Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sugar Alcohols: The Sweet Truth

If like me you are a diabetic, then you have seen a number of products that cater to diabetics that are labeled as 'sugar-free' the emphasis primarily being on candy and snack foods. In addition, over the last few years as low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) and ketogenic (keto) ways of eating (WOE) have become popular a number of companies have began to offer meal or energy replacement bars which are touted as being 'sugar-free' or 'low carbohydrate'. These products claim to offer all of the sweetness of sugar without the side effects of raising sugar levels and or low net carbohydrate counts to help keep you in ketosis. Essentially, the companies that produce these products are telling consumers “you can have your cake and eat it too” if it contains sugar alcohols instead of sugar. Unfortunately, its not that simple.

Just exactly what are these sugar alcohols that are being used to replace the sugar in these 'sugar-free' and low carbohydrate products? Sugar alcohols are created from a variety of fruits, berries, and even corn. These plants or plant products go through a chemical process in which the natural sugars (carbohydrates) in the plant are altered to form a sugar alcohol (polyol) that contains less carbohydrates than sugar, but still maintains it's sweetening power. The most common sugar alcohols derived from these plants that are found in commercially made products include: erythritol, lactilol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH). Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates are mixtures of high-order polyhydric sugar alcohols such as maltitol and sorbitol. The following table lists some of the most common uses of sugar alcohols in commercial products.

The Sugar Alcohols
Per Gram
Sweetness Compared To Sucralose
Typical Food Applications
50 - 70%
Sugar-free candies, chewing gums, frozen desserts and baked goods
Chewing gum, gum drops and hard candy, pharmaceuticals and oral health products, such as throat lozenges, cough syrups, children’s chewable multivitamins, toothpastes and mouthwashes; used in foods for special dietary purposes
Hard candies, chewing gum, chocolates, baked goods and ice cream
45 - 65%
Candies, toffee, lollipops, fudge, wafers, cough drops, and throat lozenges
30 - 40%
Chocolate, some baked goods (cookies and cakes), hard and soft candy and frozen dairy desserts
50 - 70%
Dusting powder for chewing gum, ingredient in chocolate-flavored coating agents for ice cream and confections
0 - 0.2*
60 - 80%
Bulk sweetener in low calorie food
25 - 50%
Bulk sweetener in low calorie foods, provide sweetness, texture and bulk to a variety of sugarless products
* FDA accepts 0.2 kcal/g, but some other countries, such as Japan and the European Union, accept 0 kcal/g.

Blood Sugar Effects

There are a quite a large variety of candy and or sweet goods that are sold using sugar alcohols that are touted as being sugar-free and sold as diabetic friendly. My father who is a type two diabetic loves the little Russel Stover brand of chocolate candies which are of course labeled “sugar-free”, but contain large amounts of sugar alcohols. The question is are these products really sugar free, and if so, do they keep your blood sugar (insulin) levels from rising after they are consumed? According to the American Diabetes Association “sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar and have less of an effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) than other carbohydrates.” According to the University Of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, sugar alcohols may still have a significant impact of your blood sugar levels “don’t be fooled – sugar alcohols are still a form of carbohydrate, and they still affect your blood sugar levels, if not as dramatically.” The Harvard School of Medicine Joslin Diabetic Center on their website regarding sugar alcohols state “Many so-called 'dietetic' foods that are labeled 'sugar free' or 'no sugar added' in fact contain sugar alcohols. People with diabetes MISTAKENLY think that foods labeled as "sugar free" or 'no sugar added' will have no effect on their blood glucose. Foods containing these sugar alcohols need to have their calorie and carbohydrate contents accounted for in your overall meal plan, as it is carbohydrates that raise blood glucose levels.”

