This video is about what I believe to be the best sweeteners on Keto. For most people, sugar cravings go away after a while following a Ketogenic Diet. Sometimes though, desserts do call for some extra sweetness, (like my favourite – keto cheesecake), which is why I made this video.
Pretty quickly on your Keto journey, you start realizing how over-sweetened many processed foods are that you’ve been eating for most of your life. And all of a sudden, you notice the natural sweetness in real food like cabbage, cauliflower and carrots.
Before we go into which sweeteners you should and shouldn’t use on a Ketogenic Diet, I just want you to keep this in mind:
– Use sweeteners sparingly. Even the ones that don’t affect your blood sugar and insulin levels can result in more cravings, usually for more sweet food. You also tend to over-eat sweetened food more easily.
Quick example: When my girlfriend and I crave chocolate, one small square of 90% dark Lindt chocolate is enough for us. However, sometimes when we try slightly sweeter dark chocolate that is only sweetened with Erythritol or Xylitol, it’s hard for us to stop after an entire row and it turns on some sweet cravings. Even though it is sweetened with more Keto and blood sugar friendly sugar replacements, the fact that it tastes sweeter means that it’s harder to stop eating it.
– If your goal is to lose fat as rapidly as possible or even if you’re just starting out on Keto, you should probably wait a little before you start experimenting with sweeteners.
Ok, having said that, lets start with what you should avoid if you want to stay in Ketosis:
Avoid things like high fructose corn syrup, sugar, maple syrup, the vegan favourite Agave, coconut sugar and dried dates (which are often used in Paleo recipes), as these are high in carbs and will significantly raise blood sugar and insulin levels.
I also recommend staying away from all kinds of artificial sweeteners, since we don’t know the long-term health effects as well as how they alter our gut micro-biome. I’m talking about Ace K, Sucralose, Saccharin and Aspartame. There are quite a few conflicting studies about these. For some people they can cause gut issues, weight gain, raise blood sugar, insulin levels or cause headaches. Other people report that they don’t have any issues with their occasional Diet Dr Pepper (which contains Aspartame) on Keto.
If having an Aspartame sweetened drink like Diet Dr Pepper once per week keeps you going and doesn’t cause more cravings or negative health effects then it’s up to you if you want to keep drinking it. If the alternative is binging on donuts, it’s still going to be better. Still, you should check your blood sugar to see if it has an effect.
Since we do have better natural sweeteners without carbs, I would go for those whenever possible:
– First of all, stevia. Stevia has been used for centuries – it has no impact on blood sugar and insulin, so you can freely use it for treats. Just pay attention as it’s many times sweeter than regular sugar. Sometimes the granulated form is mixed with maltodextrin, dextrose or even sugar, so either buy liquid stevia drops or make sure that the powdered version doesn’t contain additives. Stevia by itself can have a bitter aftertaste though, but sometimes it’s enough to just add some vanilla or cinnamon and you don’t notice it any more.
– Then we have Erythritol, a sugar alcohol that also doesn’t affect glucose and insulin levels. It only has 70% of the sweetness of table sugar. It has sort of a cold, refreshing aftertaste by itself.
We have also tried Xylitol in the past, but stopped using it as it does affect blood sugar levels. I would just stick to Erythritol when it comes to sugar alcohols, as the other ones are all higher in net carbs.
Our personal favourite is a mix of Stevia and Erythritol. It seems to eliminate both of their individual aftertastes really well and you won’t notice much of a taste difference compared to table sugar.
– Monk fruit is another great natural sweetener that you can try on Keto. It is often mixed with Erythritol as well. In my opinion it’s a little too expensive though, compared to stevia and erythritol, which is why we don’t buy it.