Healthy Homemade French Macarons
These Healthy Homemade French Macarons are low fat and gluten free, but you’d never know it — they taste like the kinds you’d get in a bakery!
I have made (failed) macarons over thirty times. Yes, thirty. The number of trials is quite laughable to me now, but looking back I remember the frustration of each and every failed batch. I was hopeful when I folded the batter perfectly, I was anxious as I let the macarons dry on the trays for thirty minutes to an hour, I was let down when I checked on the macarons baking in the oven without any sign of the classic “feet,” and then I was crushed as I set the hot pans on my counter… yet another failed macaron. It’s like a slap in the face, a shattered dream, a total defeat.
Here is (just) one of my failures:
In the beginning, I set myself up for failure by using powdered coconut sugar. The coconut sugar turned the batter brown and they flattened completely in the oven (to ~2 millimeters in height!) into gooey caramel-like discs of sugar.
Here is some background info of my failed trials:
- I have tested real white sugar to erythritol to sucanat to coconut sugar (some batches using all granulated sweetener, some using all powdered, some using both and one batch using a stovetop cooked syrup… I even tested out different powdered sugars, one 100% cane sugar and another laced with starch)
- I have used almond flour, almond meal and pistachio flour
- I have used cold egg whites, room temperature egg whites, and aged egg whites
- I have tested batches with no added flavorings or food colorings along with batches with some of both
- I have undermixed, overmixed, and mixed perfectly
- I let the macaron batter rest on the pans from zero minutes to more than an hour
- I tested a range of temperatures, from 220-350 degrees Fahrenheit (I always use an oven thermometer to be sure)
- I baked the macarons on both Silpats and parchment paper
- I have baked these trials over a span of two years, from cold weather to warm weather (neither of which is humid)
- Some batches of macarons spread into thin wafers, some poofed up into what looked like sugar cookies, some were crunchy throughout, some never solidified and stayed chewy and bendable. My closest batch looked like macarons but without the feet and had huge air pockets in them, despite tapping the pans on the counter and witnessing air pockets rise to the surface (grrr)
- I seem to fail at French Macarons despite how much research I have completed, videos I have watched and recipes I have tried… ugh!
After years of failure, I finally perfected my Homemade French Macarons recipe. And they’re amazing. They are light, petite and sweet.
*falls to knees and bows down to the baking gods*
Healthy Homemade French Macarons
- 210g Evaporated Cane Juice (powdered in a high-speed blender; measure after grinding)
- 120g Almond Meal (sifted through a fine mesh sieve to remove any chunks; measure after sifting)
- 100g Egg Whites (fresh, not cartoned)
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 50g Evaporated Cane Juice
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- Line 3 cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Prepare a piping bag with round tip (#804).
- In a small bowl, add the powdered evaporated cane juice and sifted almond meal. Set aside.
- In an electric stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites and salt. Turn the stand mixer on high speed and start a timer. Slowly sprinkle in the 50g of evaporated cane juice. Whip this mixture for 6 minutes. Mixture should form stiff peaks.
- Add the vanilla extract and whip for 1 more minute. Dump the set aside evaporated cane juice/almond meal mixture into the stand mixer and fold by hand with a silicone spatula until fully incorporated. Do not under mix and do not over mix. Mixture should be in between “plopping” off the spatula and “flowing” like a thick ribbon.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared piping bag and pipe 1” buttons onto the prepared cookie sheets, each about 2” apart. Tap the pans on the counter HARD a few times to deflate any air pockets. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the piped macarons sit at room temperature for ~1 hour. Shells should form on the surface of the macarons (when you can tap the surface, they shouldn’t stick to your finger at all).
- Bake one tray at a time for ~8-10 minutes, or until the fluffy “feet” form and the surfaces of the macarons turn a very light golden brown. Let cool completely on the cookie sheets.
- Pipe your frosting of choice onto half of the macaron shells, then sandwich the remaining shells on top. Serve immediately.
1- Do not replace the Powdered Evaporated Cane Juice with any other sweetener! You can replace the 50g of Granulated Evaporated Cane Juice with Sucanat. Just note that they take a longer time to dry before baking (~30 minutes more), and the resulting color will be a dark tan.
