When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Such is the case with Lo-Dough, a fat-free, gluten-free, high fiber product that’s meant to be a substitute for bread. With 90 percent fewer carbs than bread and 39 calories per serving (a serving is one 9-inch disc), it’s geared towards the health-conscious and paleo market.
Ben Holden, the Co-founder and Creative Director of Manchester, U.K.-based Lo-Dough, developed the company’s eponymous product in 2015 in his parent’s kitchen. He started commercial production a year ago and now ship to roughly 55,000 customers in 35 countries.
When Holden reached out to see if we would like to sample some of this miracle product, we said… well, sure.
Fast forward a few days: I picked up a box of twenty Lo-Dough discs, sealed in packs of two, from the Post Office. I ripped into one of the packs and tore off a bite. Reader, you guessed it — Lo-Dough was, indeed, too good to be true.
The pasty discs were thin, pliable, and had a texture that put me in mind of building insulation. The flavor? None, that I could discern. The Lo-Dough team says you can enjoy the product straight out of the packet (though I find it hard to imagine anyone chowing down on the flavorless, carboard-like disc on its own), though they push it chiefly as a base for sandwiches, wraps, burritos, and, their personal favorite, pizzas. Which makes sense, since it was pretty darn bland on its own.
Here’s where I think Lo-Dough could be, if not good, then at least not bad. Cover almost anything in tomato sauce and cheese, bake until bubbly, and it will taste, at the very least, passable. (I tried it, and it was.) And while there are certainly other carb-free pizza base options, like cauliflower crust, Lo-Dough does have versatility going for it: it’s flexible and neutral-tasting (read: flavorless) enough to work as well for Italian pizzas as for Mexican burritos and Turkish kebabs.
Which begs the question: If something tastes, at the very best, like nothing, why eat it at all? If you have to smother something in toppings — especially high-calorie ones like cheese and sauces — to make it palatable, is it really healthy?
The answer, I suppose, is that people are creatures of habit who love convenience as much as they love fad diets (hi, Paleo). Lo-Dough is good enough to be a substitute for the non-healthy foods you love, at least when covered with toppings. Most importantly, it can be used interchangeably.
It puts me in mind of other “miracle” healthy foods, like healthy ice cream success story Halo Top. And while I think Halo Top tastes a lot more like regular ice cream than Lo-Dough tastes like bread, they’re both riding the health-food wave.
Lo-Dough “bread” sells exclusively online and has a 6-month shelf life, direct to consumers. It retails for £5 ($6.44) for a two-piece pack, though you can also get 6 pieces for £14 ($18) and 14 for £26 ($33.50). If you’re really sold on the concept, you can also sign up for a monthly subscription service — though if you choose this option, I highly recommend making sure you have plenty of cheese on hand first. You will need it.