When I started a Keto Diet plan, I struggled so hard to get over the intense cravings for sweets in the beginning. That was probably because the insulin hormone was still high in me. I knew nothing about keto-friendly sweeteners back then.

I almost gave up. To me, it was difficult to struggle with the sweet cravings. I cheated on Keto a few times. Later I found out about some sugar substitute, keto-friendly sweeteners to use when you really can’t get over the sweet cravings but still want to be in Ketosis.

I looked for keto-friendly sweeteners. I used liquid Stevia to satisfy my sweet tooth without failing my Keto diet. In the beginning of my health journey, I need something to help me get over the sweet cravings.

I was more cautious when buying food products, though, as I didn’t want to slow down my Keto Diet.

Be careful when you look at low carb products, even when it says “carb-free” or “sugar-free”, you still have to check if it the amount of net carbs and calories slows down your keto progress.

When purchasing sweeteners, please make sure to double-check on the ingredients. Avoid any additives like maltodextrin, dextrose, and polydextrose. These additives can cause blood sugar spike.

Always be careful when you choose foods and drinks with artificial sweetener, Research show that artificial sweetener may contribute to weight gain. (1)

During my Keto journey, I found that as your insulin resistance improves, the craving for sweet also dissipates. And later, you do not have to worry about which sweetener to use anymore.

Here I write down several things to consider when choosing a sugar substitute, keto-friendly sweeteners that will still keep you on your healthy journey.

  • How to Ditch Sugar Addiction
  • The Effects of Sweeteners on Your Health
  • Watch For Glycemic Index for Sweeteners
  • Types of Sweeteners
  • Natural Sweeteners
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Sweeteners Blend
  • Keto-Friendly Sweeteners
  • Unacceptable Sweeteners

How to Ditch Sugar Addiction?

Have you ever felt like you have to eat something sweet after a meal? One simple dessert. Cheesecake, chocolate cake, or ice cream?

We have been brainwashed by the society that a dessert is something to close our meal. But later, one or 2 hours later, we’ll have another snack. It never ends.

Sweet cravings is difficult to ditch, it is mostly caused by insulin resistance. The cells in our body cannot get the nutrition from the food, and they ask for more.

In the beginning of Healthy Ketosis program, you will still look for something sweet. It is natural. After a while, when the body is healing, your cravings for sweet will gradually go away.

You need to reverse the insulin resistance first. Get healthy first. Eat lots of organic, fresh vegetables.

The Effects of Sweeteners on Your Health

Sweet foods and drinks tend to promote the craving for more sweet treats. It’s like keeping a monster in the closet. It will come out whenever you give permission to let it out.

When you opt for no-calorie sweeteners, like stevia or erythritol, that is added to any drinks, cakes, pastries, cookies, muffins, ice creams, candies, energy bars, or any dessert, you think that you are safe. These foods and drinks tend to encourage you to eat more, because you think that you eat very little calories, and it is okay to get two of them.

You end up eating 2 of those cookies or muffins, thinking that it is safe.

Old habits die hard, your habit of eating snacks and rewarding yourself some sweet treats contribute to weight gain and some health issues. Remember, your goal is to be healthy. Snacking is not in the agenda.

All sweet tastes, whether real sugar or sugar substitutes, act upon the same sweet taste receptors of the tongue and trigger similar brain neural reward pathways that according to researchers, “perpetuate their intake,” so they can maintain sugar addictions and cravings. (2)

Another thing to worry is that zero-calorie sweetener may impact fetus in pregnant women and contribute to obesity in young children. (3)

I encourage you to try Healthy Ketosis diet and Intermittent Fasting. When your insulin resistance is reversed, your craving for sweets will be easier to handle. Your desire to eat sweets will dissipate.

Until then, if you really want to eat sweets, here is some guide to make some safe choice for your sweet treats.

Your goal in this program is to be healthy first. Losing weight comes second as a bonus. When you consume low carb or no-calorie sweeteners, the cravings for sweets will increase and therefore your journey to be healthy is postponed.