2- Use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is exactly 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3- Use a kitchen scale to make this recipe. It is veeeeeryfinicky!
4- Do not use dark colored pans to bake the macarons on. use a light colored pan.
5- Do not attempt this recipe on a humid or rainy day. Humidity and macarons are not friends!
Recipe republished with permission from the Naughty or Nice Cookbook!
With love and good eats,
I admire your persistence Jessica! I’ve never succeeded in baking any kind of decent macarons (even using all the classic ingredients). Your wannabe macarons look really nice, you should be proud of yourself! I once tried to make protein macarons (www.fitnesstreats.com/2012/03/protein-macaroons) and they looked like little dog poops!
Thanks Elise! I checked our your macarons and they look amazing, I think I’m going to bake those if I feel like trying out the macaron thing again 😉
You talk about sugar like it’s the definition of an “unhealthy” food. But I respectfully disagree. I think, eaten in moderation, it’s a perfectly acceptable part of your diet. The problem is that people often eat too much, and I respect that fact. But boesn’t using artificial “no calorie” “healthy” sweeteners *create* the idea that you can eat sweet things infinitely? Perhaps another path to health would be to do something about the culture of “sweet treats”?
Just trying to get your thoughts on this.
Hi M, I don’t think all sugar is bad, just bleached/processed/refined-to-the-bone white sugar which has no benefits, only detriments. Sucanat, coconut sugar, date sugar, pure maple sugar and natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dates are perfect sources of sweetness and natural sugar. I definitely agree with you that people eat too much, but the reason behind that is because white sugar is very addicting to the human body… I was addicted years ago and if I kept eating chocolate bars at the rate I was going I’m pretty sure I would have some serious health problems right now.
Erythritol is not artificial, despite how it sounds. Erythritol is a natural product. I am definitely starting to use date sugar a lot since it is 100% dates, however it has a strong flavor which doesn’t pair well in certain applications and adds a dark brown sugar color. I only use erythritol now where a light-colored sweetener is used (like sugar cookies or red velvet cake)
I love the sweetness of your personality displayed in your comments. It comes from your “naturally” and gracefully.
I’m going to buy your book simply for the Macarons. I don’t eat sugar, and I’ve never tasted a macaron till today. I was so curious that I purchased one at a bakery. I took one nibble and that was enough. I though “too bad”. So cute and yet so unhealthy. I googled a healthy Macaron recipe and found your post. I was impressed with your story and accomplishment. You go! Congratulations on making our lives a little sweeter.
Hey Teresa! I’m so sorry for not updating this post to the best of my ability, gahh! So, I originally posted a sugar-free Macaron recipe here on the blog but they weren’t “true” macarons.
The macaron recipe in my cookbook isn’t sugar-free, but it IS refined sugar-free… The macarons are very sweet too, so a dark chocolate ganache filling is great too to cut down on the sweetness 😀
Sure hope that isn’t a deal-breaker, because the book has got a ton of other sugar-free recipes 😉
Even if you don’t end up getting a copy of the cookbook, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for leaving such a kind and thoughtful comment. I just realized last week that I really want to open up my own bakery, and it’s all because of people like you. Have an awesome week!
Please do not ruin another dessert with you sugar fear. You are disrespecting dessert around the world. BY associating guilt with sugar you are keeping all women guilty for eating.
Didn’t mean to disrespect you with this post, H! I don’t have a fear of sugar, I used to eat chocolate bars and Oreos and Pop Tarts on a daily basis for about 17 years of my life … I was hooked and sugar causes serious health problems (diabetes, increased blood sugar, cancer, obesity, headaches, addiction, weakened immune system, etc etc etc). It is solely MY choice to remove bleached/processed white sugar from my diet and women can make their own choices on what food they eat.
You can certainly make macarons with sugar if you want, this post was just about my failed trials in macaron-making, WITH and WITHOUT sugar 🙂
I’m totally on your side Jessica: sugar is extremely addictive. “Everything in moderation” does work for many people, but personally it doesn’t work for me. Eating one cookie and leaving the rest in the box is something I just can’t do.
