Erythritol, The Sweet Ketogenic Diet Ingredient
Erythritol, the sweet ketogenic diet ingredient, is a sugar alcohol (polyol) that is approximately 60-80% as sweet as sucrose (table sugar). It is naturally found in minor amounts in some fruits like watermelon, pear, and grape. There’s some even in mushrooms and fermented foods like wine, beer, and soy sauce. In Japan, erythritol has been consumed as a food ingredient since 1990. Thus, there’s been plenty of research conducted by Japanese scientists on how safe erythritol is, what are its side effects, etc. Erythritol has been approved in USA since 2001. It has been used as a white or brown sugar substitute, as well as powdered sugar substitute. Erythritol, just like sugar, can either be granulated or powdered. It has a low glycemic index and is therefore suitable for diabetics. It is soluble in water, and it starts melting at approximately 145°F (119°C). This might be a handy information for cooking purposes. Its caloric value is less than 0.2 kcal/g for daily intakes not exceeding 25 g/day (which is slightly less than an ounce a day). There are two methods of fermentation for erythritol production. Both methods include yeast-like fungi to ferment wheat or corn starch. The fermentation broth is then heated to kill the production organism, and dead cells are removed by filtering. Erythritol further on undergoes various purification procedures, so that the final product is at least 99% pure. The fermentation method obviously differs from synthetic manufacturing of artificial sweeteners like sucralose. Splenda is the famous sucralose brand name. Erythritol, accompanied by steviol glycoside, is an ingredient of Truvia. If you want to use solely erythritol, Sukrin is one of the most known brands you can find pretty much worldwide. Animal studies of erythritol Animal Continue reading >>
What Are The Side Effects Of Aspartame, Stevia, And Other Sugar Substitutes?
One quick update: Two weeks ago I was interviewed by the great folks at A Sweet Life. Their site is a great resource, especially for folks with diabetes, but really for everyone (I had the most incredible appetizer on their recommendation this past Sunday). Here’s a link to the interview. Ok, on to the issue of the week. Once you realize how harmful sugar is (by sugar, of course, I mean sucrose and high fructose corn syrup or HFCS, primarily, but also the whole cast of characters out there like cane sugar, beet sugar, dextrose, corn syrup solids, and others that masquerade as sugar), you inevitably want to understand the impact of substituting non-sugar sweeteners for sugar, should you still desire a sweet taste. If you’re not yet convinced sugar is a toxin, it’s probably worth checking out my post, Sugar 101, and the accompanying lecture by Dr. Lustig. Sugar is, tragically, more prevalent in our diets today than we realize – our intake of sugar today is about 400% of what it was in 1970. And it’s not just in the “obvious” places, like candy bars and soda drinks, where sugar is showing up, either. It’s in salad dressings, pasta sauces, cereals, “healthy” sports bars and drinks, low-fat “healthy” yogurt, and most lunch meats, just to name a few places sugar sneaks into our diet. I know some people have an aversion to aspartame (i.e., Nutrasweet, Equal) over sucrose (i.e., table sugar, sucrose, or HFCS). In other words they think Coke is “better” that Diet Coke because it uses “real” sugar instead of “fake” sugar. If you find yourself in this camp, but you’re now realizing “real” sugar is a toxin, this poses a bit of a dilemma. There are two things I think about when considering the switch from sugar to non-sugar substitute sweete 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 >>
Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause An Insulin Spike?