I know that it is hard in the beginning when your insulin is high. This can be very challenging to deal with. I find that taking Ceylon Cinnamon Powder helps a lot to lower the blood sugar and insulin. You might want to consider taking this to help your sugar cravings. (4)

Ceylon cinnamon powder has a lot of health benefits, too. It helps reduce blood sugar and

Ceylon Cinnamon Powder

A pinch of this is enough to stir in your coffee or tea. You can also put it in Apple Cider Vinegar drink in the morning after waking up. This helps a lot in lower the cravings for sweets.

If you don’t like the smell or taste of cinnamon, you can choose the capsules one. It is easier and very practical to take.

All sweeteners make your cravings for sweets difficult to eliminate. By eating sweet foods, you postpone improving your health. (5, 6)

Eliminating sweets from your food intake might be very difficult in the beginning of your Keto diet, but hang on, the cravings will go away.

Limit your sweets intake. Even if you have keto-friendly dessert in your meal plan, try to eat it only occasionally. And please try not to use any sweetener at all in your food. You may consider choosing the safe ones if you really have to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Watch For Glycemic Index For Sweeteners

It may be difficult to find sugar substitute when you really want to eat sweets, it could be expensive or not available in your area.

You can use glycemic index table to see which one has lower GI. Choose the ones with low GIs or 0 GI.

Keep in mind that if you can, try to suppress this desire for eating sweets. It will pass. But if you must eat sweets, below are several guidelines:

Several points to consider in choosing sugar substitute:

  1. The sweeteners do not cause insulin or blood sugar increase.
  2. No side effects even when consumed in a small amount
  3. Safe and natural
  4. Doesn’t go bitter, turn into toxic or become simple sugar when heated
  5. Contains no-calorie or net carbs
  6. Contains no hidden carbs
  7. Contains no fillers

Glycemic Index is a measurement to rate how quickly the food we consume turn into blood sugar. The scale is from 0 to 100. Foods with high GI are easily digested and caused an increase in blood sugar.

Low GI food ranges from 55 below, 56-69 are considered moderate, while foods with GI above 70 are considered high GIs.

The glycemic index for sweeteners indicates three points:

  1. The amount of carbohydrate
  2. The type of carbohydrate
  3. Other substances in the sweetener (that might slow down the metabolism process of carbohydrates)

Studies have shown that tasting sweet food releases insulin, whether the substance contains calories or not. The body mistook the information because of the zerocalorie. This may cause increased appetite. Some studies have also shown that zero-calorie sweeteners do not help with weight loss, in fact weight gain happened. (7)

Some scientists believe that because artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than sugar, they train our brains to crave increasingly sweet foods. In addition, because these sweeteners do not provide calories, they confuse normal brain signals that tell us to stop eating when we’ve had enough food.

Probably because when we eat low-calorie sweet foods we tend to think that we eat less, and we can eat more of the cookies because of the low-calorie count.

Foods that have low GI are digested and resulted in slower rise in blood sugar levels. Foods with little to no carbohydrates do not have GI value. That means no effects on insulin level, blood sugar and ketosis.

Consuming foods with low GI can help a type 2 diabetic patient improve insulin resistance, lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. This helps satiate the hunger. Low GI foods are mostly higher in fiber, protein, and/or fat.

Types of Sweeteners

There are four types of sweeteners:

  • Natural Sweeteners
  • Sugar Alcohol
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Sweetener Blends

List of sweeteners with GI

Sweetener Glycemic Index
Glycemix Index for Sweeteners

There are several acceptable and unacceptable ones. I will give a brief description of some of the sweeteners that you can choose.

NATURAL SWEETENERS

Natural sweeteners are sweeteners made from plants. People tend to think of “natural” as “healthy” or considered “keto-friendly”. You must be careful when choosing natural sweeteners as some contain carbs and can put you out of ketosis. These kind of sweeteners will make you crave for more sugar.

There are some natural sweeteners with low glycemic index and will not raise blood sugar or insulin level. 