So what does this all mean? Well, sugar alcohols are not sugar, but, depending on the type they can still have a moderate effect on blood sugar levels. On their website for Diabetic Education the UCSF Medical Center states that in order to determine a more accurate impact of sugar alcohols on blood sugars “when counting carbohydrates, include half of the sugar from the sugar alcohol.” Therefore, when looking at nutritional labels of products that contain sugar alcohols you should take the total amount of the sugar alcohol and divide by two as about half of the sugar alcohols will be absorbed and impact your blood sugar levels. So let's take a look at the Millville Elevation Carb Conscious Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat Bar that I myself have eaten.

Elevation Carb Conscious Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat (2 Net Carbs per package)
Total carbohydrates – 20 grams
Dietary Fiber – 8 grams
Sugar alcohols – 10 grams

I have always learned that you should take the total number of carbohydrates and subtract the dietary fiber and all of the sugar alcohols to get the total net carbohydrate count of the end product (total carbs – sugar alcohols – fiber = net carbs). Following this formula, we see that the Elevation bar does equate to 2 net grams of carbohydrates per bar. According to the UCSF Medical Center, a more accurate way to determine the impact that sugar alcohols have on your blood sugar is to divide the total number of sugar alcohols by half, then subtract them from the total amount of carbohydrates to determine net carbs. So when we take the sugar alcohols which are listed as 10 grams and divide by half, we get a total of 5 grams (10 / 2 = 5 grams). Now lets re-work our formula to calculate the net carbohydrates of the Elevation bar in question. If the total amount of carbohydrates is 20 grams, and the fiber is 8, and revised sugar alcohol count is 5 grams, we get a total of 7 net carbohydrates (20 – 8 – 5 = 7 grams), not 2 net carbs.

So while the package of the Elevation bars lists net carbohydrates as 2 grams, according to UCSF Medical Center formula, it actually has an impact on your blood sugar as if you are consuming 7 grams of carbohydrates. While 7 grams of net carbs does not seem like a lot, it is still three times more than what is listed on the package. I must admit I was quite shocked, and felt somewhat deceived by the manufacturers package labeling. It's not just Millville and Atkins, it's all the manufacturers that produce 'sugar-free' or 'no-sugar added' products that contain sugar alcohols. They all follow the standard formula that total carbs – fiber – sugar alcohols = net carbs, even though they know that sugar alcohols have an impact on blood sugars.

Ketosis and Fat Burning

For those of us who have embraced a LCHF / Keto way of eating (WOE), the big question is will the consumption of sugar alcohols delay or interfere with ketosis and fat burning? According to 'Ask The Nutritionist' on the Atkins website, “Sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed by the gut, which means they provide roughly half the calories that sugar does. Thanks to this incomplete and slower absorption, there is a minimal impact on blood sugar and insulin response. Because of this, sugar alcohols don’t significantly interfere with fat burning.” What is missing from this statement is that roughly half the calories also means they contain roughly half the carbohydrates, and we know carbohydrates impact blood sugar levels as well as ketosis.

Dr. Andreas Eenfieldt from during his communication with the Atkins company regarding one of there products that they clam is only 5 nets carbs responded “subtracting 100% of the sugar alcohol from “net carbs” is misleading to your customers as about half of the maltitol is absorbed.” So the answer to this question seems pretty straightforward, and that is that sugar alcohols can definitely blow you out of ketosis. This is because most people look at a nutritional label and think that sugar alcohols are carbohydrate free and as we have seen they definitely are not. It is this misconception or lack of dietary education that causes consumers to eat way to many hidden carbohydrates which in turn blows them out of ketosis.

Look, I admit it, I knew better, and I fell for the same marketing ploy and have on occasion eaten some of these products. The worst part is that I am not new to the LCHF / Keto way of eating. My wife and I adopted the ketogenic WOE more than a year ago, so if you are new to the LCHF / Keto way of life, take solace in the fact that even those of us who have been eating this way for a while can still make mistakes. My advice to you is to omit these products from your eating regimen, or at the very least, make sure that you count the carbohydrates correctly. A snack bar that contains 7 net carbs, may not seem like a lot if you are on a moderate carbohydrate eating plan (50 grams of carbs or less per day), but can definitely blow you out of ketosis if you are following a strict carbohydrate eating plan (20 grams of carbs or less per day).