I don’t think it’s because of weak self-control or a culture of sweats during my childhood. It’s just that sugary foods (even in small quantities) create a kind of irrational reaction in my brain that makes me crave for more.
So I’d rather eat a couple of cookies made with erythritol that go on the sugar roller coaster. It’s not about avoiding calories or guilt, it’s just about avoiding mood swings and feeling lethargic after the sugar high is over.
Thanks Elise, I’m totally the same way. There is no such thing as one Oreo for me, it’s the entire package and then some. It has been scientifically proven that sugar is addictive to the brain and there can be withdrawals. And eating ten healthified macarons instead of three unhealthy ones is always a plus 😉
M, while I see where you’re coming from, and generally everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb to abide by (You can eat pounds of lean chicken breast, oats, and all things healthy, but if you eat too much of them, you’ll still store more fat than you need, although usually healthy/nutritious foods keep you fuller longer and make that hard to do), I would like to go ahead and say that sugar isn’t healthy, I’d even go as far as saying it’s “unhealthy” in the sense that it lacks healthy qualities. While natural sources of sweetness/”sugar” like fruits are perfectly healthy (a package deal, comes with fiber, vitamins, etc), sugar is just empty calories devoid of any nutritional merit/value, not only that, but it spikes your blood sugar among other things. While there exist sweeteners like coconut sugar that have a low GI, and have trace amounts of nutrients/minerals, refined sugar has none of these benefits, and it’s refined sugar that’s traditionally used in making macarons.
Getting back to the main point though, I will agree with you that it’s an acceptable part of your diet, so long as you’re aware that it has no nutritional merits (and is actually detrimental), and thus eat it sparingly, hopefully not in large quantities on a daily basis. Eating a cookie every once in a while isn’t going to do you any harm and shouldn’t be a source of guilt, eating half a dozen cookies on a daily basis though, is probably not good for your health.
As for the sweet treats on a daily basis, I think it’s perfectly acceptable so long as you find a way to create these sweet treats such that they’re actually healthy and nutritious (as opposed to adding zucchini or some veggie to a butter/sugar-laden cake and slapping on a healthy label). If they’re made with these objectives in mind, they’ll often be filling and keep you sated anyways, controlling the rate at which you eat them.
Lastly, kudos on your perseverance, Jessica! Most people wouldn’t have given it nearly as many tries, thorough tries changing all variables thinkable, at that.
Hi, I don’t know if you still want to make macarons but I would like to put a little bit intake. I myself has made it 3 times before finally having feet the 4th time. It does take lots of patience and some experience u learn by mistakes. With your batch, my guess is, you undermixed the mixture. It was too stiff, so that’s why you still see the pointy part. Next time maybe mix it 5 or 6 time more? Drying them is extremely important too, otherwise there will be no feet and they will crack. A complete “shell” must be formed, so I think you should dry them 1.5 hours just to be on a save side. I messed up my earlier macaron batch because I did not dry them properly. I do hope u will try once again though, it feels like a big establishment once you can make it!
I am taking a bit of a macaron-hiatus because I gave it another three tries and I got REALLY close on one… I got feet! But they were way too sweet and weren’t chewy in the center.
I agree, I think my batch was undermixed. I tend to overmix so I was afraid to do that. I also overmixed one batter and it was too thin to pipe into perfect little circles, however, this was the batch that was the closest to perfection I mentioned above… not sure why!
Next time I try I will let the macarons rest for a longer period of time.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR LOVELY COMMENT, it gave me new hope in macaron-baking 🙂
I have a couple tips for when you make macaroons again: rather than almond meal or flour, take slivered almond and put them in a food processor; don’t under or overmix the batter; before you let them set for about 15 minutes, rap the tray the macaroons are on a few times on the counter; take the tray with the macarons on it and put another one beneath it while cooking. Good luck!!!
