20% protein and 5 to 10% carbohydrate. The good news is, carbs aren’t just present in bread, they can also be found in leafy, non-starchy vegetables and low sugar fruit, rather than wholewheat and wholegrains that are way too carb-heavy.3
However, you don’t totally have to break up with bread if you’re eating keto because you can a) eat less of it (as mentioned above) or b) eat keto-friendly bread, which brings us on nicely to the next question…
While it may be tempting to cut out bread altogether, don’t forget that wholegrains are full of fibre, energy and B vitamins that are all essential for everyday health. Because of this, either cutting back on traditional breads, simply by eating less of it or eating low carb bread (more on this below) is the ideal solution.4
You can still eat traditional bread while on a low carb keto diet, but you need to eat it in moderation, with one slice containing around 20g in carbs. Better still, you may want to switch to eating keto-friendly bread, which you can easily make at home.
What is keto bread made of?
Keto bread is a low carb bread that doesn’t contain the heavy wholewheat and wholegrains that make traditional bread so carby. Instead, you’ll find ingredients that are low in carbohydrates, such as almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk, cream cheese and eggs.
5 keto-friendly flours and substitutes:
1. Coconut flour
Pros – coconut flour is an ideal low-carb substitute for cakes, brownies and muffin recipes, not just bread, because of the moist consistency that can be achieved when baking with it.6
Cons – it’s not a zero carb flour and it’s not particularly moist either. This means that it draws moisture in from other ingredients then takes on the consistency from things, such as eggs and water.
2. Almond flour
Pros – like coconut flour, you can use it to bake all sorts of things, not just bread. It lasts for quite a while too, up to seven months if you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.7
Cons – it’s not actually flour, but almonds that have been blanched with their skin removed. It can be a little expensive compared to other flour alternatives and it can’t be kept in the same way as flour because it’s not flour!
3. Low carb almond meal or ground almonds
Pros – a ¼ of a cup of almond meal contains 14g of fat, 6g of protein, 3g of fibre and just 3g of net carbs. Even better, it’s really easy to make it itself, simply by putting raw unsalted almonds into a heavy-duty blender.8
Cons – the texture is a lot more course than almond meal due to the fact the almonds are ground down whole without the skins being removed or blanched.
4. Ground flax
Pros - flaxseed is loaded with essential fatty acids and is high in mineral and B vitamins. Just two tablespoons of flax meal contains 72 calories, 4g of fibre, 1g of carbs and 3g of protein.9
Cons - ground flaxseeds are prone to oxidation, which can break down those beneficial fatty acids and deliver free radicals rather than key nutrients.10
5. Psyllium husk
Pros – there are several health benefits linked to psyllium husk, it’s an excellent source of fibre, as well as prebiotic and can help boost support gut health. It’s a virtually no carb flour and a great substitute for eggs where moistness is required for food, such as keto bread.11
Cons – don’t eat it on its own. Always make sure it’s part of a mixture of diluted down, as eating it raw may cause choking.12
You can buy ready-made loaves of keto bread or if you want to know exactly what’s in your bread, and you don’t mind and have the time to bake it, you could always have a go at making your own keto loaf, which is quick and easy to do! Believe it or not, you can whip up some keto bread in less than two minutes.
Instead of being made with high carb wholewheat and grains, keto bread is made using almond or coconut flour, ground flax, psyllium husk or low carb almond meal or ground almonds, all of which come with their own pros and cons.
Keto bread recipes you can try at home
1. 90-second keto bread – you can make it in the microwave
That’s right, it’s possible to make soft and fluffy low-carb keto bread in the microwave in just 90 seconds. Keep reading for the ingredients and instructions!13
- A microwave-safe bowl or ramekin
- 3 tablespoons or 1 tablespoon of coconut or almond flour
- 1 tablespoon of butter or oil
- 1 medium/large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
- Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl or ramekin. Add the almond flour, egg and baking powder to the butter. Beat with a fork until completely mixed.
- Microwave for about 90 seconds, until firm. Run a knife along the edge and flip over a plate to release. Slice in half, then toast in the toaster or in a skillet.
One slice of this keto bread contains:
|Energy||Carbs||Protein||Fat||Saturated Fat||Cholesterol||Sodium||Fibre||Vitamin A||Calcium||Iron||Sugar|
2. Keto bread rolls you can make in the oven
Follow this recipe for bread that has a soft centre and crispy outer crust. You can eat it hot or cold, as well as toast, freeze and defrost it, just like traditional bread!14
- 1⁄3 cup (1¾ oz) ground psyllium husk powder
- 1¼ cups (5 oz) almond flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Bring the water to a boil.
3. Add vinegar and egg whites to the dry ingredients and combine well. Add boiling water, while beating with a hand mixer for about 30 seconds. Don't over mix the dough, the consistency should resemble Play-Doh.
4. Moisten hands with a little olive oil and shape dough into 6 separate rolls. Place on a greased baking sheet. Top with optional sesame seeds.
5. Bake on lower rack in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of your bread rolls. They're done when you hear a hollow sound when tapping the bottom of the bun.
6. Serve with butter and toppings of your choice.
One keto bread roll contains:
Making keto bread is quick and easy to do. It involves minimal ingredients and very few processes. Either mix all of your ingredients together and put them in the microwave or pop them in the oven for your very own batch of low carb, keto bread or bread rolls.
What bread is keto-friendly?
Keto-friendly bread is low in carbs because it hasn’t been made from traditional ingredients, particularly grains and starchy food, that may taste great, but are full of way too many carbohydrates. It’s precisely why you won’t see bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, oats on the keto diet list.15
But you will see keto or low carb bread, which is typically made with dietary fibre, which is indigestible and doesn’t affect blood sugars, and/or nut flours, that are higher in fat, but lower in carbs than regular flour.16
Because of these different ingredients, low carb bread doesn’t 100% taste like traditional bread and the texture’s a little different too. But that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable, and when bread makes up a tiny proportion of your daily diet anyway, are you really going to notice the difference?
Bread that’s low in carbs, so hasn’t been made using grains and starchy food, is classed as being keto-friendly. Keto bread may taste, feel and look slightly different to traditional bread, but it’s still bread, just a low carb version of it.
A final few words….
Keto bread is a thing and it does exist. You can buy it from the shops or you can have a go at making it yourself. Either way, it’s made using low carb ingredients that, if eaten as part of a keto diet, will help you to achieve ketosis.
Now that you’re here, have a read of this – ‘5 keto diet breakfast ideas.
Last updated: 4 March 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal
Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019
Qualifications: Masters Degree in Toxicology, BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
Bhupesh specialises in vitamins & minerals nutrition, health benefits & safety of botanicals and traditional herbal medicines.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
Author: Bhupesh Panchal