Bloating, GI Motility, and Diarrhea.

My experience with sugar alcohols is somewhat limited, I generally do not eat sugar-free candies or products that contain sugar alcohols. However, I have on occasion eaten the 'Elevation Carb Conscious' bars made by Millville and sold at Aldi which are similar to the Atkins bars. Depending on the flavor of the bar, they contain 9 – 10 grams of sugar alcohols (primarily maltitol) giving them a net carbohydrate count of 7 – 8 net carbs per bar (see UCSF net carbs formula above).

As mentioned earlier, because sugar alcohols are not totally absorbed by the gut, they have less of an impact of blood sugars and the insulin response than sugar. It is because sugar alcohols are not totally absorbed by the gut, they can have some unwanted side effects which vary in severity depending on the person. According to Ask The Nutritionist, “since a portion of sugar alcohols aren’t fully absorbed in the gut, there is the potential that consuming too much may produce a laxative effect or cause some gastrointestinal problems. Most people can usually handle 20 to 30 grams a day.” Personally, I have found that while sugar alcohols do not cause me to have abdominal cramping or diarrhea, they do tend to cause me to have a lot more flatulence. My wife, however, who has mild irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) tends to have more complications with abdominal cramping and diarrhea as well as flatulence when she consumes products that contain sugar alcohols. According to the American Diabetes Association, “sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect or other gastric symptoms in some people, especially in children.” So my advice would be to avoid giving your kids products such as Atkins or Millville's low carbohydrate bars, or any candies that are labeled 'sugar-free' that contain sugar alcohols. So if you have any friends or family members who are diabetics make sure you educate them regarding the potential risks of children and sugar alcohol consumption.

The one sugar alcohol that does not seem to cause GI complications is erythritol. While erythritol is a popular powdered replacement for sugar in the LCHF / Keto community, it appears to be rarely used in commercial products. So why isn't erythritol used more often in 'sugar free' and 'low carb' products? Maybe it simply costs to much to be used as a primary sweetener in ready made products, or maybe it is the 'cooling effect' it has on the mouth which some consumers do not find appealing, I simply have no answer for that question.


The bottom line, sugar alcohols are safe in moderation, and while they have a lower impact on blood sugars, they still contain carbohydrates which can not only raise your blood sugar, but knock you out of ketosis if they are not consumed in moderation. I realize that not all sugar alcohols effect blood sugars or ketosis in the same way, but I believe the UCSF formula (total carbs – fiber – half of the sugar alcohols = net carbs) for calculating the 'net carbs' of any products that contain sugar alcohols is way more accurate than that proposed by food manufacturers (total carbs – fiber – sugar alcohols = net carbs). This is especially important for those of us who are on a strict low carbohydrate (20 grams or less a day) regimen. Heck, if you ate two of the Akins or Elevation bars each day you would have actually consumed a total of about 14 net grams (7 per bar) of carbohydrates as opposed to the 4 net grams (2 per bar) as listed on the package. That's more than three times the carbohydrates!

While consumption of sugar alcohols affects each of us differently, remember that when consumed in amounts of 30 grams or more a day they may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and or diarrhea. This is especially true for children, so my personal opinion would be to avoid giving products with sugar alcohols to your little ones. Look, sugar alcohols have their place, I am not saying you should avoid them, but I am advising you to take care when consuming them in certain products. Of all the sugar alcohols erythritol, and xylitol seem to have none or at least minimal GI side effects (gastrointestinal discomfort, and or diarrhea), but at the end of the day, they are still sugar alcohols so you should use them sparingly until you can determine how they will affect you and your family. 

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Ask The Nutritionist: The Scoop On Sugar Alcohols,, accessed October 24, 2017.

Diabetes Education Online, University Of California San Francisco Medical Center, 2007-2017. Accessed October 1, 2017.

Diaz, Jessica, RD, What Do Sugar Alcohols Mean In Carb Counting,, October 3, 2017.

