What Is The Best Natural Ketogenic Sweetener?
What is The Best Natural Ketogenic Sweetener? Sugar is tricky. We are told biologically that our brain runs off of sugar in the form of glucose primarily, and that if we dont maintain steady blood sugar levels then we will not run optimally. As a society however, Americans vastly overconsume sugar in highly processed forms such as corn syrup and fructose. Consequentially, conditions such as diabetes , obesity, chronic inflammatory disorders, and cancer are all at historically high prevalence rates. Although not the only factor involved, excess sugar intake and rampant blood sugar imbalances can dramatically influence all of these diseases. As more and more people are becoming aware of the detrimental impact of these sweeteners, sugar replacements are flooding the market in order to capitalize on this trend. There are many great natural sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, raw honey, yacon syrup and more. The ones with the lowest impact on our blood sugar are stevia and monk fruit. These will help influence the production of therapeutic ketones and the utilization of ketones as opposed to sugar for energy in the body. This article addresses the question: What is the best natural ketogenic sweetener? Too often I meet people who are diabetic or trying to lose weight who have replaced sugars in their diets with highly refined artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose . These artificial sweeteners are toxic to the brain, disrupt the health of our gut bacteria , and may even lead to metabolic dysregulation (Which could mean weight gain, go figure!). Now there are even artificial sweeteners that claim to be natural and sweetened with healthier alternatives like stevia. What they dont tell you is that these sweeteners are actually primarily chemical sweeteners with a Continue reading >>
For low carbers, artificial sweeteners often mean the difference between blowing your carb limit for the day, or safely satisfying a sweet craving. However, most powdered forms of fake sweeteners contain some sort of sugar based bulking agent, such as maltodextrin, or dextrose. This adds carbs, so if you use a packet, count it as one carb. Liquid artificial sweeteners are becoming more popular, as no bulking agent is needed. I don't particularly like to use artificial anything, but I've come to the conclusion that for my health and wellbeing, a little fake sweetener is better than a lot of sugar. If the idea of a chemical sweetener doesn't sit well, you may want to look into the category of sugar alcohol sweeteners. These do have calories and carbs, though the amounts are much smaller, and there is much reduced effect on blood sugars because they are absorbed slowly. Below is a list of some artificial sweeteners that can be used on a low carb diet. Be aware there is a great deal of controversy around these products, so you'll have to decide for yourself whether you want to use them. I've put together a list of the "pros and cons" for each. I am referring to the powdered version unless otherwise stated . Acesulfame Potassium Acesulfame Potassium, or Acesulfame K, is marketed under the brand names of Sunett or SweetOne. It's commonly used in soft drinks and commercial low sugar products, many times in conjunction with aspartame. It's 180 times sweeter than sugar, has zero calories, and has no effect on tooth enamel. Pros: Acesulfame K is stable under heat, and in moderately acidic or basic conditions, and it can be used in baking, and acidic liquids. It is also used as a flavor enhancer in non-food products such as gum and soft antacids. Cons: Some studies with rats have Continue reading >>
Complete Guide To Sweeteners On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet
Most people on low-carb find that once they get used to the diet, the cravings for sugar go away. Many even claim not to use any sweeteners at all. However, you may find it hard to give up sweets, especially at the beginning. I've been researching for natural low-carb sweeteners as well as other healthy alternatives to sugar. As always, there are many sweeteners you should avoid. I personally avoid using sweeteners regularly and only use them for occasional treats. In fact, most of my recipes in KetoDiet, KetoDiet Basic and my new cookbook don't include any sweeteners at all. If your target is weight loss, sweeteners may impair your progress, as even so-called "zero-carb" sweeteners may cause cravings. If your weight is stalling, avoiding sweeteners or joining my 30-Day Clean Eating Challenge is a good way to break the weight loss plateau. You can download a print-friendly version of this guide here! Best Natural Low-carb Sweeteners Following is an overview of healthy sweeteners you could use provided your net carbs limit allows for it. People with very low net carbs limit should avoid using anything other than "zero-carb" sweeteners, like Stevia, Monk fruit sweetener or Erythritol. 1. Stevia Stevia is an herb, which is commonly known as "sugar leaf". The extract from this herb is used as a sweetener and sugar substitute. Based on the USDA database, Stevia belongs to a group of non-nutritive sweeteners. This means there are no calories, vitamins or any other nutrients. The availability of Stevia can vary from country to country. Nowadays, it is commonly used in the US and was approved for use in the EU in 2011. The health effects of Stevia have been questioned for the past few decades. However, based on recent studies of the WHO (World Health Organization), Stevia extra Continue reading >>
Will This Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?
