The Fat Bomb Myth: Everything You Need to Know About The Hype
It’s almost impossible to walk into a gym or grocery store and not hear about the keto diet. Unlike other fads, the keto diet has come around and stays around because it actually works!
Crazy For Keto
The keto diet consists of eating calorie appropriate meals that consist of high fat, moderate protein, a little to no carbs. Doing this for a period of time (depending on your metabolism) puts your body into a state of ketosis. Being in ketosis, your body uses ketones as its energy supply instead of sugar or carbs. Ketones are fueled by healthy sources of fat. Thus, the need for high-fat low carb consumption.
Keto boasts to be one of the few diets to actually reduce cravings. Due to a stabilized blood sugar, keto dieters rarely suffer the need to cheat.
But, not all is well in the keto world. “Fat bombs” are a keto trend created to curb the carnivorous sweet tooth. These “treats” are usually natural, high fact, with a moderate amount of sweetness either natural or artificial. However, do fat bombs actually contribute to keto health goals or are they a step backward? Do they affect all ketoers equally? Here is everything they don’t tell you about keto fat bombs.
What is “Fat Bomb”?
Keto fat bomb recipes usually consist of a variety of seeds, nuts, fruit, cocoa powder, natural or artificial sweetener, and a solidifying fat like nut butter or coconut oil. There are also savory fat bomb recipes that include bacon, eggs, and avocado. A fat bomb is referred to by keto dieters as a high-energy snack, treat, or dessert. Some even consume fat bombs as a pre-workout.
The appeal to fat bombs is varying. Some keto dieters use fat bombs as a way to curb sweet cravings, or for a fat-dense snack. However, the keto diet is just about cutting carbs and sugar. Eating clean is a crucial part of being successful at keto. Clean keto eating means understanding the source of your calories and ensuring they are as mineral and vitamin dense as possible while also maintaining your high-fat, low-carb macronutrients to stay in ketosis.
While fat bombs aren’t allowed nutrient dense, they do provide a huge dose of fat that can fuel ketones.
What Fat Bombs Claim to Do
Keto fat bombs are usually 90% fat (or more). The fat commonly comes from dairy or coconut milk. These keto-friendly ingredients appear to make keto bombs suitable for a dessert, snack, or meal replacement. With so much fat in a single fat bomb (hence the name) the calories in a single snack can range from 250-500. Even though a keto dieter strives for high-fat, should a quarter of your calories come from a golf ball sized goodie?
Fat Bomb Ingredient Woes
Beyond the beneficial claims of fat bombs, there are a few reasons why they are hard to support, entirely.
A common misconception about the keto diet is the need to consume a large amount of high-fat foods in order to reach ketosis. In reality, it’s the deprivation of exogenous glucose that encourages your body to burn its own stored fat for energy. Thus, fat bombs tend to focus on increasing your consumption of oil, dairy, and sweeteners that can affect your success on the keto diet. Fat bombs look good on paper but can cripple your ketosis.
Fat Bombs & Fat Loss
Despite some keto dieters claiming they’d fail the diet if it weren’t for their fatty treat, fat bombs have nothing to do with your success on the keto diet. Much of such claims are strictly mental and not at all nutritional.
Success on the keto diet is the result of hormones, specifically leptin, reacting to a lack of blood sugar resulting in the body using stored fat for energy. Fat that is consumed for energy would be used before stored fat. Therefore, the benefits of fat bombs are significantly diminished in terms of fat loss. Because, while you may be sustaining a state of ketosis, you are fueling your ketones with fat bombs as opposed to extra stomach, thigh, or arm fat. Let’s break it down a little further.
Leptin and insulin are opposing hormones. One tells the body to store fat, the other tells the body to stop storing fat. While everyone seems so concerned with insulin and insulin resistance, high priority should also be placed on leptin. As with all hormones, the overproduction of it decreases the body’s sensitivity to it. In a body with excess fat, leptin is overused. The impact of leptin resistance is your body not knowing when or how to stop storing fat. This fat can come from coconut oil or frying oil, it wouldn’t matter.
Fat bomb enthusiasts fail to recognize that leptin resistance, though improved when in ketosis, is still a very serious hormonal adaptation that will not be reversed by consuming high amounts of fat.
Focus on Real Food
Replacing a fat bomb with nutritionally dense foods is more effective and sustainable. With the average fat bomb recipe containing 300 calories of fat per serving, your body would benefit more from any of the following:
- 2 Organic eggs cooked in butter
- ½ lb of Ground beef with broccoli
- Fresh Salad with walnuts, berries, and goats cheese
It’s no secret that having variety and color in your diet means you are supplying your body with necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Your fat sources should be just as varying. The ideal source of fat on a keto diet is high-quality, hormone-free animal fats. Recommended types of keto-friendly saturated fats include:
- Red meat
The fats are packed with vitamins that are necessary when in a state of ketosis. Think beyond fat in order to achieve your keto health goals.
Fat Bombs: The Ugly Truth
The reality is that fat bombs are an unnecessary trend in the world of keto dieting. Once you’ve become keto-adapted the idea of snacking is foreign. Most importantly, hunger pains become a rarity. Thus, fasting becomes a regular and more effective part of the keto lifestyle.
