If you’re on a keto diet and still have a sweet tooth, you’re not alone. Finding ways to satisfy that craving while staying true to your low-carb lifestyle can be a challenge. That’s why we’re here to help you navigate the world of keto sweeteners and find the ones that will support your goals.
How Different Sweeteners Affect Your Keto Diet
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding alternative sweeteners and their impact on ketosis. In this article, we’ll delve into the different types of sweeteners, how they affect ketosis, and weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Qualities of a Good Keto Sweetener
When it comes to choosing the right sweetener for your keto diet, certain qualities make a sweetener more keto-friendly than others. The best alternatives will:
- Contain virtually no calories and net carbs, with no hidden carb sources.
- Have no impact on insulin levels or blood sugar (measured by a low Glycemic Index).
- Not affect other biomarkers like cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.
- Be safe to consume in reasonable doses, without any side effects.
- Withstand high temperatures without turning toxic, bitter, or degrading into simple sugars.
Breaking Down the Three Categories of Sweeteners
To simplify your search for a keto-friendly sweetener, we’ll break them down into three main categories:
1. Natural Sweeteners and Keto
Natural sweeteners are derived from nature and aren’t chemically manufactured. Two main natural sweeteners to consider for a keto diet are Stevia and Monk Fruit.
Stevia, extracted from the Stevia plant, is a popular sweetener that is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. It has been used for centuries in Paraguayan and Brazilian cultures. Stevia has also been linked to lower blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, improved immune system regulation, and other health benefits. Truvia is an example of a Stevia-based sweetener.
Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a natural sweetener from Southeast Asia. It is around 150-200 times sweeter than sugar and has no calories. Monk fruit extract powder or liquid blends (with stevia, xylitol, and/or erythritol) are popular options. Some recommended brands include Besti and Lakanto.
2. Sugar Alcohol Keto Benefits
Sugar alcohols are a hybrid of sugar and alcohol molecules. They activate the sweet taste receptors on your tongue but contain fewer calories and net carbs than regular sugar.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol naturally found in some fruits and vegetables, commonly extracted from corn. It contributes minimal calories and net carbs to the diet, making it a popular choice for keto. Erythritol has also been found to act as an antioxidant and may improve blood vessel function. Truvia, a commonly available sweetener, primarily consists of erythritol.
Swerve is a keto-friendly sweetener that tastes great, has a low Glycemic Index, and can caramelize like sugar. It is a blend of erythritol and oligosaccharides, making it a perfect cup-for-cup substitute for sugar in baking.
Splenda is a sugar alternative created from sugar but transformed into a low-carb, virtually zero-calorie sweetener. Although there are claims that it may raise blood sugar levels, scientific evidence is limited. Splenda can be used in small quantities, and alternatives like Truvia can be used as well.
3. Artificial Sweeteners on Keto Diets
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame fall into this category. However, our recommendation is to avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible. They can be misleading, labeled as “zero calories” despite containing small amounts of carbs and calories. Additionally, they may have lingering health concerns.
Sweeteners to Avoid
There are certain sweeteners you should outright avoid on a keto diet as they are high in carbs and can spike blood sugar levels. Maltodextrin, maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, agave nectar, honey, dates, coconut sugar, and maple syrup fall into this category.
Choosing the Best Sweetener for Keto
Natural sweeteners like Stevia and Monk Fruit are excellent for sweetening beverages, while sugar alcohols like erythritol and blends like Swerve are ideal for baking. Artificial sweeteners should be limited or avoided.
Remember, moderation is key. Check your own blood sugar levels, especially if you’re diabetic, to ensure a sweetener doesn’t affect you negatively. And always keep in mind that these sweeteners are a better option than sugar itself.
For more information on keto sweeteners and to explore a variety of keto recipes, visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill.