KETO FRIENDLY SWEETENER

aka Low Carb, Zero Carb, Zero Net Carbs Sweetener

  • In my quest to discover all keto friendly sweeteners across the United States, I found hundreds of options and list them below.

  • They offer support when dealing with sugar cravings and you may add them to baked goods, teas, coffees or other drinks.

  • Some keto friendly sweeteners provide 50 to 90% less calories than table sugar (reduced calorie), and others are calorie free.

  • Sweeteners are divided here in two groups: (1) zero calories (zero to low carb); and (2) reduced calories (zero to low net carbs) >>>

ZERO CALORIE SWEETENERS

Keto-friendly, calorie-free tabletop sweeteners containing high intensity sweeteners

High Intensity Sweeteners

  • High Intensity Sweeteners (HIS) are several hundred to several thousand times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose)

  • Used in tiny amounts, they provide no calories and minute volume & mass (bulk) to the tabletop sweetener

  • They are often combined with fillers or carriers to make tabletop sweeteners spoonable or pourable, and to mask off-flavors

  • Fillers and carriers are carbohydrates; the most common used in keto friendly sweeteners include erythritol and inulin

  • Seven HIS are used in tabletop sweeteners in the U.S.: stevia, monk fruit, sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame K, neotame

 

Tabletop Sweeteners 

 

  • Tabletop sweeteners (aka tabletops) are available to you in various forms: liquid, granulated, powdered, sachets, cubes, and tablets 

  • By law, zero-calorie tabletop sweeteners deliver sweetness with little (<5 cal) to no calories per serving

  • One serving is the amount equivalent in sweetness to a reference amount of table sugar (often 1 or 2 tsp, not 1 cup)

  • Zero calorie sweeteners are often 2x as sweet as table sugar, but it varies; it can be 4x, 8x, 60x or as sweet as sugar 1:1

  • Miracle fruit extract is not sweet but behaves like a sweetener in contact with acidic foods (not approved by the FDA as a sweetener)

  • The teaspoon-for-teaspoon sweeteners are as sweet as table sugar and so, measure like it on a 1:1 ratio; 1tsp sugar = 1tsp sweetener

  • The color code for sweeteners is usually green for stevia, yellow for sucralose, blue for aspartame, and pink for saccharin.

 
Stevia | Pure Extract
Stevia leaf extracts are food ingredients with GRAS status. The leaf extracts go through a great deal of processing and purification until they become palatable and free of impurities. They provides zero calories and are 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar. Find here brands of pure stevia leaf extract, with no fillers or additives.
Stevia | Liquid
Stevia leaf extracts are food ingredients with GRAS status. The leaf extracts go through a great deal of processing and purification until they become palatable and free of impurities. They provides zero calories and are 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar. Find here brands of liquid stevia. The most common carriers include glycerine, erythitol, alcohol, and cellulose. Some are sold as dietary supplements and allow health claims on labels.
Stevia | with Erythritol
Stevia leaf extracts are food ingredients with GRAS status. The leaf extracts go through a great deal of processing and purification until they become palatable and free of impurities. They provides zero calories and are 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar. Find here a variety of brands of stevia-erythritol blend.
Stevia | with Inulin
Stevia leaf extracts are food ingredients with GRAS status. The leaf extracts go through a great deal of processing and purification until they become palatable and free of impurities. They provides zero calories and are 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar. Find here a variety of brands of stevia-inulin blend.
Stevia | Cubes & Tablets
Stevia cubes and tablets contain stevia leaf extract plus other ingredients such as erythritol, glucose, or cellulose. Each cube or tablet is as sweet as one teaspoon of table sugar.
Stevia | Dried Leaf
The whole-leaf Stevia is dried, cut, and turn into a green powder. It has a very mild sweet taste and does not dissolve well. Extracts (highly refined with > or = 95% purity) from the leaf are approved by the FDA but the leaves itself are not due to inadequate toxicological information.
Stevia | Monk Fruit Blend
Stevia is the term used to refer to steviol glycosides (highly refined extracts from the leaves of the stevia plant). 
Monk fruit is the term used to refer to mogrosides (extracts obtained from the luo han guo fruit)
Monk Fruit | Pure Extract
Monk fruit, also called luo han guo fruit, is a small green fruit of the Chinese plant Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle. The sweet components in the fruit, referred to as mogrosides, are 230 to 425 times sweeter than table sugar.
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Monk Fruit | Liquid
Monk fruit, also called luo han guo fruit, is a small green fruit of the Chinese plant Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle. The sweet components in the fruit, referred to as mogrosides, are 230 to 425 times sweeter than table sugar.
Monk Fruit | with Erythritol
Monk fruit, also called luo han guo fruit, is a small green fruit of the Chinese plant Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle. The sweet components in the fruit, referred to as mogrosides, are 230 to 425 times sweeter than table sugar.
Monk Fruit | with Inulin
Monk fruit, also called luo han guo fruit, is a small green fruit of the Chinese plant Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle. The sweet components in the fruit, referred to as mogrosides, are 230 to 425 times sweeter than table sugar.
Miracle Fruit
Miracle Fruit extract (or Miraculin) is a protein extracted from the African berry, Synsepalum dulcificum (or Richardella dulcifica). It does not taste sweet but is able to transform acidic flavors into sweet. It can enhance the sweetness of low pH (acid) foods and beverages to become 200 to 800 times sweeter than table sugar. Not approved as a food ingredients by the FDA, but the extract is sold in tablets or you can buy the frozen fruit.
Natural Sweetener | Liquid
Tabletop sweeteners made with stevia, monk fruit or both.
Stevia is the term used to refer to steviol glycosides (highly refined extracts from the leaves of the stevia plant). Monk fruit is the term used to refer to mogrosides (extracts obtained from the luo han guo fruit).
Artificial Sweetener | Liquid
Tabletop sweeteners made with high intensity sweeteners not found in nature and so, are artificially made.
I found liquid tabletop sweeteners made with saccharin or sucralose.
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Aspartame
Aspartame is a high intensity sweetener that, being a protein, provides 4 Calories/g. But since it can be up to 400 times sweeter than table sugar, it is used in such small amounts that contributes few to no calories (200g or ~ 1 cup of table sugar can be replaced by 1g of aspartame). It is approved by the FDA as a nutritive sweetener.
Saccharin
Saccharin is a salt around 200 to 700 times sweeter than table sugar. It provides no calories as it is not metabolized and is excreted in urine. It has noe effect on bood glucose. It may be combined with other sweeteners (such as glucose) or bulking agents (such as maltodextrin) in commercial tabletop sweeteners.
Sucralose
Sucralose is made from table sugar in a process that changes its configuration into a compound around 600 times sweeter with no calories.
Tsp-for-Tsp | with Erythritol
Tsp-for-Tsp Sweeteners are as sweet as table sugar and so, measure like it on a 1 to 1 ratio. One teaspoon of these sweeteners is equal in sweetness to one teaspoon of table sugar.
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REDUCED CALORIE SWEETENERS