Eenfeldt, Andreas, MD, Atkins, Greed And The Fairy Tale Cookies,, April 4, 2014.
Gunnars, Kris, Bsc, Are Atkins Low-Carb Bars Healthy? A Critical Look, Authority Nutrition, October 3, 2013.

Modderman, JP., Safety Assessment Of Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysates, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, August 1993.

Sisson, Mark, Sugar Alcohols: Everything You Need To Know, Mark's Daily Apple, February 15, 2011.

Sugar Alcohol Facts, Ketogenic Diet Resource, accessed October 20, 2017.

Sugar Alcohols, The American Diabetes Association, May 14, 2014, accessed September 17, 2017.

Sugar Alcohols Fact Sheet, Food Insight, October 14, 2009, Updated April 24, 2017, accessed October 25, 2017.

The Best And Worst Low Carbohydrate Sweeteners, Ruled Me, accessed September 1, 2017

What Are Sugar Alcohols? Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, accessed October 24, 2017.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Health Benefits Of Pink Himalayan Salt: Fact or Fiction

During my eighteen years in the restaurant business I used a wide variety of salts, salt products, and salt substitutes in countless recipes for a variety of reasons. Depending on the particle or size (coarse, fine, finishing) and type of grain of salt used, the amount has to be adjusted in order to season the dish correctly. In addition, some salts have a unique flavor profile depending on the sea in which they come from (sea salts), or the country and or area of the country in which they are mined (Hawaii, Himalaya, India, Italy, etc...). No matter the source, there is one thing that all of these salts have in common and this is of course sodium (Na). In fact, almost every salt product available commercially contains about 97 – 99% sodium. Unrefined salts, tend to be on the lower end, but overall the difference in sodium between commerically available products is generally less than 1%. For some reason, it is this other 2 – 3% that makes up salt that seems to have caught America's attention and fueled a fire for “the pink stuff” or 'Himalayan Pink Salt'.

Anyone who embarks on a LCHF / Ketogenic way of eating (WOE), will experience some form of diuresis, this is especially true during the early part of the process when your body is adapting from burning carbohydrates to burning fat as it's primary fuel source. Because diuresis can cause you to lose a fair amount of sodium and potassium in your urine, it is important to make sure that you eat foods that supply your body with an adequate amount of sodium and potassium to replace that which you will lose in your urine. This is especially true for those of you who may be practicing some form of intermittent fasting (IF).

To combat this, there are a wide variety of 'drinks' and or bone broth recipes that can help you stay hydrated and help you to replenish your sodium and potassium stores as well as add some trace minerals back into your bloodstream. Some of these remedies, drinks, or bone broths make some quite specific health related claims which have not been scientifically proven, and that is what brings me in a round about way to the topic of this article regarding the benefits or so called benefits of 'Himalayan Pink Salt'.

Pink Himalayan Salt And The 84 Trace Minerals

Mined in the Punjabi region of Pakistan as well as some other regions of the Himalayas, Himalayan pink salt (PHS) is all the rage right now. So let's look at the chemical breakdown of PHS which is 98% sodium (Na) and 2% various trace minerals. One of the biggest claims made by almost all sellers, advertisers and proponents of pink Himalayan salt is that it is better for you because it contains 84 trace minerals that are essential to proper bodily function as well as promoting health and well being. Keep in that only 2% of the total makeup of PHS contains these 84 trace minerals that are claimed to be so beneficial. Logic would dictate that in order to get that many minerals in such a small percentage of salt, they must be pretty small amounts right? To find the answer to this question, I decided to do some research on the subject.

When examining the benefits of PHS, Dr. Harriet Hall from Science Based Medicine stated in her article on Himalayan pink salt that “the amount of minerals in it is too minuscule to make any difference, and we already get plenty of the same trace minerals from other foods.” In addition TIME Health a subsidiary of TIME magazine interviewed Dr. Andy Weil program director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine about the benefits of PHS. In this interview he stated, “All salts vary somewhat with respect to trace mineral content and texture. Proponents claim that pink salt has more minerals than typical salt, but you aren't likely to get any extra health perks from eating it. Pink Himalayan salt is nutritionally very similar to regular salt. It's just prettier and more expensive”.