A common question people have when starting keto is “will this kick me out of ketosis?” I’m going to address as many items as I can think of and explain why it will or will not kick you out of keto. This is going to be as comprehensive as possible so either use ctrl + f to find what you’re looking for or buckle up and read on. How do humans enter ketosis in the first place? Things will become much more clear if we explain how humans enter ketosis. Mainly, liver glycogen is what determines if ketones will be produced. Specifically, glycogen in the liver signals malonyl-coa to be formed by carboxylating acetyl-coa. Acetyl-coa is used in many processes and it’s the main substrate used to be turned into ketones. The wiki on regulation of ketogenesis which applies to this scenario says “When the body has no free carbohydrates available, fat must be broken down into acetyl-CoA in order to get energy. Acetyl-CoA is not being recycled through the citric acid cycle because the citric acid cycle intermediates (mainly oxaloacetate) have been depleted to feed the gluconeogenesis pathway, and the resulting accumulation of acetyl-CoA activates ketogenesis.” Basically, when there is more acetyl-CoA than oxaloacetate, the acetyl-CoA becomes acetoacetate, a ketone body. In plain English, carbs provide oxaloacetate, so if it doesn’t have carbs, it likely isn’t going to kick you out of ketosis. I’ll state the exceptions later. Why do humans enter ketosis so readily? Humans enter ketosis faster than any animal on the planet. It usually takes 24-36 hours before we enter ketosis.This is because we have huge brains and tiny bodies. Our brains need ~400 calories/day, which for most people that equates to 20% of our total energy demands. To put this in perspective, most anim Continue reading >>
The Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Sweeteners
This is my ultimate guide to low carb sweeteners. Which ones I use, and which ones I don’t. I’ll explain how to use each one and what to look for when you buy them because not all low carb sweeteners are created equally. It can be incredibly confusing when you are just starting to live sugar free. Part of the ethos of living sugar free and low carb is to give up the sweet treats on a regular basis and to reset our taste buds. But being able to make a sweet treat occasionally is a deal breaker for many of you contemplating even starting. If you do want a cake, a dessert or a sweet treat, it is better to have a few good sugar free recipes on hand than to reach for a high carb snack. With so many sweeteners now on the market, which do you choose? Always read each and every label carefully, because even sweeteners within the same brand can contain different ingredients or different bulking agents such as dextrose. It may take some time to readjust your taste buds to living sugar free, and is it any wonder? Sugar is now found in 80% of products on our supermarket shelves. What is astounding is the type of foods that have added sugar. You might expect it to be in desserts and cereals but tuna? Soup? Bacon? There are also several different types of names for sugar which just makes it even more confusing when you’re trying to understand reading food labels. When I write my recipes I will always state the amount of low carb sweeteners I have used to make the recipe but I also add “sweetener of choice, to taste”. This is the biggest variable when it comes to low carb baking. We are all on different parts of our sugar free journey, so what might taste sweet to me, might not be nearly sweet enough for you. Always add low carb sweeteners in the minimum amount that suits yo Continue reading >>
What’s The Best Artificial Sweetener?
