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 don’t 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? Many Dangerous Sweeteners Exist 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 don’t tell you is that these sweeteners are actually primarily chemical sweeteners with a touch of st 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 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 >>
The Truth About Keto Sweeteners
Sweet tooth fairy paid you an unexpected visit while on the keto diet? I’ve got you covered. Ditch the antagonistic artificial sweeteners for some kind, keto-friendly alternatives. A sweet briefing on a handful of healthy hacks so you can kick those harmful sweeteners to the curb. While a surprising percentage of sugar cravings can be overcome by simply being on the ketogenic diet, we all get the occasional hankering for something that’ll pack a more substantial sweet punch. And that’s okay. You know, to be human, with a tongue and a brain. The key is to satisfy these natural desires with sweeteners that won’t damage your body while also keeping you keto. If you’re still using the old, questionable keto sweeteners, you’re missing out on some wonderful alternatives that are not only safe, but actually beneficial to your overall health on a keto diet. “Wait, you’re telling me I can be both happy and healthy on a keto diet?” You betcha! If you’ve got a craving for something sweet that won’t break the keto bank or wreck your body, this video will bring the basics for a few safe, healthful, and keto alternatives. For video transcript PDF, scroll down. Your Mini Guide & Transcript A 5-10 page PDF with the transcript for this video, resources, and exclusive steps to taking your fat burning to the next level. Download to your device and access anytime. Simply click the button above, enter your details, and the guide will be delivered to your inbox! Get the mini guide & transcript now. Highlights… 3 unhealthy sweeteners to avoid 3 healthy sweeteners to use instead Benefits of the healthy alternatives Resources… Pick up my new paperback, The Keto Diet. The practical, day-to-day guide for a keto life that works for you! Subscribe to my YouTube channel! It 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Guide To Natural & Artificial Sweeteners
For hundreds of years, sugar and the delicious foods it produces hooked us good. It goes by many different names and is added to the most unlikely items. Sugar finds its way into our lives every day and will keep you coming back for more. Fortunately in more recent years, people are becoming more aware of the dangerous effects of sugar and are reducing their intake accordingly. For those of us on low-carb diets, this fact is particularly clear. Sugar is to be avoided at all costs. However, sweetness is in our nature! Sugar stimulates the “feel good” parts of our brain. We were raised on sugary sweets in reward of good behavior and associate it with birthdays, holidays and vacations in which we indulge. It’s perfectly natural to crave a sweet treat. In the search for alternatives to use in baking and beverages, artificial and natural sweeteners offer a ray of hope. As with all processed foods, it’s important to examine these critically and consider the risks and benefits they offer. Let’s take a closer look at some sugar substitutes. Natural Sweeteners Nature provides a few sweeteners that can be good for your health. They’re low in fructose and calories, and actually taste good! Here are some natural alternatives to sugar that we enjoy: Stevia Perhaps the most popular natural sweetener, stevia is extracted from the leaves of a plant called stevia rebaudiana, which is grown in South America. Gram for gram, stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so you can use a lot less of it – plus, it has virtually no calories! Stevia also contains a few beneficial micronutrients like chromium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Some studies have shown that stevia can lower high blood pressure by 6-14%, and lower blood sugar levels in diabetics1. There are several studies that h Continue reading >>
The Best Sugar Substitutes For Baking In Ketogenic Diets