Finally, 'Medical News Today' in their article 'Pink Himalayan Salt: Does It Have Any Health Benefits' concludes “At present, there is no scientific evidence to show that pink Himalayan salt provides more health benefits than regular table salt. Although pink salt contains several minerals, they are present in such small quantities that they are unlikely to bring any notable health benefits. It is also lower in iodine than iodized table salts, which may cause health issues for those who do not get enough iodine from other sources. Replacing fine-grain table salt with crystals of pink Himalayan salt may help to reduce sodium intake, but, as with any other salt, it should be enjoyed in moderation”.

I have read all the claims from a variety of authors, trainers, fitness gurus and or medical professionals, and watched hundreds of videos touting the same rhetoric. My personal opinion is that there is simply not enough of the 84 trace minerals in PHS to justify the claims that it promotes health and well being more so than any other salt. So, should the 84 trace minerals in PHS cause you any concern? Well, no. However, the science does not appear to back up any of the health benefits of PHS either.

The Sodium / Potassium Pump (Potassium in Pink Himalayan Salt)

The electrolytes sodium (Na) and potassium (K+) work hand in hand as part of the sodium-potassium pump. This sodium-potassium pump helps to move sodium ions from inside your bodies cells to the outside of the cell. In turn, this same sodium-potassium pump moves potassium ions from the outside of the cells to the inside of your bodies cells. So why is this transport of sodium and potassium so important? Because the sodium-potassium pump helps to regulate nerve impulses in both skeletal and cardiac muscle as well as helping to maintain proper fluid balance in the body. The only reason I wanted to mention this in this article is because I have seen several proponents of PHS claiming that it is a good source of potassium, and is a crucial component for proper sodium-potassium pump function. The funny thing is that none of the Himalayan salt products that I could find on the internet, list the amount of potassium in one serving of PHS. If the potassium content of PHS was so important, you would think that the amount of potassium contained in PHS would be listed on the nutritional label wouldn't you? This lack of information was a problem for me, so in order to try and validate some of these claims I decided to look at the on-line results of the spectral analysis of PHS.

According to the spectral analysis, Pink Himalayan Salt contains 3.5mg of potassium per kilogram (3.5mg/Kg) of weight. So, in order to find out how much potassium is actually in 1 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt, I had to do a little basic math, and here are my results.

1 kilogram = 1000 grams
Potassium 3.5gm/kg or 3,500mg/kg = 3,500mg/1000grams or 3.5mg/gram
1 teaspoon HPS weighs 4.4 grams

Therefore, if 1 teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Salt weighs 4.4 grams, and there is 3.5mg of potassium per gram of PHS, then the total amount of potassium in one teaspoon of PHS is 15.4mg (3.5 x 4.4 = 15.4mg). Since the recommended daily intake of potassium for an adult is 4,700mg/day, I think it is safe to say, that PHS is not a good source of your required daily potassium intake. Heck, one avocado contains about 700mg of potassium. I am not refuting the fact that PHS has potassium, just the fact that it is a good source for added dietary potassium as some so-called health advocates claim. Just for comparison, below I have listed the sodium and or potassium content (if any) for 1 teaspoon of some of the more common salts available at your local supermarket.

Kosher Salt – Sodium (Na) 1,800mg
Morton Lite Salt – Sodium (Na) 1,160mg, potassium (K+) 1400mg
Pink Himalayan Salt – Sodium (Na) 2,000mg, potassium (K+) 15.4mg
Sea Salt (fine grain) – Sodium (Na) 2,360mg
Sea Salt (coarse grain) – Sodium (Na) 1,600mg
Table Salt – Sodium (Na) 2,325mg

If you are worried about a electrolyte imbalance between sodium (Na) and potassium (K+) during the induction phase of a LCHF / Keto diet when you are diuresing (having frequent urination) or during intermittent fasting (IF) when you are consuming large amount of water; then from a purely chemical composition standpoint, Morton Light salt would be a better option than pink Himalayan salt. So what we see is that the science simply does not validate the fact that PHS is a good source of dietary potassium as many have claimed.

