The protein-packed, high-fat keto diet has seen a steady rise in popularity over the course of the past couple of years. It’s sustainable, fairly diverse, and it’s one of the best solutions for people suffering from diabetes.
However, with cocoa and milk chocolate off the menu, there aren’t too many options in terms of sating your sweet tooth needs. Whether keto chocolate chip cookies have become your new favorite candies or you want to learn what else besides Malitol you can use on a keto diet, we’ll address both issues in the sections below. Let’s talk about the six keto-approved sweeteners to use instead of sugar:
1. Monk Fruit Extract
Monk fruit in the form of a sweetener is derived from dried monk fruit. It’s much stronger and sweeter when compared to table sugar and has no carbohydrates or calories; furthermore, it doesn’t raise the level of blood glucose in the slightest.
People suffering from diabetes are generally using either Monk fruit extract or Stevia, and many argue that the latter is superior.
However, the objective reason why Monk Fruit is actually somewhat healthier than Stevia is that it’s healthier. To be more precise, Monk fruit extract is, in all of its forms, healthy and side-effect-free while only FDA-approved Stevia products are in the same league in terms of health benefits.
Some may find the taste of Monk Fruit Extract as too intense, but fortunately, extracts available to the general public are usually milder.
Widely considered as the best alternative to white sugar, Stevia has been a popular sweetener ever since the sixteenth century. Natural stevia has a few attributes that can be described as bitter, so nowadays its leaves are refined and purified, which resulted in a much sweeter product.
A lesser-known fact about Stevia is that it is hundreds of times sweeter when compared to white sugar in its natural form, although the bitter aftertaste was the reason why it’s much more pleasurable when refined.
The only reason why Stevia is not on top of the list is the fact that only high-purity Steviol products are FDA-approved. Bertoni, or Stevia Rebaudiana, was similarly received and labeled as GRAS alongside several other Stevia-based products.
Stevia is in the same basket as Monk Fruit extract in terms of calories, which essentially means that it’s a perfect keto-approved sweetener. Furthermore, Stevia has shown exemplary potential for people suffering from diabetes and is generally considered as the best sugar alternative in such cases.
Erythritol is much different from Monk Fruit extract and Stevia in that its taste is much closer to table sugar – it’s neither more intense nor is it backed by a peculiar aftertaste.
Despite its somewhat scientific-sounding name, Erythritol is a completely natural product that is, however, refined and tested in labs. Just like Monk Fruit extract, Erythritol won’t worry you with any side effects, plus it has minimal calories and carbohydrates, which are the main reasons why it’s ranked high on the list.
In comparison to Xylitol, which we’ll talk about in a second, Erythritol contains roughly 10 times fewer calories per gram (0.24). Taste-wise, the approximation of similarity between Erythritol and table sugar is bordering 70%.
There is just one downfall of Erythritol, which can actually be attributed to most, if not all sugar alcohols, and that is they are prone to causing minor digestive issues. Such problems will only occur if Erythritol is consumed in excessive amounts and over longer periods of time.
Sucralose is among the most popular keto-approved sweeteners mainly due to its remarkably sweet properties. It is estimated that it is six hundred times sweeter when compared to regular sugar while its calories are inching millimeters away from zero.
With no aftertaste and exceptionally strong flavor, Sucralose is perfect for keto diet practitioners who aren’t ready to fully abandon sweets.
After decades of research, Sucralose has been considered healthy and free of any potential side effects when used in moderation. Long-term use of Sucralose can have somewhat of an impact, but the consequences are direr when used above prescribed doses.
Just like Erythritol, Xylitol belongs to the category of sugar alcohols. Essentially, the chemical composition of both artificial sweeteners blends positive traits of alcohol and sugar molecules.
In its natural form, Xylitol can be found in various fruits and veggies, albeit in minimal amounts. It’s commonly used in various sugar-free candies, such as mints or chewing gums, but it’s even more commonly used in oral-care products.
The main drawback of Xylitol is that it contains more calories than all of the aforementioned keto-approved sweeteners. Namely, it has 2.4 calories/gram while table sugar has 4 calories/gram. Its carbohydrate levels are rock-bottom low, though.
While Stevia, Monk Fruit Extract, Erythritol, and Sucralose can be beneficial for weight loss, Xylitol isn’t as effective unless used rarely and in moderation. On the brighter side, the dominantly natural aspect of Xylitol is not a hindrance to our digestive systems while the same can’t be said for most sugar alcohols.
6. Yacon Syrup
Not to be confused with fresh yacon, the syrup derived from its root has strikingly different properties. Namely, fresh yacon is mainly composed of water, but it’s high in carbs. It’s also low in fat and sugars, but it compensates for it with its rich sugary content.
Yacon syrup is essentially derived from yacon root; the refinement process is based on eliminating carbs while focusing on keeping the proteins and sugars intact.
Although its calorie values are higher than those of most artificial sweeteners, yacon syrup’s main redeeming quality is the ability to regulate insulin levels and lower insulin resistance.
Its taste resembles that of its actual root, and its nutritional qualities aren’t exemplary per se; however, it’s actually much healthier to use for people who are suffering from low insulin levels and diabetes. In terms of keto diet followers, yacon syrup may be worth a shot, although the other five alternatives offer more substantial benefits.
We hope that this rundown was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on the Keto-approved alternatives to sugar. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!