Top sugar alternatives and sweeteners for low-carb diets
It is common knowledge that keto diets are all about an extremely low carb intake, which basically is a sugar-free diet. Removing sugar can be extremely challenging for a person that has a habit of adding an extra touch of sweetness to anything ranging from tea to desserts. Still, there are available on the market various low-cab sweeteners that can replace sugar. Keto recipes have a bundle of ingredients, including some sweeteners that won’t impede ketosis. Such ingredients are natural-based and represent a healthier alternative to refined sugar.
Keep in mind that artificial and natural sweeteners come with distinct features concerning intensity and flavor. As an example, you don’t need to add pure Stevia in a pie recipe that needs to taste like berries. Instead, Stevia is great for sugar-free beverages. Anyway, all the recipes featured aren’t achievable without a bit of sweetness. As such, the sweetener or sugar alternative included depends mostly on the type of dish we’re cooking.
Stevia represents a natural sweetener obtained from the plant named Stevia rebaudiana. It is labeled as a non-nutritive type of alternative sugar, as it features almost no calories or carbs. A couple of studies reveal that stevia might aid with low blood sugar levels. You can buy Stevia in liquid or powdered form, while you can add it to anything including drinks and desserts. Though, you should be cautious when using it, as it is much sweeter than refined sugar. You will have to add less Stevia to gain the same sweet taste. As a general rule, 200 grams of sugar equal 4 grams of powdered sugar in terms of sweetness.
Sucralose represents an artificial sweetener that travels through your digestive system undigested. This is why it feeds the body no calories or carbs. One of the most popular sucralose derived sweetener is Splenda. This is less bitter than common sugar alternatives. Anyhow, it is not recommended to add Sucralose in any baking recipe that requires sugar. Research suggests that Sucralose might transform into harmful elements at high temperatures. Splenda can be used as a sugar alternative in a 1:1 ratio for almost all desserts. Keep in mind that pure Sucralose is up to 600 times sweeter than refined sugar. Therefore, you should add a small quantity to substitute the sugar.
Erythritol is classified as a sugar alcohol, a compound that has a direct impact on the sweet taste receptors in the mouth. When compared to refined sugar, Erythritol is 80% sweeter. Still, it comes with 5% of the calories in 0.2 calories per gram. Besides, in one teaspoon Erythritol features four grams of carbohydrates. Research reveals that this particular composition might aid in balancing blood sugar levels in the body. It has a small molecular weight, meaning it won’t lead to digestive problems, as it is the case with similar sugar alcohols.
You can add Erythritol to either baking or cooking recipes, as it is considered to be one of the best sugar alternatives. Mostly, 200 grams of refined sugar can be replaced with 270 grams of Erythritol for the best results.
Xylitol represents a sugar alcohol added especially in products such as sugar-free gum, or candies. Its sweetness is similar to the one of refined sugar, yet it comes with only three calories per gram, and four grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon. But as it is the case with all sugar alcohols, the carbs in Xylitol aren’t similar to net carbs due to the fact that they don’t alter the insulin levels.
You can use this sugar alcohol for sweetening tea, coffee, or any other type of beverage. Besides, it is great for baking sweets. For such recipes, you should use more liquid than it is mentioned in the recipe to its absorbing properties that boost dryness. So, as said above Xylitol is similar to refined sugar, which means you can swap it with a 1:1 ratio.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk Fruit is a natural sweetener obtained from the monk fruit. Usually, this is cultivated in China, and it comes with a high content of natural sugars named mogrosides. These antioxidants offer a sweet taste to the fruit, which in turn makes the sweetener quite appealing. Depending on how much mogrosides are added, a monk fruit sweetener can be between 100 to 250 times sweeter than refined sugar. This sugar alternative doesn’t come with any calories or carbs, which makes it suitable for a keto diet.
Also, specialists believe that the composition of this sweetener might support insulin production, which can better the process of removing sugar from blood. You can add Monk Fruit sweetener in any recipe in which you would add refined sugar. Still, the quantity required depends on the type of sweetener you purchase.
Yacon Syrup is harvested from the Yacon plant, commonly found in South America. This liquid has a high composition of fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a blend of soluble fibers that our digestive system can’t process. Besides, it is rich in simple sugars like sucrose, fructose or glucose. And because it isn’t digested by our bodies, Yacon Syrup has around one-third of the calories commonly found in refined sugar. In one tablespoon of this syrup you will have up to 20 calories.
Also, in 15 ml of Yacon Syrup you will have up to 11 grams of carbs. Research reveals those carbs don’t alter blood sugar levels, as it is the case with refined sugar. A couple of studies suggest that Yacon Syrup might even aid in balancing blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to a healthier balance. You can use Yacon Syrup for sweetening coffee, tea, or salad dressings. You should you use this syrup instead of other liquid sweeteners, such as corn syrup, or molasses.
So, starting a ketogenic diet requires a low carb intake, along with diminishing sugar intake as much as possible to promote ketosis. And because there are a wide array of sweeteners on the market, you can find the best sugar alternative suitable for a low-carb ketogenic diet.
Still, you should use such sweeteners with caution as a way for balancing your diet. It is a great solution for adding sweetness to a dish, and keeping it low-carb.