The Cost Benefit Ratio

Just looking at the various purchasing options at your local supermarket, or even online, you will see that PHS is quite a bit more expensive than regular table salt, sea salt, or Morton Lite Salt. Depending on the brand, and whether you get the fine or coarse grind, the price varies quite a bit. You can of course save quite a bit of money by purchasing in bulk, but are you gaining any real benefit from spending your hard earned money on PHS? That is a question you will have to answer for yourself, but to help you form your own conclusion I have listed some of the more popular brands of PHS found at not only my local Walmart, but the best selling brands on Amazon as well just so that you can see the variation in the prices of PHS.

Olde Thompson Fine Pink Himalayan Salt (12.5 ounces) $4.93, or $0.39 per ounce
Olde Thompson Coarse Pink Himalayan Salt (12.5 ounces) $3.83, or $0.31 per ounce
McCormick Grinder Coarse Pink Himalayan Salt (2.5 ounces) $2.71, or $1.08 per ounce

Sherpa Extra-Fine Grain Pink Himalayan Salt (5lbs) $14.24, or $0.18 per ounce
The Spice Lab Coarse Pink Himalayan Salt (2.2lbs) $8.55, or $0.24 per ounce
Wild Fine Himalayan Pink Salt (1 lb) $12.95, or $0.80 per ounce

Morton Kosher Salt (3lbs) $3.23, or $0.07 per ounce
Morton Lite Salt (11 ounces) $2.12, or $0.19 per ounce
Morton Iodized Salt (26 ounces) $1.48, or $0.06 per ounce

The problem is, there is so much hype surrounding the claims and benefits of consuming PHS, however, according to science, the benefits are actually minimal or none at all. I know this statement will not make some people happy, and yes, I understand that know one can place a price on your health, but to pay exorbitant prices for a product that has little or no real benefit to your health is in my opinion wasteful, especially if you are on a budget and trying to maximum both your health and food dollars.

The Conclusion

If you have read this far, then I applaud you for your strength of will. Many who would not agree with my conclusions would have simply stopped reading by now, or sent me a scalding email or response without reading the complete article. The bottom line is that I started my research in order to better educate myself regarding the use of pink Himalayan salt to determine whether it could help me to meet my health goals. What I found along the way was a lot of claims and hype, but very little science to back up any of those claims. Am I telling you to stop using PHS? No, what I am telling you is that if you continue to use PHS in your diet, just be aware that many of the so called health benefits of using such are unconfirmed if not over inflated.

It is my personal opinion that if you are worried about a sodium-potassium electrolyte imbalance, you would be better off using something like Morton's Lite salt, which has about a 45 – 55% ratio of sodium to potassium, as opposed to using PHS. Keep in mind that while sodium replacement is important, consuming to much sodium can be a problem for people who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney problems, and or congestive heart failure. The best solution would be to simply increase the amount of potassium rich foods in your eating plan. As always, we ask that if you have found this information beneficial and or helpful, we ask that you share this with your friends and family as well on sharing it on other socail media platforms. Do not forget to send us a friend request on Facebook at CulinaryyoULCHF, or add us to your circle of friends on Google+.


Gunnars, Kris, BSc, Types Of Salt: Himalayan vs Kosher vs Regular vs Sea Salt. Healthline Newsletter, June 4, 2017.

Hall, Harriet, MD, Pass The Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff) Science-Based Medicine, August 19, 2014.

Leonard, Jayne, Pink Himalayan Salt: Does It Have Any Health Benefits? Medical News Today, January 8, 2017

Minerals In Himalayan Pink Salt: Spectral Analysis, The Meadow. Accessed October 8, 2017.