One of the most popular questions asked by people who are just beginning the Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle is about what they can use as a sweetener. Is aspartame okay? Or saccharine? What about Splenda? How about coconut sugar, it’s from a coconut, so it’s good, right? Honey is all natural, right? Make no mistake about it, there is a lot of confusing information out there about what sweeteners you can use. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain some things. First off, a little background information is needed. When assessing a sweeteners benefit to keto, the first thing that must be considered is what is known as the Glycemic Index (GI). The GI is a measure of how quickly certain foods will cause a spike in blood sugar. Spiking blood sugar will result in insulin spikes. Insulin spikes is the mechanism for type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and a host of other illnesses. So the idea behind keto is to keep the blood sugar low, and certainly to prevent any kind of spiking. The higher the number of the GI for any given food, the more insulin will be produced. Any food with a GI of 70 or higher is considered high. Below 55 is considered low. Everything else (56-69) is in the middle. Okay…now for a brief detour to talk about terms. The question is what “artificial” sweetener is best, but I’m also including some other sweeteners, known as natural sweeteners. And I show the lists separately. Any food with a value of 100 is, essentially, considered “pure sugar.” I included what I consider to be the most common sweeteners, and certainly the most common asked about sweeteners. Name Type of sweetener GI Maltodextrin Sugar 110 Maltose Sugar 105 Dextrose Sugar 100 Glucose Sugar 100 HFCS-42 (High-fructose corn syrup) Modified Sugar 68 Sucrose Sugar Continue reading >>
Guide To Natural Sweeteners
Guide to Natural Sweeteners One question Craig and I answer just about daily is about natural sweeteners. It is usually asked in the form of “Why do you use ‘artificial’ sweeteners? and can I use coconut sugar or sugar-in-the-raw instead? Thats why I decided to post “Guide to Natural sweeteners”. First off everything we recommend is not ‘artificial.’ Just as you can find sugar cane fields and honey in nature you can also find the stevia herb and grow it in your own home if you wanted. These are as natural as honey or maple syrup without the blood sugar and inflammatory effects. I listened to a great radio program on NPR discussing how our grandparents often had a dessert after dinner, a pie or something special homemade by the mother of the family. The nutritionist on the show talked about how that was the role that the woman of the home often felt and so she fulfilled that by cooking and baking tasty meals. So what is the issue with having sugar now and why do we have such a rise in Metabolic Syndrome not only in adults but kids too? We no longer just have a small piece of pie after dinner. It starts with breakfast. I too grew up on cereal and skim milk. Did you know that there is more sugar in a cup of skim milk than there is in 4 Starbursts? Then for a snack it is often a granola bar that has the same sugar as a candy bar! Lunch always includes sugar… pudding, jello, granola bar, Gatorade, Juice… things that we didn’t fill our cells with in the past. Sugar was a treat but now it is a staple in our diet. Here is an interesting fact… Welch’s 100% grape juice (NO SUGAR ADDED…just grape juice) has more sugar/fructose in 8 ounces than a 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew! What I’m really concerned about it fructose which is present primarily in sugar Continue reading >>
Stevia: The 'holy Grail' Of Sweeteners?
The U.S. FDA may soon decide the future of what some in the food industry are calling the holy grail of sweeteners -- a low-calorie, natural substance derived from the South American Stevia plant. Stevia has been used in Paraguay for centuries and in Japan for decades. It is currently available in the United States only as a nutritional supplement. The FDA must decide whether Stevia is safe enough to be used as an additive in processed foods, where consumers may not realize it is there. If approved, it would likely be used in massive quantities of processed foods and drinks. There is some concern about Stevia. "Just because it's natural doesn't mean that it's safe," says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "That's why tests should be done." Stevia may be linked to genetic mutations in lab animals. But Cargill, which makes a Stevia-based sweetener called Truvia, and Merisant, which makes another named Pure Via, both said their products are safe and are applying for FDA approval. International scientists associated with the World Health Organization agreed that these forms of Stevia sweeteners are safe. Personally I believe Stevia is the best sweetener available today and is the one I personally use and travel with. Some people object to a bitter metallic type of aftertaste but it has been my experience this is related to the way the Stevia plant is processed. If you were to eat the whole fresh leaf of the plant there is no metallic aftertaste. So if you are one of those that have objected to the taste of Stevia, considering using a different brand until you find one that tastes good. But you wont be able to look for this in the sweetener section in the U.S. as the FDA made Stevia illegal to use as a sweetener. You have Continue reading >>
Common Ketosis Killers
“I’ve tried your low-carb diet, Dr. Nally, and it didn’t work.” “Hmm . . . really?” If your mumbling this to yourself, or you’ve said it to me in my office, then lets have a little talk. I’ve heard this statement before. It’s not a new statement, but it’s a statement that tells me we need to address a number of items. If you’ve failed a low carbohydrate diet, I’d suspect you are pretty severely insulin resistant or hyperinsulinemic. You probably never really reached true ketosis. I’d want to have you checked out by your doctor to rule out underlying disease like hypothyroidism, diabetes, other hormone imbalance, etc. Next, switching to a low-carbohydrate lifestyle is literally a “lifestyle change.” It requires that you understand a few basic ketosis principles. And, it takes the average person 3-6 months to really wrap their head around what this lifestyle means . . . and, some people, up to a year before they are really comfortable with how to eat and function in any situation. I assume, if you are reading this article, that you’ve already read about ketosis and understand the science behind it. If not, please start your reading with my article The Principle Based Ketogenic Lifestyle – Part I and Ketogenic Principles – Part II. If this is the case, then please proceed forward, “full steam ahead!” There are usually a few areas that are inadvertently inhibiting your body transformation, so let’s get a little personal. First, this is a low carbohydrate diet. For weight loss, I usually ask people to lower their carbohydrate intake to less than 2o grams per day. How do you do that? (A copy of my diet is accessible through my membership site HERE.) You’ve got to begin by restricting all carbohydrates to less than 20 grams per day. Continue reading >>
What Is The Keto Diet?
