On Keto or Low Carb? Try These 4 Sweeteners

Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

As a former sugar addict, I can testify that beginning a lifestyle of low carb or keto can be super hard when you imagine all the sweets you now CAN'T have. But the truth is, there are a ton of things you can still enjoy, and sweets you can have on low-carb or keto.

The trick is to use the right sweeteners.

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{Photo credit: Olga Kozachenko, unsplash.com}

You've undoubtedly heard that artificial sweeteners are horrible for you, but don't despair! Natural sweeteners taste just as good and still allow you to have low-carb snacks and desserts, as well as things you would previously have sweetened with sugar. So when we're talking low carb sweeteners, here are the best for low carb or keto dietary styles.

Stevia

The first recommendation when we're talking best sweetener for keto or low carb is stevia. Sometimes called 'stevia sugar', stevia sweeteners definitely have the sweetness but not the carbohydrates or calories.

So if you're asking, Is stevia ok on keto or low carb? Or, 'Is stevia keto-friendly and low carb friendly? The answer is yes! Stevia is a plant, and the sweetness is extracted from the leaves of the plant. It is 1000X sweeter than sugar and is zero-calorie.

Many different companies combine it with other ingredients differently to achieve a 'custom' flavor. Regardless, unless the blend contains sugar, this makes stevia allowed on a keto or low-carb dietary style.

Best Tasting Stevia

So when we're talking best stevia brand for keto or low carb, specifically for flavor, this is a tough one. Here's why: Everyone's tastes are so completely different, you really won't know until you TRY them. Here's why--stevia is a liquid from the stevia leaf, so they need to either add it to a liquid carrier or make it into powdered form. In a liquid carrier, this can be alcohol or glycerine.

In powdered form, this usually means adding raw stevia to maltodextrin. This makes it in powdered form in a volume so you can measure it cup for cup when doing low carb baking or keto baking.

So when you ask, 'Is Stevia in the Raw keto appropriate or low carb appropriate", the answer is YES. It still has zero carbs even though it has maltodextrin.

A word on maltodextrin or dextrose: Some people are sensitive to this as it usually is made from GMO corn. If you know you're sensitive to this, make sure you read the label of what you're buying. If it says 'Certified Organic' or 'Certified GMO-Free' you should be fine.

If you're asking, 'Is Truvia keto or low carb compliant?', the answer is also YES. But this brand mixes stevia with erythritol. Just know, like I talk about below, there's a difference in dissolvability. So if you're putting it in coffee or cooking with it, it may not be a big deal. But some people can be sensitive to Truvia, so keep reading on down to see all the details on erythritol.

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Stevia on the Go

One last word about stevia-- I love it because it's also made in little packets (like ones on the restaurant tables) that are super convenient to carry in your purse and use when going out to eat.

JUST KNOW---the ones made with erythritol do NOT dissolve very well in cold beverages! So if you routinely drink unsweetened tea and add sweetener to it (ice tea), choose one made with maltodextrin and stevia (it may say Reb A).

Erythritol

Erythritol is a funny beast... because it's still made from sugar. Technically it's a sugar alcohol, and is made by adding yeast to corn glucose or wheat starch. It has only about 6% of the calories from the same amount of table sugar.

So it's a pretty safe bet for low carb, possibly iffy on keto--depending on how low you need your carbs to go.

If you're constantly swinging out of ketosis and are using erythritol as your sweetener, use a different sweetener and see if that helps.

If you have any kind of digestive issues, like IBS, and already know you need to adhere to a low FODMAP diet, erythritol is probably not the sweetener for you. Sugar alcohols can cause digestive upset in some people and are the same type of fiber as FODMAPS.

If you're totally fine with sugar alcohols, erythritol can be purchased in bulk packages, or as brand names that have different flavorings added. The brand Swerve offers one that is a white sugar substitute, one that is a powdered sugar substitute, and another that's a brown sugar substitute.

Monk Fruit

And the last sweetener is monk fruit. Monk fruit sweetener is extracted from the actual monk fruit's seeds and skin. It is an antioxidant and can also help with allergies. However, since it's 100-250 times sweeter than sugar, manufacturers either offer it in super-concentrated liquid drops or in powdered form. The liquid drops are awesome for sweetening beverages, especially on the go.

In powdered form, it is usually either mixed with erythritol or maltodextrin. Most of the time, like mentioned before, the maltodextrin or dextrose is made from GMO corn, so if you're sensitive to that, you should definitely check the label and maybe even opt for the liquid form just in case.

There are a ton of different brands of powdered monk fruit, so again--your best bet is to maybe look at reviews online and see what resonates with you, in addition to what properties you're looking for, and then of those find the one that tastes best to you and your family.

So you can see that there's a lot to consider when asking what is the best keto sweetener or best low carb sweetener. Many times it will come down to ingredients and flavor preference. Unfortunately, that means purchasing different brands and trying them all.

The good news is that there ARE many options for sweeteners on keto or low carb diets--which makes those with mega sweet tooths like myself super happy!

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My mission is to always find the magic middle where healthy + efficient merge. As a nutrition specialist and certified health coach with a master of science in nutrition, I firmly believe in nourishing the body, mind, and spirit with proper food, rest, movement, and stress management. My mission is to teach people how those CORE 4 things work together, how to do them on the daily, then put them on autopilot.

Montgomery, TX
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