Is the keto diet sugar-free and are your favorite sugar-free finds really suitable for the keto diet? Our keto nutritionist has the answer.
Making a keto cake with monk’s milk fruit
I always hear, “Is keto sugar free?”
This is a very common question, especially when people start exploring the world of keto cooking. You know that sugar should be avoided on a keto diet. So sugar-free products are a safe bet, right? When you see “sugar free” your brain thinks “carb free” which means keto. That’s pretty reasonable reasoning.
Pictured above – our keto cookies! 🤤
But does “sugar-free” really mean “carb-free”? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Sugar free does not mean carb free. A product can be made with a sugar-free sweetener and still contain a lot of carbs. For example, a sugar-free muffin can use regular flour, which means it contains all the carbs in that flour, even though it is sugar-free.
Don’t get me wrong, sugar-free products will definitely save you carbs, but don’t think that sugar-free means no carbs.
Sugar free does not automatically mean keto!
If a sugar-free product is high in carbs and does not contain the best ingredients, it is not compatible with the keto diet. When following the keto diet, your goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake as low as possible, typically 20-30 grams of carbohydrates per day to maintain ketosis. Too much carbohydrate intake will cause your blood sugar to rise, which will cause you to go out of ketosis.
Keto chocolate chip dishes on a plate
This doesn’t mean that sugar-free products can’t be keto. You can make a keto chocolate chip cookie using almond flour, coconut flour, keto sweetener and no-sugar-added chocolate chips. This cookie can be considered a keto cookie.
What sugar is the best sugar substitute for keto baking?
How can I tell if a sugar-free product is keto?
The key is to read food labels and recipe ingredients carefully. Check for carbohydrates in the serving size and look at the nutritional information on total carbs, fiber, sugar, sugar alcohol and net carbs. We include all of this information in our recipe and keto review reports.
Lakanto Monco Fruit Sweetener Spoonful
What are sugar-free sweeteners?
Another way to tell if a recipe or product is keto-friendly is to know what sweeteners are used. Sweeteners can be classified as either artificial or natural sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners do not exist in their natural state. The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: acesulfame, sucralose, aspartame, saccharin and neotame. Although these sweeteners contain no calories, there are concerns that they may have negative health effects.
It is thought that they can make your body crave sweet foods, which can replace healthier foods like meat and vegetables. They have also been associated with weight gain and increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. For this reason, although these sweeteners do not contain sugar, many pure keto eaters do not consider them keto-friendly.
What sweeteners are compatible with the keto diet?
Natural keto sweeteners include sugar alcohols, stevia and moncfructone. Note that not all of these sweeteners are calorie-free, but they still contain fewer calories than regular sugar. They also help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you in ketosis.
Sugar alcohols are plant-based carbohydrates that are not well digested by the body. Because your body cannot break down and absorb sugar alcohols, they have a low glycemic index, which means they do not raise your blood sugar levels. For more information on low glycemic index sweeteners, see this article.
The most common are xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol and mannitol. They can be used as probiotics and have also been shown to help prevent tooth decay. It should be noted, however, that sugar alcohols can cause gastrointestinal upset in some people.
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