  • Contain low-digestible carbohydrates that for the most part are less sweet than table sugar but offer 50 to 90% less calories

  • Include polyols (erythritol, xylitol), rare sugars (tagatose, allulose), and some soluble fibers (inulin, fructo- and isomalto-oligosaccharides)

  • Add weight/volume to foods and as a result are able to impact mouthfeel and texture similar to how sugar does

  • Often promoted for baking, even though some do not undergo caramelization and other browning reactions

  • The so-called Cup-for-Cup Sweeteners measure like table sugar on a 1:1 ratio; ; 1 cup sweetener = 1 cup table sugar

  • Are often less sweet than table sugar, and to compensate for that, these carbs are blended with high intensity sweeteners

LOW-DIGESTIBLE CARBOHYDRATES

  • These carbohydrates are partially or not digested at all and so, reach the large intestine intact, offering digestive health benefits

  • They offer positive effects by improving bowel function (fiber) or by stimulating the growth and activity of gut microbes (prebiotic)

  • Erythritol, inulin, FOS, IMO, tagatose & allulose are only slightly or not digested at all, having minimal or no effect on blood glucose 

  • Partially digested polyols (xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol) are slowly converted into glucose, not causing a sudden increase in blood sugar

  • Common adverse effects are digestive issues similar to that experienced when having too much high-fiber foods, such as beans

  • Advantages of these carbs: sweet taste, lower in calories, bulking properties, and digestive health benefits: as fiber or as prebiotic.

 
Erythritol
Erythritol-based Sweeteners. Erythritol is a polyol or sugar alcohol - a type of carbohydrate that, unlike sugar, is not completely digested. It is less sweet than sugar (~70% the sweetness of regular sugar). It is promoted as a natural sweetener as is found in nature but is synthetically produced by fermentation or an electrochemical process. It is considered a zero-calorie sweetener as it provides 0.2 kcal/g.
Xylitol
Xylitol is a polyol or sugar alcohol - a type of carbohydrate that, unlike sugar, is digested slowly, having little impact on blood sugar or insulin levels. Xylitol provides about half the calories of regular sugar (sucrose). Xylitol is the sweetest of the polyols and is as sweet as sucrose.
Xylitol-based Sweeteners
These sweeteners contain xylitol blended with stevia, inulin, erythritol, or sucralose.
Xylitol is a polyol or sugar alcohol - a type of carbohydrate that, unlike sugar, is digested slowly, having little impact on blood sugar or insulin levels. Xylitol provides about half the calories of regular sugar (sucrose). Xylitol is the sweetest of the polyols and is as sweet as sucrose.
Sorbitol | Mannitol | Isomalt
Tabletop Sweeteners that contain carbohydrates that are slowly, partially, or not digested at all
Provide 25 to 90% fewer calories than sugars
Include polyols, rare sugars, and some dietary fibers.
Soluble Fiber | Inulin, FOS, IMO
May be oligossacharides or polysaccharides | Fructooligosacharides (FOS): a carbohydrate with linear chains of (< 9) fructoses.
Inulin (from Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, or agave): a carbohydrate with long chains of ( > 10) fructoses.
Isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO): a short-chain carbohydrate, produced from starch.
FOS, inulin & IMO have 1/2 the calories of table sugar and are prebiotics (are minimally digested in the small intestine and stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria)
Rare Sugars
Rare sugars, as the name implies, are rare in nature but can be synthetically produced. Examples are allulose (aka D-psicose), D-xylose, and tagatose. They are slightly sweet; typically half as sweet as table sugar. (allulose is 70% as sweet as sugar). Their sweetness profile is very similar to table sugar. Are low in calories. Have low GI. D-xylose is a synthetic sugar produced from coconut shells, corn cobs, and other plants rich in hemicellulose.
Cup-for-Cup | With Erythritol
Are tabletop sweeteners that measure spoon-for-spoon (or cup-for-cup) like regular sugar,
and mantain some of sugar's role in baking
but with less calories.

