Having been on the keto diet on and off for over two years now, I have tried a wide variety of keto-approved sweeteners so of course, I have a few favorites.
I broke down all the best keto-approved sweeteners here so if you’re looking for a long list of sugar substitutes to try, start there first.
In this post I will share the distinct difference I have found between two sugar-free sweeteners and when I prefer to use them.
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Keto Approved Sweeteners
When you eat following the rules of the keto diet, your body will start using fat rather than relying on carbs for energy, which is what you want. The thing that trips up many people on this diet is the inability to eat as much sugar as they have in the past.
You might find it difficult to let go of that sweet tooth. For me, this was the most difficult thing on this diet, even when I found great sugar-alternatives to try. But if done right, you don’t actually have to stop eating sweet things. You just need to use the correct sugar alternative so that you don’t inadvertently sabotage your efforts.
There are plenty of sugar alternatives available that you can use to not only add to your favorite beverages but to use in baked goods or in making regular meals that call for sugar. Not all of them are healthy, however, so you should look into the dangers of sugar-alternatives that are not recommended on the keto diet.
Keto approved sugar alternatives come in styles that mimic granulated sugar, powdered and brown sugar, and are low in carbs, so you get the sweet taste without risking your state of ketosis.
The first sweetener I’ll mention is erythritol. It’s a compound that’s known as a sugar alcohol. You can find this type of sweetener naturally. Erythritol is what gives certain vegetables and fruits that sweet flavor.
When you use manufactured erythritol, it works by triggering the sweet taste buds located on the tip of your tongue. Your taste buds can’t tell the difference between the sweetener and regular sugar, so you get the same effect, but without the carbs.
This sweetener only contains a small number of calories and research has shown it offers health benefits like helping keep glucose levels lower. It’s also one of the more affordable keto sweeteners so one of my favorites. I buy this in bulk.
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Another sugar-free sweetener you can use is stevia.
This sweetener is naturally made from the Agave plant, native to South America. It is zero-calorie and will not affect your insulin levels. It’s also a lot sweeter than sugar and so teeny tiny amounts are required to sweeten your food and beverages.
It however has an unpleasant aftertaste so you may want to be careful of its application. Also, be careful when reading the ingredient list of any product touted as Stevia. Many brands mix stevia with other sweeteners to try and get a 1:1 ratio of sweetness when compared to sugar. They’re trying to help you keep the ame measurements as you would normally with table sugar but some of the things they’re mixing stevia with can be harmful.
Something else you can use instead of sugar is monk fruit. This fruit hails from Asia and is much sweeter than sugar. Yet, it doesn’t contain any calories. You use the liquid or powdered extract from the fruit to sweeten your foods. It is a great alternative for brown sugar. The fruit is loaded with health benefits, too.
Many companies mix monk fruit with erythritol because monk fruit on it’s own can be expensive. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for pure monk fruit.
When to Use Each Sugar Alternative
When baking, I prefer to use erythritol. I find that it sweetens up my baked goods nicely but it is important that you do not use a lot.
When you taste erythritol in its pure form, its not as sweet as sugar and it has a cooling after effect on your tongue. This cooing effect will carry through in your baking goods if you use too much. But it seems that baking erythritol actually makes it sweeter and so even though it’s not as sweet as sugar, when baking be careful not to put too much.
Erythritol is offered in granular and powdered form to can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
In tea, I prefer stevia. The tiny amount used will be absorbed by the flavor of my tea and won’t leave any aftertaste for me. Unless your tea is delicately flavored then you probably shouldn’t be sweetening it anyway.
I also prefer stevia in tangy drinks such as keto lemonade. Limes, lemons and other citrus fruits cut right through that after taste making it quite pleasant.
In coffee and coffee-flavored pastries, I use monk fruit mixed with erythritol. I find that golden monk fruit lends a smoky taste. My 10yo daughter often tells me she wants the coffee sugar because that’s the flavor she gets from it. This warm taste works amazingly well in my coffee and coffee or chocolate-flavored baked goods.
I don’t prefer erythritol in its pure form in my drinks because it takes quite a bit of it to sweeten up my drink, and may lend a minty flavor I’m not looking for. Because erythritol is not as sweet as sugar, I often add 2-3 tablespoons in my tea before I get the sweetness desired but somehow when it’s baked the sweetness amplifies.