Understanding Keto Friendly Sweeteners For A Beginner To Advanced

Keto friendly sweeteners are a game changer in desserts on a sugar-free, low carb diet. You get the sweetness and can curb cravings all in one. But, what’s the best sweetener? How do you choose amongst so many options?

It Could All Be A Trap

First, allow me to say I love keto desserts! They were the backbone of my website when I first started. But, a word of caution before we continue.

Be careful, I am not lying when I say desserts with these keto sweeteners can taste really good. Yes, there are terrible ones but there are great ones that will blow your mind. They’ll have you asking is it really sugar-free with zero calories? If you’re someone who has struggled with binge eating these types of desserts can be dangerous. We started keto for weight loss or just overall health right?

Contrary to what people believe you can gain weight on a keto diet. Now, all the tasty treats would be considered more dirty keto than strict keto but they are great tools to have on your belt. When hunger strikes I much rather have to eating keto cookies over actual Oreos to fight those sugar cravings.

Does it taste like sugar

There has been a marketing ploy telling people “it taste like sugar” when that’s not always the case. Some are sweeter than sugar such as monk fruit extract and stevia. Yet, some don’t have the sweet taste as sugar like the super popular erythritol. One thing to note is they all can behave like sugar when it comes to cravings*.

It can be hard to stop eating the cheesecake or not have that last muffin even on a diet with sugar substitutes. Increasing your appetite and not turning on the signal that you have had enough. The most dangerous part is these snacks can be high in fat causing you to load on calories and in turn weight gain.

The Best Sweeteners For Keto

The Natural Keto-Friendly Sweeteners

Stevia

By far one of the most well known natural sweetener. Stevia is easy to find for most people in any grocery store or simply a click to Amazon. It is much sweeter than sugar and people often complain about the bitter aftertaste. You can find stevia in a liquid, granulated and powdered form. Brands like Swerve and Pyure blend stevia with another sweeter to help with the aftertaste.

Monk Fruit

By far my favorite and the one I suggest the most if you don’t like the aftertaste of stevia. Monk fruit sweetener as well comes in a liquid, granulated and powdered form with the most recognizable brand being Lakanto. The liquid is highly concentrated because monk fruit is also much sweeter than sugar is. The granulated and powdered forms are calmed down with the addition of erythritol which I will cover later.

Allulose

Although it has been around for a while allulose is booming right now because there is zero aftertaste. It behaves similar to sugar in some forms and has quickly become my favorite sweetener to use in desserts like keto caramel sauce. It’s actually from a molecule of sugar* which is probably why you don’t get an aftertaste and it behaves in a similar fashion.

Sugar Alcohol

Erythritol

We all have seen and had erythritol in some form or another. It’s super popular and it’s probably because it is cheap. This sugar alcohol is not as sweet as sugar and comes with a minty aftertaste. This puts some people off but after eating enough of it you start to not notice it as much. Erythritol is use with concentrated sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit to offset their potency. This is one of the most gut friendly sugar alcohols I have come across. Mainly, because the some keto friendly sweeteners can cause some people gut issues.

Xylitol

Not a favorite but I have to give respect where it is due. Xylitol taste exactly like sugar! Yet, it’s very toxic to pets and not something you’d want your furry friend to get into when you’re not looking. As mentioned before, this is one that commonly causing digestion issues in people. There are supposedly two separate types and one is prone to cause issues but the other isn’t. I have yet to come across it personally as I like to keep this out of the house.

Maltitol

Unless you’re doing dirty keto then this is one you want to stay away from. In a strict keto diet the aim to to keep your blood glucose levels steady and low. Maltitol will spike your levels due to its nature and being high on the glycemic index*. It actually comes from corn syrup and is used in most sugar-free labeled candies and some desserts. Be careful if you see this listed in the ingredients.

Fiber

Inulin

The most common fiber you’ll see is inulin used in a ton of products due to the texture it provides. Try to limit how many grams you eat with this one because it is known that in large amounts to cause gas and bloating, like really bad. Ask me how I know? I have heard it’s how it interacts with your gut bacteria that causes this issue.

Soluble Corn Fiber

Another popular fiber used in keto is corn fiber. Fibers work well with gummies or anything gum-like such as caramel sauces and even in ice cream. From my experience, diabetics have complained saying this particular fiber spikes their insulin levels. Testing is needed on an individual need.

Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame

First, I should mention the very popular used by commercial brands in sugar-free or zero sugar sodas. Better I label them as diet sodas. This is a sweetener that’s man made and has quite the bit of controversy around it. Some say it is linked to cancer along with other diseases and some say it’s completely fine. I won’t try to say I know personally but I do try to limit diet sodas or anything that uses it. There is little to know impact on blood sugar from this one but health concerns are surrounding it that sadly are to be determined.

Sucralose

You may know this one by the popular brand name Splenda. Also man-made Sucralose has been linked to some health concerns as well. Mixed reviews from these artificial sweeteners and I have my thoughts as to why. Some say its fine and doesn’t effect blood sugar levels but I am a believer that you should always test for yourself.

Sweeteners To Avoid

Avoid these sweeteners at all cost for the keto diet. These are not keto friendly sweeteners as they can be just plain sugar or sugar in disguise labeled as something else and could kick you out of ketosis. Things have gotten tricky so it’s always good to read nutrition labels.

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Honey
  • Agave Nectar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Dates

So why should you avoid these? They’re natural right? Some are but on a keto diet the aim is to keep your blood sugar levels even and consistent. These sweeteners will cause a spike. In a healthy metabolism they should go back down but for the sake of keto it’s best to avoid them. A quick tip, if you have to mistakenly eat one of these be sure to have fat and protein with it. That slows down and minimizes their effects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Splenda sweetener keto friendly?

No, because Splenda contains dextrose which is high on the glycemic index which will cause a spike in blood sugar. The sucralose is fine when used with caution.

Can I have a little bit of honey on keto?

Contrary to what most people think I believe something like honey can be done in small servings with accompanying fat and protein. One thing I love about dirty keto is you don’t have to worry so much about little things that can just stress yourself out.

Why avoid sugar during a keto diet?

There is a few ways to look at this. Controlling your blood glucose levels is a part of keto. So, eating foods that have little to no insulin response is ideal. On the other hand, outside of that is sugar an issue? Looking at things from a health perspective it’s always said to limit sugar as much as possible. And it comes in all shapes and forms.

Can I have diet sodas or soft drinks while on keto?

Yes you can! Most diet drinks are sweetened with aspartame which is one of the sweeteners you can use. There are some keto drinks sweetened with erythritol, stevia or both such as Zevia, Bai and Virgil’s.

What keto sweetener taste the best?

Hands down it will be allulose or xylitol when it comes to flavor and no aftertaste. Mentioned above allulose is the better out of the two. A great way to avoid the aftertaste of sweeteners is to compound them and use multiple instead of one.

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