Sweeteners And The Impact On Your Keto Diet
In a keto diet, your body switches from burning sugar from carbohydrates to burning fat because you are in ketosis. This ensures that you burn fat 24/7. Fat burning increases drastically when the insulin levels in your blood become very low. This makes it easier for your body to access and use the fat stores.
Of course, thats what you want when youre trying to lose weight, but there are other benefits that are less obvious as well. This way you experience less hunger because your body uses the fat stores. You also no longer suffer from the blood sugar peaks and troughs that you can experience after carbohydrate-rich meals thanks to the steady supply of energy. This can make you feel more alert and focused. The fastest way to get into ketosis is to fast, but of course you cant keep this up for very long. The keto diet ensures that you get into ketosis by eating as few carbohydrates as possible. This allows you to enjoy the same benefits as fasting, including weight loss, without having to stop eating for a long time.
How To Recognize Sweeteners
Because sweeteners come in many types and forms, many people can no longer see the forest for the trees. Which are healthy and which are unhealthy?
With a keto diet, it is best to avoid natural sweeteners, with the exception of Stevia . These contain a lot of carbohydrates.
The artificial sweeteners can be divided into two categories: polyols and intensive sweeteners.
Polyolsare very similar in taste to sugar, but do not have an unpleasant aftertaste like many other sweeteners. Polyols are found in natural products but are generally made industrially. Because your body can digest polyols poorly, the majority of the calories are not absorbed. You can recognize polyols by the name: it usually ends in -ol .
Intensive sweetenersare 30 times stronger than sugar in terms of taste, but they have hardly any nutritional value. The most famous of these is Aspartame, which you often find in the light products.
Sweeteners To Use Sparingly Or Avoid For Keto Dieters
Ok, I am not the Keto Police and I even have recipes on this site that have used some of these sweeteners, sometimes because another just wasnt available and sometimes I just didnt know any better. I learn new things as we go here as well!
So try to use these sparingly and get yourself migrated over to the natural sweeteners we have already talked about.
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What Is The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food causes your blood sugar level to rise. Foods with a high GI number are quickly digested and absorbed causing a rapid rise in blood sugar. Often, but not always, foods with a high GI have highly processed carbohydrates and refined sugars.
Foods are ranked on a scale from 0 to 100. For example, a saltine cracker has a GI of 72, whereas a skinless baked potato has a 94! Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed at a slower rate and result in a minimal or less of a rise in blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are typically higher in fiber, protein, and/or fat.
Finally, foods with very few to no carbohydrates do not have a GI value. This means that they do not cause a rise in blood sugars. These are best for the keto diet!
Transitioning To Keto Sweeteners
When first transitioning from a Standard America Diet to a low carb or keto diet, one thing people miss most are baked goods. Theyre like an American tradition.
At everybirthday party you have either cake or cupcakes.
Bake sales are super common for fundraisers at schools and there youll find a plethora of brownies, cookies, cakes, and pies. Basically, everything that could potentially spike your glucose through the roof.
Go to grandmas house and youll find a cookie jar full of 15 different kinds of cookies.
So, one way to make transitioning to a keto diet easier is finding low carb versions of your favorite baked goods. BUT to do that, you need to find what sugar substitutes and sugar replacements you can use on a keto diet.
Not all keto sweeteners are created equal!
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So What Should You Do
Use moderation. Check your own blood sugar, especially if you’re diabetic, and make sure a particular sweetener isn’t affecting you unfavorably.
So don’t sweat it too much–unless you’re guzzling a lot of these sweeteners. In which case stop it!
And remember that almost ALL these sweeteners are still better for you than sugar.
Stevia And Erythritol Blend
Stevia is incredibly sweet, where a tiny amount can be too sweet if you are not careful. If you want to use stevia, but want to cut back on the sweetness, combine it with erythritol .
When mixing these this natural sweetener and sugar alcohol, be mindful of the ratio. Per 1 cup of erythritol, add only 2 teaspoons of stevia.
