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Testimony of the Day

PHOTO TESTIMONY: “I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now.  The first two pictures are of me now, 52 lbs lighter. The next one is of me about a year ago and the other late October 2013 after losing 24 lbs.

I was very active in high school playing sports and eating what I thought was healthy.  Going keto adapted last October has completely changed my life. I have never felt better in my life and I have so much energy. Learning about food and what I know now it’s no wonder why I still felt tired and sluggish in high school. It’s weird to be smaller and healthier now at 37 with 2 kids than I was even in high school.  I love the new me. I had major depression, aches and pains, always edgy, on the verge of being diabetic. Not any more. Maria you have changed my life for the better. I can’t thank you enough.  You made it so easy. Your cookbooks are amazing and your recipes are so yummy.  I never felt hungry or unsatisfied with what I was eating.

My husband and children have supported me through it all. I couldn’t have done it with out them either. I still have a little more to go and I know I will get there.  Now if I can just get the whole family to go keto adapted it would be my cherry on top.” – Christal

If you want to get started on a path to health and healing, click HERE. You will not regret it!
low carb brown sugar


Agave and Fructose Connection

Agave Syrup is marketed as “low glycemic” and that is true, but let’s look into why agave syrup is “low glycemic.” It is due to the shockingly high concentration of fructose. It is 90% fructose and 10% glucose. Sugar is about 50/50% fructose to glucose, honey is about 55% fructose, high fructose corn syrup can range from 55-65% fructose.

One of the big contributors to the aging process and development and perpetuation of degenerative diseases is Advanced Glycation End Product (AGEs) glycation. Glycation is where a chemical reaction occurs between proteins and either sugars, lipid peroxidation products (free radicals from oxidative damage), or the breakdown products of sugar. So sugar plays a big role in glycation as does oxidative damage (think PUFA oils and sugar inflammation).

Glycation is the forming of sort of a crust around our cells. Many different studies have shown that this crust contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, asthma, stroke, cataracts, glaucoma, PCOS, autoimmune disease and much more.

So what role does fructose play here? Studies have shown that fructose enables glycation reactions ten times more rapidly than glucose!

Do you think a “Calorie is a Calorie?” In THIS study, they were surprised at how quickly the liver was affected and how extensive the damage was with the fructose. Both diets had the same amount of fat, carbohydrate and protein, but the sources were different. “In the high-fructose group, the team found that the type of intestinal bacteria hadn’t changed, but that they were migrating to the liver more rapidly and causing damage there. It appears that something about the high fructose levels was causing the intestines to be less protective than normal, and consequently allowing the bacteria to leak out at a 30 percent higher rate.”

low carb brown sugar

Why FRUCTOSE is so harmful:

1. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver; glucose, on the other hand, can be metabolized by every cell in the body. Fructose raises triglycerides (blood fats) like no other food. Fructose bypasses the enzyme phosphofructokinase, which is the rate-limiting enzyme for glucose metabolism. Fructose is shunted past the sugar-regulating pathways and into the fat-formation pathway. The liver converts this fructose to fat, which, unfortunately, remains in the liver = FATTY LIVER DISEASE.

Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat! This is why I see so many children with fatty liver disease…they aren’t drinking alcohol, they are drinking sodas, juices and consuming too much fructose!

2. Fructose reduces the sensitivity of insulin receptors, which causes type II diabetes. Insulin receptors are the way glucose enters a cell to be metabolized. Our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin and as a result, the body needs to make more insulin to handle the same amount of glucose. We also start to produce insulin as a defense mechanism even if we don’t eat and sugar or starch. YIKES! This is why we shouldn’t allow our children to eat so much sugar and starch either…even though they are thin and active, you are setting them up for an adulthood where they can’t enjoy a dessert without reaping the adverse effects. I grew up on Fruity Pebbles and skim milk for breakfast, Cocoa Pebbles for dinner, which is why I am so sensitive to glucose.

3. Fructose is high in uric acid, which increases blood pressure and causes gout.

4. Fructose increases lactic acid in the blood. High levels cause metabolic acidosis especially for those with conditions such as diabetes.

5. High consumption of fructose leads to mineral losses: iron, calcium magnesium and zinc, which can lead to low bone density (osteoporosis). It also interferes with copper metabolism. This causes collagen and elastin being unable to form, which are connective tissue that hold the body together. A deficiency in copper can also lead to infertility, bone loss, anemia, defects of the arteries, infertility, high cholesterol levels, heart attacks and inability to control blood sugar.