STEVIA

Stevia is a plant-based sugar substitute, also called sugar leaf. It is extracted from the leaves of the plant Stevia Rebaudiana, a part of the sunflower family. It has no calories and no carbs. The sweetness is about 200-350 times  the sweetness of sugar, so you need to use very little to substitute sugar. (7)

Stevia is categorized as food supplement with no calories. It has been popular with many keto diet followers for the past few years because it has no calories.

Not only does it act as sweetener, it can also lower blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin levels, and reduce inflammation. That’s why it is considered as a no-calorie food supplement. It is stable in heat, pH and not fermentable. Our body does not metabolize the glycosides in stevia, so we do not have to worry about gaining weight from it.

Stevia has been used worldwide as non-calorie sweetener in food and beverage products. Stevia sweeteners has been found in food and beverage products like:

Ice cream, desserts, sauces, yoghurt, bread, soft drinks, chewing gum, candy, and many others.

Stevia might have a little bitter aftertaste. I recommend blending it with Erithrytol so the aftertaste can be minimized.

Studies have shown that stevia has no side effects. (8)

At first, it was said that stevia increased risk to kidney health. But there was a study on rats that proved otherwise. It even protects the kidney and reduce the risk of diabetes. (9)

It is even considered safe as a sugar substitute for pregnant women as long as they consume it within the acceptable daily intake (ADI). (10)

ADI Table
Acceptable Daily Intake

The best stevia to choose is the liquid form because it is a pure form. Powdered stevia is also another option that you can bring with while travelling.

Please always check the ingredient label. Do not purchase the one filled with dextrose or maltodextrin that can increase blood sugar.

Pros and Cons

Stevia Pros:

  • A few drops of stevia can substitute the sweetness of sugar. 1 tablespoon of sugar can be replaced with 15 drops of liquid stevia.
  • It helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • It reduces inflammation.
  • It is easy to carry with. Stevia is available in the market.
  • It has no calories, no sugar, and no carbs.

Stevia Cons:

  • A bit of bitter aftertaste.
  • May cause digestive problems for some people.
  • To reduce the aftertaste, you need to combine it with other sweetener.
Stevia Pros and Cons

Liquid Stevia

Powdered Stevia

There are 2 brands I recommend here. I personally like the liquid one.

ALLULOSE

Allulose is low-calorie sugar substitute that has sugar-like sweetness. It is a natural sweetener found in wheat, jackfruit, figs, and raisins. A small quantity of allulose is naturally present in caramel sauce, maple syrup, and brown sugar.

Allulose is a monosaccharide or simple sugar and it is not metabolized in the body. Therefore it has no calories.

It is available in granulated form and looks like regular sugar. Its sweetness is 70% of the sweetness of sugar.

Allulose amounts to about 0.4 calories per gram, which is lower than sugar. Sugar has about 4 calories per gram. Allulose is safe to use in Keto diet.

There have been studies that show allulose may help improve insulin resistance, lower blood glucose, and help type 2 diabetes patients. (11)

Another study has found that allulose has helped decrease body fat, lower blood cholesterol, and blood sugar. (12)

Side effects

People may experience some abdominal discomfort when consuming large amount of allulose, even though the side effects are not toxic and only temporary.

Since the sweetness is 70% of sugar, people tend to use more of it. A large amount of allulose or if used regularly may cause some discomfort like bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, decreased appetite, gas, and abdominal sounds.

Pros and Cons

Allulose Pros

  • It has low calorie, only 1/10 of sugar.
  • It helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • It lowers cholesterol.
  • It has similar taste like sugar.
  • It does not change when heated.

Allulose Cons

  • You need to use more of it to get the same sweetness of sugar.
  • It is more expensive.
Allulose Pros and Cons

The product I recommend:

MONK FRUIT / LUO HAN GUO

Monk Fruit comes from plants. Monk fruit looks like a big golf ball, with its fruit inside. Its outer skin is easily breakable.

It is found in the regions of Southeast Asia, including some areas of Thailand and China. It was found by Buddhist monks in the 13th century, thus the name.

Monk fruit comes in dried form and is usually used in traditional chinese medicines, herbal tea, soups, and broths. Monk fruit contains substances called mogrosides, which are extremely sweet. The sweetness is around 150-250 times sweeter than sugar.

