If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, you may feel as if the ketogenic diet is depriving you of your just desserts. While you should definitely avoid refined sugar on the keto diet, there are certain natural sweeteners which are keto-friendly in moderation.
Keep reading to learn about the problem with sugar and other sweeteners on the ketogenic diet and to explore some of the keto-friendly options.
What’s the Problem with Sugar for the Keto Diet?
The problem with sugar on the keto diet is not just the fact that it contains glucose (carbohydrates) – it also has a significant impact on your blood sugar levels and insulin production. If your blood sugar gets too high, it could kick you out of ketosis and you could lose all of your results.
Before we get into the sweeteners you can enjoy on the keto diet, here’s a quick list of the ones you want to avoid using:
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Agave nectar
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
- Dried fruit
Now that you know which sweeteners to avoid and why, you’re probably wondering what’s left. Keep reading to learn about the best keto-friendly sweeteners.
What Are the Best Keto-Friendly Sweeteners?
When it comes to keto-friendly sweeteners, there are many different factors to consider. First and foremost, any keto sweetener should be a natural sweetener because refined sugars are loaded with carbs and will have a major impact on your blood sugar. Going along with this point, keto-friendly sweeteners should be low-glycemic – this means they have a low rating on the glycemic index (GI) and a low impact on your blood sugar levels.
In addition to being low-glycemic, sugar-free, and natural, keto-friendly sweeteners should be low in carbohydrates on their own.
So, what are the top keto-friendly sweeteners? Here’s a quick list:
- Stevia – Though some people find it to have a bitter aftertaste, stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is extracted from the herb Stevia rebaudiana and it is most commonly used in powdered form or in a liquid extract.
- Erythritol – A powdery white sweetener, erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in many different foods. This sweetener is unlike other sugar alcohols, however, in that it doesn’t usually cause digestive upset as long as you use 100% pure erythritol.
- Monk Fruit – This sweetener is made from the antioxidants in monk fruit and it scores a 0 on the glycemic index. Monk fruit is about 300 times sweeter than sugar, so you can use just a little bit of it to get the desired effect. Plus, there are no known health concerns related to monk fruit.
- Xylitol – A naturally occurring sugar alcohol, xylitol contains 3 calories per gram and 4 grams of carbs per teaspoon. It is just as sweet as sugar but, as a sugar alcohol, xylitol doesn’t have an impact on your blood sugar or insulin levels like sugar does.
- Yacon Syrup – Extracted from the roots of the yacon plant, yacon syrup is high in a type of soluble fiber your body can’t digest called fructooligosaccharides (FOS). This sweetener contains 1/3 the calories of sugar and, since your body can’t digest most of it, it has a low impact on your blood sugar levels. It is best used to sweeten beverages, cereal, and salad dressings.
Now that you’ve learned the basics about keto-friendly sweeteners, you’re ready to give them a try! Keep reading to find some simple recipes for keto-friendly sweet treats.
Try These Tasty Keto-Friendly Sweet Treats
Though there are a handful of sweeteners that count as being keto-friendly, there are three that are the easiest to find and the easiest to use. The best keto sweeteners are stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit. Here is a simple keto-friendly sweet treat for each of these three sweeteners:
- Easy Coconut Macaroons (Stevia)
Servings: 2 dozen
- 3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- Liquid stevia extract, to taste
- 3 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Stir the coconut together with the water and coconut oil.
- In another bowl, stir together the eggs and stevia then stir that into the coconut mixture.
- Drop the mixture in rounded tablespoons on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until just browned then cool before serving.
Nutrition: 120 calories, 12.4g fat, 1.6g protein, 3.4g carbs, 1.7g fiber, 1.7g net carbs
- White Chocolate Bark with Coconut (Erythritol)
- 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 4 to 5 tablespoons powdered erythritol
- Pinch xanthan gum
- 2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa butter, melted
- ½ cup toasted coconut flakes
- Add the almond milk, powdered erythritol, and xanthan gum to a saucepan on medium heat.
- Whisk well and simmer for an hour than whisk in the protein powder.
- Remove from heat and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Whisk in the cocoa butter and fold in the coconut flakes.
- Spread in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet then freeze until firm and break into pieces.
Nutrition: 210 calories, 16.2g fat, 12.7g protein, 5.9g carbs, 3.1g fiber, 2.8g net carbs
- Vanilla Almond Shortbread Cookies (Monk Fruit)
Servings: 2 dozen
- 3 cups almond flour
- 2/3 cup monk fruit sweetener
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the almond flour, sweetener, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the butter until creamy then beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Beat the dry ingredients into the wet until it forms a crumbly mixture.
- Gather the dough into a ball then chill for 15 minutes before pinching off pieces and rolling them into small balls.
- Place the balls on the baking sheet and flatten with a fork.
- Bake for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges are just browned.
Nutrition: 115 calories, 11.4g fat, 2.8g protein, 2.4g carbs, 1.3g fiber, 1.1g net carbs
Well, there you have it! Everything you need to know about using sweeteners on the ketogenic diet. You’ve even received three recipes to try them out for yourself, so head to the store and get baking!