6. Fructose has no effect on our hunger hormone ghrelin and interferes with brain’s communication with leptin, which is the hormone that tells us to stop eating and you CAN become leptin resistant!(please read the chapter on HORMONES in Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism for charts on FOODS to Eat and FOODS to NOT EAT to balance your hormones properly.)

7. Fructose accelerates oxidative damage and increases aging. Fructose changes the collagen of our skin making it prone to wrinkles.

Anti-Aging Tips: Fructose and Glycation

Do you complain of sagging skin or cellulite? One of the big contributors to the aging process and development and perpetuation of degenerative diseases is Advanced Glycation End Product (AGEs) glycation. Glycation is where a chemical reaction occurs between proteins and either sugars, lipid peroxidation products (free radicals from oxidative damage), or the breakdown products of sugar. So sugar plays a big role in glycation as does oxidative damage (think PUFA oils and sugar inflammation).

A high carbohydrate diet causes this glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, AGEs. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more AGEs you develop. As AGEs accumulate, they damage neighboring proteins in a domino-like manner. Collagen and elastin are the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic are most venerable when you are eating a high starch diet. Once the damage has been done, the supple and strong collagen and elastin become dry and delicate, leading to wrinkles and sagging.

AGEs deactivate your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, leaving you more vulnerable to sun damage. Adding in 400 to 600mg of  alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) can help repair the skin from your past years of being a sugar burner. If you are going to spend the money on ALA supplements and serums, make sure to get it from a quality source from Germany. Chinese ALA is processed with harsh and toxic chemicals. Click HERE to find the oral supplement I prefer. 

Read more about fructose and liver health in my new book Keto-Adapted. low carb brown sugar

If you would like to help out a small family, rather than large business, I am happy to announce that you can now get my books as a high quality ebook that works on any platform. Plus, most of the profits don’t go to Amazon or apple! Click HERE or select “My Books” above to get your copy now!

Click HERE to get a limited edition of the Hard Cover.

Click HERE to get a soft cover.

Thank you all for your love and support!

low carb brown sugar

Dr. Oz recently did a show on Yacon Syrup. I have had this recipe scheduled on my blog since last year, but never posted it. Since I am now getting a lot of questions on yacon I thought it would be a good time to post it! low carb brown sugar

Yacon Syrup: A Shocking Discovery! The best low-glycemic sweetener ever has been found fresh pressed from the Yacon root (Smallanthus sonchifolius) this syrup is a gift from nature that has been enjoyed for centuries in the Andean highlands of Peru. Use Yacon Root Syrup as you would honey, agave, stevia or maple syrup on foods in recipes and to sweeten beverages.

Brown "Sugar" and Agave Facts

Maria Emmerich


  • 1/2 cup Natural Sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp yacon syrup room temperature


  • Mix well by placing in a bowl and using back side of a spoon to full integrate. Alternately, place in a ziplock back and squeeze and pinch until well combined.


Traditional Brown Sugar = 276 calories, 0g fat, 0g protein, 71.1g carb
"Healthified" Brown Sugar = 7 calories, 0g fat, 0g protein, 2.8g carbs, 1g fiber


“I purchased your 30 day accelerated meal plan package around November and have lost over 35 lbs. (I started cutting out carbs in August by reading your blog) My doctor had warned me about my weight gain so when I saw her in January for routine blood test she was ecstatic about my results, both in my blood numbers and my weight loss. Thank you so very much for all of your shared knowledge! Now, my naturally thin husband and kids are on board…BTW, hubby and 1 son have genetically high cholesterol, looking forward to their blood test results after 6 months on your program! My best friend and her family have purchased your assessment and books and are on their way to great health also! I praise God for you Maria! Thank you!” – Susan

To get the results fast, click HERE for easy to follow keto-adapted meals.

Works great to make chewy chocolate chip cookies!

low carb brown sugar


Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • Ilisa Ailts says:

    Maria! Thank you! 🙂 Yummy!

  • Shannon says:

    So is yacon syrup NOT high in fructose like agave is?

    • cemmerich says:

      Nope, much of it is fructoogilosaccarides (like in swerve). 🙂

      • cemmerich says:

        For example, the glycemic index of fructose is 12-25 (average 19). Yacon is less than 1.

      • Krickt says:

        I went to the health food store yesterday to ask for this. After I recovered, (25 bucks for a little tiny bottle) I read the label, the first ingredient was Maltodextrin. I’m avoiding maltodextrin like the plague! Was it just this one brand, or are all of them cut with sugar like this?

