Have your keto mooncake and eat it too

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

GEORGE TOWN - Three months into the ketogenic diet, home-based baker Jane Lim lost 8kg, but as the Mid-Autumn Festival draws near, the craving for mooncakes started to hit her.

The trouble is that mooncakes are calorie bombs full of sugars and carbohydrates, and that is a big no-no for her low-carb-high-fat dieting regime.

So, using her baking skills, Lim created sugar-free, low carbohydrate mooncakes to enjoy them with her family and friends.

The ketogenic, or keto, diet was first developed in the 1920s to treat children with epilepsy.

This compels the body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis. The body stops using blood glucose for fuel and starts burning ketones, which is synthesised from fats when they are broken down.

While millions of people worldwide revel in shedding their spare tires and love handles through the keto diet, the regime does take away the sweet joy of mooncakes in this old Chinese festival.

"I had the urge to eat mooncakes but could not since I was only three months into my keto diet.

"So I looked for other ingredients, " said Lim, 41.

She took the sugary fillings and flour out of the equation and used almond flour, coconut flour, a little yam and zero-calorie monk fruit sweeteners.

But it was still easier said than done at first.

Lim said without flour, the skin of her keto mooncakes crumbles easily.

"So keto mooncakes require more work and attention to detail, " she said.

Despite the difficulty, Lim said she counted the calories on her keto mooncakes and was satisfied when she found that hers have only 20 per cent of the calories in a normal mooncake. Unhindered use of sugar in processed food and drinks has long been identified as the cause of many health problems in society, burdening public healthcare cost with issues like diabetes and obesity.

On July 1, the government imposed a sugar tax of 40 sen per litre on ready-to-drink beverages with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml. It was a move to make manufacturers cut down on how much sugar they are feeding consumers.

On July 26, Health Ministry called on consumers to be mindful of other sources of sugar like boba tea and even teh tarik, which are not affected by the sugar tax.

As for Lim, who used to be an engineer before she started baking full time from home since 2015, she has made over 400 sugar-free, low-carb mooncakes this season and said orders are still coming in.