Thanks Brynn! I’ll definitely try that next time I attempt macarons 🙂
It’s disappointing to see all these critical comments on this point. You know why? Because I googled “almond flour sugar free macarons” and I actually found a recipe! Wow! I was excited. A bit turned off at the sugar debate. “Sugar isn’t bad for you in moderation?…” I’m here because sugar was bad for me. I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia after a major physical crash. My doctor set me on a path of healthy eating and helped me find ways to heal my body. Sugar free, gluten free has become my new way of living. So to those of you who want your macarons with sugar, eat them with sugar…but don’t come down so hard on someone who put time and effort to create an alternative that people like me can enjoy. You should be ashamed! Great Job Jessica – thank you for your hard work! You popped right up on google with my search! 🙂
Awww, you just made my day!! 🙂
I’m so glad you found a healthy lifestyle that works for you. Health scares (and diagnoses) are very serious and should not be taken lightly. I was at risk for type II diabetes but now I am not, simply because I omitted refined white sugar from my diet. I have had my fair share of sugar!
Not only is sugar high glycemic and refined (causes spikes/crashes in blood sugar), but it is also genetically modified (one of the TOP GMO foods) and has promoted slavery for years and years and years. It’s terrible and frankly, just sad 🙁
Anyways, off my rant… I’m so happy you found my blog and shared your story with me. Have a great week!
Sorry but I would rather eat 3 “real” french macarons than 6 yours. I’m sure they taste good and they’re really healthier but they are NOT macarons. You know, we can’t make everything healthier and sugar-free but that’s okay! If you eat healthy and clean most of the time, a few macarons won’t make you fat or unhealthy. Please don’t take my comment wrong, I love your blog and your recipes but I just think that sometimes we all just need to live and not care about the nutrition facts 🙂
I totally get ya! 🙂 I completely agree with you, I don’t think the world should revolve around calories and diets, I think we should aim for balance and moderation. I’ve just learned to make nutrition labels for every recipe of mine because in nearly every post that I don’t include one, someone will ask for it. It’s also helpful to compare my nutrition stats with the nutrition stats of “typical” recipes (in terms of trans fats, cholesterol, sugar, vitamins/minerals, etc)
Also, I made this recipe for those who choose to avoid sugar for health reasons, ethical reasons, personal reasons, and so on. For example, diabetics who can’t consume sugar, people who do not want to support the sugar industry (due to the slavery/corruption), people on low-carb diets (diabetics, bodybuilders, or someone who just doesn’t want a lot of sugar in their nighttime snack…)
And yes, I know these aren’t real macarons, that’s why the title says, “macaron ‘wannabes.'” 🙂
PS: If you live near NYC, you should DEFINITELY go to the Dominique Ansel Bakery, they have THE BEST macarons!!
What is the “right” way to take your comment? Why bother posting at all? If the recipe doesn’t interest you, move along.
That being said, this blog depresses me since the “buy my book” part doesn’t come until the end of the recipe. I googled this at the grocery store, bought all of the ingredients (expensive), got home to begin baking and…. the recipe does not exist. Please put the disclaimer at the beginning of the article!
Hi Kristen! I’m sorry for the confusion — I thought the fact that the recipe doesn’t show the exact quantities of the ingredients, the notes in the recipe instructions, and the blurb at the bottom of the post was enough. The only slightly expensive ingredient in this recipe is the almond meal, and the amount you need is quite small.
This post isn’t meant to frustrate people, so I’m sorry for that. I poured my heart and soul (and months of hard work) into that cookbook. The recipe DOES exist, it’s just in my cookbook. If you’re still interested in this healthier French Macarons, you can get the recipe instantly in the Kindle version. Hope this helps Kristen 🙂
I love your blog!!Beforehand I apologize for my bad english.I´m from Czech Republic and I´m crazy for (sorry, I don´t know correct preposition)clean eating and sport.I like your clean recipes and unhealthy healthy!
This recipe looks great, but in CZ Erythritol is unavaiable. I have just Xylitol, Can I use Xylitol in place of Erythritol?
Have you a beautiful day
Thank you so much!! Don’t worry, your English is good 🙂
And yup, xylitol can replace the erythritol just fine.
I hope you like the recipe!
i have researched erythritol and it doesn’t seem the safest thing. is there any other substitute besides powdered sugar? i really want to avoid sugar and coconut sugar sounds good but you said it didn’t work, so i can’t use that. any idea’s ?
Erythritol is all natural and safe. It’s just not good to consume extremely large quantities (like, 1 cup in a single sitting), which can cause stomach discomfort, and the same can be said about white sugar. All about moderation 🙂
You can try sucanat or maybe date sugar?
