I think one of the biggest challenges for many who switched over to the keto diet is giving up sugar and/or finding good and healthy sugar substitutes. You may even be a little surprised to see that honey and agave nectar are not great substitutes, even though both are natural.
It’s important to do your research before you buy anything first to make sure it is healthy and second to make sure it’s keto-friendly.
Before we dive into this, let’s dispel a couple of myths and answer a couple of questions about sugar substitutes because not all sweeteners and substitutes are created equal. The first one that so many people ask:
Is Sucralose bad?
Not all products with sucralose are the same and you will really need to take a minute to read the ingredients on the package. According to healthline.com:
Splenda, which contains sucralose, contains maltodextrin and dextrose, two carbs that supply about 3 calories and 1 gram of carbs in each packet.
It has just enough carbs to kick you out of ketosis especially if you are watching your carbs strictly.
So is sucralose bad? I think it really all depends on how much you are consuming daily and which product you are using. Read your labels!
Is coconut sugar substitute keto friendly?
While coconut flour and coconut oil are both healthy and great to use on keto, coconut sugar, not so much. It is very high in fructose which will also kick you out of ketosis.
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Are sugar substitutes bad for you?
Well, yes and no. Like anything else you are going to start to consume for your diet or health, you should check with your healthcare practitioner/doctor to make sure it’s right for you. This goes for substitutes like Splenda, Sweet and Lo (which contains saccharin), Equal and Nutrasweet.
Being on the keto diet will have you changing up your eating habits quite drastically and you may even get to the point where you will completely eliminate sugar altogether. Kudos to you if you can do that!
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the healthy sugar substitutes for your keto diet.
5 Healthy Sugar Substitutes
Before we dive into the healthy sugar substitutes I think you should watch this video from Thomas DeLauer. He really knows his stuff when it comes to anything and all keto.
1 Monk Fruit
Monk fruit is a natural sweetener that comes from the monk fruit, a plant native to China. Though some say you can substitute equal amounts for sugar you may want to test the sweetness of it first. You may find it to be quite sweeter than sugar.
Lakanto Monk Fruit is the one I use and is the most popular and best monk fruit sweetener on the market. This is a blend of monk fruit and erythritol which works well. If you’re wanting to try a pure monk fruit brand, try this one.
2 Erythritol sweetener
Another popular healthy sugar substitute is erythritol though not all are convinced that it is in fact healthy or good as a substitute on the keto diet. Though it is found naturally in some foods, erythritol is also a man-made sweetener. It is considered a sugar alcohol that your body cannot process, so it does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels to the extent sugar does.
This great article here from WebMD explains erythritol in detail so check it out before you decide to purchase it.
This is the brand I use in my baking.
3 Stevia Sugar Substitute
Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes straight from the stevia plant. This healthy sugar substitute tends to be much sweeter than regular sugar so you only need a tiny bit when sweetening your coffee/tea or desserts.
4 Xylitol sugar
You may recognize this name as it is commonly found in gums, candies and mints. Though xylitol sugar does contain carbs they are not counted as net carbs because similarly to erythritol, they don’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels to the extent sugar does.
Xylitol has the same sweetness as regular sugar so you can use equal parts in your tea/coffee/etc.
I use this brand. I like to mix it with erythritol when baking since erythritol tends to leave a minty cooling effect in the mouth that I am not fond of.
5 Yacon syrup
This natural sweetener comes from the root of the yacon plant, native to South America. Recent studies in animals and humans have shown that yacon syrup may reduce blood sugar and insulin levels.
Yacon syrup is great for tea/coffee/etc but not so great to cook or bake with. You can use it in equal parts.
You can find yacon syrup here.
Choosing the best healthy sugar substitute
Keeping in mind that not all sugar substitutes are created equally, you will have to do some trial and error. Some definitely leave a ‘taste’ in your mouth (you know the one) that can ruin whatever it is you are eating or drinking. Though, I must admit I am quite fond of this taste now and love it in my tea. Just be sure to not overdo it.
Try to opt for more natural sugar substitutes (monk fruit, yacon syrup) if taste is a big factor for you.
With everything, read the labels and do your research. If you love baking keto-friendly desserts, make sure you read the directions carefully when substituting sugars and make sure you use the one recommended.
Lord knows it would be a shame to ruin a perfectly decadent keto chocolate cake because we didn’t measure the sugar substitute properly!