A Quick Guide on the Best Keto Friendly Sweeteners
Looking for a keto sweetener?
One of the hardest parts for many starting a low carb or keto diet is breaking their sugar addiction. We’re fortunate that now we have a huge variety of keto friendly sweeteners to help make this transition easier. A huge amount of sugar is lurking hidden in the foods and drinks common amongst our diets. Luckily enough for us, those sugar cravings will go away eventually, and you can use our list of keto friendly sweeteners to help you make it through the transition.
As keto beginner, your body will still be craving all of the sugar-laden snacks and meals you’ve been accustomed too. Even those who aren’t particularly keen on desserts can be taken aback at just how much sugar is hiding in many foods otherwise perceived as healthy. An easy way to deal with these initial cravings and prevent falling off the keto macros wagon is to use a low carb sweetener to craft something that satisfies that sugar craving.
Keto Approved Sweeteners List
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is a natural sweetener that has been around for decades but has grown in popularity recently. This is both due to it being more readily available and the increase in popularity of low carb diets. Created from the dried juice of the monk fruit or “Buddha fruit” this natural sweetener was approved by the FDA in 2010. It doesn’t contain any fructose or glucose and instead gets its’ sweetness from the antioxidant called Mogrosides.
With monk fruit having zero calories and a sweetness level on the order of 100-250 times sweeter than sugar, it’s a great substitute for sweetening up a keto recipe or low carb drink. Another side benefit is the anti-inflammatory properties associated with the Mogroside antioxidant. As a naturally derived, zero-calorie, and supremely sweet – this keto friendly sweetener is one of our favorites.
Stevia is by far one of the most popular zero-carb sweeteners currently and is valued for what it doesn’t do – add calories or carbs. This plant-derived sweetener is related to the daisy and is native to Paraguay and Brazil, where locals have been using this plant to naturally sweeten food for centuries.
With zero calories and a sweetness level 200 times that of sugar it is a potent sweetener. Along with it being keto macros friendly, studies have shown that it has the potential to help lower blood sugar as well. You can commonly find it being sold in both powder and liquid form for ease of use.
Erythritol is a different type of sweetener in that while it is found naturally, it is a primarily man-made sweetener. It is a type of carb considered a sugar alcohol and is commonly found in many prepackaged low carb foods. Erythritol is one of the more recent additions to the field of low carb sweeteners with it being approved by the FDA in 2001.
Having zero effect on insulin and glucose levels this zero-carb sweetener is safe for people with diabetes. It also does not have the same digestive issues that can arise with other sugar alcohols and substitutes as it is processed quickly by the body. The sweetness level is on par with standard table sugar and use it in similar proportions.
Of all the keto friendly sweeteners xylitol is the one we use the least for a few reasons. This sugar alcohol has 2.4 calories per gram and an appearance similar to standard sugar. With it being a refined sweetener those are empty calories that provide zero vitamins or minerals. Though by far our biggest concern is that Xylitol is highly toxic to our four-legged friends. A single gram of xylitol is enough to make a 20lb dog gravely ill and require immediate veterinary help. Note that this artificial sweetener is highly common amongst sugar-free chewing gum so just be aware if you decide to have it in reach of your pets.
Though if pets are not something you have to worry about it, Xylitol is a solid low carb sweetener with some health benefits. Studies have linked consumption of it with increased collagen production and increased bone volume. Additionally, it can help improve your digestive health by feeding your friendly gut bacteria and providing soluble fiber. So, if you have the room in your keto macros for the calories and no pets to worry about, this can be a solid choice for a keto safe sweetener.
Splenda is a brand name of a popular artificial sweetener called sucralose. Lacking the bitter taste can some associate with artificial sweeteners has made Splenda one of the most popular sugar substitutes. Sucralose is not metabolized by the body and the lack of digestion makes it calorie and carbohydrate free. There is a caveat though, it is often packed with dextrose and maltodextrin which do contain carbs and calories.
While it can be substituted at a 1 to 1 ratio for most recipes, we find that the other keto friendly sweeteners work better for our cooking needs. If you find yourself needing to use a sweetener and don’t have other keto friendly options, it will do the trick though. Of all the sugar substitutes you are most likely to find Splenda as a keto friendly sweetener while dining out.
Sweeteners to avoid on a keto diet
The world is rife with natural and artificial sweeteners that will kick you out of ketosis. These can derail your keto diet either by containing a high amount of carbs or increase your blood sugar levels.
This naturally derived sweetener comes from the Agave plant native to Mexico and South America. With the sap being subjected to high heat in processing many of the health benefits present are destroyed. Though it does have a low glycemic index it is high in fructose and should be avoided.
Coconut sugar is a naturally occurring sugar and extracted from the sap of the coconut palm. Many have made a shift to try to incorporate more organic and natural products into their diet. Though be wary of this substitute, it has nearly the same amount of fructose per gram as standard table sugar even though it has a marginally better nutrient profile.
The bottom line on keto friendly sweeteners
We are fortunate in that today we have a variety of low carb sweeteners to fit individual tastes and preferences. As with most things it still requires balance and your diet should be overloaded with sweet treats just because they are low carb. But they can help provide a bridge and provide some relief when the sugar cravings are extra fierce.