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What Are The Benefits Of Keto
Why is the ketogenic diet so effective and healthy? Here are a few potential benefits:
- Fat loss
- Improved fitness and athletic performance
- Better cognition and mental health
- Boost to immune system function
- Promotes longevity
- May offer some protection against cancer
- And much more!
Many people believe that being on a keto diet is challenging due to the lack of carbohydrates. They believe that all the delicious decadent foods we are used to eating are long gone. I’m here to say that this is not true. You can enjoy your favorite foods just made more mindfully. Some great examples are the dessert recipes shown below. They are made with healthy sweeteners that actually promote better health and weight and the good news? These desserts are actually delicious!
Easy Dark Chocolate Keto Frosting
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Can I Use Zero
When on a diet, everything you ingest must be in moderation, including how you use zero- or low-carb sweeteners.
Also, be careful when picking zero-calorie sweeteners!
Many products advertised as low-carb sweeteners contain carbs due to their use of other ingredients, such as glucose and maltodextrin. Examples of such products are:
- Splenda packets
- Sweet n Low
Downside To Low Carb Sweetener Extracts
The downside of sweetener extracts is that they can be difficult to measure accurately. However, with zero measurable carbs per serving, I find them to be the best for ketogenic diets.
Because they are hard to measure and they lack volume, pure extract sweeteners dont work that well for baking. So I recommend using stevia and/or monk fruit blended with erythritol when a bulk sweetener is needed.
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My Conclusion On Natural Keto Sweeteners
Both Stevia and Monk Fruit have a glycemic index of 0, which means they should not affect your blood sugar at all, but some forms of less expensive Stevia are mixed with other sweeteners or bulking agents which could have an impact on your blood sugar levels. Note that Stevia packets, such as Stevia in the Raw, typically contain carb-ridden fillers like dextrose.
Some people think Stevia has an aftertaste but the liquid drops seem to have less of this. I wouldnt use Stevia in chocolate recipes as many people get a severe and rather awful delayed flavor impression .
What Is Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, is a small Asian melon that has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. Monk fruit extract is derived by crushing the fruit, then drying the juice into a concentrated powder that has no calories, carbs or sugar.
Monk fruit extract is extremely sweet, which comes from an antioxidant in the fruit called Mogroside V. Its very concentrated , so we combine it with allulose or erythritol to make a 1:1 sugar replacement.
Different brands of monk fruit extract come with different levels of Mogroside V, which affects how sweet they are and whether they have any aftertaste.
The monk fruit extract in Besti is the highest grade, with 50% Mogroside V and NO aftertaste. This, along with the convenience of replacing sugar cup-for-cup, makes them one of the best keto sweeteners to choose.
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Is Yacon Syrup Keto Friendly
A 2009 study actually found yacon syrup contributed to weight loss in obese patients with insulin resistance. This was due to the yacon plants high concentration of fructooligosaccharides.
Be aware that Yacon Syrup should not be used for high heat dishes as the fructooligosaccharides break down past boiling point.
Stevia As A Keto Sweetener:
- Good in beverages
- Needs additional bulking agent for baking
- It can cause headaches for some as it belongs to the ragweed family
- Sweetness: 200 times sweeter than sugar
- Taste: It can have a bitter aftertaste
- Products: Powdered extract, liquid extract, and various blends that help get rid of the aftertaste
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Comprehensive Sweetener Information For Low Carb Diets
There are many varieties of natural and artificial sweeteners available on the market today. In order to find accurate nutritional information for your sweetener of interest, we have divided our information into three important categories:
Is Erythritol Keto Friendly
Erythritol is a keto-friendly sweetener that we use liberally in our recipes particularly in our low-carb desserts that require a crumbly consistency.
While we can tell slight variances in the taste of desserts with erythritol vs. sugar, we cannot tell which is the sugar dessert or the erythritol one. Just that there is a slight difference.
One point to note is that erythritol is not hygroscopic .
For this reason when making recipes that require a moist texture we use a blend of erythritol and stevia such as Natvia .
