The Ultimate Keto Sweeteners List
Keto Beginners Series

The Ultimate Keto Sweeteners List

The Ultimate Keto Sweeteners List

Posted 2 months ago

SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

Sugar is mostly off-limits on Keto, thanks to its high carb content. However, Keto-friendly sweeteners make it possible for you to still enjoy your favorite desserts or sweetened beverages while sticking to your eating plan.

An almost dizzying number of Keto sweetener options are available, making it hard to know which one to choose- and how best to use them.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best Keto sweeteners to use for baking and drinks, plus some helpful Keto sweetener hacks.

Keto-Friendly Sweeteners List

These are the most commonly used Keto-friendly sweeteners.

Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are a unique type of sugar that the body can’t digest. They can be identified because they end with “-ol.” Sugar alcohols are typically a good choice for people on Keto.

However, eating too much sugar alcohol can cause extreme digestive upset and diarrhea. When dealing with sugar alcohols, it’s best to eat no more than one or two servings per day.[*]

Here are some commonly used sugar alcohols on the Keto diet:

Xylitol

Net carbs: 0 grams per teaspoon

We love: Now Foods Xylitol

Xylitol comes from birch or corn. It’s used in many premade Keto candies, gummies, and chocolates, and it has a sweet flavor with no aftertaste. However, it’s harmful for dogs, so be sure to keep all xylitol or xylitol containing products well out of your pets’ reach.[*]

Erythritol

Net carbs: 0 grams per teaspoon

We love: Swerve Granular Sugar Replacement

Erythritol is a popular sugar alternative thanks to its sweetness and lack of aftertaste. However, it causes a cooling effect in the mouth that is very distinct. It’s only about 70% as sweet as sugar, so it’s often combined with other sweeteners. For example, Swerve contains erythritol as well as oligosaccharides, long chains of indigestible sugars that provide additional sweetness.[*]

Other sugar alcohols you may come across include sorbitol, mannitol, and maltitol, but xylitol and erythritol are by far the most common.

Other Natural Keto Sweeteners

Stevia

Net carbs: 0 grams per teaspoon

We recommend: SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Packets

Stevia is a sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant, and can be enjoyed in granulated or liquid form. The leaves of the plant contain compounds called steviol glycosides, which are structures that are similar in taste and sweetness to sugar but don’t provide any carbs or calories. Stevia is a really popular choice, but it can have a bitter aftertaste.[*]

Monk Fruit

Net carbs: 0 grams per teaspoon

We recommend: Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener, Classic

Monk fruit is a sweetener isolated from luo han guo, a gourd that grows mostly in southern China. It’s about 300% sweeter than sugar, with a milder aftertaste than some other sweeteners. Because it’s so powerfully sweet, monk fruit sweeteners often come blended with another less sweet type of sweetener for balance.[*]

Allulose

Net carbs: 0 grams per teaspoon

We recommend: RxSugar One Pound Allulose Canister

Allulose is a relative newcomer to the Keto sweetener world. It’s a sugar that can’t be utilized by the body, so it behaves much like real sugar in cooking — and has a very close taste too. However, it’s only about 70% as sweet as real sugar.[*]

Artificial Sweeteners

Generally, we recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose as much as possible.

Research shows that these sweeteners may actually upset the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome, which can affect your blood sugar and appetite levels — and may even lead to unwanted weight gain.[*][*]

Sweetener Conversion Chart

Here’s a reference guide to help you convert from sugar to sweetener, and between different Keto-friendly sweeteners. To convert between one type of sweetener and another, find the type of sweetener and amount used in your recipe in the chart below. Then, use the amount of your preferred sweetener that is listed in the same column.

For example, if a recipe calls for ½ cup of granulated monk fruit, but all you have is granulated allulose, you would find ½ cup granulated monk fruit in the table, and use the amount of granulated allulose listed in the same column (which is ¾ cup).

Click here for a handy, printable PDF.