Monk fruit comes in granules, powder, liquid, and the whole fruit itself.

It does not raise blood sugar or insulin. It has less after taste unlike stevia. It does not cause digestive discomfort.

The downside of monk fruit is expensive. It is easily found in South East Asian countries with much cheaper price.

Mixed with other ingredients. Some manufacturers combine them with maltodextrin or dextrose, so you need to be careful when purchasing it.

The fruit – Monk Fruit

Pros and Cons

Monk Fruit Pros

  • It has no calories.
  • It does not affect blood sugar.
  • It is a type of antioxidant.
  • It reduces inflammation.

Monk Fruit Cons

  • It is more expensive and quite hard to get.
  • There is a licorice-like aftertaste. The sweetness is different from sugar.
Monk Fruit Pros and Cons

YACON SYRUP

Yakon syrup is extracted from the root of yacon plant in South America. It is considered natural sweetener, like maple syrup. Yacon syrup contains fructo-oligosaccharides, that can cause digestive discomfort. (13)

Yacon plant
Yacon plant

The sweetness is about 75% of regular sugar and it has low GI.

Pros and Cons

Yacon Syrup Pros

  • It has no calories and no carbs.
  • It does not raise blood sugar or insulin.
  • It has the same sweetness as sugar and it is non GMO.
  • It is good for baking and cooking.

Yacon Syrup Cons

It may cause digestive discomfort like gas, bloating.

BOCHASWEET

Bochasweet is new in the market, it is made from kabocha pumpkin extract. It has no calories or carbs. It is non-GMO and considered as natural sweetener.

Kabocha

The sweetness is the same as sugar. It does not cause insulin spike or blood sugar spike. It claims itself keto-friendly sweetener. It is good for baking and cooking, meaning there is no aftertaste or chemical change when heated.

The downside is that since it is a new product, there is no scientific research done yet. You may try it and check if it is suitable for you.

INULIN

Inulin is a substance made by the roots of the chicory root and used for medicine. It is also found in many plants.  Inulin helps decrease blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. The body does not digest or absorb inulin. It even supports the growth of good bacteria to improve bowel movement. It goes to the bowel and helps relieve constipation. It functions as a prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria there. (13)

Chicory root
Chicory root

Actually many plants contain only small amounts of inulin. You can find inulin in asparagus, chicory root, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, onions, yacon root.

The sweetness of inulin is much lower than sugar, only 35% than the regular sugar. It can be used in Keto diet plan. It helps sweeten the foods, and doesn’t have any aftertaste.

However, it can’t stand certain heat. It degrades into smaller fructose chain after exposed to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it turns into fructose, it puts you out of Ketosis.

It improves digestive issues and promotes weight loss, and helps lower triglycerides, and control diabetes. (14)

There are studies and evidence that inulin may help other health issues.

It helps support heart health by lowering triglycerides and cholesterol. (15)

It helps improve mineral absorption and bone health. Studies on animals found that inulin improves mineral absorption (calcium and magnesium), therefore improving bone density. (16)

Studies on animals and humans have shown that inulin supplement reduces the risk of colon cancer and inflammation in the colon. (17, 18, 19)

There are a few studies on inulin supplementation that helps lower the risk of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Inulin may have benefits against inflammatory bowel disease. (20)

However, if you take too much inulin, there might be side effects.

Most common side effects are:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Loose stools and diarrhea

Inulin is safe when taken at recommended dosages. If you have certain allergies, you must consult with your doctor first.

If you really want to take inulin as a supplement or sugar substitute, you may start with 2-3 grams per day for the first 1-2 weeks, gradually increasing until 5-10 grams per day.

Organic Inulin Powder

Inulin Pros and Cons

Inulin Pros

  • It helps improve digestive health.
  • It can easily be mixed with other sweetener.
  • It is very similar to sugar in taste.

