THE 6 BEST KETO-FRIENDLY SUGAR SUBSTITUTES
Whether you are brand new to keto, or have been on the diet for years, you probably miss those delicious sweets and desserts you used to eat.
Cookies, brownies, and cake are all clearly out of the question. And you can’t even put sugar in your coffee or yogurt!
Here at CanDo, we believe you should be able to do what you love!
Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer. There are loads of sugar substitutes on the market for those practicing a keto diet. Let’s take a look at some of the best options out there.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit sweeteners are made from the monk fruit, a type of fruit native to Thailand and China. The monk fruit has been cultivated by Buddhist monks in the region for centuries.
The sweetness in the monk fruit does not come from sucrose or fructose, but rather from special antioxidants called mogrosides, which are present in the fruit in high quantities.
Monk fruit “sugar” is a perfect sugar alternative for keto because it contains zero carbs.
Keep in mind that sweetener derived from monk fruit is typically 200 to 300 times sweeter than regular cane sugar, so you only need a little bit to sweeten your food.
No, it wasn’t invented by Steve Jobs. Stevia sweetener is made from an herb called Stevia, which is a relative of the sunflower, and is native to certain parts of South America, including Brazil and Paraguay.
Stevia sweeteners have been popular in Japan since the 1970’s, and are now starting to become widely available in the West as well. If you’ve eaten one of our protein bars, then you’ve already tried a little bit of stevia.
Like monk fruit sweeteners, stevia sweeteners are much sweeter than ordinary cane sugar, so you only need to use a little bit. Stevia sweeteners often come in little bottles, so you can measure it out by the drop.
Technically a sugar alcohol, not a sugar. Erythritol is made from fermented corn or cornstarch, and occurs naturally in some fruits.
Erythritol is very low calorie, and does not raise blood sugar levels.
It is easy to use as a sugar replacement in baking recipes, as it is about as sweet as ordinary cane sugar. We even use it in some of our products!
Be aware that erythritol does add another flavor to the mix, which some people describe as a sort of mouth cooling feel. The only way to find out if you like this flavor is to try it!
Do you chew sugar free gum or rinse your mouth with mouthwash? If so, you have probably ingested xylitol without realizing it.
Similar to erythritol, xylitol is a sugar alcohol derived from corn. Xylitol is low carb but not zero carb, so be careful! It does have about 4 grams of carbs per teaspoon.
Xylitol is about as sweet as ordinary cane sugar, so it does make a good baking substitute. Just don’t feed it to your pets- xylitol is highly toxic to cats and dogs!
If you have ever tried a little yellow packet of Splenda, then you have tried sucralose.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that was first discovered in 1976. Although it is made in a lab, sucralose is completely safe to consume. It does not raise blood sugar levels in diabetics and is not known to cause cavities. It is also zero carb (although Splenda is not, since it also contains maltodextrin and dextrose).
The downside to sucralose is that it is not good for baking. For one thing, it is a whopping 600 times sweeter than ordinary sugar. But the bigger problem is that sucralose tends do break down at high temperatures. That being said, sucralose works perfectly fine for sweetening yogurt or iced coffee.
Allulose is found in small quantities in certain foods, most notable wheat.
Allulose is slightly less sweet than sucrose, and it offers the same “cooling” sensation as erythritol. However, it is a good substitute for baking.
The main downside to allulose is that it is rare and expensive. It only started to become mass produced in the 1990’s. But if you found the other sugar substitutes on the list lacking, then it is worth a shot.
Which keto sugar substitute is best for you?
The truth is, there is no single “best” sugar substitute. The smartest thing to do would be to try them all out yourself and see what works.
The main reason to do this is because everybody is different: every body is different. Some of these sweeteners may work great for you. Others may not. There is no way to tell unless you try them out.
The FDA considers all of the above sweeteners to be safe to consume. Some people have reported bloating and gastrointestinal problems with a few of them, but other than that, they are unlikely to cause health problems.
Be careful if you use other sweeteners, however. Even natural sweeteners like honey actually contain lots of carbs. You can see the difference in this chart.
And lastly, don’t forget to check in with a physician if you are considering making sudden large changes to your diet. If you are on keto because you have diabetes or another condition, the sugar substitutes mentioned above should still be safe, but it is important to confirm with a physician.