What Are The Effects Of Low
Sweeteners, whether they are artificial or not, all function in the very same way, at least at the very beginning when you put them in your mouth. They pretend to be sugar when they hit the receptors on our taste buds.
So while they are in your mouth, most sweeteners behave the same way. Its what happens after, both in the brain and in the digestive tract that changes.
There have been a number of studies on the effects of sweeteners on brain response, such as how the brain identifies sugar or sweetness, how it triggers a release of dopamine, and how it kicks off the reward systems.
However, to this point, there is still no real consensus on whether or not the use of sweeteners, in general, can have long-term adverse effects such as obesity, Alzheimers disease, etc.
Some studies on individual sweeteners seem to have linked them with forms of cancer or other eating disorders, but its not quite clear if sweeteners, in general, can be the culprits.
So instead of looking at sweeteners in general, lets consider the health effects individually.
Using Keto Sugar Substitutes For Baking Recipes
The number one question I get in baking recipes is people asking if they can use a different sweetener. How would this turn out if I use erythritol vs stevia? Can I use this or that?
The answer, usually, is it depends.
There are many factors that go into choosing sugar substitutes for baking. Here are the main ones and the potential issues
Can I Use Zero
When on a diet, everything you ingest must be in moderation, including how you use zero- or low-carb sweeteners.
Also, be careful when picking zero-calorie sweeteners!
Many products advertised as low-carb sweeteners contain carbs due to their use of other ingredients, such as glucose and maltodextrin. Examples of such products are:
- Splenda packets
- Sweet n Low
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How To Replace Stevia In Low Carb Recipes
Due to the difference in concentrations between different stevia products, it is difficult to give you a general recommendation for how to replace it. For the purposes of this guide, we will stick with commonly used liquid stevia and stevia extract powder products. If you do not have the same brand of stevia, the conversions will be very similar as long as there are no other added ingredients in it .
The low carb sweeteners that we selected are the ones that are most commonly used in the keto community and in Ruled.me recipes. When it comes to taste, the sweetener blends tend to be the most pleasant and usually have no aftertaste.
*Remember: You may need to add some extra liquid ingredients when using these granular low carb replacements instead of a concentrated sweetener like stevia.
Our Pick For Best Keto Sweetener: Monk Fruit Sweetener
A relative newcomer to the sugar substitute scene, monk fruit extract was approved by the FDA for use as a sweetener in 2010. Pure monk fruit extract is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, so some manufacturers blend it with other sugar free sweeteners, such as erythritol for easier use in cooking and baking. 1
Why We Love It: Monk fruit sweetener contains zero calories and is naturally derived. Its even thought to contain antioxidants, which may provide additional health benefits.
Unlike some sugar substitutes, monk fruit sweeteners dont have an aftertaste or serious gastrointestinal side effects. Monk fruit is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth, without the calories of real sugar or the yucky side effects of other alternatives.
Thats why our choice for the best keto sweetener is monk fruit!
Try This:Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener
Lakantos Monk Fruit sweetener is a 1:1 replacement for sugar, so its easy to swap in recipes. As an added bonus, it is also vegan and diabetic-friendly!
Lakantos Monk Fruit sweetener is a blend containing erythritol, but the monk fruit sweetness really gives it the best overall taste and wins it the top spot in our list!
The Breakdown on Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener:
- Calories 0
- What its made of Erythritol, monk fruit extract
- Estimated Cost Moderate
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Better Alternatives To Sucralose
When it comes down to it, sucralose is an artificial sweetener. And here at Wholesome Yum, we always recommend naturally occurring ingredients over ones created in a lab.
Why take the chance with the risks of sucralose, when you an use something thats naturally found in plants?
Try these natural sucralose alternatives instead all of them are plant derived:
How To Replace Stevia
Stevia sweetener is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. Once the sweet parts of the plant are extracted, they are dried into a powder or suspended in liquid form.
The main issue with stevia is that it can have a bitter aftertaste, which gets much worse as you use larger quantities. This is why we tend to blend it with other sweeteners, like erythritol.
Many people also find that they prefer one brand of stevia over another, so its worth experimenting to find one that you like. Just make sure the product you purchase doesnt have any added filler like maltodextrin or dextrose.
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Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe To Use
With so many natural-based keto sweeteners to choose from, theres no need to use artificial sweeteners. Many studies indicate that most artificial sweeteners can have some negative effects like stimulating the appetite resulting in overeating or altering gut bacteria.
Thats why I recommend sticking to natural sweeteners!
However, Im providing information on popular synthetic sweeteners as they are used in some keto products.
The 5 Best Sweeteners On A Low
Honey and maple syrup, although theyre natural and with a lower glycemic index, you should avoid them because they are rich in carbohydrates and increase blood sugar.
In this article, were going to explore each one of them.
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Is Sucralose Bad For You On Keto
At first glance, sucralose appears to be a suitable option for the keto diet. The sweetener is sugar-free and contains little to no carbohydrates, depending on the brand.
