"Fat Bombs" Are the New Keto Snack People Are Obsessed With
These keto-friendly treats are super high in healthy fats—that's the point. But are they something you should be eating on the reg?
Good news for those who jumped on the ketogenic diet bandwagon: There are now keto-friendly treats if you're looking to eat something sweet without going overboard on carbs. They're called "fat bombs," "keto bombs," or "fat fudge." Different from energy balls or protein balls, these concoctions prioritize fat over protein and are a keto favorite because of their tastiness and ability to keep you full. (Read up on the downsides of a keto diet before trying it yourself.)
You've probably seen these little guys on Instagram or in your Facebook feed, often framed as a healthy snack for keto and non-keto eaters alike. Typically, they're no-bake balls made with ingredients like butter, cocoa powder, coconut oil, nuts and nut butters, heavy cream, seeds, dates, agave nectar, and sometimes artificial sweeteners like stevia. They're usually heavy on healthy stuff, like plant-based fats, but they can have as much as 20 grams of fat per serving. While that's NBD on keto, is eating these really a great idea for people who aren't trying to eat a high-fat diet overall? And even if you're on keto, are these where you should be getting a decent chunk of your fat from? We talked to dietitians to find out.
Why Keto Bombs Are Everywhere
Hey, everyone needs a treat now and then, even if you're committed to keto. "A healthy, balanced diet should contain some treat-type foods," says Trish Brimhall, a registered dietitian. And whether that's a keto bomb or a more traditional type of treat, the same principles of balance and moderation apply, she says.
In general, most experts say that being too restrictive about your eating habits can be counterproductive. Sometimes it's better to just go ahead and have the indulgence you really want rather than substituting it with a "healtified" one. "I'm afraid that fat bombs are just trying to fill a diet-created craving," says Brimhall.
In a sense, eating a keto bomb is similar to eating a low-fat version of a baked good while on a low-fat diet. It satisfies an urge to eat something "unhealthy" while still sticking to a specific eating style. But for a more balanced approach to how we view food, Brimhall would rather see people just eat the real thing and enjoy it: "It's much healthier to abandon the diet mentality altogether and not obsess with what is restricted or forbidden."
But Fat Is Healthy, Right?
Yes! But it's definitely possible to overdo it. "Nuts are high in fat and protein (a good thing!), but it's easy to overeat them when you put them into a delicious candy-like recipe," says Samantha Scruggs, a registered dietitian nutritionist with Nutrition to Fruition. "I'd rather see an eating pattern that is more natural; the body doesn't need excessive amounts of snacks." In other words, eat whole nuts and seeds-two common keto bomb ingredients-instead of grinding them up and adding chocolate chips and coconut oil to them.
And since lots of people take up a keto diet with weight loss in mind, calories are indeed a factor. "A hypercaloric state is possible, even on keto," Scruggs says.
On a true keto diet, 90 percent of calories come from fat. On a modified keto diet, which is what most people who are on it for non-medical reasons end up going for, somewhere between 60 and 75 percent of calories come from fat. "This breaks down to about 133 grams of fat for someone on a 2,000-calorie diet," says Courtney Schuchmann, a registered dietitian at the University of Chicago Medicine. That might sound like a lot, but it can go quickly when you're noshing on whole avocados, full-fat yogurt, and handfuls of nuts-which are all awesome choices, BTW.
That means you might not even need to add keto bombs to the mix in order to hit your calorie and fat goals for the day. "I tell patients on a ketogenic diet to watch their calories in addition to being mindful of carbohydrate intake," Schuchmann says.
Should You Be Eating These?
Eat in moderation. "People get into trouble when they use these recipes to replace other unhealthy items, like cookies and snack cakes," Scrugg says. If you normally overindulge in traditional baked goods, there's a good chance you'll do the same with the keto versions.
Brimhall agrees: "If you absolutely love the keto bomb, then sure, go for it once in a while," she says. "But if it is a poor substitute for the dark chocolate truffle that you love and are craving, I'd prefer you eat that instead of filling up on something that still leaves you wanting the real thing."
To be fair, there are some pluses to eating high-fat foods, even when you're not on a keto diet. "Fat bombs can help you stay fuller for longer due to their high satiety while avoiding a blood sugar spike and crash," says Amy Davis, a registered dietitian who works with Swerve. Plus, if you're just eating one, it will clock in at about 150 to 200 calories, which is pretty low in the scheme of things. "But the calories in fat bombs add up fast," Davis points out, so portion control is key.
Struggling to stop at just one? "I find anything in 'bomb' or 'ball' form is hard to control, so keep bombs in the freezer to not only extend shelf life but also keep them out of sight," says Sydney Greene, a registered dietitian with Middleberg Nutrition. "Frozen balls tend to be harder to eat, making snacking a slower process which creates some more mindfulness." And if you're interested in getting started with mindful eating in general, here's how to make mindful eating a regular part of your diet.