  • Whitney Swanner says:

    Hi Maria! I am wanting to use your services and help my husband and I break addictions, lose fat and become pain-free :). Which of your services should we start with? Also, I bought your kid cookbook a while back and my kids and I have intestinal trouble with Swerve. I was so sad and gave up. But now my husband and I have to do something to change our lives or we won’t be able to walk in years or come! Can your program and recipes be adapted if I only use Just Like Sugar and will it still work if I also use some sugar/honey?

    Thank u,

  • Valerie Pergolizzi says:

    You have the cutest little boys! Their pictures are priceless….!

  • kelly says:

    Would this also work to keep icecream from hardening? What about using it in caramel, and how?
    Also, suffering terribly with muscle cramping and muscle weaknesses. Have increased salt but
    #1. how much and mag and potassium do you rec?
    #2. What brands of both?
    #3. When should they be taken?
    I have checked my 30 day plan but could not for the life of me find the specifics.
    Thank you for your help Maria!

  • Valerie says:

    So you would recommend using yocon syrup with pancakes in place of maple syrup? Should it be avoided in larger amounts?

    • cemmerich says:

      I don’t think I would use it that way (it is quite expensive). But in some recipes like this or BBQ sauce (coming soon) it is great. 🙂

  • Pansy says:

    Would yacon powder work? I see Nuts.com has the powder. Thanks for the recipe, I really miss brown sugar!

    • cemmerich says:

      I don’t think that would work. The syrup mixes with the Swerve. It might taste the same though.

  • Karin says:

    Hi Maria,
    Not sure where to ask this questions: I’m on the second day of the keto diet, after having bought both your accelerated and maintenance meal plans, and am super nauseous and vomiting a lot. I’m not finding the answers online, and wondering if this is part of the “normal” keto-flu, which I should push through, or if something else is going on! I’m only very rarely sick to my stomach, and didn’t even vomit during pregnancy, although I was really nauseous for months. What’s the solution to this? Should I have cut out the carbs more slowly, instead of in 1 go? I was already gluten and sugar free, but did still eat a lot of rice and potatoes before starting the diet…
    I have been drinking plenty of water, and eating lots of salt. Thanks so much for any help you can give me!

    • cemmerich says:

      Also add potassium. http://astore.amazon.com/marisnutran05-20/detail/B001AWWC1W

      As for vomiting, I haven’t seen that before. Sometimes a bit of an upset stomach. If you were very high carb and low fat before, it can take your body a little time to get used to the added fat. Also, dandelion and ox bile to increase bile production. 🙂

      • Karin says:

        Thanks so much for replying, Maria! The first night was the worst, but I felt better after vomiting: like you said, I think it was simply a huge change to low carb and high fat for me, and my stomach didn’t know how to deal with it the first couple of days. The potassium may have also helped. I’m now hoping for lots of changes once my body is fully keto-adapted, and am looking forward to posting my updates 🙂 As for now, your recipes are wonderful. I’m not missing my rice, potatoes and corn nearly as much as I thought I would…or at all so far!
        I do have a couple more questions, though: You told me that I should stick to 70-80% of my calories from fat, 15% from protein and less than 5% from carbs, and increase the portions of your recipes because I’m already a little underweight. Will I reach the keto state, as long as I stick to these percentages, or do I also have to keep to a maximum number of grams for either protein or carbs per day? For that matter, is it a daily thing, or is it important to keep to these percentages for each and every meal or snack?
        Lastly, I’m a bit confused because 15% + 5% + 70% = 90%, so if I eat closer to 70% fat, where should the missing 10% come from: more protein, or carbs…or both?

        Sorry for so many questions: I hope the answers to these questions will also help some of your other readers get the most out of being keto 🙂 Thanks again for all you do for us!

  • Tina says:

    Just wondering if you have thought of doing a cook book with freezer meals. I think it would be a great addition to all the keto books you have. I know it takes a lot of time and effort to put a book together but it would be great to always have something ready when life gets in the way.

  • Irene says:

    Luckily, I have everything at home to make this “brown sugar” and I think it would be great in your cookie recipe. What should the substitution/proportions be?

  • Sarah G says:

    How much is “too much” fructose? I give my kids fruit every so often, especially berries, but a little more fruit (we have a pear and apple tree) in the summer when it’s so cheap and everywhere. We also sometimes make low carb desserts with strawberries, like a strawberry frosting. So, how often, if it all, do you think we should consume fruit?

