Best Keto Coffee Sweeteners: Sugar-Free & Low Carb

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 18th, 2022

To be healthy, you do not need to let go of enjoying your coffee to the fullest. Yes, we all know sweeteners are not good for our diet, but not all are the same. Thankfully, we have low-carb, sugar-free, and keto-friend coffee sweeteners. 


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Natural keto-friendly sweeteners

Monk Fruit

Also known as Luo Han Guo, monk fruit is from China and Northern Thailand and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to aid in reversing obesity. It contains mogrosides which are hundreds of times sweeter than our good old sugar. While they are free from carbs or calories, always check the labels! Ensure the monk fruit sweetener does not contain maltodextrin or dextrose to ensure its great health benefit.

Great options to try

Pros

  • Better tasting than stevia
  • Does not raise insulin or blood sugar levels
  • No digestive upset or irritation
  • Has erythritol to decrease cost and improve cooking use
  • A little goes a long way

Cons

  • Pricey
  • “Proprietary blend” on labels means the product only has a little monk fruit extract
  • Often mixed with fillers such as inulin, prebiotic fibers, and other undeclared ingredients

Stevia

200 times sweeter than sugar, we have our next option called stevia, an extract from the steviol glycosides herb. It is a non-nutritive sweetener. Thus, it holds no calories, nutrients, or carbohydrates. While it does not raise blood pressure, hypertensive and diabetic individuals should not consume stevia. Additionally, it may upset some people’s stomachs. 

This remains to be one of the best sugar-free sweeteners. The World Health Organization stated that stevia has no harmful effects and is approved for public consumption. Stevia is available in liquid or powder form. However, powdered forms in the market can hold some calories and hidden carbs.

Pros

  • No carbs
  • No calories
  • Low risk for toxicity
  • Does not raise insulin or blood sugar levels
  • A little goes a long way

Cons

  • Some find it to have some bitter aftertaste
  • Difficult to cook with
  • Not enough studies to back it up

Sugar alcohols

This is a hybrid of alcohol and sugar molecules. Don’t worry! This will not leave you intoxicated as it does not contain ethanol. Sugar alcohols have the same structure as sugar, chemically. Thus, they induce a sweet taste upon contact with the tongue. While it’s not without calories, it still holds much less than table sugar.

Erythritol

Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol found in certain fruits, vegetables, and fermented food. It holds 5 carbohydrates per teaspoon with zero calories. Additionally, it has no negative effect on blood glucose. It is rated to have zero glycemic indexes. Taken in excess, this may cause stomach irritation. A healthy dose is one gram for every kilogram of body weight per day. It’s worth noting that erythritol is only 70% as sweet as sugar.

Pros

  • Passes through the urine with being utilized by the body
  • Zero calories
  • Does not raise insulin or blood sugar levels
  • Helps prevent dental cavities and plaques
  • Powdered form is easy to use

Cons

  • May cause gas, diarrhea and bloating
  • Does not have the same mouthfeel as sugar

Swerve

Another keto-friendly option is Swerve which is a mix of erythritol and oligosaccharides. It’s great tasting with a very low GI rating. Plus, it can even caramelize your gourmet! In my opinion, this is the best option for baking purposes.

Splenda

You might be surprised to know that Splenda is not artificial. It is sugar but somehow transforms into something with zero carbs when consumed. Some claim that this may raise blood sugar but not enough research can back that up. 

Allulose

Allulose is a natural option as it’s a rare type of sugar but does not induce some sugar spike. This is one of nature’s gifts as it tastes, functions, and performs like sugar without the carbs and calories! While it’s almost identical to fructose, it does not produce the same negative effects because the body does not metabolize it. It is excreted via the urine. However, it’s only 70% as sweet as sugar.

Xylitol

This sugar alcohol is a bit sweeter than sugar, mainly sourced from plant fibers. It has no calories and very few nutrients, but it holds some help for dental treatment and osteoporosis. This should be taken in moderation because more than 65 grams may induce diarrhea.

BochaSweet

This one is fairly new in the market and is derived from kabocha extract, a pumpkin-like squash from Japan. It tastes like white sugar but is not absorbed by the body and holds no carbs or calories. However, more research should be done on this sweetener to ensure its health implications or lack thereof.

Inulin-based sweeteners

Inulin is from the fructans family, which has a fiber called fructooligosaccharides (FOS). The gut does not absorb this fiber. Thus, it’s not metabolized. The main source of inulin is Chicory which is used in low-carb sweeteners. However, it’s not the sweetest option which is why it’s usually mixed with other sweeteners. Additionally, inulin is quickly fermented by the bacteria in the gut so that it may induce diarrhea, gas, and other signs of digestive irritation. Make sure to consume this in small amounts to avoid any problems.