Inulin Cons

  • Its sweetness is only 35% of sugar.
  • It degrades into fructose when heated, so you cannot use it for baking or cooking.
  • It causes digestive problems if consumed excessively.
Inulin Pros and Cons

SUGAR ALCOHOLS

Sugar alcohols are considered sweet carbohydrates and acts as dietary fiber. Sugar alcohol combines the traits of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules.

Sugar alcohol
Sugar Alcohol

Sugar alcohol does not contain ethanol; the substance that makes you drunk. It is safe for people with alcohol addictions.

Even some sugar alcohols are found naturally in fruits and vegetables.

Sugar alcohols are a type of FODMAP, which can cause gas and bloating to some people.

Sugar alcohols have a similar structure as sugar, and they activate the sweet receptors of your tongue.

Unlike most artificial and natural low-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols contain calories and net carbs, only fewer than plain table sugar.

Let’s have a look at some common sugar alcohols.

XYLITOL (NON GMO)

Xylitol is found in many fruits and vegetables. It is categorized as sugar alcohol. Xylitol has the same sweetness as regular sugar, but its calories is 40% less than regular sugar.

Xylitol looks like sugar with its white, crystalline granules.

Xylitol is a refined carbohydrates but with no calories, no vitamins, no minerals or protein.

Xylitol contains zero fructose and does not cause blood sugar or insulin spike. (21, 22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3286380/

Xylitol has been used as sweetener in chewing gum because it can boost dental health and helps prevent tooth decay. (23)

Oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, the one causing plaque, cannot survive on xylitol as fuel. The harmful bacteria will starve to death, therefore the risk of cavities and tooth decay will be reduced. (24)

Xylitol also helps reduce ear and yeast infections by starving the bacteria. (25, 26)

Xylitol has many other health benefits that still need to be tested on humans. It is found to improve collagen production and bone density in rats. (27, 28)

WARNING!

Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. It can lead to hypoglycemia in dogs and even death. It causes liver failure when consumed even in small amount. (29, 30)

Dogs cannot consume even one single piece of chewing gum. It only takes 0.1 grams of xylitol per kg of its body weight for a dog to be affected.

If your dog accidentally ate xylitol, please take it to the vet immediately.

Xylitol may cause gas and bloating in some people. (31)

Xylitol Pros and Cons

Xylitol Pros

  • It improves dental health by starving the plaque-causing bacteria to death.
  • It contains zero fructose.
  • It does not cause blood sugar spike or insulin spike.
  • It helps reduce ear and yeast infections.
  • It has the same sweetness as sugar and has less calories than sugar.

Xylitol Cons

  • It is highly toxic to dogs, you have to be careful keeping it in the house when there is pet around.
  • It may cause gas and bloating in some people.
Xylitol Pros and Cons

ERYTHRITOL (NON GMO)

Erythritol is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables like grapes, melons, and mushrooms. It only contains 6% of the calories of sugar, but has 70%  of the sweetness. It contains much fewer calories than other sugar alcohols. It has only 6% of the calories of sugar and yet 70% of sweetness.

It does not cause rise in blood sugar or insulin level and it acts as antioxidant, reducing the risk of heart disease.  

Its active compound is not digested and passes into the urine. It helps prevent dental plaque and cavities by killing the bad bacteria in the mouth.

One disadvantage is it can cause nausea and stomach rumbling. (32)

Erythritol Pros and Cons

Erythritol Pros

  • It has no calories and no carbs.
  • It does not raise blood sugar or insulin.
  • It prevents dental plaque and cavities.

Erythritol Cons

  • For some people, it causes nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • It tastes different in the tongue.
Erythritol Pros and Cons

IMO (ISOMALTO OLIGOSACCHARIDES)

Isomalto Oligosaccharides is found in honey, fermented foods like miso and soy sauce. It is a moderately sweet carbohydrate that has half the sweetness of sugar. It does not have any aftertaste.

Like xylitol and erythritol, it can help prevent tooth decay. It adds fiber to the diet. It is a prebiotic and promotes the growth of good bacteria in the colon.

It helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. (33)

If consumed too much, it can cause a mild laxative effect and cramps. It is best not to consume more than 30 grams per day.