Note: Some alternative brands may have different sweetness levels compared to sugar, so be sure to check what the packaging says.

Also worth noting: Some “baking blends” made of the sweeteners above, or other types of sweeteners, may contain added fillers so that they can be used as a 1:1 substitute for sugar.

However, some of these blends also contain added sugar. Be sure to check the ‘Nutrition Facts’ label of any blended sweetener before you purchase, to make sure it’s truly sugar-and-carb-free.

Best Sweeteners for Baking

The best sweeteners for baking are granulated sweeteners that can replace sugar at a 1:1 ratio. 

In addition to providing sweetness, sugar adds volume and texture to baked goods, is crucial for proper browning and color development, and plays an important role in the balance of wet and dry ingredients. A Keto baking sweetener must be able to replicate ALL of these functions of sugar, aside from just adding sweetness.

Our pick: Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener, Golden

Best Sweeteners for Adding To Drinks

On the other hand, the best sweeteners for drinks are liquid or powdered sweeteners because they dissolve without leaving a gritty texture.

You have to be careful with liquid sweetener drops though, because they can be incredibly strong — just a few drops can be the difference between “not sweet enough” and “way too sweet.”

Our pick: SweetLeaf Sweet Drops Liquid Stevia

How To Go Entirely Sweetener Free

If you find that the sweet taste of sugar alternatives only makes you crave more, you may do better removing sweeteners completely.

It can be a huge adjustment, especially if you’re used to sweet tastes. However, it can be done. Here are some tips to help you go entirely sweetener-free:

  • Decide whether it would be easier for you to remove sweeteners cold turkey or gradually. If cold turkey, pick a date to begin. If gradually, make a plan to slowly remove the commonly-used sweeteners in your diet over the course of several weeks. For instance, you could start with removing Keto desserts and replacing them with low-carb berries served with unsweetened whipped cream. Then, slowly wean yourself off of sweetened beverages.
  • Try adding a splash of cream to your coffee or tea. This can help reduce the bitterness if you’re used to having them sweetened.
  • Unsweetened, flavored sparkling water is an excellent sweetener-free alternative to soda.
  • Be prepared with a strategy to combat cravings, like going for a walk, journaling, or texting an accountability partner when a sugar craving comes on.

Over time, you will get used to the lack of sweetener or sugar in your diet. Many people who have given up sweeteners report that, after a while, fruits taste sweeter than ever and they can perceive more of the natural sweetness in other foods as well.

However, don’t feel like you have to give up sweeteners if you don’t want to. Many people have found success on Keto while using sweeteners.

Top 5 Keto Sweetener Hacks

  1. Check out the sweetener conversion chart BEFORE you swap out sweeteners like-for-like in Keto recipes, particularly if you’re swapping out a granulated sweetener for a liquid sweetener or vice versa.
  2. Use naturally sweet, but low-carb fruits like strawberries and raspberries to add natural sweetness to foods. Likewise, cinnamon and vanilla can provide notes of sweetness without adding any actual carbs or sugar.
  3. Run granulated sweeteners through a blender or coffee grinder to pulverize them into a powdered form, which is ideal for things like Keto-friendly cake frosting. This can save you a little cash, too, since you won’t have to buy a powdered sweetener. If you don’t have a liquid sweetener for drinks, this is a helpful tip too — the powdered sweetener will mix and dissolve much easier than a coarser granulated sweetener.
  4. Want to create your own sweetener blend? You can mix different granulated sweeteners together to make one that’s just right for you. For example, erythritol and monk fruit are a good combo.
  5. Always add less than you think you’ll need, then taste your food before adding more. It’s easy to add more if it’s not sweet enough, but you can’t take the sweetener out if you add too much.

Although there are a lot of options, picking a Keto sweetener doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Choose a granulated version that can be used 1:1 for sugar in baking, and a liquid or powdered sweetener for sweetening beverages. From there, you can branch out and try different types, different brands, or mixing up your own blends. Happy sweetening!

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