Fasting and Keto
Remember our friend, leptin? This fat-blocking hormone is a keto dieter best friend. When in a state of ketosis, this hormone and others (like insulin) are secreted less often. Resulting in fewer to no blood sugar spikes or drops. Thus, the keto diet reduces hunger. If you find yourself not reaching for lunch at noon or needing that evening snack, it’s probably a sign that ketosis is improving your hormonal balance.
Fat bombs promote unnecessary snacking. And, if you are craving a sweet treat, it may mean you aren’t in ketosis any longer. To effectively curb cravings turn to whole foods that are nutritionally diverse as opposed to super fatty. Again, switching the mentality of keto meaning more fat to keto meaning less exogenous glucose. Boiled eggs or a steak salad are a great way to respond to hunger. Wait until it’s an appropriate time for a meal and skip snacking altogether.
If you are keto-adapted, fasting is a great way to boost your ketone production. Fasting also empties your blood and liver of remaining glucose to promote a state of ketosis. If you’re not hungry, don’t be afraid to fast.
Don’t Fall for the Fat Bomb Hype
There are no quick ways to keto-adapt and suddenly consuming large amounts of fats won’t do it. Stop trying to skip to the front of the line with this one. Your body is going to take its own time anyway.
Success on the keto diet looks different for everyone. But most can expect:
- Less hunger
- Fat loss
- Balanced hormone
- Accessible muscle gain/maintain
- Sugar detox
- Mental clarity
- Improved concentration
and so much more.
What are fat bombs – and why should you be eating them?
Fat bomb. It doesn’t have the most positive of connotations, does it?
Greasy takeaways, clogged-up arteries… Oh, you hadn’t heard? Fat is no longer public enemy number one. In fact, recent research suggests that saturated fats like coconut oil, butter and even cream can increase our levels of good cholesterol and improve “cardiometabolic risk factors, such as ectopic fat storage, blood pressure, blood lipids (triglycerides), insulin and blood sugar”.
No wonder, then, that the wellness set is attempting to harness its benefits.
What are fat bombs?
So what, exactly, is a fat bomb? And does your mid-afternoon Twix count? I’m afraid not – boasting a mere 23.7g fat per 100g, it doesn’t even come close to the 85% fat content we’re aiming for. Yes, 85%.
A fat bomb is similar to an energy ball or bar. However, whilst these tend to be based around carb and sugar-heavy ingredients like dates and oats, fat bombs eschew these in favour of high-fat, low-carb additions such as coconut oil, peanut butter and cream.
Why should you be eating fat bombs?
OK, let’s get a few things straight. Trans fats are bad.
Nasties formed as byproducts of the chemical processing undergone by these ‘hydrogenated oils’ lower good cholesterol, raise bad cholesterol and appear to promote inflammation and weight gain. However, according to scientists, we should still be getting at least 20% of our daily calorie intake from ‘good fats’.
We need fats to absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K, and research suggests that monounsaturated fats (the kind found in avocados, peanuts and olives) can lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
Fats take longer to break down in the digestive tract and slow the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugar, keeping our blood sugar levels stable and helping us to feel fuller for longer. According to scientific research, a spoonful of coconut oil a day could even whittle our waistlines away!
You’ll still need to watch your portion sizes but, since fats are intrinsically satisfying, eating a fat bomb for breakfast could actually help you stop snacking.
What is a keto fat bomb?
You may have heard dieters talking about ‘keto fat bombs’ or ‘ketogenic fat bombs’.
These are fat bombs with a fat content of at least 85%. They can be eaten as a quick breakfast, mid-afternoon pick-me-up or pre- or post-workout snack by those following a low-carb diet such as the Atkins Diet since they do not disrupt ketosis.
Ketosis is a ‘fat-burning’ state characterised by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood. When we eat ‘normally’, most of our energy comes from blood glucose (or sugar) rather than fat, a state known as ‘glycolysis’. Most fat bombs are ketogenic and can be incorporated into low-carbohydrate diet plans.
Fat bomb recipe
Itching to get cooking? Making your own fat bombs couldn’t be easier.
Essentially, creating the perfect fat bomb comes down to combining your favourite elements from each of the following categories:
- Healthy fats such as cacao butter, coconut butter, peanut or almond butter, coconut oil, coconut milk or cream, dairy cream, cream cheese, grass-fed butter, ghee and avocado
- Low-carb flavouring e.g. cacao powder, unsweetened dark chocolate, vanilla extract, salt or spices
- If you prefer a little texture, add in a handful of nuts, seeds, shredded coconut or cacao nibs
- Simply combine your chosen ingredients in a mixing bowl, blender or food processor (if you’re using coconut oil, you might like to heat it up a little first, in order to soften it).
- Mould the resulting mixture into small balls or pour into a mini muffin tray or paper cases. Refrigerate overnight, or freeze for 6-8 hours. You can safely keep your fat bombs in the fridge for at least 1-2 weeks.
- Some opt to combine boiled eggs, butter, mayonnaise and even bacon to form savoury fat bombs, but chocolate fat bombs are by far the most popular choice.
- Make your own chocolate bomb by combining coconut oil, almond butter and cacao powder. Make it your own by adding sea salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon or cream, or just sit back and enjoy it in all its wondrous simplicity. Being good never felt so naughty…