Hope this helps! 🙂
PS: Here is a study done on erythritol: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/9862657/
“The safety studies have demonstrated that erythritol is well tolerated and elicits no toxicological effects” with diets including erythritol in concentrations as high as 20% (!!!)
I’ve tried sugar free macarons several times and the same issue. I’m wondering if the Italian method with erythitol might work better.
If the Italian method is the one where you cook a syrup and add it to the mixing egg whites, I’ve tried it and failed! It looked so perfect as I was piping the macarons but they ended up dry. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try it again with a few adjustments, though! I think I better do that batch again. Thanks Tara! 😀
I did notice comments that this can be a issue with Italian. If they actually looked like macarons they may be the answer. My thought was using erytritol powdered in French doesn’t change its true melting difference compared to regular sugar. I was doing research and the idea of cooking at a lower temp seemed interesting. I’ll be trying my next recipe.
My last try at French resulted in flat cocoa brownie tasting cookies. After they flattened (kind of like the powdered erythritol just sucked the air out of the egg whites), I threw in 3 extra whipped egg whites (I am not throwing away that many ingredients) and 3 tablespoons coconut flour(they were really wet s so thought it would help). Despite not being macarons they are oddly brownie tasty cookies great hot from the cookie sheet.
Wow! Amazing blog/post!
Yeah, people don’t seem to get that just because you have a blog with a dietary theme doesn’t mean you perpetuate some pro-eating-disorder, sugar-shaming culture. I specifically googled this…I’m living in France right now and occasionally indulge, but I want to make macaroons that my autistic brother with digestive issues can eat when he comes to visit so he doesn’t feel excluded. Do I think the real stuff would kill him? No…but baking is fun, these are definitely healthier, and like, why take the chance? (plus, my mom put him on the strict diet. Can’t really go against her) And as for your patient, poised responses to some of these obnoxious comments, bless you. Seriously. Hahaha.
Thank you for being so understanding Laura! 😀
I made these Macarons for people like me (who want to eat like, 50 macarons at once lol), and people who cannot have sugar (diabetics), and whoever is curious I guess, just like you and your brother.
I made a PERFECT French macaron recipe, “feet” and all, for my upcoming cookbook, but it isn’t 100% sugar free like this one… it’s IMPOSSIBLE! I’ve probably made over 30 failed batches -_-
ANYWAYS, I hope you and your brother like these little Macaron “things” 😉
Hi Jessica, just wondering if you have tried making macaron using aquafaba?
I have yet to try any dessert (or recipe, actually) using aquafaba! I wonder if it would work here?? 😀
Hi, I can’t have evaporate cane juice and found this by googling for a recipe made with erythritol, truvia or xylitol. It looks like you used to have a recipe up with erythritol. Could you please email that to me? I’d really appreciate it! I have to be gluten-free (celiac) and sugar-free (candida) and really need some decent recipes. Thanks!
Hi Kristen! I no longer have the old recipe using erythritol because it simply just wasn’t any good 🙁
I did do a quick search online and found this one though: https://www.finedininglovers.com/recipes/dessert/gluten-free-macaroons-sugar-free/
I haven’t tried xylitol in Macarons because it doesn’t “agree” with me, but in my experience of over 30 failed batches, French Macarons will not work without sugar. If you must be on a sugar-free diet, that’s no problem because many of my recipes are sugar-free! 🙂
Thats how to stick to it! I have actually never had a macaroon. I guess I should make these and try. They look lovely!
These look incredible!
I can’t believe how simple they are. x
You won me right at the title. I love macarons, and you come up with a healthy homemade recipe? I’m in! Thank you so much for it!
Im confused. These are advertised as healthy, sugar free, yet in the ingredients list there is evaporated cane juice (which is SUGAR). Whats going on?