MALTITOL

Maltitol is another sugar alcohol that is made from the hydrogenation of the corn syrup by-product maltose. It is less expensive than erythritol, xylitol, and other sugar alcohols. That’s why it is used by food producers to enhance “sugar free” products in candies, desserts, and low-carb products.

Maltitol raises blood sugar and insulin, so it is not suitable for keto, anyone with diabetes, or pre-diabetes.

Maltitol has 80% the sweetness of sugar.

Another downside is it can act as a powerful laxative. It causes gastrointestinal discomfort (gas, bloating, diarrhea, etc.) even when consumed in moderate amount. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8617186

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals added to foods and beverages to make them sweet.

It gives the sweetness of regular table sugar but with much more intense sweetness.

It tastes sweet because the sweet receptor on the tongue sends signals to the brain.

They have zero calories but most of the components cannot be broken down by your body.

You can find the following artificial sweeteners in the market:

ASPARTAME

Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is under the brand names Nutrasweet, Equal, or Sugar Twin.

Equal Sweetener

Aspartame has been linked to many diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, methanol toxicity, and blindness.

This artificial sweetener is the most commonly used in low carb food products and diet drinks.

Some people may experience headaches, depression, and seizures, while others who are less sensitive may not.

People with rare metabolic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot digest the amino acid phenylalanine, which is found in aspartame. Thus, aspartame should be avoided by people with PKU.

It is probably the most debated, most controversial artificial sweeteners of all. But it is best to avoid it in all forms. You can choose other safer sweeteners.

SUCRALOSE

The glycemic index for pure sucralose is 0. In its pure form, it has no effect on blood sugar or insulin level.

Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Avoid the powdered form of sucralose (Splenda). Its GI of 80 can cause big spikes in blood sugar and cause you insulin resistance in the long run.

Splenda
Avoid Splenda

When heated, sucralose becomes chemically unstable, releasing chlorinated aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons (compounds that increase risk of cancer) and other potentially toxic compounds.

Avoid it, use other safe, healthier sweetener like monk fruit, stevia, or erythritol.

If you really want to use sucralose, do not cook or bake it, and use the purest form with no added ingredients.

SACCHARIN

Saccharin is the oldest sweetener. It has been in the market since 150 years ago. It is derived from naphthalene with the sweetness 400 times more than regular table sugar.

The popularity has gone down due to many reports on short-term side effects. Some studies on animals saccharin use, even at reasonable dosage, may cause glucose intolerance after only five weeks of use.

Saccharin
Saccharin and dextrose

When heated, it can produce extremely bitter aftertaste. It is not recommended for keto baking.

Saccharin belongs to sulfonamides. People with allergy to sulfonamides may have difficulty breathing, rashes, or diarrhea.

Avoid it, it is no longer popular and may cause harmful health effects. Choose healthier and safer sweeteners like monk fruit, stevia, erythritol, and xylitol.

KETOFRIENDLY SWEETENERS

You can find many “low carb”, “low calorie”, and “keto-friendly” sweeteners in many places. Always pay attention to the food label and study what you are buying.

Even some keto-friendly sweeteners are combined with maltodextrin, dextrose, or some form of oligosaccharides. These are added to help provide bulk, lower the sweetness levels, and emulate some of the characteristics of sugar. Some of these sweeteners can cause blood sugar spike and insulin level to rise. This is of course will keep you out of ketosis.

It is best to avoid products containing maltodextrin, dextrose or oligosaccharides. Because these 3 contribute extra net carbs to the diet.

You’d better choose the healthier and safer kind of sweetener written in this article like monk fruit extract, stevia extract, xylitol, and erythritol. And only use these sweeteners if you really have to. These will keep you in ketosis and help you heal insulin resistance.

I personally advise you to hang on when the sweet cravings appear. Take apple cider vinegar and lemon to satisfy the cravings. Over time, you will no longer have sweet cravings once your insulin resistance has been reversed.

TRUVIA

Truvia’s main ingredient is erythritol, a sweet compound from stevia plant and natural flavors. 

It has no calories and no carbs. It doesn’t cause blood sugar or insulin spike.