We can all agree that fatgets a bad rap. Many tend to lean toward consuming low-fat or non-fat diets simply because eating fats must mean youll gain fat, right? Wrong! Our bodies are way more complex than that. People are turning toward consuming diets with high amounts of fat in the effort to lose weight. This diet is called the keto diet, also known as the low carb diet, ketogenic diet, low carb high fat diet (LCHF). People have adopted the keto diet to possibly help: increase energy levels, control blood sugar, reduce insulin; the list goes on and on! The keto diet is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high fat diet that will put the body into ketosis. A typical diet with high carbohydrate intake makes our bodies use glucose as the main source of energy. Our bodies use glucose because it is the easiest to convert into energy. In order to process glucose into the bloodstream, insulin is created. Since the body uses carbs to create glucose for energy, any unused fat will be stored. On a keto diet, the body uses an alternative form of energy: ketones. Instead of using glucose for energy, the bodyuses fat stored in our livers and creates ketones; this process is known as ketosis. Ketones are a great source of energy. On the keto diet insulin levels become very low and it becomes easier for the body to burn fat. The keto diet focuses on lowering your carbohydrate intake and tremendously increasing the amount of fats you eat. The standard keto diet is 25% protein, 5% carbs, and 70% fat. Foods you should stay away from on the keto diet are: grains, pasta, fruit, SUGAR, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and anything with high carbs. Foods you should eat are: meat, leafy greens, low carb veggies, nuts, high-fat diary, and sugar-free, natural sweeteners (stevia, erythr Continue reading >>
Do Sweeteners (sucralose, Stevia, Xylitol) Affect Keto Diets?
Now that you’re switching to low carb, you’ve probably found yourself with some sweet tooth cravings. Most fruits and sugary snacks are off limits, but luckily you come across, the much debated about, sweeteners. You’ve heard so much about how they’re terrible for your health, but many people have conflicting opinions on how they affect ketosis. Having experimented with all kinds of sweeteners over the last few years, I thought I’d share my personal experience with consuming them. Before I get into it though, I’d advised you consult your doctor or nutritionist before deciding on a sweetener as I am by no means a medical professional! Are Sweeteners safe for a Keto Diet? I see a lot of people asking this question. Can I have Sucralose (Splenda)/Stevia/Malitol/Xyltitol/other sweeteners while on a ketogenic diet? Before I answer the question, first you need to understand the different types of sweeteners. The types of sweeteners available on the market can be categorized under two main buckets. Natural Sweeteners and Keto Natural sweeteners are exactly what the name means, sweeteners that come from nature and aren’t artificially made in a lab. There are two main natural sweeteners you’ll probably come across. Stevia Stevia is an extract from a plant which is approximately 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia has gained popularity in the last few years and is becoming more widely available at local stores across America. Stevia has a glycemic index of zero, which means it should not affect your blood sugar (insulin) at all. It’s also zero calories and since it’s naturally occurring, it’s been widely adopted by people all over. One thing to be wary when purchasing stevia is that the product may be mixed with other forms of sweeteners or bulking a Continue reading >>
Stevia For Ketogenic Diet?
