Keto Friendly Sweeteners | Approved Sugar Substitutes and What Sweeteners You Should Avoid
Just because you're following a ketogenic diet doesn't mean you need to fight those sweet temptations. Luckily, there are keto-friendly sweeteners that you can enjoy whenever you crave sweet treats.
Here's a list of 5 keto-safe sweeteners — plus 5 you must avoid.
Best Sugar Alternatives (And What to Avoid) | Keto-Friendly Sweeteners
Natural Keto Friendly Sweeteners
1. Monk Fruit Sweetener
From the name itself, this natural keto sweetener comes from the monk fruit, a plant cultivated by monks and native to China. It's also known as “luo han guo” and has been used in tea and herbal remedies in Asian medicine for decades.
Monk fruit sweetener can taste up to 250 times sweeter than regular table sugar. Thanks to mogrosides, the substances in monk fruit are responsible for its sweetness.
- You may use monk fruit sweetener in any food and beverages.
- Since it's extremely sweet, even a small amount would already go a long way.
- Monk fruit doesn't contain calories or carbs, making it a perfect sugar replacement.
- It may help in managing your blood glucose levels.
- Mogrosides also have an antioxidant effect.
- You may choose among sweetener blend, liquid, or powder forms.
- Monk fruit may be more costly compared to other keto sweeteners.
- It may have a bitter or unpleasant aftertaste.
Tip: Keep an eye on the label, as some monk fruit extracts are combined with ingredients that can change the total carb and calorie content.
This is a keto-safe sweetener derived from the leaves of a plant called candy leaf or sugar leaf.
It makes for a great sugar substitute since you'll only need one teaspoon of stevia to get the same sweetness as one cup of regular sugar. This is because stevia can be up to 300 times sweeter than sucrose or table sugar.
- It's a non-nutritive sweetener, meaning it has little to no carbs or calories.
- A study shows that it may help reduce blood sugar levels.
- It's available in powder and liquid forms.
- You can use it to sweeten your meals and drinks.
- It's available in granulated, liquid, and powder forms.
- It has a triple effect on your health – lessens inflammation, decreases blood pressure, and reduces blood sugar. This makes stevia useful in treating heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
- You may find that it doesn't taste like granulated sugar and has a bitter aftertaste.
- You may need to mix it with other keto sweeteners to improve its taste.
- It may be more expensive than sugar and other sweeteners.
Tip: If you want to stick with a pure and natural sweetener, you may want to get liquid-based stevia. Some powdered products may have high-carb fillers, so be sure to read the label.
Artificial Keto-Friendly Sweeteners
This artificial keto-safe sweetener is a sugar alcohol, which targets the sweet taste receptors in your tongue. It's almost as sweet as regular sugar, but each teaspoon contains only four grams of carbohydrates.
- It usually doesn't cause digestive distress linked with other sugar alcohols.
- You may use it in almost all recipes, whether in cooking or baking.
- The harmful bacteria in your mouth can't digest it. This helps prevent dental plaque, cavities, and tooth decay.
- It's harder to break down than other sweeteners, which can give your drink a sandy texture.
- It may give your tongue a cooling or minty aftertaste.
Tip: You may replace 200 grams of table sugar with 267 grams of erythritol.
Sucralose goes through your body unabsorbed, so it doesn't yield any carbs or calories. It's 600 times as sweet as regular sugar.
- You'll only need a small amount of sucralose to achieve your desired sweetness level.
- It doesn't have a bitter taste.
- It's available in powder and liquid forms.
- It's not a suitable sugar replacement in baking recipes since it can release toxic compounds in high temperatures.
Tip: Splenda is perhaps the most popular sucralose-based product. You may replace a cup of regular sugar with 1/2 cup of Splenda.
If you're a fan of sugar-free gums, then this is your best option.
Like erythritol, xylitol is also sugar alcohol. You can find it in products such as mints, gums, and candies.
It has the same appearance and sweetness as table sugar but only four grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon.
- You may use it in baking.
- It can help with tooth decay prevention.
- It tends to absorb moisture, which can make your baked goods dry.
- Excessive amounts can cause stomach discomforts, such as diarrhea and bloat.
Tip: If you have pets, you may want to keep them away from xylitol, as it's poisonous and lethal to animals.
Sweeteners to Avoid on a Ketogenic Diet
Now that you've learned which sweeteners are keto-friendly, you have to watch out for the following sugar substitutes that can make you fall out of ketosis. They're high in carbs and sugar and can spike your blood glucose levels:
1. Maple Syrup
This syrup is pretty nutritious for a sweetener since it's packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. However, it contains large amounts of carbohydrates and sugar, so it doesn't fall under the keto-friendly category.
2. Coconut Sugar
As the name suggests, coconut sugar comes from coconut palms. Similar to maple syrup, it also contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
If you wish to add some tropical flavor and aroma to your keto diet, you may use coconut oil and coconut flour instead.
Honey may be better and healthier than regular sugar because of its nutrients and antioxidant properties. However, it's still rich in carbohydrates and fructose, so you must avoid this option if you're on a keto diet.
Additionally, several processed types of honey have added sugars, which can remove the health benefits.
4. Agave Nectar
This syrup may be marketed as a natural sweetener, but don't be deceived. It may have a lower glycemic index than table sugar, but it's still unfit for the keto diet. It's sweeter than sugar, just like other keto sweeteners, but agave nectar contains almost 85% fructose.
This sugar alternative is made from vegetable starch, such as wheat, rice, and corn.
It may be more affordable than other substitutes, but it's not appropriate for a keto diet. It has the same carb count as regular sugar and may lead you to more sweet cravings.
Following a keto diet requires cutting back on sugar, which can be challenging if you have a sweet tooth. Fortunately, there are keto-friendly sweeteners available that can still help you achieve optimal weight loss.
Aside from these keto-friendly sweeteners, what other options do you have in mind that can replace sugar in your diet? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!
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