January 30, 2023
With so many to choose from it’s hard to know with keto sweeteners, the good and the bad. Learn more to educate yourself which is the best keto sweetener choice for you!
Having been on a low carb keto diet for quite some time now, I have tried a lot of the sweeteners. I have found some more keto-friendly than others.
Read on for more information on the different groups of sweeteners, their taste profile and how they affect blood sugar levels and ketones.
The good news is there are sugar substitutes and natural sweeteners that are low in carbs and do not increase blood sugar levels.
More good news is that many of these sweeteners are being made more readily available in local supermarkets.
So, let’s have a look at some of the ones best to use.
Stevia is a natural keto sweetener that is derived from the leaves of a plant. Highly processed it is many times the sweetness of sugar.
The active compounds of stevia are steviol glycosides. The body does not metabolise glycosides, so this makes it a zero-calorie sweetener.
Stevia does have an aftertaste that is slightly bitter. Keto stevia is available in powdered, granular and liquid form e.g. Sweetleaf Drops
Because of the level of sweetness and its carb value stevia is often found combined with other sweeteners like erythritol.
Sweeteners like Sukrin:1, Natvia, and Pyure,
Allulose also known as pseudo-fructose is classed as a “rare sugar” because it is naturally present in only a few foods like maple syrup, figs and dried fruit.
It is a monosaccharide or single sugar. Allulose has the same chemical formula as fructose but is different in structure.
This difference prevents the body from metabolising the allulose into glucose, the same as fructose.
Not only making this another zero-calorie low carb sweetener but also with little to no effect on insulin or glucose levels.
The sweetener passes through the body and is eliminated through urine.
Allulose looks the same as sugar but is only 70% the sweetness of sugar but behaves much the same in cooking as sugar.
While the FDA has approved the use of allulose in baked goods in the US and for individual sales, it has yet to be approved in Australia.
So, for now, we have to wait.
Monk fruit is derived from a fruit. Monk fruit sweetener is keto friendly. It is available in liquid monk fruit, monk fruit extract and more often added to erythritol as a granular sweetener.
Monk fruit can be from 100 x 300 times the sweetness of sugar depending on the form you use.
So, it is best to experiment with small amounts of liquid keto sweetener and powders.
Because of the additional sweetness in Monk fruit like stevia it is often blended with erythritol to create a sweetener similar to table sugar.
These blends of keto sweeteners are available from brands such as Lakanto, Raw Earth and Sukrin Monk Fruit. This sweetener has very little aftertaste.
Monk fruit is another natural keto sweetener that is a better health choice due to its zero carb and calories, as well as minimal effects on insulin and glucose.
Many of you will know this sweetener as I use it in baking.
Inulin is a prebiotic fibre with three prebiotics that can provide health benefits. Not necessarily known as a keto sugar substitute but it can work in many recipes.
The three prebiotics are fructooligosaccharide (FOS) oligofructose, and galactooligosaccharide (GOS).
Derived from the chicory root inulin is a mildly sweet dietary fibre that is often found combined with other sweeteners like Swerve.
It can impart a creaminess in a recipe and a mild sweetness when used in small doses.
If used in large doses it can cause a little bit of discomfort with tummy troubles.
Inulin can give a feeling of fullness and help to reduce calorie intake. It also seems to lower glucose and insulin levels after meals.
I love using inulin as a low carb sweetener as unlike the others it can be used to activate yeast, while stevia and sugar alcohols cannot.
Erythritol is one of my favourites.
Whether it is mixed with a bit of stevia or a monk fruit blend I find it works great in baking and has little to no significant aftertaste.
Erythritol looks like sugar and in many of the recipes I create acts like a sugar as well.
It should be noted that after baking or heating erythritol will re-crystallise over time.
It will firm up anything that has been baked or heated with it as an ingredient.
Erythritol is derived from a few natural plants. It is highly processed to result in a sweetener very much like table sugar but only around 70% of the sweetness.
It has no affect on insulin and glucose and is a sweetener with no laxative affect.
Erythritol is a zero carb keto sweetener. Available from brands like Swerve, Sukrin, and Keto Eat.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that can impact glucose and insulin production. While it tastes close to sugar and works well in baking, with its effect on insulin I do not use it.
Xylitol is also highly toxic to dogs.
With my Stormy watching my every move I would and could not risk it.
