Top 5 Sweeteners For A Low Carb And Ketogenic Diet

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

Just because you decided to go low carb doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy sweets and baked goods. There are a number of sugar-free sweeteners on the market and thanks to online stores you can have them delivered to your door in 2 days from websites like Amazon.

Depending on what you’re making or your taste preference you may want to invest in a few different kinds. Below I’ve given you a quick overview of my top 5 favorites and how I like to use them and a few pros and cons of each one.

1. Sucralose

Sucralose is a zero-calorie sweetener, it is a derivative of sugar with the blood sugar spiking carbs removed through a chemical process. It is about 600 times sweeter than sugar so you may use less than you would sugar depending on personal taste. Sucralose isn’t considered a natural sweetener even though it’s made from sugar because it contains the synthetic chemicals used in its creation process. Sucralose can be found in liquid and granular forms. The most common granular form is found under the brand name Splenda. Technically Splenda isn’t recommended on the Ketogenic diet because of the addition of dextrose and maltodextrin which contain a few grams of carbs. I personally love Splenda and it is my #1 choice of low-calorie sweeteners because to me it tastes the most like sugar which means to added bitterness to my coffee and tea. It is easy to find when dining out and is very affordable. Try it and see how your body reacts to it.

Pros:

  • Zero-calorie additive

  • Zero glycemic index

  • Great for baking

  • Great for those wanting to lose weight

  • Affordable

  • Easy to find locally

  • Approved by FDA

  • 600 times sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way

Cons:

  • Highly controversial – some studies suggest negative effects on metabolism

  • Contains trace carbohydrates/sugars – maltodextrin and dextrose

  • Not zero calorie

  • Doesn’t caramelize like sugar

  • Recent studies suggest not baking with it


2. Swerve

Swerve is a combination of erythritol (see #3), natural citrus flavor, and oligosaccharides, which are non-digestible carbohydrates created by adding enzymes to starchy root vegetables. It is great for baking because it can be caramelized and browned just like regular sugar, this aids in better textures for baked goods and foods like jellies and sweets that need to harden. It replaces sugar cup for cup in recipes, measurements don’t need conversions. While it is a bit pricier it has become my go-to low carb sweetener for baked goods and desserts.

Pros:

  • Zero-calorie additive

  • Low glycemic index

  • Great for weight loss

  • Heat stable – great for cooking/baking

  • 70% sweetness of regular sugar

  • Absorbed by bloodstream – less likely to cause bloating or cramping

  • Prebiotics in the oligosaccharides of Swerve may help stimulate good gut bacteria

Cons:

  • May cause mild bloating or cramping – because it’s a sugar alcohol but is rare

  • 70% sweetness of regular sugar – may need a little more for desired sweetness

3. Erythritol

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol derived from corn and potatoes and considered to be a natural sugar alternative. It contains zero carbs and won’t cause spikes in your blood sugar. It works well in baked goods and sweets because its granular and just like sugar can be melted down, caramelized and browned. It is slightly less sweet as sugar so you may need to use a little more depending on preference. What makes Erythritol different from other sugar alcohols is that it is almost completely absorbed into the bloodstream by the small intestine which results in little no affects on the colon; which in turns means cramping, bloating or diarrhea commonly causes by other sugar alcohols. For more on the benefits of Erythritol check out this article by Perfect Keto: https://perfectketo.com/erythritol-keto-sweetener/

Pros:

  • Zero-calorie additive

  • Low glycemic index

  • Great for those wanting to lose weight

  • Heat stable – great for cooking/baking

  • 70% sweetness of regular sugar

  • Absorbed by bloodstream – less likely to cause bloating or cramping

  • prebiotics in the oligosaccharides of Swerve may help stimulate good gut bacteria

Cons:

  • 70% sweetness of regular sugar – may need a little more for desired sweetness


4. Monk Fruit Monk fruit sweetener all-natural and is made from the monk fruit found in Southeast Asia. It is said to be 300 times sweeter than regular sugar however I found it to not be as sweet. I found that a lot was needed to achieve my desired level of sweetness. While it is not as bitter as Stevia, I found it to still have some bitterness when adding to coffee. Monk fruit is just recently starting to be more popular because it’s all-natural and won’t cause blood sugar spikes. It isn’t as easy to find and can be a bit pricey.

Pros:

  • Zero-calorie additive

  • Zero glycemic index

  • Great for those wanting to lose weight

  • Entirely natural

Cons:

  • Can be bitter tasting

  • Can be on the pricey side

5. Stevia

Stevia is by far the most popular all-natural sugar alternative and Is preferred by a lot of people who follow a strict Ketogenic diet. It is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant and is about 30 times sweeter than sugar. Many people don’t like stevia because it is bitter and can take some getting used to. It can be found in liquid or granular form with the most popular brand being Truvia. There have been some improvements in taste since it first hit the market due to it being blended with other sugars to achieve more desirable taste.

Pros:

  • Zero-calorie additive

  • Zero glycemic index

  • Great for those wanting to lose weight

  • Entirely natural

Cons:

  • Can be bitter tasting

  • Can be on the pricey side

Following a low carb diet involves limiting your carb intake and reducing your added sugar consumption. The goal is for your body to reach the state of ketosis. To achieve this you will want to avoid foods that cause blood sugar spikes - which will throw you out of ketosis. There are many sweeteners on the market and more and more popping up daily. Do your research on ingredients and additives, taste them and decide which is best for you.


I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any questions or sweetener suggestions you think I should try please leave them in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for more articles like this and low carb recipes.

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