Is stevia suitable for a ketogenic diet (30 grams of carbs per day maximum)? Does it cause the body to "burn" stevia's sugars and "kick" the body out of ketosis? For argument's sake, let's say I somehow manage to never eat more 30gr of carbs per day, and my body kicks out of ketosis at 31 gr/day of carbs. If I eat 1 teaspoon of stevia (e.g. on tea during the day), will I get out of ketosis? Can the body burn it, or it just goes through me like water? Is stevia really safe to use on a ketogenic diet? Continue reading >>
The Best (healthiest) Sweeteners For A Ketogenic Diet
Almost all of us love sweet foods and an occasional dessert. Unfortunately, sugar and most sweets are among the very worst things to be consuming if you want to heal a chronic condition and function at your best. For challenging health conditions, a very low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet may be the best healing option. So, what are the best keto sweeteners when following a ketogenic diet? When following a low carb, high fat (ketogenic) diet, it is important to use a natural sweetener that will not affect your blood sugar levels. This article will discuss the best natural sweeteners for a ketogenic diet and what to look for when buying them. But first, let’s look at why a ketogenic diet can be helpful for improving a number of health conditions. Why a Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic diet focuses on minimal carbohydrates, low to moderate amounts of protein, and high fat consumption. This diet allows the liver to produce ketones to fuel metabolism, rather than using glucose for energy. Following a ketogenic diet is useful in improving insulin tolerance and reducing inflammation. These factors consequently reduce the risk of chronic disease and stimulate muscle development and fat metabolism. It is well established that sugar can contribute to the development and progression of cancer. As a result, the ketogenic diet has become a popular approach to essentially starve cancer cells of their primary fuel source − glucose. Many individuals want to reach a state of ketosis to prevent or heal from cancer naturally. There are many good natural sweeteners including stevia, monk fruit, raw honey, and yacon syrup. When looking at which sweeteners are best for a ketogenic diet, it is essential to consider which will have the lowest impact on blood sugar. This is important because these Continue reading >>
Is Stevia Natural?
Stevia is a non-caloric sweetener that is relatively new on the international market. It originates in the leaves of a South American plant. Because of that it’s marketed as a “100% natural” alternative to other non-caloric sweeteners. There’s been some discussion about how natural it really is, as it’s extracted from the leaves using different solvents and goes through further chemical processes before it emerges as a white sweet powder. Personally I’m no fan of sweeteners, regardless of their origin. They tend to maintain an addiction to sweets. I’ve never seen Stevia as “natural”. It’s purified from leaves and thus it’s no more natural than snorting cocaine (which is also purified from leaves). Continue reading >>
Does Stevia Affect Insulin?
Stevia is a plant native to South and Central America. It has been used as a traditional diabetes remedy for decades. Because refined stevia is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar and doesn't increase blood sugar levels, it is a popular sugar substitute for people with diabetes. But this plant's benefits might extend beyond its sweet taste -- stevia is touted to influence the hormone insulin, which helps the body use and store sugar. Limited animal research indicates stevia may increase insulin production and improve insulin action. However, larger studies on humans are needed to fully understand how stevia affects insulin in the body. Video of the Day Stevia Use in Diabetes Stevia, derived from the plant species Stevia rebaudiana, is well known as a sweetener. The compounds that provide the characteristic sweetness -- stevioside and rebaudioside -- are from the plant's leaves. The whole leaf, dried leaves and powders are sold as dietary supplements, a category in which proof of safety is not requires; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not approve these forms for use as a sweetener. Stevia leaf extract, a highly refined form of stevia, has received FDA approval to be used as a sweetener in the U.S. However, because of the lack of quality human research trials, the FDA has not approved any health claims on stevia related to its effect on insulin levels or blood sugar control. Aside from sweetener use, interest in stevia as a therapy for diabetes has prompted research into the effects of stevia or its components on insulin. A study reported in the January 2002 issue of "Phytomedicine" compared glucose levels in diabetic rats after an infusion of either glucose only or glucose and steviocide. The stevia compound was noted to improve blood sugars, and researchers n Continue reading >>