The smallest amount can kill the biggest of dogs. So this sweetener is off the cards for me.
I would however love to know why so many keto products are being produced using it.
There are other sweeteners that can be used in bars, chocolates and baked goods that have zero carbs and zero effect on blood glucose and insulin.
So why do they continue to use it?
A sugar alcohol that is NOT keto-friendly! Even testing on myself I have found that maltitol kicks me out of ketosis.
Maltitol is 75-90% as sweet as sugar. It has very little to no aftertaste and is found in many protein and keto bars.
It should be noted that maltitol can affect blood glucose and is not recommended for diabetics. Maltitol also can cause gastro discomfort and have a laxative effect. Definitely a bad keto sweetener. Give this one a miss where you can.
Sukrin has recently changed the recipe on their syrup range to no longer be made using isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMOs) or any traces of gluten. Now made with a soluble prebiotic non-GMO corn fibre they have a gentler response on blood glucose levels.
To learn more about the ingredients use the link provided and to research more on the 12 case studies they have done through their testing of these new products.
Now available in Gold, Caramel and Maple syrups these are a lower carb (6.6net carb/100ml) and low calorie option for the keto and low carb community.
Non-GMO corn fibre is a soluble fibre or resistant starch that passes through the body undigested. Non-GMO corn is not the same as the genetically modified corn that we consume today.
No GMO corn is a Resistant Starch. These kinds of starches are good for passing through the body undigested and maintaining level blood glucose responses. Read more about insulin-sensitising effects of dietary resistant starch and effects on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism.
It is said to help promote good gut flora in the large intestine and to help improve satiety. A resistant starch that also maintains its resistant starch properties even when heated, unlike other resistant starches such as potato starch.
For some great recipes using these syrups try our Chocolate Caramel Slice, or Keto White Chocolate Fudge.
Fiber syrups are made from a plant fibre called isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO). IMOs have been shown to affect blood glucose levels in individuals. This product should be monitored if you are diabetic or insulin resistant.
A small amount of steviol glycosides is added to obtain the same sweetness of sugar.
The gold syrup does contain malt extract for colour and flavour. The product has no artificial colours, additives or preservatives and substitutes honey/sugar 1:1.
Fiber Syrups are pretty comparable in cooking to golden syrup and glucose syrup or honey.
I use them as the same ingredient when creating keto dessert recipes, or a keto Asian influenced sauce for example. Available Vitafiber or FibreYum – US only.
Maple Flavoured Syrups
Several brands have released maple flavoured syrups.
These syrups contain no actual maple syrup but contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose and another sugar alcohol sorbitol.
These sweeteners can cause blood sugar spikes and affect ketone levels.
While low calorie and low carb they come complete with lots of additives. Use with caution or not at all if diabetic.
Without going into them all if they aren’t on the good list above don’t bother!
Artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin and many more are not worth your time.
Yes many are zero-calorie but none of them are good for you.
I am sure I will continue to add to this list but just like a keto green list of foods if it isn’t on here with a great write up then exercise caution.
We should all try and reduce sweeteners where we can.
But for the fun of recipe development and the enjoyment of something sweet and delicious, I will continue to test them all out. It seems keto bought out a sweet tooth in me. For recipes using these sweeteners mentioned you can just use the search button and type in any ingredient for a recipe.
If you have any sweeteners or products you would like to know more about then please leave a comment below to let me know.
Wow, now this is how you do a write-up on various sweetners. I appreciate & thoroughly enjoyed the read. It answered a lot of questions I had about the affect specific sweetners could have on blood glucose and taught me some thungs as well.
I was so surprised to find out that Xylitol is so bad!!!
What would be your recommended sweetener for coffee.
I’m thoroughly enjoying your website.
Just test a few Maria. Xylitol can affect all of us differently
Just found your website. I haven’t had a really good chance to explore yet.
I use primarily allulose and erythritol. I like the allulose in tea and coffee. Because I can get erythritol in granulated, brown and powdered (confectioner’s) I like the range for baking.
Looking forward to more time on your website. Thank you.
Thank you for this summary. It will be something that I will continually refer to. I am having trouble getting hold of the fibre syrup. it appears to be unavailable or they don’t deliver to Australia. Any suggestions?
Hi Vanessa, Sukrin have changed to a Sukrin Syrup (no fibre) in the title. It does the same thing but is much better with no IMOs in it. They ship across AUstralia and also have various stockists across Australia. They also sell on Amazon as well.
