For example — are sweeteners entirely off the table?
Well, not exactly.
This depends on a wide variety of factors that can affect your body’s state of ketosis when following this diet for weight loss. Thankfully for everyone with a sweet tooth, there ARE certain alternatives to sugar that you can use in coffee, tea, and other foods.
Therefore, if you’re interested in learning more about sweeteners you can consume when following a keto diet, and more, read on.
The Best Keto Sweeteners
These next few examples are low in calories and carbohydrates, making them perfect alternatives while doing the keto diet.
You can find this option as a liquid or a powder. These sweeteners are all derived from the monk fruit, which contains no calories. You can even purchase the fruit itself at most Asian supermarkets. It looks like a coconut; however, this fruit is low carb and tends to have a more neutral taste.
Some sweeteners use monk fruit as a secondary ingredient, so make sure to read the ingredients on your sweetener of choice thoroughly. If you usually can’t stand the taste left behind by most artificial sweeteners, give this one a try since monk fruit is known not to leave a weird or bitter taste after you’ve consumed it.
Monk fruit is safe for anyone who has diabetes, promotes weight loss, and even has anti-inflammatory properties.
This keto-friendly sweetener packs a punch since it’s around 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar.
Perhaps one of the most popular natural and low glycemic sweeteners, stevia can be added to baked goods, coffee, and tea. You can even make your own keto-friendly pancake syrup using this option. This substance hails from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. The plant is native to Brazil and Paraguay and has been used as a way to sweeten foods for years.
Stevia is also low sugar-free, and low carb. Additionally, like monk fruit, this option has a glycemic index of zero, meaning that it will not cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Buy this sugar alternative in packets or liquid form if you wish to ditch sugar and synthetic sweeteners.
Since it’s so potent, you’ll only need to add a few drops to your food to create a sweet and delectable taste.
Moving onto artificial sweeteners, sucralose is one of the most popular. You probably recognize it as Splenda. This sweetener is keto-friendly ad it contains no calories and no carbohydrates. But how is the substance formed if it’s not naturally found in nature?
The process of obtaining sucralose starts with ordinary table sugar. First, three select hydrogen-oxygen groups on a sucrose molecule are extracted and then replaced with three chlorine atoms. The end result is a zero-calorie substance that is even sweeter than sugar — around 600 times sweeter. The human body does not absorb most of the sucralose. It is quickly removed through urine, meaning that it does not have the same adverse effects (such as weight-gain) usually seen when consuming excess amounts of normal white sugar.
Some other of the upsides of using this as your keto sweetener alternative of choice? It’s readily available and kept stocked at most restaurants and hotels. It’s also affordable, as you can buy hundreds of packets for a reasonable price.
Lastly, another group of keto-friendly sweeteners includes sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are categorized by their effect to stimulate the sugar receptors on your tongue. Chemically, sugar alcohols combine traits of both sugar and alcohol molecules to achieve this flavor. However, don’t be alarmed by its name. Since xylitol, one of the more popular sugar alcohols, is found in some fruits and vegetables, it’s considered natural. You may even find it in gum and dental products such as toothpaste.
However, it’s not completely free from calories. It contains around 2.4 calories per gram, which is still half as much as table sugar, making it one of the best keto sweeteners you can use. You can purchase this sugar alternative in powder from most health shops.
Erythritol is another sugar alcohol that mimics the taste of sugar but without the drastic intake of carbohydrates. It contains less sugar than xylitol at only 0.24 calories per gram. Similarly to most readily available sugar alcohols, it comes in a white powder that you can use to sweeten your food at home.
However, large amounts of erythritol have been known to irritate the digestive tract, so use this option sparingly throughout your day.
The Worst Keto Sweeteners
Overall, you want to avoid sweeteners that raise your insulin and blood sugar levels.
Your keto sweetener of choice should also contain little to no net carbs. Going the ‘natural’ route is usually best, as these sweeteners won’t have any adverse side effects.
However, not all natural sweeteners are created equal, so make sure to keep these next few sweeteners on your radar.
As previously stated, natural doesn’t always mean something is suitable for a keto diet. For example, coconut sugar is usually a popular substitute to white sugar when baking — however, this alternative contains 100 grams of carbohydrates per serving, upping your total daily intake dramatically, even if it’s just one portion.
Agave or maple syrup are also quite high on the glycemic index and are therefore unsuitable sweeteners while doing keto. Not to mention, agave also contains a high fructose content, which can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
White sugar is another sweetener you should keep an eye out for. The average person on the diet should only consume 50 grams of carbohydrates a day, and since refined sugar falls into this family of macronutrients, you want to avoid it as much as possible.
Avoid straight table sugar, but also look out for this substance in sauces, pastries, and granola bars.
While this natural sweetener may seem like a harmless choice, honey also contains 17 grams of sugar per tablespoon serving, which is even more than white table sugar.
Dates and date sugar sweeteners should be avoided as dates are well-known as one of the most sugary fruits containing a whopping 93 grams per cup!
You don’t have to deny your sweet tooth when following a keto diet completely. There are alternatives out there that serve as suitable swaps whenever you need to replace high glycemic and high-calorie sweeteners. You just need to know where to look, so ensure you’re selecting the right sweetener for your health by following this list as a guide.