    • cemmerich says:

      Well, if you are doing any fruit berries would be best. We just avoid them all together. There are better ways to get all your nutrient and antioxidants without the fructose or inflammatory sugars. 🙂

  • Sarah G says:

    And to add to my own question, I can’t handle any sweeteners except stevia and that’s not always very good, so I add a little bit of honey, maybe one or two tablespoons for the whole recipe. Is that unhealthy on occasion?

  • Debby Robic says:

    I have read where you can not cook or bake with Yacon syrup, because a temperature anything over 248°F will break down the structure of the fructooligosaccharides. Is this a concern? And would this apply to Swerve, as well? Thanks!

    • cemmerich says:

      I have not heard that. Do you have a reference?

      • Debby says:

        Yes – I read it in a blog from Dec. 12 last year by Kris Gunnars on authoritynutrition.com. He references/links to a PubMed paper from 2003, entitled “Kinetics of Hydrolysis of Fructooligosaccharides in Mineral-Buffered Aqueous Solutions”, which is identified as PubMed ID #12502412. I’m not educated enough to infer from the abstract whether the observations cited apply here. Any help would be appreciated!

        • cemmerich says:

          I see that the study says it breaks down, but what are the end products that it breaks down into? Lots of things go through chemical changes when they cook but that doesn’t mean they are harmful. 🙂

          • Debby Robic says:

            Yes, that’s what I got from it, too, and wondered whether that would only be of concern in terms of its usefulness as a weight loss supplement (which seems to be the main topic of the blog) or if the breakdown would create byproducts that could inhibit nutrient absorption, etc. Since the original PubMed paper is more than 10 years old, and I’m not finding other more recent citations on the topic, I think it is at least safe to infer that nothing in heating the syrup is creating any significant harm. I was just wondering if you had any information that would confirm that. Thanks!

          • cemmerich says:

            I agree. I think it is fine. 🙂

  • Alyssa says:

    Hi Maria,
    My pediatrician recommended your cookbooks for preparing food for my child. Browsing the first few pages of your blog, however, it looks like most of the recipes are for desserts. What is the role of vegetables and fruits in your recipes and the diet you recommend? Thank you.

  • audrey says:

    A keto diet makes so much sense to me since I started regular low carb but I wonder what your opinion is on this:

    1. What about Victoria Secret Models who claim to eat healthy – green vegetables, protein shakes and lean meats? They don’t gain weight from the high protein and don’t cheat because the protein is so satiating. I don’t talk about the skinny(fat) runway models that starve themselves!

    2. You look amazing Maria! I think you work out a lot and therefore are able to consume more calories – does this mean a low body fat percentage is only possible with an intense exercise routine? From almost all of the client testimonies you post, the average women are not overweight anymore after changing their diet but also not slender and lean. I have about 10 pounds to loose (17 years, 125lbs) – of course last minute just to feel better in a bikini in 2 months:( I know I should have started in january… Can you give me the right macro ratios and grams?

    3. Because the keto diet is so high in fat, I feel like my meals get smaller and smaller. Recently I stopped skipping breakfast because I think the high cortisol response+poor sleep has made me gain weight.
    It seems like the keto diet is only possible when having two meals + maybe a snack, otherwise calories add up. I will start tomorrow to skip dinner instead. How do you deal with family gatherings, dinners etc.? I live with my parents and they are both not helping me at all with cooking or understand how food affects our body. This is especially hard for me because my mom is skinnyfat and eats grains, sugar, bad fats and nearly never exercised in her life. It’s so frustrating when she tells me that no normal person eats liver and cabbage, that the kitchen smells bad when I cook (argh sauerkraut! fish!) and that I should eat fruit instead of dark chocolate.

    Thanks for reading and I hope you have time to answer!

    PS: I saw a picture of you behind a podium on the low carb cruise. When and where can we find your lecture online? I would love to hear you talk about the keto diet:)!

  • elaina says:

    have you made the mag water & use it daily?

    • cemmerich says:

      Yes, different things have different effects on different species. Onions are very poisonous for dogs, but I will keep eating them. 🙂

  • bev says:

    Starting day 4 of the Keto diet, you have made it so easy…thank you! Although I have been eating “Maria’s way” for a few years now, I now see now that I was overdoing a good thing. I was just wondering if veggies like asparagus, rhubarb and relishes are too high in carbs for this first phase? Is coconut cream ok to use for coffee? And what about Spry mints?

