top of page


Sugar-Free or Low-Carb Sweetener

On my quest to discover all keto-friendly sweeteners across the United States, I found over 300 products. I list them here in two groups:


< 5 cal per serving.

0 to 100 cal per cup.

Sugar Free. 

High Intensity Sweetener
Reduced Calorie Sweeteners


Low-digestible carbohydrates.

25 to 90% fewer calories than table sugar.

​Often less sweet than table sugar.

Offer digestive benefits and adverse effects.

Sugar Free.

Bulking Sweetener & Agents

Quick Facts about the Keto Diet

  • The ketogenic (keto) diet aims to allow the body to produce ketones from fat. Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the body and brain, used when the primary source of energy (glucose) is in short supply. The liver converts fat into ketones. 

  • The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet, i.e., it involves reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. When 60 to 80 percent of your daily calories come from fat, the body takes about one to three days to begin producing ketones, entering a metabolic state called ketosis. With very low blood sugar and insulin levels, fat burning increases dramatically—it becomes easier to access fat cells to burn them off.


  • The keto diet is known for benefits such as weight loss, increased energy, and better mental clarity, but it takes work to stick to it. One of the essential factors of success is having the right foods around you, and sweeteners can be a helpful tool.

Keto Sweeteners

Glycemic Index of a Sweetener

  • A keto-friendly sweetener has minimal to no effect on blood glucose levels. The glycemic index (GI) is the potential of a sweetener to increase blood glucose levels. Sweeteners containing carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion have high GI, while those that break down slowly and release glucose slowly in the bloodstream have a low GI. The glycemic index is a relative measure because it is relative to pure glucose, which is taken as 100. Sweeteners are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100. When 50g of a sweetener is compared to 50g of glucose, a GI > 70 is high, a GI of 56 - 69 is medium, and a GI < 55 is low. 


  • From the University of Sidney Glycemic Index database, medium to high GI sweeteners include table sugar (sucrose) with a GI of 67, honey has 44 to 78, and coconut sugar has 54. Polyols have a low GI (lactitol = 3, xylitol = 7, maltitol = 26, sorbitol = 9) as they are not entirely absorbed. Erythritol and soluble fibers (inulin, fructooligosaccharides) are not broken down or digested into glucose in the small intestine [they are fermented by gut microbiota in the large intestine, but that doesn't result into glucose]. As a result, they do not affect blood glucose levels. Their GI is 0. Rare sugars such as tagatose and allulose have a GI of 3 and 0, respectively.


  • The GI does not tell you how high your blood sugar could go when you actually eat the sweetener. To understand a sweetener's full effect on blood sugar, you need to know both—how quickly it makes glucose enter the bloodstream AND how much glucose per serving it can deliver. Another measure called the glycemic load (GL) does both. It gives you a more accurate picture of a sweetener's real-life impact on your blood sugar. For one serving of a sweetener, a GL > 20 is considered high, a GL of 11–19 is medium, and a GL < 10 is low. Table sugar, for example, has a high glycemic index (67). But a serving of table sugar (one teaspoon) has such a low carbohydrate (4g) content that its glycemic load is only 3. Ten teaspoons of sugar have a GL = 26.

What is the glycemic index of sugar alternatives

Low-Carb not the Same as Low-GI

  • The GI and GL can be used as guidelines to help you find a keto-friendly sweetener, but they make it more complicated to choose what to eat. Keto is a very low-carbohydrate diet with fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates intake per day. And it can be as low as 20 grams. The total amount of carbohydrate and the serving size in a sweetener, rather than the GI and GL, can be an easier predictor if a sweetener is keto-friendly or not (unless it contains polyols, allulose, and soluble fibers)


  • The term "low carb" is widely used but is not defined by law and may not be used in food labels. Low carb is about the quantity of carbohydrates, meaning a serving of the sweetener does not contain much carbohydrate at all. Splenda Granulated (maltodextrin + sucralose) is low carb, even though the filler (maltodextrin is a carbohydrate with a short chain of glucose) has a high GI (100). Sucralose has a GI of zero, zero calories, and no carbs. One serving (2 teaspoon) of Splenda has about 1g of carbohydrates, which is rounded to zero on the nutrition facts label.  


  • Stevia in the Raw (glucose + stevia leaf extract) is a low-carb sweetener even though the main ingredient (glucose) is high GI. One serving of this sweetener is a packet and it has less than one gram of carbohydrates. Like Splenda and Stevia in the Raw, most sweeteners available to you in stores are blends of a variety of ingredients.

  • If you're thinking, Is there a resource that would tell me what sweeteners are low glycemic? What sugar alternative does not spike insulin? Which sweeteners can kick me out of ketosis? Is it keto? Diabetic-friendly? What’s the glycemic index? Net carbs, total sugar & calories? My Sweetener Comparer™ will be perfect for you. You can access it HERE.


How to Calculate the Net Carbs for Sweeteners

Some sweeteners are promoted as having zero "net carbs." The terminology net carbs do not have a legal definition, but it's not prohibited under federal law. If you are tracking your carbohydrate intake—such as in the keto diet—it's helpful to know it. NET CARBS are the total amount of digestible carbs per serving [those that will increase your blood glucose levels]. They're also referred to as "available carbohydrates" or "counting carbohydrates."  Here's how I'd explain it. Sweeteners are made up of several types of carbohydrates and our bodies digest them differently. They fall into one of three types:


  • FAST-CARBS are completely digested, affecting blood glucose dramatically. They count towards the total carbs in the nutrition facts label and being fully available for digestion, their net carbs = total carbs. Example: table sugar and glucose.

  • SLOW-CARBS are partially digested, having low effects on blood sugar levels. They count towards the total carbs, but because only half are available, their net carbs = ½ total carbs. Example: sorbitol and xylitol.

  • NON-DIGESTIBLE CARBS are not digested at all, not impacting blood sugar levels. They count toward the total carbs, but because they are unavailable, their net carbs = ZERO. Example: allulose,   erythritol, and sweet fibers.

How to calculate net carbs for sweetener

What Sweeteners Are Not Allowed on Keto?

I list below sweeteners that are not keto-friendly and should be avoided:

  • Sugars, also known as simple carbohydrates, are the smallest and simplest type of carbohydrates. They are easily digestible and absorbed by your body, and even though some have a low GI (fructose = 19), they are NOT keto friendly:  


Sugars (also known as Caloric Sweeteners)

Blends with Less Sugar (Reduced-Sugar Sweeteners)

  • Be aware of zero calorie sweeteners with fillers such as maltodextrin or glucose. They contain minimal amount of carbohydrates per serving but they are NOT keto friendly if you are having too much of it. 

Stevia with Maltodextrin and/or Sugars

Monk Fruit with Maltodextrin and/or Sugars 

Aspartame with Maltodextrin and/or Glucose 

Saccharin with Maltodextrin and/or Glucose

Sucralose with Maltodextrin and/or Glucose

bottom of page