Is there a keto-friendly sweetener that baker’s yeast can eat? In my simple kitchen experiments, the yeast will not eat erythritol or allulose. (I did test my yeast with cane sugar solution just to make sure it was still alive.)
I have tried all the sweetener’s but ALL of them seem to have a laxative effect on me and I end up feeling sick …The ONLY one I seem to be able to tolerate so far is Equal and I understand you advise that it is not good for us but don’t seem to have any other choice …I also have IBS and diverticulosis, so very sensitive ….any advice ?
What is the best sweetener to use in tea?
I currently use equal
I am very sensitive to the after taste in artificial sweeteners
Love your recipes
Hi Claudia, get some monk fruit from the super market. It is a natural sweetener and so much better for you than equal.
YOu mentioned in one of your video that you use a sweetner that does not have grittiness, can you let me know which one this was please
Hi Mundi, the sweetener I was referring to is Sukrin Melis. You will find a direct link to Sukrin in the post and they actually sell all the sweeteners I most regularly use. The Melis is a powdered sweetener much like icing sugar but with zero carbs and zero calories.
I have always used Hermesetas in coffee and tea. After reading your information above I realise I will have to find something else!
How would monkfruit or erythritol be in beverages?
Monk fruit or erythritol are perfectly fine
Hi Megan. Most of the sweeteners used in you recipes, can you buy from woollies or coles? If not do I get it online from a health store i.e. iherb as I want to go shopping within the next couple of days.
Hi Kathleen, other than Sukrin products all the sweeteners I use just come from the supermarket.
Hi Megan, does monk fruit have that cooling aftertaste that other sweetness do? Is there a sweetener that doesn’t do that?
I have no issue with monk fruit at all. Allulose is the best sweetener for aftertaste but we have to import it into Australia at this time.
Granddaughter is making lemon and poppyseed cake. What sweetener do you use in that recipe. She used a liquid sweetener and it had a bad aftertaste and she had trouble converting the amount.
Hi Dianne, I use an erythritol based sweetener. My sweeteners of choice are Sukrin:1 or Monkfruit. I have the link within the recipes for any products I use.
Hi Megan sweeteners have long been a problem for me, I just hate the aftertaste most seem to have.. Two questions can you use Inulin in all cooking and what are your thoughts on natvia, thank you for the very interesting post
Cheers Fran 😊
Hi Fran, I love Natvia as well. So yes you can use them in the recipes if your prefer. Inulin can be used in a lot of sweetening however when it comes to caramelising or setting “hard” it will not work. I couldnt say it can be subbed in all recipes e.g. Keto Pavlova would fail. It is just where you add a bit of sweetness say a yoghurt, mousse, etc. Plus it is the only keto “sweetener” that can activate yeast. Feel free to ask on any recipe you are thinking of trying and I will try and get back to you as soon as I can with answer for any choices of sweetener to each recipe. x
Can inulin be used to sweeten a hot drink?
I didn’t realise it was a sweetener?
Yes it is a prebiotic with a natural sweetness.
Thanks Megan I did not know that about Xylitol and the deadly effect it has on dogs I will not buy that anymore. Where can I get Inulin from? Cheers Sally
Hi Sally, Inulin is available from most health food shops. I also sometimes order from iHerb.
Hi Megan, I read your report on “sweeteners” do you have any comment on “Yacon” powder or syrup, i have read it has great benefits.
I cannot seem to get a sweetener that comes close to the taste of sugar, that i dont need 2 tsp. in cup of coffee, or has an after taste.
I have tried Stevia, Monkfruit, Xylitol, Swerve you name it ive tried it and are tempted to go back to
using “Equal”. Any suggestions please.
Hi Vonny, Yacon syrup passes through the body undigested and shoould be fine. Due to the high carb content (even though not absorbed I kind of left it off) I am happy to add it back at some point when I am not quite as under the pump as I am now. You could test it out and see how you go by monitoring ketones.
Thank you, Megan, for taking the time to write this up. It’s very helpful and confirms some of my suspicions about the effects on blood sugar levels.
Thanks for your feedback Judy. It is better if we all educate ourselves and do what is best for us. As I continue on this path and get older I am trying to find the best ingredients to use. I will try and keep abreast of all the information out there and share.