If there isn’t enough debate and misinformation about natural and artificial sweeteners the LCHF and Ketogenic Diet forums ought to really confuse you. The best sugar substitute for baking low-carb or keto diet, high-fat food depends on the recipe you’re cooking and also its impact on ketosis. At the same time, we don’t just go throwing any old thing in when cooking our tasty sugar-free recipes without thorough research first. We’re here to let you know that we do use a variety of sweeteners in our keto recipes mostly “all” of the sugar substitutes we use are natural. It enables us to keep the things we bake and cook low-carb and sugar-free, yet still tasting delicious. Our recipes just wouldn’t be possible without sugar substitutes. The sweetener we use is dependent on the recipe we’re cooking. Both artificial and natural sweeteners all have varied intensities and flavors. For example, we wouldn’t use pure Stevia in a fat bomb that we wanted to taste like strawberries. We might use Stevia if we wanted to create a sugar-free licorice, however. The Best Sugar Substitute for Baking that we use in our Ketogenic Diet Recipes Erythritol We use Erythritol liberally in our recipes mainly as a blend with stevia in a product called (Natvia). We use it particularly in our keto snacks and keto desserts as it’s ideal as a bulking agent as well. Erythritol (along with erythritol blends) is our most used sweetener in cooking; we keep plenty of it on hand. Due to its easiness on the stomach, and clean sweetness (no aftertaste). While we can tell slight variances in the taste of desserts with erythritol vs. sugar. We cannot tell which is the sugar dessert or the erythritol one, just that there is a slight difference. One point to note is that erythritol is not hygro 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
The Top Four Sweeteners For A Low-carb Keto Diet
Sugar is basically off limits on a ketogenic diet, but not all hope is lost — you CAN still enjoy sweetness while eating keto. All it takes is some education on the right types of sweeteners to use. Read on to find the top four sweeteners you can use for a low-carb keto diet and why we recommend them. What Defines a Keto-Friendly Sweetener? First, let’s start with what each of these top keto sweeteners have in common and how they follow our guidelines: Low Glycemic The glycemic index (GI) refers to how much a food raises blood sugar. It runs from zero to 100, zero representing no raise in blood sugar and insulin levels. The goal with the ketogenic diet is to remain in ketosis, so staying as close as possible to zero GI for sweeteners is the best choice. Sugar Free Obviously, avoiding added sugars is a necessity on keto. We’re training the body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates; therefore, carb intake should be kept very low. Even fruit should be severely limited, preferably eliminated, so it makes sense that anything with added sugars are a no-go. Low Carb Another obvious guideline when you’re keto: low- or no-carb sweeteners are a must if you want to stay in ketosis. Top 4 Low-Carb Keto Diet Sweeteners Now that we’ve established some guidelines, here are our top four recommendations for sweeteners on a low-carb ketogenic diet: #1 Stevia Stevia is from the extract of the herb Stevia rebaudiana. In its pure form, stevia contains no calories, no carbs and is zero on the glycemic index. Additionally, It is typically 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar, meaning you only need to use a little to get a sweet taste in foods. Benefits and Using Stevia: Besides not affecting blood sugar or contributing carbs or calories, stevia has also been shown to actu Continue reading >>
Best Sugar Substitute For Keto? [infographic]
We’re going to be breaking these sweeteners down into 3 distinct categories in order to choose the best sugar substitute for a keto diet. Those categories are Artificial Sweeteners, Sugar Alcohols, and Natural Sweeteners. Check out our video where we touch on everything covered in this blog post and give our recommendations for the best sugar substitute for keto. Artificial Sweeteners These tend to known as intense sweeteners because they are much sweeter than regular sugar. Based on this fact, you only need a fraction of the amount you would normally use with regular sugar. This is seen as a benefit by many. They contain synthetic chemicals that stimulate the sweet taste receptors on your tongue. So, let us break down the different types of artificial sweeteners: Aspartame You might not recognize the name, but if you’ve ever used Equal, you’ve been using aspartame. Aspartame is a low calorie sweetener that is approximately 180 times sweeter than regular sugar. The components that make up this artificial sweetener are amino acid, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are not only broken down completely by your body, but found in larger quantities in a great deal of foods, such as meat and vegetables. Aspartame is 0 calories and 0 gylcemic index. When combined with dextrose and maltodextrin to form Equal brand sweetener the calories and glycemic index are increased based on the added ingredients. Pros: Essentially Zero calorie additive Zero glycemic index Cons: Often mixed with high glycemic bulking agents Highly controversial/opposing studies on safety Acesulfame K This artificial sweetener is used in a variety of foods and is approximately 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. It is often found in a blend with other sweeteners, such as aspartame. Blending the tw Continue reading >>