Yes, evaporated cane juice is sugar. I said these are “refined sugar free” as in, it’s made without bleached white sugar. Evaporated cane juice is slightly tan in color because it isn’t bleached. I also tried this recipe using a bit of sucanat (which looks like brown chunks and smells like molasses because it’s even less processed than the evaporated cane juice) and it worked! Since my verbiage is probably a little confusing, I’ll edit my post to remove the “refined sugar free” part. Hope this helps! 🙂
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Oh my gosh, you are dedicated! I’d have given up halfway through fail # 2 lol (I like treats, but don’t care much for baking). Unfortunately, I have to bake due to allergies, now. Gluten and dairy. AND…. technically *cough cough* I’m not supposed to have certain sugars. I was wondering if you think this would work with maple syrup (or maple sugar) instead of the cane sugar? I can tolerate that sugar well…
Figured you’d have a good opinion given all your experience! 😀
This was so long ago that I forget some of the sugars I tested, but I feel like I did give maple sugar a try… and I don’t think it worked. I feel like maple sugar and coconut sugar have similar characteristics. I for sure tested coconut sugar, which doesn’t work, so I would guess that maple sugar doesn’t work either. I’m sorry! 🙁
I would love to see what your standard recipe is because there’s no reason why anyone should fail at macarons 30 times. I have been baking macarons professionally for over three years and they really are not that difficult. I get that there is some trial and error in the beginning but if you are using a good solid recipe it should be quite easy to have a functional batch after five or six attempts at the most. The tan Cookies you’re using as an example above of a good batch have a incorrect structure. They are far too flat and thin with a overly compact foot. What was your first basic recipe you started with?
You probably didn’t see in my post that it was my goal to make macarons HEALTHIER… aka, with less sugar, and a lesser refined sugar. I’ve made classic macarons dozens of times without problems, I run into problems when I try to reduce the sugar and use a different type. So obviously the darker ones have an incorrect structure — I never said these were perfect. However, the texture and chewiness level were both spot on!! 🙂
Wow this looks amazing and it’s a bonus that it’s healthy.
I have one question, I’m wondering whether rapadura sugar would work? I don’t currently have evaporated cane juice and since they’re both essentially from cane juice I thought it might work? But then I realised rapadura sugar has more molasses so maybe not?
I’ve never used rapadura sugar before so I can’t be sure, HOWEVER I have used Sucanat before (which is very dark brown, granulated, and contains quite a bit of molasses) with success! The macarons are definitely chewier and don’t keep as long as the regular version, but it still worked. They even had feet and a nice crunchy surface. I’d say it’s worth a shot! And if it doesn’t work out, there are so many ways to use the cookies. You could crumble them up and press it into a pan to use as “pie crust” or chop some to top oatmeal, ice cream, milkshakes, etc. 🙂
This post was SOOOO relatable. I’ve tried to make sugar free macarons so many times (and regular) and always fail. At least I’ve come close with the sugar ones. I’m still on the quest to perfect mine but I will def gives these a try! I’d still like to find one tho that doesn’t spike my blood sugar.
Macarons are so dang hard… seriously though, WHYYYYY?!?!?
We’re in the same boat, though. It would be LIFE-CHANGING to finally healthify a sugar-free French Macaron!
This is so interesting. Ive never heard if the sugar substitute you used. Thank you for the recipe, I will definitely try it! 😊
It is actually a myth that macarons need “drying time” or they will crack and have no feet.
I’ve made them many times now with no drying time and they come out perfectly. Once I learned this, it saved me so much time. I only have a small convection oven, so I can only make small batches at a time. Having 5 separate cookie sheets taking up all the table/counter space in my kitchen for an hour, no thanks! 😂
Oh girl they look so cute but I’m so sad, in my town they don’t sell evaporated cane juice (I didnt know that existed haha) nor almond flour, so I’m gonna trt with powdered sugar, brown sugar and coconut flour, I guess it’ll be a fail haha
I definitely wouldn’t recommend coconut flour. Coconut flour doesn’t work to replace, or work as a substitute, for anything because it absorbs so much liquid. Powdered sugar works in place of evaporated cane juice, it’s just a tad bit more processed.
“120 calories for four shells without the frosting and 18g of sugar” 😂😂😂 “Healthy” my ass. Just because it’s “low carb” and “low fat”🙄
Congratulations on removing the two principal sources your body uses for energy without using your protein stores. Not only are you making it unhealthy by making it low carb and low fat (lol), but you’re also making people fat with empty calories. Give me a break.