To be healthy, you do not need to let go 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 available for us.
Best Keto Syrup for your coffee instead?
The keto diet revolves around the notion that if we eat minimal carbs, our body will produce ketones which will serve as an alternative fuel source.
Generally, Americans consume about 200-350 grams of carbs per day. If you join in the keto diet wagon, this will be reduced to around 20-50 grams a day based on a 2000 kcal diet. This lack in 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 plans.
Fructose: the greater evil
Just when you think sugar is the worst culprit, fructose comes into play. But why is it worse than sugar? Well, because it travels straight to the liver upon consumption and may therefore 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
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 in a keto diet are:
- Natural sugars
- Sugar alcohols
- Artificial sugars
Natural keto-friendly sweeteners
- Great for Cooking and Baking: White sugar substitute that's perfect for cookies, coffee, desserts, and other sweet, sugar-free treats. Tastes, bakes, and cooks like sugar. Great sugar alternative. Made with only monk fruit sweetener and erythritol.
- Matches the Sweetness of Sugar: A healthy cup-for-cup alternative to ordinary sugar. Monk fruit contains zero calories and is about 250 times sweeter than sugar.
- Lifestyle Friendly: Works with ketogenic, diabetic, candida, paleo, vegan, low-sugar, non-GMO, and all-natural diets. Monk fruit sweetener may help with weight loss. Monkfruit contains natural sugars, mainly fructose and glucose. Add this perfect sweetnees to help enhance your overall health and fitness. Modern day superfood.
Also known as Luo Han Guo, monk fruit is from China and Northern Thailand which 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! Make sure that the monk fruit sweetener does not contain maltodextrin or dextrose to ensure its great health benefit.
Great options to try
- Purisure Monk Fruit Extract (100% monk fruit)
- NuNaturals Organic Plant-Based Sugar-Free, Stevia & Monk Fruit Sweetener
- NOW Foods Monk Fruit Liquid Organic (monk fruit and 11% organic alcohol)
- 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
- “Proprietary blend” on labels mean the product only has little monk fruit extract
- Often mixed with fillers such as inulin, prebiotic fibers, and other undeclared ingredients
- PACKAGING MAY VARY* THE #1 BEST SELLING ORGANIC STEVIA SWEETENER- Pyure offers the same versatility and ease of use as traditional sugar without the added calories or carbohydrates
- 2:1 SUGAR REPLACEMENT- Twice the sweetness of sugar, Pyure uses a higher percentage of organic stevia with less bulking ingredients making it approximately 2x sweeter than sugar
- DELICIOUSLY SWEET GRANULATED SUGAR SUBSTITUTE- Cooks and bakes like real sugar for sweetening everything from cookies and cakes to coffees and tea or sprinkling over oatmeal and fresh fruit. Dissolves great and mixes well
200 times sweeter than sugar, we have our next option called stevia which is an extract from an herb called steviol glycosides. 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 stomach.
This remains to be one of the best sugar-free sweeteners. In fact, 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, there are powdered forms in the market that can hold some calories and hidden carbs.
- No carbs
- No calories
- Low risk for toxicity
- Does not raise insulin or blood sugar levels
- A little goes a long way
- Some find it to have some bitter aftertaste
- Difficult to cook with
- Not enough studies to back it up
Obviously, 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 with sugar chemically, thus, they induce the sweet taste upon contact with the tongue. While it’s not without calories, it still holds a lot less than table sugar.
- Premium Natural Erythritol Granular Sweetener
- 70% as Sweet as Table Sugar with Virtually Zero Calories
- Crystals that dissolve like table sugar, perfect for baking!
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. In fact, it is rated to have zero glycemic index. 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 though that erythritol is only 70% as sweet as sugar.
- 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
- May cause gas, diarrhea and bloating
- Does not have the same mouthfeel as sugar
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.
- PURE SWEETNESS: Splenda No Calorie Sweetener tastes like sugar because it's made from sugar. One packet of Splenda No Calorie Sweetener is equal to the sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar. It's a no-calorie way to add a little bit of sweetness to your day.
- SUGAR FREE ALTERNATIVE: At zero calories and less than 1g of carbohydrates, Splenda No Calorie Sweetener is the guilt-free sweetness you've been looking for. Use it in place of sugar in your coffee, tea, cereal, fresh fruit, or even in your pancake syrup!
- AMERICA'S FAVORITE SWEETENER: You have so many options for sugar alternatives: stevia, monkfruit, xylitol, erythritol, aspartame, sucralose, yacon syrup & so many more. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener is America's Favorite Sweetener.
You might be surprised to know that Splenda is actually not artificial. It is sugar but somehow transforms into something with zero carbs when consumed. Some claims that this may raise blood sugar but not enough research can back that up.