If there were one contender as the best sugar substitute for baking cookies or crackers, and we could only choose one. It would be Erythritol.
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What Should You Look For On Keto Sweetener Labels
When you purchase a keto sweetener, aim for the pure form rather than one with fillers. Avoid being swayed by the product name, like Splenda and Stevia in the Raw. Always check the ingredients on the packaging for sneaky carbs.
If you see fillers like maltodextrin or dextrose, put the sweetener back on the shelf! Maltodextrin and dextrose are hidden carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar and potentially could kick you out of ketosis!
Keto Sweeteners: Which Are The Best
There are several ways to have sweet treats on a keto diet. Even when youre watching carbs closely, you can still enjoy dessert by choosing a low-carb, keto-friendly sweetener.
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High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is one of the worst sweeteners out there in terms of both your overall health and ketogenic potential. It is a highly processed and highly addictive sugar substitute that is simply concentrated fructose. It will kick you out of ketosis, encourage sugar addiction, and harm your overall health.
Is Sucralose Keto Friendly
Studies have shown that sucralose does not affect blood glucose or ketosis so technically it is keto-friendly.
But that does not mean that you should include it in your keto diet, especially if you want to stay natural.
Research states that at high heat sucralose becomes unstable and produces hydrocarbons. Evidence suggests hydrocarbons are cancerous.
So at least do not cook or bake with sucralose as a low-carb sweetener at high heat.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener so we tend to avoid it, especially when there are so many natural alternatives.
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What Is Glycemic Index
The most important part of a keto diet is getting your body to enter and maintain a state of metabolic ketosis. In order to achieve ketosis, your sugar consumption needs to be minimal. Consuming too many carbohydrates can raise your blood sugar levels and stop ketosis from occurring. To find out how much a particular food impacts your blood sugar, you can look at its glycemic index.
Glycemic index is a measurement of how much a particular food will increase your blood sugar after consuming it. All foods can be scored on a standardized glycemic index scale from 0 to 100. This score reflects the foods effect on blood sugar following a meal.
Foods containing no carbs, like chicken or steak, have glycemic index values close to zero. Low glycemic index foods are digested, absorbed, and metabolized slowly, which leads to a slower and more shallow increase in blood sugar.
Foods with higher carbohydrate content like fruits and grains have glycemic index values ranging from 50-100. These foods will cause more dramatic and rapid increases in blood sugar, which can shift the bodys metabolism from ketosis to glycolysis .
On a low-carb ketogenic diet, foods with the lowest glycemic index are the best at keeping your body in ketosis. This means that your average sweeteners like white sugar, honey, or maple syrup need to be avoided for the best results.
How Do I Convert Volumes From One Keto Sweetener To The Other
Its just maths! Converting sugar or another sweetener to any of the keto-friendly sweeteners is easy!
But instead of giving a complicated formula, weve built a converter. Use the button below and
Let us know in the comment section below if you would like other brands or sweeteners added to the list!
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Which Keto Sweetener Tastes Best
I use stevia in very small amounts. In recipes sweetened with stevia, a little goes a long way! Although sugar-free stevia is fantastic, it is not perfect. The main issue with stevia is that some people find it has a bitter aftertaste.
If you are wondering which sweetener has the least aftertaste, stevia wont be the best choice for you. However, when I pair stevia with strong flavors like coffee, chocolate, or citrus I can mask that aftertaste very effectively.
The Keto Diet And Sugar
You dont have to be a nutritionist or medical professional to know that consuming lots of sugar isnt great for your health. Keto guidelines are a lot stricter though: virtually no added sugar at all.
This seemingly-draconian rule makes sense, though, once you know how keto meal plans help you lose weight so quickly and effectively. Well go through it in bite-sized pieces.
Theres one important fact to consider: what we call sugar is actually sucrose. And sucrose is just shorthand for soluble, sweet carbohydrates. In other words, every teaspoon of sugar is nothing more than a delicious teaspoon of carbs.
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