While consumers are always looking for the perfect diet to help them shake off those extra few pounds or maintain their health goals, many diets require more commitment than they can give due to the busyness of their lives. Health trends reflect consumer needs, and a diet trend we’re seeing more and more is calorie counting. Unlike other diets, such as the previously popular keto diet, which may be restrictive with what you can eat, calorie counting has no such barriers as long as you stick to your daily calorie limit.
The ketogenic diet, frequently referred to as keto, is a high-fat, low-protein, and low-carb diet. When it was first created in the 1920s, the standard keto diet (SKD) was structured into making your food intake 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. The science behind this is that reducing carbohydrate intake will put the body into ketosis, the metabolic state, after which the body will become highly efficient at burning fat.
A hundred years later, in 2020, the keto diet was as popular as ever, being the most Googled food-related topic in the world with over 25 million keyword searches that year and becoming a health claim even more popular than intermittent fasting. However, now that the trend is shifting to calorie counting, the question is: can you continue or maintain a low-calorie keto diet?
This question is vital for those in the healthy CPG snack or food industry since the new shift in consumer diets will impact recipes, manufacturing, and brand positioning. Fortunately, due to the low-carb nature of the keto diet - even though traditionally there had been no emphasis on calorie restriction - keto does work with calorie counting.
What is Calorie Counting?
To begin, what is calorie counting? Though it may seem like the concept is straightforward based on the name, calorie counting does not solely consist of counting the calories in every bit of food that you consume. This diet enjoys applying the principle of “calories in, calories out”; what that means is to practice calorie counting successfully, you must burn more calories than you consume.
How Does Calorie Counting Fit in with Keto?
As mentioned, since there is no food list to stick to, the calorie-counting diet is a pretty versatile one that anyone can do. You don’t have to change the food you eat if you don’t want to: just practice moderation. People who are familiar with the keto diet or follow the keto lifestyle are used to calculating numbers when it comes to what they eat, so it is easy for them to start tracking calories in a snack or treat to ensure that they are aligned with keto restrictions. Now, on the business side of things, this means you don’t have to do too many reformulations of recipes other than a few substitutions, such as avocado oil, to remove the high-calorie ingredients such as butter.
The New Evolution of Keto: the Low-Calorie Keto Diet
Like how the 1920s keto diet has been modified to meet the dietary needs of consumers today, we’re seeing a new evolution of keto tied to calorie-counting: low-calorie keto diet. In the new low-calorie version of the keto diet, there is now more of a focus on protein and fiber than high fat. In other words, the focus is no longer on fat since fat is a high contributor to calories; low-calorie keto snacks should use ingredients high in protein and fiber while low in fat and calories. Think of ingredients like whey protein, zero-calorie plant-based sweeteners, and avocado oil when working on your next innovative protein bar, cereal, or cookie.
How Can You Leverage the Low-Calorie Keto Diet Trend?
Though the keto trend has been popular for a bit, there are still lots of opportunities in the industry for businesses to get their snacks into big box stores and shipped to millions of consumers due to the consistent demand for healthy keto options. Moreover, the existing keto brands did not all focus on being low-calorie, so there is a good chance for new brands to disrupt the market and make their mark. To gain this first-mover advantage, consider working with a co-manufacturer and co-packer, like YouBar, that possesses the industry knowledge and capability to help businesses develop and scale innovative snacks around specific dietary restrictions. There is a demand for low-calorie keto snacks, and now is the time to move.
Though diet trends come and go, the keto diet has been around for over a hundred years. With a new evolution of keto designed to fit the needs of consumers interested in calorie-counting gaining traction, it doesn’t look like the demand for keto will be going away anytime soon. Contact YouBar today to start commercializing your new low-calorie keto snack.