Cooks Exchange

Keto vs. Sugar Busters: What’s the difference?

Keto? Paleo? Low-fat? Low- or no-sugar? Gluten-free?

Does anyone get confused on what foods to eat? Is a little sugar OK? What about pasta and potatoes?

A white potato has more potassium than a banana, so why can’t someone have a white potato?

All of these questions swim around in cooks’ heads as they plan menus and try to eat healthy. Some 10 to 15 years ago, folks were gung-ho over the South Beach Diet and Sugar Busters. Remember those?

Both seemed to get results. I had friends who adapted to those diets, but therein lies the problem. These were diets not lifestyles. Will Keto and Paleo become lifestyles? They do for a while, but can they be sustained over the long haul?

This will probably fill my mailbox with pros and cons. Longtime friend Angie Jones does Keto and has lost more than 25 pounds. Her husband more than 50. Keto must be good, huh? At work recently, she passed up a Tato-Nut doughnut. Now, that is willpower.

“I walked right by the box, “she said.

So proud of her. It does help when a family member or spouse joins the weight-loss program.

How many times has it been said that no food group should be omitted from a diet or meal plan?

Another friend is pre-diabetic and has modified her diet. She eats few sweets, and when she does, it is a tiny portion just a taste for her not to feel deprived. We ate lunch together last week, and she ordered a burger. She ate some of the bun but left most of it. She ate the meat and fixings.

As I was thinking about writing this column, I went to my shelves of cookbooks, looking for diets or meal plans past. I found a coming-apart copy of “Sugar Bust for Life,” which includes the Cajun and Creole flavors that are so tasty. This was published in 1998 by the famous restaurant family, Ellen Brennan and Theodore Brennan. A used copy sells for $2.99 to $3.09 on eBay, while a new copy sells for $19.09 on Amazon.

I thought it would be interesting to compare keto and Sugar Busters recipes. Both have recipes for lasagna, but with keto cooks make their own noodles using no white or whole wheat flour. “Sugar Bust for Life” used stone ground whole grain noodles.


For the “noodles”:

2 large eggs

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

For the filling:

1 pound ground beef

1 1/2 cups Three Cheese Marinara Sauce, divided, recipe follows

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

6 tablespoons whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon minced onion flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

For the noodles:

This part will take the longest, so feel free to make the “noodles” the night before and just leave them in the fridge until you are ready for them.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together cream, cream cheese and eggs.

Next, add Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in mozzarella cheese and mix until well incorporated.

Spread the mixture into the baking dish, forming a nice even layer.

Bake in the middle rack for 20-25 minutes.

When the “noodles” are done baking, cool in the fridge about 20 minutes and then cut into thirds. This makes three perfectly sized “noodle” layers for an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2 loaf pan.

For the filling:

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine ground beef, minced onion, oregano, garlic powder, dried basil and a pinch of salt. Cook until the meat is browned.

Drain excess fat from pan and add 3/4 cup marinara sauce to meat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour 1/4 cup marinara sauce into bottom of loaf pan. Top with the first “noodle” layer.

Layer a third of the ground beef mixture. Top with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 3 tablespoons ricotta cheese, and cover with another “noodle” layer. Repeat these steps.

Cover the top “noodle” layer with remaining ground beef and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over top. Bake for 20 minutes.

— From



28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

6 ounce can tomato paste

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Romano cheese, shredded

In a large saucepan, over low heat, combine crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in Parmesan, mozzarella and Romano cheese. Stir until cheeses are melted and well incorporated.

Per serving: calories, 37; fat, 1.25 grams; protein, 2.5 grams; net carbs, 4 grams.

— From


1 1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 jar no-sugar added spaghetti sauce

1 cup creamed cottage cheese

1 cup light sour cream

12 ounces stone ground whole grain noodles, cooked

1 teaspoon olive oil


1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook the noodles according to directions with a little olive oil and salt. Drain and set aside.

In a hot skillet, brown the ground meat. Add onions and sauce and cook for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese and sour cream and then add the noodles. Stir well. Put half of the noodle mixture into a casserole dish. Spoon half of the meat sauce over this. Repeat this process and then top with the Cheddar cheese.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

— From “Sugar Bust for Life”

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.