    • cemmerich says:

      Yes, while trying to lose weight those are probably too high for now. Spry gum and coconut cream is ok (from the top of a can of coconut milk, the coconut creams in the store usually have sugar added). 😉

      • Jeanne says:

        You have probably said this before, but what brand of coconut milk do you use?
        Thai Kitchen is easiest to find in the store, but worry about the BPA.

        • cemmerich says:

          That is typically what I use as it is hard to get anything not in a can. 🙂

          • Jeanne says:

            Thanks! By the way, I have recently passed my board exam and am a newly minted CCN! (Certified clinical nutritionist ) keeping my RN, but only going to work as a CCN.
            You have been a huge inspiration and source of recipes over the years, ever since I first saw your name on Dr. Davis’ Wheatbelly blog.
            THANK YOU! :-))

          • cemmerich says:

            Awesome! Way to go! 🙂

  • Heather says:

    My husband’s birthday is this weekend and I was wondering if you could suggest a keto dessert for us to celebrate? I have made your keto cheesecake and it was so good we over did it on the portion sizes so if you can suggest something else?

    Thanks you are the best!

  • Colleen says:

    Hi Maria, I am about to start week 3 of your 30 day plan and I am happy to say I have already lost 10 lbs. I have a question regarding sweeteners. I am unable to find Swerve locally and constantly ordering from Amazon is getting bothersome. Have you tried Pyure Stevia Sweetener (bakeable blend)? would it be an acceptable substitute?

    • cemmerich says:

      It has agave inulin. I am not sure about the effects of inulin on ketosis. I get a big bag (22 pound) from swerve in put in big glass jars. It lasts a long time. Or if in a pinch, you could use truvia (although it comes from GMO sources). 🙂

  • Kristin says:

    Colleen, do you live near an HEB grocery store? They carry Swerve. I live in Houston, TX by the way.

  • Kristin says:

    Does anyone know of a grocery store in Houston that carries yacon syrup?

  • Mary says:

    Maria – what can I use besides Swerve in this recipe for brown sugar? I have had bad reactions to Swerve. If I use xylitol or erythritol (and grind it into a powder) would that work? Would it still be a 1:1 ratio to Swerve?

  • Pat says:


    I don’t see the recipe for the cookies. Am I missing something? Also, what are the best chocolate chips to use?

  • CW says:

    How long would the shelf life on this be? Should I just make it as I need too, or would it be possible to make a bit and store? Also, could I powder Erythritol and add a dash of stevia and get the same or similar result? (Xylitol and I aren’t friends. lol)

  • Dee says:

    Hi Maria,

    Just wondering if you ever tried a mix of inulin, erythritol and stevia to create a sugar without the cooling effect that would work in baking? I’m guessing it might come out similar to JLS?

    • cemmerich says:

      I sometimes mix Swerve (which is a mix of erythritol and chicory root extract) with stevia or monk fruit to get a more balance flavor. 🙂

  • Dee says:

    I should have added that I’ve seen a blend for 1/2 cup powdered erythritol, 1/2 cup inulin (chicory root) and 1/2 tsp stevia glycertite.

    • cemmerich says:

      The 1/2 cup of inlulin would up the carbs a lot (all fiber, but I see many clients kicked out of ketosis with too much fiber). 🙂

      • Dee says:

        Thanks so much for coming back to me Maria, its so appreciated.

        Can I just clarify, does this mean you don’t recommend JLS as a main sweetener because of the inulin (fibre?)

        I just find that the erythritol and stevia blend has a strong cooling sensation plus I’ve read in other recipes of yours that erythritol does not melt well so not ideal for any sugar melting recipes.

        • cemmerich says:

          Yes, that is correct. I only use JLS for a couple recipes and only for special occasions. 🙂
          You can try xylitol for better melting and loss cooling effect.

  • jennifer says:

    Maria, I just discovered your website and books. I am educating myself on the keto diet, and look forward to getting your books! Can I ask why you don’t discuss epilepsy in regards to the diet?

  • ilisa ailts says:

    Hi Maria, yacon syrup is high in carbs, 22 grams per 2 tbsp. I was hoping to use it in a molasses cookies recipe in place of molasses, now I’m not sure. Any thoughts?

  • Kindra says:

    Maria, do you recommend any other ALA sources? I wanted to order from your Amazon store, but it looks like the link is no longer working. Thanks!

  • Wendy says:

    Your link for Yacon Syrup goes to an unavailable product. Is Yacon syrup still ok on a Ketogenic diet? Do you have another Yacon Syrup in your store? I couldn’t find one.

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