Fat makes people fat – at least that’s conventional wisdom. Hence the preponderance of low-fat claims in healthy snacking.
But lately, conventional thinking has been turned on its head by advocates of the ketogenic diet.
The premise is that cutting carbs and sugar in favour of fats flicks a metabolic switch, which causes the body to enter ketosis. When in ketosis, the body uses fat, rather than glycogen stored in muscles, as its primary source of energy.
It’s a big trend in the US, says Garyth Stone, MD of Houlihan Lokey’s consumer, food and retail group. “The products are getting much better-tasting, more functional and more sophisticated. This is something that could take off in the UK in the coming years.”
There’s one big problem, though: HFSS. Keto snack bars typically contain next to no carbs or sugar but around 25% fat. It means they face the same restrictions on merchandising and promotion as conventional chocolate and sweets. Some keto bar brands are miffed.
“It’s not fat that makes people fat – it’s carbohydrates and sugar,” insists Ingo Braeunlich, CEO of Adonis.
The HFSS rules are based on outdated science, he argues. Specifically, the nutrient profiling model that determines which products are classed as HFSS is based on guidance dating from 2005 and ignores evidence on the keto diet’s efficacy, he adds.
Braeunlich also bemoans the exemptions for fruit and sugar products. “This means you can have a product that’s 50% sugar but is still HFSS compliant, but you can’t have a low-carb product like ours.
While he agrees “HFSS is a step in a direction”, he is angry that “the government didn’t implement a single part of the outcome of a consultation about the HFSS product guidance”.
The new rules have essentially “outlawed the solution for the obesity crisis”, he adds.
Still, keto might still take off despite HFSS. Adonis is already listed in the wellness aisles of Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, and Braeunlich claims it is a top seller on Amazon.
Plus, a 2022 report by Allied Market Research predicted the global market for keto products would almost double to $14.1bn by 2031, with snacks a…