Sifferlin, Alexandra, Does Pink Himalayan Salt Have Any Health Benefits? Time Health, June 28, 2017.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Instant-Pot Bone Broth

There are a lot of different approaches to making bone broth. The most common is either cooking the broth on the stove on in a slow cooker for 8 to 24 hours. Heck, a friend of mine cooks his bone broth in the slow cooker for two days. The idea behind the length of cooking bone broth is to get all of the goodness (minerals, gelatin, marrow, vitamins) out of the bones and vegetables and into the liquid. While both of these methods are simple, time tested, and effective, they are painfully slow. There is however a faster and more efficient way, and that is to use a pressure cooker.

As a homesteader, gardener, and canner, my wife and I have a variety of pressure canners, however most of them are quite large, 12-quarts or larger. However, a few years ago we bought a 6-quart Instant-pot electric pressure canner. This is our go to bone broth making machine as it allows us to make awesome, nutritious, and delicious bone broth in about 2 hours. So, in just two hours, (after the pressure cooker gets up to pressure) the pressure will leech out all the collagen, marrow, minerals, and vitamins locked into the bones and veggies that would typically take a stockpot or slow cooker 24 hours. So for us, using the Instant-pot is optimum choice.

Typically, whenever we roast a chicken, or buy a rotisserie chicken from our local supermarket, I save the bones and put them in the freezer, once I get about two or three pounds of bones, I put them in my Instant-pot pressure cooker and make bone broth. The best bone broth however comes from when we butcher an old laying hen which is no longer productive. Typically and older hen is a “tough old bird” hence the saying, and they are relegated to the crock pot or slow cooker in order to make them edible. In addition, an older chicken tends to have more fat (at least ours do) which is something we are looking for in a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) / Ketogenic (Keto) bone broth. Having said that, if all you have are bones, and or a couple of whole chickens you got on sale at your local supermarket that will work as well. Anyway, let's get on with making some awesome bone broth.

My Recipe

I will say upfront, the best bone broth comes from cooking one or two whole birds and reserving the cooking liquid and then after you have deboned the carcasses for other meals, add the bones back to the cooking liquid and add the remaining ingredients. Making bone broth this way gives the final product a depth of flavor that cannot be beat. However, many people make excellent tasting bone broth with just leftover bones.

2 to 3 pounds beef, chicken, pork, or rabbit bones
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, with the Mother
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
mirepoix, optional (see below)

Place bones in your electric pressure cooker and add the remaining ingredients. Add enough water until the pot is ¾ full (my instant-pot holds 4 liters, so I fill it with liquid to the 3 liter line).

Chef's Note: Typically, you should allow the bones to sit in the water with the vinegar for 30 minutes. The idea is that this allows the vinegar to begin to soften the bones and helps to leech out the minerals into the broth. This increases your cook time, and to be honest, I do not think that it matters when you are using a pressure cooker, so I generally skip the additional wait time.

If you are using an Instant-pot electric pressure cooker, Select the 'Soup' button and change the pressure setting to 'low'. Then set the cook time for 2 hours (120 minutes). When the timer is goes off, unplug your Instant-pot and allow it to depressurize naturally.

All that is left to do is to strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the bones and or any vegetables or herbs that you may have added to the pressure cooker. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. We like to store some of our bone broth in individual one cup portions and the remaining in glass Mason canning jars. (Yield: 2 quarts)

Chef's Note: Most of my bone broth comes from chicken or rabbit bones (we raise both for meat). If you have a good supply of beef, lamb, or pork bones, then roasting them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes really kicks up the flavor profile. To see how to roast bones for bone broth see below.

Roasting The Bones

Beef, pork, and lamb bones when roasted in the oven adds a depth of flavor that you just do not get from simply boiling the bones. The great thing is that it only takes about half an hour to take your bone broth to the next level. To roast the bones, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees then place the bones in a roasting pan in a single layer, and lightly coat them with olive or canola oil and place them in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off check the bones, they should be a deep rich brown color. If they are not, then roast for another 5 – 10 minutes.