When substituting this sweetener for sugar, consumer must substitute 'equal volume', not 'equal weight', because this sweetener is much lighter than sugar.

Do not contain sugars but have as main ingredient carbohydrates such as polysaccharides (often maltodextrin) and/or polyols.
Cup-for-Cup | With Other Sweeteners
Are tabletop sweeteners that measure spoon-for-spoon (or cup-for-cup) like regular sugar,
and mantain some of sugar's role in baking
but with less calories.

When substituting this sweetener for sugar, consumer must substitute 'equal volume', not 'equal weight', because this sweetener is much lighter than sugar.

Do not contain sugars but have as main ingredient carbohydrates such as soluble fibers, xylitol, and rare sugars.
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What is Keto Diet?

  • The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, allows the body to produce ketones from fat. The liver converts fat into ketones.

  • Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the body and brain, used when the main source of energy (glucose) is in short supply.

  • The keto diet is a very low-carbohydrate and very high-fat diet. It involves reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.

  • When 60 to 80 percent of your daily calories come from fat, your body takes about one to two days to begin producing ketones.

  • Getting into ketosis: The reduction in carbohydrates makes your body produce 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 its benefits such as weight-loss, more energy, and better mental clarity, but it is not easy to stick to it.

  • One of the essential factors of success on the keto diet is having the right foods around you, and sweeteners can be a helpful tool.

SWEETENERS TO AVOID


  • 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 tabletop 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

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 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 a 54. Polyols have a low GI (lactitol = 3, xylitol = 7, maltitol = 26, sorbitol = 9) as they are not completely absorbed. Erythritol and soluble fibers (inulin, fructooligosaccharides) are not broken down or digested into glucose in the small intestine, but are fermented by gut microbiota in the large intestine. As a result they do not affect blood glucose level and trigger a minimal glycemic response. Their GI is almost 0. Rare sugars such as tagatose and allulose have GI of 3 and almost 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 complete 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.

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. You have to keep in mind that 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 a much easier predictor if a sweetener is keto friendly or not.

 

  • 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 carbohydrate, meaning a serving of the sweetener does not contain much carbohydrate at all. Splenda (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, no calories and carbs. One serving (1 teaspoon) of Splenda has about 0.5g 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 filler 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 but even if you pay attention to the labels, read the ingredients list, serving size, and total carbohydrates, it is not easy to be sure a sweetener is keto friendly or not. For you convenience, I sorted out keto friendly sweeteners by spending hundreds of hours researching them so you don't have to. Hope that helps!

What is Net Carbs?

 

  • Some tabletop sweeteners are not sugar-free nor carbohydrate-free but are claimed as having zero "Net Carbs" and keto friendly. The terminology "Net Carb" does not have a legal definition, but it is not prohibited under federal law and is in fact often used by manufacturers to promote their sweeteners. The makers of these products use a formula to explain how the number of grams of carbs do not count the way you think they would count. The formula subtracts carbs that: (1) affect your blood sugar levels, but not dramatically, or (2) minimally impact blood sugar, or (3) are not metabolized into glucose, not impacting at all your blood sugar. 

 

  • Net carbs are also referred as "available carbohydrates" or "counting carbohydrates", being calculated by subtracting dietary fiber, rare sugars, and sugar alcohols (polyols) from total carbohydrates since they all have a low glycemic index (GI). Keep in mind that some polyols may not be completely subtracted so the actual number of carbs your body absorbs, or a meaningful "Net Carb" value, may only be obtained in the actual food your consume with the sweetener and calculating the glycemic response in accordance with the actual serving size of the food.     

 

  • As an example, Sola brand of sweeteners is promoted as having '0 grams of net carbs' but contains three sweet carbohydrates: a sugar called tagatose plus two polyols, erythritol and maltitol. Tagatose is a rare sugar that is not completely metabolized (provides 1.5 calories per gram; versus 4 calories per gram of regular sugars). Tagatose minimally affects the glycemic level. Erythritol is not metabolized into glucose and, as a result, has a GI of zero. Maltitol does impact blood glucose levels but not dramatically.Therefore, Sola contains 4 g of carbs (1g of tagatose + 3g polyols) but zero "net carbs". Net carbs = 4 - (1+3) = 0. 

Copyright © 2019   WhatSugar Blog | By Adriane Mulinari Campos 

Everywhere in the USA | Based in Richmond,VA | Email me at info@whatsugar.com

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