178 Comments The notion that artificial sweeteners (and sweet tastes in general) might produce an insulin response is one of those murky memes that winds itself around the blogs, but it’s never stated one way or the other with any sort of confidence. I briefly mentioned the possibility of non-caloric sweeteners influencing satiety hormones in last week’s diet soda post, and a number of you guys mentioned the same thing. Still, I’ve never seen unequivocal evidence that this is the case. This whole idea first came to my attention some time ago when my dog Buddha got into a bottle of “alternative sleep assists” which contained, among other things, 5 HTP (version of l-tryptophan) and xylitol (sugar alcohol). Long story short, dogs can’t take xylitol because it causes a spike in insulin, which then severely depletes blood glucose. Buddha got past this with a trip to the vet’s at 10:30 Sunday night (thanks, Dr. Dean). But it occurred to me that the same effect might be seen in humans, which is why I pose the question today… Do artificial sweeteners induce insulin secretion (perhaps via cephalic phase insulin release, which is sort of the body’s preemptive strike against foods that will require insulin to deal with)? One of the reasons a definitive answer is rarely given is that the question is improperly framed. Artificial sweeteners is not a monolithic entity. There are multiple types of sweeteners, all of them chemically distinct from each other. A more useful question would be “What effect does [specific artificial sweetener goes here] have on insulin?” So let’s go around the circle and ask. Does aspartame (aka Equal and Nutrasweet) affect insulin? Aspartame is pretty gross stuff, what with its awful taste and hordes of people who get terrible react 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 Truth On Truvia
Are Truvia and Stevia the same thing? Thanks to a false-advertising job well-done, many health conscious consumers have been tricked into believing that Truvia is the same thing as Stevia. The (disappointing) truth is that, despite the fact that Truvia is marketed as a “stevia-based sugar substitute,” it is NOT equivalent to Stevia. Not even close, actually. Get this: the ingredient list for Truvia is as follows: Erythritol, Rebiana and Natural Flavors. Just three ingredients and Stevia isn’t even one of them! That right there should tell us something (for starters, not to trust the product manufacturer…which by the way is Coca-Cola teamed up with a company called Cargill…) Let’s take a look at those three ingredients that make up Truvia: 1. Erythritol: A sugar alcohol which is made by processing genetically modified corn; this is the primary ingredient in Truvia. Sugar alcohols are notoriously known for their unpleasant side effects. Our bodies do a poor job at digesting sugar alcohols (which is why they are lower in calories), but because they aren’t completely digested, they hang out in our intestines where they are fermented by colonic bacteria. The by-products of fermentation include gastric distress, diarrhea, cramping, gas and bloating. Yuck. That’s ingredient #1. 2. Rebiana: Half of one percent of Truvia is Rebiana. The truth is that the only reason Truvia can mention anything about Stevia is because Rebiana is derived from a Stevia plant. But again, don’t be fooled. Rebiana is certainly not the same thing as Stevia. It is a molecule of the stevia plant. Furthermore, Rebiana is actually 400 times sweeter than sugar, but you’ll notice that Truvia is only twice as sweet as sugar. If you do the math, you’ll see that if a container of Truvia wa 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 >>
Best Low Carb Sweeteners For Keto
Want to know the number one reason people fall off the ketogenic diet wagon? It’s because their craving for sugar gets to be too much for them. In this day and age, sugary foods and beverages are so common in the typical daily diet that when you stop eating them, your body doesn’t like it, which is why cravings are triggered. The good news is that you can beat these cravings and still enjoy delicious sweetness as long as you know about the best low carb sweeteners for keto. Sucralose You’ve probably already sucralose at some point and didn’t even realize it. It is most commonly sold under the national brand name os Splenda and can be found in most restaurants and coffee shops in the United States. There’s a reason that sucralose is so popular. Taste tests have shown that it tastes closer to sugar than any other sweetener on the market. There is also a noticeable lack of artificial aftertaste, which is always a plus. Many people on keto use sucralose in the form of EZ Sweetz. Even though it’s been on the market for a while, it’s still the new kid on the block when it comes to artificial sweeteners. It was created by actually reverse engineering sugar and changing up its chemical structure. Sucralose also doesn’t have a negative effect on the enamel that protects your teeth like sugar does. EZ Sweetz is a liquid form of sucralose, which has exploded in popularity over the past year or so. One of the biggest benefits of the liquid is that it’s extremely concentrated. A single drop is the equivalent of 2 teaspoons of sugar, the same as a full packet of Splenda. You can use sucralose in cooking and baking, but if you’re going to do this, you’ll want the granulated version. Splenda has you covered and you use it cup for cup, just like sugar. Stevia You m Continue reading >>
Is Truvia Sweetener Ok For Low-carb Diets?