However, when we reflect, we must question whether highly processed foods and lab-created chemicals are an intelligent option.
Although many fitness drinks or protein bars are sold to us as premium products for serious money, they are not much different from other junk foods when containing synthetic sweeteners.
Some call this approach dirty keto. On the other hand, I prefer real food after sucralose has side effects that many people might not know.
How To Replace Swerve In Low Carb Recipes
The Swerve substitutes that will work best are the other keto sweetener blends, pure erythritol, and xylitol. However, even these options may change the texture of the recipe a bit because they may not dissolve as well as Swerve confectioners sweetener unless, of course, you find a powdered version of the granular keto sweeteners mentioned throughout this article.
You can also process your granular sweeteners so that they mimic the properties of confectioners Swerve by blending them up in a coffee grinder.
*Replacing Swerve with these sweeteners may require you to take out some of the liquid or dry ingredients in the recipe to achieve the right consistency since each one is much sweeter than Swerve.
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What Makes Sweeteners Keto Friendly
Anyone following or interested in the ketogenic diet knows they should replace table sugar with keto sweeteners or avoid everything sweet completely.
But what exactly are keto-approved sweeteners?
Generally speaking, keto sweeteners are those sugar substitutes that don’t raise blood glucose.
Many keto proponents also believe that natural sweeteners and those 100 percent proven to be safe are the only acceptable keto sweeteners.
So, what makes these sweeteners keto friendly?
The first thing is that they are low-carb. Sugar is 90-100 percent carbohydrate.
Sweeteners, on the other hand,
- don’t have any carbohydrates,
- incompletely digestible carbohydrates.
Because they don’t contain carbohydrates, sweeteners do not affect blood glucose the way sugar does.
The way we determine a food’s impact on blood glucose is with the help of the glycemic index .
The GI ranks food based on how quickly it raises blood glucose.
Sweeteners rank 0 to 36, while sugar ranks 65-80 on the GI scale.
A general agreement is that foods ranking lower on the GI scale lead to a slower release of blood glucose,
while those ranking high on the GI scale cause blood glucose spikes.
- Glycemic index is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.
- Glycemic load is an index that simultaneously describes the blood glucose-raising potential of the carbohydrate in a food and the quantity of carbohydrate in a food.
However, some studies say things are not that simple.
Favorite Stevia Brand: Sweetleaf
The SweetLeaf Sweet Drops brand of liquid stevia is one of my favorites and it comes in a variety of flavors. Stevia in general contains about a handful of grams of carbs but, thats not per serving . Thats per 100 grams, which is about 20 teaspoons.
As long as you use a pure stevia extract with no maltodextrin or dextrose , stevia is keto-friendly.
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The Best Keto Sweeteners For Taste
To some degree, the best tasting low carb sweetener is a matter of preference. All our taste buds are a little different.
That being said, most people find that a blend of sweeteners is a great way to avoid any aftertaste or downsides of using one alone. These include blends like:
You may have noticed that most of these contain erythritol.
And this is one of the reasons why its my favorite low carb sweetener. It has no aftertaste and makes a fantastic bulking agent to mellow other sweeteners. In fact, I most often use plain erythritol alone.
While my personal preference is erythritol, monk fruit and allulose are close seconds. Blends of monk fruit sweetener with erythritol or allulose together taste great and make excellent 1:1 keto sugar substitutes.
Nutritive Vs Nonnutritive Sweeteners
Sweeteners are further classified into those that provide calories and those that don’t .
All calories from nutritive sweeteners come in the form of carbohydrates.
Most sugar alcohols are nutritive sweeteners.
However, calories vary greatly from one sugar alcohol to the next, with some like erythritol having zero calories per gram and others like maltitol providing 2.5 calories per gram.
Nonnutritive sweeteners are artificial sweeteners.
They’re also called high-intensity sweeteners because they are many times sweeter than sugar.
However, stevia, which is a natural sweetener is also a nonnutritive sweetener as is monk fruit and erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol.
And in case you’re wondering what type of sweetener is best for the keto diet, consider Mark Hyman’s take on sweeteners:
“I recommend giving up aspartame, sucralose, sugar alcohols such as xylitol and maltitol, and all of the other heavily used and marketed sweeteners unless you want to slow down your metabolism, gain weight, and become an addict. Use a little stevia if you must, but skip out on the others.” Mark Hyman, MD
Unlike nutritive sweeteners, nonnutritive sweeteners don’t get their sweet taste from carbohydrates. Instead, they get it from a range of molecules that interact with the sweet receptors on our tongues.
These molecules include sugar alcohols, terpenoids, some proteins, flavonoids, and others.
So, there you have it. Natural sweeteners like stevia are your best bet.
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Diet Soft Drinks On Keto
Can you drink diet soft drinks on a keto diet? We recommend you avoid them if possible. Drink water, sparkling water, tea, or coffee instead.
As noted at the start of this guide, regular consumption of sweets, even with no calories, can potentially maintain cravings for sweet tastes.
