Sweetener Truths

Beware Of Fillers In Sweeteners

Enjoying a keto diet doesn’t mean you have to bid farewell to all sweets – although, do you really even need sweeteners? Cutting carbs and fueling yourself with quality fats significantly reduces those sweet cravings! What better time than now to try resetting your taste preferences? 

But since you’re living the sweet keto lifestyle, you may want an occasional treat. Just know that not all sweeteners are created equal. Many “keto-friendly” sweeteners are highly processed and contain fillers to make them look and act like regular table sugar.

Let’s break down the 4 types of sweets... 

Sugar 

If you’re on the keto diet you will want to avoid this one!

Natural sweeteners 

Honey, molasses, maple syrup, coconut sugar, monk fruit, stevia...

Most natural sweeteners have at least as many carbs per teaspoon as table sugar, with the exception of monk fruit and stevia. 

Monk Fruit and Stevia

These two are their own sub-category of natural sweetener. Neither affects blood sugar, making them keto-friendly, however, stevia is known to have an aftertaste while monk fruit doesn’t. 

Both are 150-300x sweeter than sugar. Because of their intense sweetness in small amounts, they are often combined with fillers and other ingredients so that we can use them like the regular sugar we’re used to. These plant-based natural sweeteners are costly to produce so fillers are also added to make more product with less actual plant material. 

As is true with most anything you eat, the less processed a food is, the better. Some stevia and monk fruit sweeteners have more fillers than they do of the actual plant they promote themselves as being. Brands like Truvia and PureVia are good examples of this. Check the ingredients when choosing a stevia or monk fruit sweetener. 

Artificial sweeteners 

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Saccharin, cyclamate, acesulfame, aspartame, sucralose…

These are your pink, yellow, and blue sweetener packets found on every cafe table in America. Although they are low in carbs and calories, don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re safe choices on keto.

These sweeteners are highly processed chemical compounds that can fool your body into thinking they’re actually sugar – causing further cravings, fat absorption, and insulin production – leading to weight gain. 

These are typically used in diet sodas and sugar-free candies. Avoid when possible!

Sugar alcohols 

Sorbitol, erythritol, xylitol, mannitol, others ending in -ol

A majority of sugar alcohols are man-made using starch, glucose, and sucrose. They tend to be a bit less sweet than sugar and can have an aftertaste, so manufacturers combine artificial or low-calorie sweeteners to the sugar alcohol to round out the taste

Maltitol is one to look out for in particular because it can trigger a high glycemic response, increasing your blood sugar. Too much sugar alcohol can cause some...umm...digestive issues, so use in moderation if you don’t want to keep running to the bathroom. 

Erythritol is the easiest on digestion and generally considered the “safest” choice of sugar alcohols. While it is still a manufactured sweetener made from corn or cane sugar, there are several brands with no extra fillers or sweeteners added. Again, check the label before buying to make sure you aren’t getting a lot of fillers and added sweeteners.