It is not considered natural sweetener, but it seems to be healthier than many other sweeteners.

SWERVE

Swerve sweetener is made from erythritol, oligosaccharides and natural flavor. It is ideal for baking because it doesn’t change under extreme heat.

Swerve does not cause blood sugar spike or insulin spike because it contains the indigestible oligosaccharides and acts more like dietary fiber than net carbs.

It is calorie-free and does not raise blood sugar levels or insulin. However, it might cause some digestive problems if consumed too much.

UNACCEPTABLE SWEETENERS:

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

High Fructose Corn Syrup must be avoided even if you are not on Ketogenic Diet. This sweetener is highly processed and made from GMO corn. It is simple sugar and contains fructose which has so many negative effects on health. It has no essential nutrients.

High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS and sugar similarly cause negative effects on our health and have been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other illnesses. It increases your risk of fatty liver and weight gain.

Check the food label before purchasing, avoid products that contains high fructose corn syrup.

PURE FRUCTOSE

Pure fructose is even worse than sugar. Fructose goes directly to the liver and this can cause fatty liver, insulin resistance, belly fat, and cholesterol.

Fructose is given lower glycemic index because it is slower in raising the blood sugar. It still has a lot of harmful effect on our body – even more than sugar.

High fructose corn syrup, molasses, agave syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey are called super sugars.

Always avoid these and any sweeteners with fructose in it.

SUGAR

When we talk about real sugar, it comes in many forms: white sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, icing sugar, confectionery sugar, maple syrup, date sugar, cane sugar, and more.

Real sugar consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. These types of sugar rise blood sugar and insulin. In the presence of insulin, weight gain will follow.

sugar
Sugar

Sugar also created many health issues in the long run. So, always avoid it. It has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure and many other illnesses. Insulin resistance causes the cells to starve and crave for more sugar, causing sugar addiction. You will not feel satisfied after eating and always look for something sweet to satiate your cravings.

Table sugar consists of fructose and glucose. When you consume too much sugar, excess fructose will be turned into glycogen and stored as fat. Over time, this causes fatty liver and other illnesses.

COCONUT SUGAR

Even though it is natural and coconut has many health benefits, coconut sugar is different. It is made from the flower of the coconut. It contains mostly sucrose, which is half fructose and half glucose.

Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar

People think coconut sugar as a healthier version than table sugar and tend to consume more of it. Over consumption can lead to fatty liver and insulin resistance.

FRUIT JUICE (COLD-PRESSED JUICE)

Many people think of fruit as healthy foods that you have to consume everyday. Most fruit juices contains at least 20 g carbs per serving. Fruit juices contain a lot of sugar and can spike blood sugar and insulin.

Fruit juice concentrate
Fruit juice concentrate

Be careful when you purchase processed fruit juices in the supermarket. It has a lot of hidden carbs and contains a lot of sugar.

I avoid consuming most fruits during Keto. I only consume raspberry and blackberry, because those two have the lowest amount of sugar.

HONEY

Honey is full of fructose and must be avoided if you follow Healthy Ketosis program. Most honey is processed and has added sugars

Honey
Honey

Honey has 17 gr of carbs per tablespoon, so it cannot be included in Keto program. You can use other sweetener with low glycemic index to substitute honey.

MAPLE SYRUP

Maple syrup and honey are still permitted in Paleo diet, but non on Keto diet. One tablespoon of maple syrup contains 13 gr of carbs.

Maple syrup
Maple syrup

Even though maple syrup has high amount of minerals and rich in vitamins and antioxidants, you’d better replace it with other healthier foods.

Some maple syrup even has added sugar and glucose in it.

AGAVE SYRUP

Agave syrup may have about 15 GI because of its low glucose content, but most of it is fructose and can damage our liver. It is modified sugar and processed under heat, almost similar to high fructose corn syrup.

Agave syrup
Agave syrup

Avoid Agave syrup while doing Healthy Ketosis program. Long term use of Agave syrup will lead to insulin resistance and cause fatty liver.

DATES

Date sugar is made from granulated dried dates. It has the fiber and antioxidants found in date fruit.