Whats more, a 2016 study found that most studies showing a favorable or neutral relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and weight were funded by industry and full of conflict of interest, research bias and unreproduced findings.50
If you must drink diet sodas, though, you will likely still stay in ketosis. Regular soda, sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, will likely kick you right out of ketosis. Do not consume.
Sucralose Is Bad For You On Keto
The simple answer to the question of whether sucralose is safe is no.
Whether on a ketogenic diet or not, the sweetener unleashes unwanted side effects:
- Promotes metabolic syndrome and diabetes
- Eliminates healthy gut bacteria
- May form toxic byproducts
On top of that, sucralose increases insulin levels, inhibiting ketosis and weight loss. Besides, we may not yet be aware of other potential long-term health effects.
Whether or not you choose to use sucralose is up to you. I will continue to avoid artificial sweeteners.
The unpleasant truth is that extreme sweetness is always a problem for weight loss even in the form of supposedly natural sweeteners.
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The Best Of The Rest More Of Our Favorite Keto Sweeteners
Bocha Sweet Bocha Sweet is an extract from the Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin, which is considered a superfood. Bocha sweet has zero calories and is 100% plant-based with no fillers or additives. If youre looking for a natural sugar substitute or trying to avoid sugar alcohols, Bocha Sweet is definitely worth a try!
The Breakdown on Bocha Sweet:
- Calories 0
- What its made of Kabocha extract
- Estimated Cost High
Lakanto Sugar-Free Maple Syrup Its just not breakfast without some maple syrup, and thats exactly why Lakantos Sugar-Free Maple Syrup made the honorable mentions list!
However, this is SO much more than just a breakfast topping! We use Lakanto sugar free maple syrup in low carb baked goods and even keto-friendly drinks!
Enjoy classic maple syrup flavor, but without any of the sugar! Much like Lakantos Monk Fruit Sweetener, this maple flavored syrup made with a mix of monk fruit, Erythritol, and other natural ingredients.
The Breakdown on Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup:
- Calories 0
- Net Carbs 1g
- What its made of Purified water, tapioca fiber, chicory root inulin, potato starch, sea salt, natural flavors, monk fruit extract, fruit juice , natural citrus extract
- Estimated Cost Low moderate
The Breakdown on Allulose:
- What its made of Allulose
- Estimated Cost Moderate High
The Breakdown on Stevia Extract:
- Calories 0
- Net Carbs 0g
- What its made of Stevia leaf extract
- Estimated Cost Moderate High
Sucralose Is Bad For You When Heated
Like aspartame, this artificial sweetener is sensitive to heat.
Accordingly, one study suggests that sucralose can form dangerous polychlorinated compounds even at moderate temperatures.
It is also generally considered unstable at high temperatures .
Therefore, it might be a bad idea if you use sucralose or Splenda for baking.
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If Youre On The Ketogenic Diet Youre Probably Thinking That Sweeteners Are Off Limits
And for the most part, youd be right! I mean, the whole point is to slash carb intake and keep sugars low in order to lose weight and feel healthier. So, goodbye donuts!
Yet, you actually CAN have sweeteners when on keto for those times you need to indulge a bit in a sweet snack or dessert. Youre human, anyhow!
So, if you are going to give in to something rich and sugary, you want to make sure it is still free of or low in carbohydrate count and does not have additives in the sugar that will create blood sugar spikes or lead to swings and crashes later on.
If you do choose sugar that compromises your blood sugar levelselevating them and throwing your metabolism offthen you might fall out of ketosis, which will cause the body to stop producing ketones and to start storing fat, rather than using it for fuel.
Luckily, there are great sweeteners to have on keto.
If you are unsure which sweeteners are keto friendly, well break down how each sweetener compares on taste, sweetness level, reaction in the body, calories and carbs per serving, and cooking purposes or use.
Are Diet Soft Drinks Safe During A Keto Diet
Diet soft drinks may not contain real sugar, but they do have lots of artificial sweeteners. The wrong sugar substitute will ruin your keto diet and lead to substantial weight gain. Also, consuming sweet-tasting things too often will lead to cravings for more sweets, which is bad for your health and diet.
Stick to drinking only water, tea, coffee, or sparkling water during your keto diet. Alternatively, make a low carb smoothie out of berries and unsweetened yogurt.
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What Are Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, also known as sugar substitutes, are chemicals used to sweeten certain foods and beverages. These sweeteners mimic the taste of sugar although they are not actually sugar.
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A lot of products that we encounter every day have artificial sweeteners in them. These include diet sodas, candies, chewing gum, and even toothpaste.
While some sweeteners have calories in them, the amount required for them to sweeten a food or beverage is very small. You will end up consuming almost nothing at all.
As stated by Dr. Christopher Gardner, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University,
While they are not magic bullets, smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat. Reducing calories could help you attain and maintain healthy body weight, and thereby lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Since the sweeteners have low-calorie content, people who are trying to lose weight often use these sweeteners in favor of sugar. But is using artificial sweeteners on keto a good thing?