Once the bones have been roasted to perfection, toss them in your stockpot of pressure cooker. Now another key to developing great flavor is to take a small amount of hot water and add it to the roasting pan after you have removed the bones. Then take a wooden or plastic spoon and carefully scrap all the bits from the pan (aka fond) and add them to your stockpot or pressure cooker.

Mirepoix (The Vegetables)

I will be honest, I keep my bone broth pretty virgin, just bones, water, salt, pepper and a basic mirepoix. However, if you want to throw in some additional odd vegetables or herbs please feel free to do so. In classic French cuisine, the way I was trained, when making beef, chicken or fish stock you would use a mirepoix (combination of onions, carrots, and celery). Which you would either roast with your bones or not, depending on the type of stock you were making. The amounts of vegetables used varies depending on the amount of stock or broth you are making, but the ratio stays the same, 2 part onions, to 1 part celery, and 1 part carrot. So for this recipe, my mirepoix contains a variety of leftover vegetables (ends and pieces) of onions, bell pepper, carrots, and celery that I keep in a plastic one gallon zip lock bag in my freezer. These are the trimmings from when I do any prep for our family meals (waste not want not). If you do not have any trimmings, then for this recipe I would suggest 1 cup diced onion, and ½ cup each diced carrots, and celery (a total of 2 cups of vegetables)

Of course, you can leave the veggies out and just make the bone broth without them and you will still have a delicious and nutritious broth. Having said that multiple studies show that the majority of the minerals found in bone broths come from the vegetable matter, not the bones that is in the broth. So while bones alone are good, bones and veggies are better.

Think of this base recipe as a blank canvas and you are the artist. You can add so many different vegetables, herbs and aromatics to this basic bone broth depending on your personal tastes. Some of my favorite additions in no specific order are: garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, red pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, kombu (dried seaweed), and Korean red pepper paste (gochujang). The skies the limit, so experiment and enjoy your creations.

What If Your Bone Broth Tastes Weak?

Well, the simple answer for a basic stock would be to cook it down until the water content is reduced to about one-third, or one-half. The quick solution however, is to enhance your bone broth by adding some powdered chicken or beef broth. I can hear you now, some of you are screaming 'NO!!!!!!', but yes, I will on occasion add a small amount of powdered bouillon to my bone broth if it needs it. I prefer the Knorr brand, but use whichever brand you prefer. If the idea of adding powdered bouillon offends you, then do not add it to your bone broth and simply simmer your broth until it reduces enough to concentrate the flavors to your liking.


There you have it. My fool proof recipe for a delicious and nutritious bone broth that you can make in less than three hours from start to finish. Not only is it great for those of you who are on a schedule of intermittent fasting, it is an excellent source of fat which helps you to increase your fat intake while you are on a LCHF / Keto diet. Bone broth contains electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus), and collagen (which contains the proteins glycine and proline), which are found in all land animal bones. There is, still no specific scientific research that supports the many of the health claims made about bone broth. In fact, the current limited scientific evidence suggests that many of the health benefits that are attributed to bone broth are simply false. As I often do, I have included many of the references I examined while writing this article so that you can go and do the research the possible benefits of bone broth and come to your own conclusions.

The bottom line, I like bone broth and it is a good source of natural fat, and if like me you are on a LCHF / Keto diet, or do any intermittent fasting (IF) then bone broth is an excellent way to add fat to your diet without any unwanted carbohydrates. In addition, many proponents of IF advocate and or allow the limited use of bone broth during the fasting period. And last but not least, bone broth is an excellent base for making homemade LCHF soups. As always, we ask that if you have found this article interesting or helpful, that you share it with your friends and share it on other social media outlets. Don't forget the checkout our Facebook page at CulinaryYouLCHF, or add use to your circle of friends on Google+. You can also check out all of our articles on Pintrest.

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