- Premium Allulose Sweetener
- Batch Tested and Verified Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegan
- Packed in California
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 give off the same negative effects because it is not metabolized by the body. It is simply excreted via the urine. However, it’s only 70% as sweet as sugar.
- 100% Pure Xylitol: XyloSweet is a 100% pure xylitol sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants, similar in taste to regular organic sugar. We use no filler, flow agents or other additives. Granulated xylitol is a natural sugar that tastes just like sugar and a great choice when looking for sweetners and sugar alternatives.
- Delicious Low Calorie Sweetener: Xylitol may assist in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight when used with health food. Xylitol sugar is 40% lower in calories than regular sugars, but contains the same sweetness. It can be a great choice for using in diabetic foods and snacks, keto friendly foods or used in blood sugar support supplements.
- Convenient Sugar Replacement: XyloSweet can be be used as a substitute for baking sugar and most other common sweeteners and sugar alternatives without compromising taste or texture. XyloSweet is diabetic safe with a glycemic index of 7, as opposed to 65 for most table sugars.
Now this sugar alcohol is a bit sweeter than sugar that is mainly sourced from plant fibers. It has no calories with very few nutrients but it does hold some help for dental treatment and osteoporosis. Take note that this should be taken in moderation because doses more than 65 grams may induce diarrhea.
- DIABETIC-FRIENDLY SWEETNESS: BochaSweet is a zero calorie, zero glycemic sweetener that tastes identical to cane sugar without the bitter aftertaste. Born from a low temperature extraction using non-GMO kabochas — our kabocha extract has been perfected to cook, bake, dissolve, and measure on a 1:1 ratio to cane sugar.
- MADE FROM A SUPERFOOD: The kabocha has been a superfood in the Japanese diet for centuries. It has been discovered that no other pumpkin or single food provided a greater percentage of carotenoids than kabocha.
- GREAT FOR ALL USES & RECIPES: There’s much more you can do with this amazing natural sweetener than put it in your coffee or tea. It’s great for any cooking or baking recipe. In fact, you can use it at a 1:1 ratio in everything you would normally use cane sugar.
This one is fairly new in the market and is derived from kabocha extract, a pumpkin-like squash originating 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 around this sweetener to ensure its health implications, or lack thereof.
- Inulin Powder Organic, Inulin Prebiotic Fiber Organic, 35 Ounce (2.2 Pounds), Premium Inulin Fiber, Vegan Friendly.
- Natural Prebiotics Supplement (Water Soluble Dietary Fiber) to Promote Digestion, Colon & Guts Health & Nourish Beneficial Guts.
- No Additives, No Preservatives, No Fillers, No GMOs, No Artificial Colors, No Flavor, No Soy and Gluten Free.
Inulin is from the fructans family which has a fiber called fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). The gut does not absorb this fiber, thus, it’s not metabolized. The main source of inulin is Chicory and 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 it may induce diarrhea, gas, and other signs of digestive irritation. Make sure to consume this in small amounts to avoid any problems.
- 🌱 NUTRIENT-DENSE PREBIOTIC SUPERFOOD - Each ultra-low calorie serving contains high levels of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) prebiotics. This offers immune system support, promotes healthy digestion, a healthier body management and balanced blood sugar levels.
- 🌱 ALL NATURAL & LOW CALORIE - Yacon root syrup has a low glycemic index and 1/3 the calories of sugar or honey. Use it as low carb diet or keto substitute that will help maintain blood insulin levels and a healthier body without any sacrifice.
- 🌱 PROMOTES IMMUNE FUNCTION & DIGESTION - The unique prebiotic properties of the yacon root supports healthy digestion and the growth of good gut bacteria. Other benefits include liver and bone health, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol.
Just like maple syrup, this is also a “natural” sweetener. It is derived from the root of the yacon plant from South America. It does contain FOS like inulin so it may also cause some 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 out there.
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 a sweet yeet 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 mostly prefer erythritol because it is considered natural, because it is affordable, and it is 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 it 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 either high in carbs, calories, fructose, glycemic index, and other non-beneficial biomarkers.
- Dark Chocolate
- Coconut Palm Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Lucuma Powder
- Fruit Juices
- Raw Honey
- Rice Malt Syrup
- Agave Syrup
- Berry Powder
- Date Syrup
- Yacon syrup
- Blackstrap Molasses
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
Can sweeteners impact weight loss and weight gain?
There is no evidence that sweeteners impact weight loss in any way 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 not enough research, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in BMJ revealed a lacking 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 have a way of stimulating taste receptors and digestive tract cells which induces insulin release. In return, this can impact blood sugar levels and cravings while on keto diet.
What can I replace sugar with?
You may opt to 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 a overly sweet sweetener, ie. 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 around diet soda is still lacking, a diet soda once in a while should not harm you.
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