Date fruit
Dates

Even though it has been promoted as a healthier version of brown sugar, it has high glycemix index and must be avoided in Healthy Ketosis program.

DEXTROSE

Dextrose is the name of a simple sugar that is made from corn and is chemically identical to glucose, or blood sugar. Dextrose is often used in baking products as a sweetener, and can be commonly found in items such as processed foods and corn syrup.

MALTODEXTRIN

Maltodextrin is commonly found as ingredient in pastries, candies, soft drinks, salad dressings,  and many other processed foods.

Maltodextrin is a white substance that acts as food additive to improve texture, flavor, and shelf life. It is highly processed from starchy foods like corn, potato, wheat, tapioca, or rice.

Maltodextrin must be avoided. Please pay more attention on the food label when purchasing.

THE BEST KETO-FRIENDLY SWEETENERS IN SUMMARY

Doing Healthy Ketosis program will require you to stay away from sweet foods, however there are many sugar substitutes that are safe for you to consume.  These sweeteners will keep you in Ketosis because of the low GI.

The keto-friendly, low GI sweeteners that will keep you in ketosis:

  • Stevia Extract
  • Monk Fruit Extract
  • Xylitol
  • Erythritol.
  • Swerve
  • Truvia
  • Any sweetener blends containing stevia extract, monk fruit extract, xylitol, erythritol with no added ingredients.

Use these sweeteners below in moderation:

  • Pure xylitol
  • Allulose
  • Tagatose

Sweeteners that cannot resist heat

  • Liquid sucralose
  • Inulin
  • Sweeteners to avoid:
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharin
  • Matitol, Sorbitol, Lactitol, Glycerol, Isomalt
  • Any sweetener with maltodextrin, dextrose in the ingredient list.
  • Any sweetener that has no research back up

Before you buy any food products, make sure you read the label carefully and check if it contains some fillers with carbs. Also do some research if the fillers increase blood sugar or not.

Always remember, consuming any sweetener during Healthy Ketosis program can stimulate more sugar cravings and make your keto success slower. Try adding Ceylon cinnamon powder to help lower your insulin/blood sugar and  your sweet cravings will dissipate.

These sweeteners are only consumed to help you get over your sweet tooth. Consume them in moderation and occasionally so your journey to health is faster and you can get your bonus in the end: weight loss.

Beware of these zero-calorie sweeteners

Sugar Alcohols keto friendly sweeteners

Some sweetener products with “zero-calorie” claim are almost 100% carbs. They are actually not zero calories.

Products with less than 1 gram of carbs and less than 4 calories per serving is allowed by the FDA to out “zero calories” label.

Do not consume these kind of sweeteners on Keto diet. It contains 4 calories for each packet and almost 1 gram of carbs that adds up if you take more than one packet.

SWEETENERS IN DIET SOFT DRINKS

Many of the artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin are used in diet soda drinks.

These diet soda drinks claim no calories, but consuming sweet substances even without calories can still make you crave more sweet things. It will be harder to lose weight.

Diet Soda
Diet soda drinks

When you are on Keto, drink water, sparkling water, green tea, coffee instead of diet soda beverages. Regular sodas sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup will definitely kick you out of ketosis. Diet sodas with no calories will maintain cravings for sweet tastes.

During my first few weeks of Keto diet, I was still looking for sweet things to satiate my cravings, especially in the afternoon. Over time, the cravings for sweets dissipated, I no longer wanted anything sweet. My taste buds started to adapt to enjoying natural, unprocessed foods.

Healthy Ketosis diet and Intermittent Fasting helped me get over the sweet foods cravings. As your body gets healthier, you will experience a different sensation on your taste buds.

Once again, I encourage you to consider Healthy Ketosis and Intermittent Fasting to heal your body and stop the sweet cravings.

Only use this guide when you really need to get something sweet once in a while. Try to stick to the sugar-free diet, so you can improve your palate to be able to enjoy the real taste of food. Your cravings will dissipate and your insulin resistance will improve. Then you will find yourself reluctant to even try sweet dessert.