Currently, the most popular, keto diet is well known for being a low-carb. The body creates ketones in the liver as energy, and the end aim is to force it into this metabolic state. So, it is not about the starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates. The basis is to intake moderate amounts of protein, but also to increase fat consumption, and reduce carbs. Keto allows hardly 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. Our bodies naturally burn for energy carbohydrates from sugary foods which are converted into glucose.
Quitting refined sugar can be tough, even everybody knows how harmful sugar can be. But, there are some sweeteners found in nature that are actually good for your health and go along with your keto diet as well. Those sweeteners are low in calories and fructose, yet taste very sweet.
Stevia is a very popular low-calorie sweetener, produced from leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, which has been cultivated in South America for centuries for food and medical purposes. Stevia is very sweet, and at the same time uncolored and heat-stable. There are several sweet compounds found in the leaves of this plant, and the most important are glycosides – steviosides and rebaudiases. There are also many other essential nutrients, such as vitamins A, B, C, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and chromium minerals, polyphenols and essential oils.
It has been proven to help with many health problems – diabetes, poor digestion, osteoporosis, skin problems, impaired immunity, high blood pressure, elevated blood fats, and anemia.
Erythritol is another low-calorie sweetener, sugar alcohol obtained naturally in certain fruits. It contains about 6% of the calories in an equal amount of sugar, with 70% of the sweetness. Studies show that erythritol is very competent, it doesn’t fasten blood sugar or insulin levels and has no influence on blood lipids like cholesterol. Erythritol tastes very much like sugar, and it is used in a kitchen as a substitution for sugar in a vast variety of recipes.
This is sugar alcohol with a sweetness similar to sugar which contains about two-thirds of the caloric value of sugar. It has benefits for dental health, reducing the risk of cavities and also improves bone density in rats, helping to prevent osteoporosis. Xylitol can be easily added to coffee, shakes or smoothies.
This is an artificial sweetener that is not metabolized, and it passes through your body undigested. Most common sucralose based sweetener is Splenda which includes maltodextrin and dextrose. Those two carbs provide the amount of 3 calories and 1 gram of carbs per packet.
Sucralose is not a proper substitute for sugar in recipes that require baking, because it could produce toxic compounds when exposed to high temperatures.
Yacon syrup is another unique sweetener, harvested from the yacon plant, which grows natively in the Andes in South America. It becomes famous as a weight loss supplement because it’s very high in fructooligosaccharides. Yacon syrup can help against constipation and has various benefits due to the high amount of soluble fiber. Syrup can replace sugar as a sweetener in coffee, tea, cereal or salad dressings.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a small melon kind of fruit, origin from China and Thailand. It has been applied as a sweetener and herbal remedy in traditional Eastern medicine for centuries. Monk fruit sweetener is 100–250 times sweeter than regular sugar, and it is appealing for three primary reasons: It’s unbelievably sweet, won’t raise your blood sugar levels, and has little to no calories in its pure powdered form.
Sweeteners You Should Avoid During Keto Diet
Some sweeteners are high in carbs, can increase blood sugar levels and interrupt ketogenic diet, so you should avoid them.
Honey. Although it is a better choice than refined sugar, it’s still high in calories and carbs and may not be suitable for a keto diet.
Coconut sugar. It is absorbed slowly than regular sugar, but it’s also high in fructose, which can contribute to impaired blood sugar control.
Maple syrup. Although maple syrup is an excellent source of minerals of manganese, calcium, potassium, and zinc, it is high in sugar and carbs.
Agave nectar. This sweetener is about 85% fructose, which can decrease your body’s sensitivity to insulin and contribute to metabolic syndrome.