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Do Sugar Alcohols Interfere With Ketosis?

Complete Guide To Sweeteners On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet

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 >>

Low Carb Mistakes – Net Carbs – Part 1 – Sugar Alcohols

Low Carb Mistakes – Net Carbs – Part 1 – Sugar Alcohols

Ok. So a lot of low carbers use a formula called “Net Carbs.” What is “net carbs” and should we count “net carbs” or total carbs? Net carbs is calculated by taking total carbs, then deducting fiber. Some also deduct sugar alcohols. Is this practice a good idea? First of all, let’s just say that those who follow a ketogenic lifestyle should probably not deduct any carbs if you wish to stay in ketosis. What about those not necessarily maintaining ketosis, should they deduct fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carb count? Depends on a few things. In Part 2 (HERE), we will discuss fiber. For now, let’s discuss sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are NOT created equally. There is a huge range in their glycemic impacts. The best way to know how they affect you PERSONALLY is to check your blood sugar. However, as a point of reference, here is a table showing the different glycemic indexes of the various sugar alcohols. Keep in mind that table sugar ranks about 65 on the glycemic index. Unfortunately, if you have seen weight loss stalls or blood sugar spikes with pre-packaged “low carb” or “sugar free” goodies from the store, it is probably because most “sugar free” processed foods use maltitol, which has a high glycemic index, some almost as high as sugar. So, firstly, I’d probably avoid this sugar alcohol altogether. But if you chose to eat it, I’d count ALL the carbs. Now, many in the low carb cooking circles freely use erythritol because of its zero glycemic index. Many choose to deduct erythritol from their total carb count. If you can make wholesome food at home, can use a zero glycemic natural sweetener and have little to no blood sugar spike, then it might be safe to occasionally enjoy a sweetened treat while deducting the erythritol. This Continue reading >>

Ask The Nutritionist: The Scoop On Sugar Alcohols

Ask The Nutritionist: The Scoop On Sugar Alcohols

Q: What are sugar alcohols and how do they impact Net Carb count? A: Many low-carb products are sweetened with a form of sugar called sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols come in the form of ingredients such as glycerin, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, isomalt, lactitol and maltitol. Sugar alcohols provide a sweetness and mouth feel similar to sugar, without all the calories and unwanted metabolic effects. Sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed by the gut, which means they provide roughly half the calories that sugar does. Thanks to this incomplete and slower absorption, there is a minimal impact on blood sugar and insulin response. Because of this, sugar alcohols don’t significantly interfere with fat burning, which makes them acceptable on Atkins. However, since a portion of sugar alcohols aren’t fully absorbed in the gut, there is the potential that consuming too much may produce a laxative effect or cause some gastrointestinal problems. Most people can usually handle 20 to 30 grams a day. To calculate Net Carb count with sugar alcohols, simply subtract grams of sugar alcohols (including glycerin), as well as fiber, from total grams of carbs. Continue reading >>

Sugar Alcohol Facts

Sugar Alcohol Facts

Sugar alcohol sweeteners (also known as polyols) usually contain less calories than regular sugar, and have virtually no impact on blood sugar and dental health. Sounds great, except for some disclaimers: since they can't be digested in the human digestive system, these sweeteners can cause gut issues such as flatulence, bloating and diarrhea. In addition, most of these sweeteners are excreted in the urine, which increases the amount and frequency of urination. This increased urination will result in a higher loss of body minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium and possibly cause muscle cramping. At higher intake amounts, this effect is more pronounced, and in rat studies, has resulted in changes in kidney function and structure. (See this reference: Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995, page 22). Some people with blood sugar issues may experience blood sugar spikes after eating these sweeteners, but this is an individual response. Since all of these types of sugar substitutes contain some calories and carbs, be sure to count them into your daily totals if you are on a low carb diet plan. Below is an overview of the most common sugar alcohol sweeteners: Erythritol Erythritol has about 3/4 the sweetening power as regular sugar, with only a tenth of the calories. One cup of erythritol contains about 10 grams of carbohydrate, and 40 calories. This sugar alcohol is best used in conjunction with other sugar substitutes such as stevia, sucralose and glycerin. Lauren over at the Healthy Indulgences Blog suggests using erythritol in desserts which are of a moist consistency for best results, since erythritol does not attract moisture as regular sugar and some other sweeteners do. Hence, it has a tendency to dry out the foods to wh Continue reading >>

The Best And Worst Low Carb Sweeteners

The Best And Worst Low Carb Sweeteners

Most people that start a keto diet plan find that they have some intense cravings for sugar in the beginning, but will dissipate after a few weeks. Even the seasoned low carber will tell you that they have cravings every once in a while, sometimes burning inside them so deep they want to give up to temptation. That’s where sweeteners come in, where you can make or bake things you usually can’t eat. Of course, you will have to watch out because most things that say “carb free” actually still contain carbs. Make sure you take the net carbs of any impacting sweetener into consideration when tracking your macros. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to try to avoid sweeteners in the beginning. They’re well known to cause cravings and some may stall your progress with over-use. Stay strict and try to only occasionally consume sweet treats when you are on a low carb diet. Types of Sweeteners In general, there are a few classifications of sweeteners. There are natural sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and synthetic sweeteners (or artificial sweeteners). There are a few others that aren’t exactly classified in these categories (like glycerin based sweeteners) but they are quite uncommon and rarely used, so we’ll skip going over them. For a ketogenic diet, I personally suggest sticking with erythritol and stevia (or a blend) because they are both naturally occurring, don’t cause blood sugar or insulin spikes, and sweeten just perfectly. When used in combination, they seem to cancel out the aftertaste that each has, and work like a charm. When you purchase sweeteners, make sure to take a look at the ingredients on the packaging. You normally want the pure sweetener, rather than having fillers such as maltodextrin, dextrose, or polydextrose which can cause spik Continue reading >>

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