Truvia is a granulated sugar substitute. I have tried many sweetener brands, but finally settled on Truvia as my preferred option. I now use it in all of my low-carb recipes. Lately, I’ve been getting lots of questions and comments about Truvia. There seems to be some confusion on whether it is suitable for low-carb dieters. Why some of us are confused about Truvia Truvia have several products in their range. Some are great for low-carb dieters, but some aren’t. All Truvia products are sold under the same brand name, and have similar looking packaging. So it is potentially confusing for us. Double check product names and nutritional information on the labels before buying. Here’s what you need to look out for. YES – Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener Zero net carbs, PERFECT for low-carb diets This product comes in sachets, in a spoonable plastic pack, and in a pouch. It doesn’t contain any digestible carbs, and its net carb count is zero. So we can safely use it as part of a low-carb diet. The nutritional label does show some carbs, due to FDA regulations. However, these all come from erythritol and are not digestible (otherwise it wouldn’t be marked up as zero-calorie). The exact product name varies in different markets – I have seen it called “Calorie-Free Sweetener”, “Natural Zero Calorie Sweetener”, “Nature’s Calorie-Free Sweetener” etc. The keyword to look for is “calorie-free”. There is also a “zero calories” stamp on the packaging. NO – Truvia Nectar, Truvia Brown Sugar Blend, Truvia Baking Blend Contain sugar, NOT SUITABLE for low-carb diets Truvia range also includes products that contain Stevia blended with sugar – Truvia Brown Sugar Blend and Truvia Baking Blend, and with honey – Truvia Nectar. The sugar content is clearly Continue reading >>
Do Artificial Sweeteners Affect Blood Sugar?
Last week, I started an experiment to better understand how different foods and lifestyle choices impact blood sugar, using a constant-glucose-monitoring device. Today, I’m sharing the results of the first experiment: Do artificial sweeteners affect my blood sugar levels? While the answer may seem obvious – artificial sweeteners contain no sugar – some people still believe there may be an effect. For example, artificial sweeteners could potentially under some circumstances affect insulin levels, indirectly affecting blood sugar and ketone levels. Planning the experiment We designed the following experiment: I would drink a 17 oz (0.5 liters) sugar-free, artificially-sweetened, beverage in 15 minutes. Then, for the next two hours, I would observe my blood-sugar levels using the Dexcom G5 mobile app. To increase the reliability of the experiment, I made sure of four things: 1. That the soda I drank would be caffeine free. 2. That I didn’t eat or drink anything, nor do any form of exercise, 2 hours prior to and after drinking the soda. 3. That my blood sugar was relatively stable for at least 30 minutes before drinking the soda. 4. That I would do the same test at least twice. The experiment could start. Drinking Sprite Zero Sprite Zero was my drink of choice for a few reasons: I drank it sometimes in my pre-low-carb days, it’s sugar and caffeine-free drink, and it contains artificial sweeteners (aspartame and acesulfame potassium). Perfect. I put the bottle to my mouth and took a big sip. “Yuck, way too sweet!”, I told my wife. But a few sips later, I was enjoying the drink. After fifteen minutes the bottle was empty. My eyes were glued to the app. What would happen to my blood sugar? That’s when it happened… …or didn’t happen I should say Nothing. F 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
The Unbiased Truth About Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners continue to be a controversial public health issue, and the research keeps coming. In fact, a new study on artificial sweeteners and weight loss was just published on Monday, and the FDA approved a new artificial sweetener (advantame) last Wednesday. On one hand, many people are adamantly opposed to the use of artificial sweeteners because of the purported link with increased risk for cancer and other diseases. But on the other hand, artificial sweeteners are becoming increasingly popular as people try to reduce calorie consumption and lose weight. There’s too much research out there to cover comprehensively in a blog article, but I’ll try to cover the basics: will artificial sweeteners give you cancer or other diseases? Do they actually help with weight loss, or do they hurt? And ultimately, should you be eating them? Find out if artificial sweeteners are helpful, harmless, or toxic in this in-depth article by @ChrisKresser. Cancer Artificial sweeteners were first tied to cancer risk in the 1970’s after a study showed that a combination of saccharin and cyclamate (another early artificial sweetener) caused bladder cancer in lab rats. The mechanism behind these effects was later found to be specific to rats and not generalizable to other animals or humans (in these rats, comparable doses of vitamin C can also cause bladder cancer), and further studies demonstrated that neither sweetener is carcinogenic. (1, 2) However, this study cast a shadow of doubt over artificial sweeteners, and thanks in part to the media’s penchant for blowing things way out of proportion, the reputation of artificial sweeteners has never recovered. A later study suggested a link between aspartame consumption and brain tumors. The authors based this hypothesis on the 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 >>