Yakon syrup

Just like maple syrup, this is also a “natural” sweetener. It is derived from the root of the yacon plant from South America. It contains FOS-like inulin, so it may also cause digestive problems. Since a portion of the syrup is fiber, it has a lower GI rating, but it’s worth noting that one tablespoon of yakon syrup still has some digestible carbs. To estimate, 100 grams of yacon root has around 9-13 grams of carbs, so it’s not the best keto-friendly option.

Isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO)

Found in some foods such as honey, sourdough bread, and soy sauce, IMO is produced by treating starch in corn or other grains with enzymes. This treatment results in sweet yet less digestible carbs. IMO is listed as fiber on labels. While it is claimed to be digestion-resistant, it was found that it is partially digested and absorbed in the circulation, so it may hold some potential to increase blood sugar and insulin levels. Thus, this is also not the best keto-friendly sweetener, in my opinion.

Which one is the best?

My quick answer is ERYTHRITOL. According to Sofia Norton, RD, “I prefer erythritol because it is considered natural, affordable, and fairly versatile.”

Which one should you avoid?

Because it won’t function with a keto diet, yacon syrup isn’t recommended. FiberYum and Xylitol are two other products on the list that are not advised (only in moderation, as they can cause digestive discomfort in many people)

Sweeteners to avoid

Here’s a list of sweeteners that are best avoided in keto diets. These are high in carbs, calories, fructose, glycemic index, and other non-beneficial biomarkers.

  • Maltodextrin
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Lucuma Powder
  • Fruit Juices
  • Raw Honey
  • Rice Malt Syrup
  • Agave Syrup
  • Berry Powder
  • Date Syrup
  • FiberYum
  • Tagatose
  • Yacon syrup
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

Keto diet

The keto diet revolves around the notion that if we eat minimal carbs, our body will produce ketones, serving as an alternative fuel source.

Generally, Americans consume about 200-350 grams of carbs per day. If you join the keto diet wagon, this will be reduced to around 20-50 grams daily based on a 2000 kcal diet. This lack of carb intake will push your body to burn fat instead. Unfortunately, our good old sugar and other sweeteners are packed with carbs.

Sugar as a sweetener

Sugar is a double molecule of glucose and fructose, and it comes in different forms: white, brown, icing, demerara, maple syrup, confectioners’, date sugar, coconut sugar, and others. Sugar is 100% carbs which makes it counterproductive if our goal is to maintain weight, decrease blood glucose, and regulate insulin response. This is why sugar is to be avoided in any keto diet plan.

Fructose: the greater evil

Just when you think sugar is the worst culprit, fructose comes into play. But why is it worse than sugar? It travels straight to the liver upon consumption and may pave the way for fatty liver, central obesity, bad lipid profiles, and insulin resistance if taken in excess. 

Take note, though, that fructose raises blood sugar slower than sugar which is why it has a lower glycemic index (GI) rating. Sounds good? Nope! Despite the low GI rating, the harm it can do to your metabolism may be even more severe than sugar can ever impose.

Sweeteners with lots of fructose content hold harmful long-term effects on our health. Some of these are:

  • Agave syrup (highest fructose content at 60%)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Honey
  • Molasses

How to find a great keto sweetener?

Look for these things when looking for your keto sweetener:

  • Virtually zero calories, net carbs, and even hidden carb sources
  • No negative effect on lipid profile
  • No negative effect on insulin levels (check the GI rating) and blood sugar levels
  • Exposable to high temperatures without turning to be bitter, toxic, or degraded into simple sugars
  • Safe to consume with no side effects when taken moderately

The three main groups of sweeteners you can look out for when on a keto diet are:

  • Natural sugars
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Artificial sugars

FAQs

Can sweeteners impact weight loss and weight gain?

There is no evidence that sweeteners impact weight loss on keto or any other diet, for that matter. There are theories, however, suggesting that sweeteners can make us overeat by overstimulating taste receptors, that they disrupt the gut microflora, and that they affect blood glucose in some way, but these are yet to be proven.

While there is still insufficient research, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in BMJ revealed a lack of a link between sugar substitutes and losing weight problems. 

How do sweeteners impact insulin on keto?

According to researchers from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, non-nutritive sweeteners stimulate taste receptors and digestive tract cells, which induces insulin release. This can impact blood sugar levels and cravings while on the keto diet. 

What can I replace sugar with?

You may use any of the low-carb sweeteners listed in this article. For safety, you might want to consult your nutritionist or dietitian if you have any ongoing health problems.

What is the best-tasting sweetener for keto?

As per Evans, “I think most people would say erythritol because it is so widely used, is fairly cheap and because it’s not an overly sweet sweetener, i.e., it is not 200x sweeter than sugar, so it is easier to dial in.”

Can I consume diet soda while on keto?

Yes, you may! Well, as long as the drink has no calories and carbs. While research on diet soda is still lacking, a diet soda once in a while should not harm you.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.