by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Here’s a fact… for most people, jumping into a low-carb diet or going keto is not going to be easy (at least not when you’re first starting out). You’re going to have some intense sugar cravings that may put you over the edge. There’s some good news, though! We’re going to look at some of the best sweeteners if you’re thinking about going on a low-carb diet.
No longer do you need to feel like your days of enjoying sweet treats are behind you. You can use the five best sweeteners for people on a low-carb diet that we mention in this article to bring some sanity back to your weight loss journey.
That said, don’t give in on your low-carb diet. Including some of the best sweeteners listed below could entice you to jump off your plan. Don’t do it. Be sure to implement what we lay out below to substitute sugar so that you can achieve your weight loss goal in no time and help satisfy your sweet tooth.
5 Best Sweeteners for People on a Low-Carb Diet
Below are the five best sweeteners you should be using if you follow a low-carb diet.
Stevia is derived from Stevia rebaudiana and is a non-nutritive plant. With almost zero calories, Stevia becomes one of the most appealing and best sweeteners for people trying to lose weight.
Studies show that Stevia also helps to lower the blood sugar level, unlike regular sugar.
The active compounds in Stevia can be 30-150 times sweeter than the regular sugar, which means you need to use it in a comparatively lesser quantity.
It comes in both powdered and liquid form and can be used to add sweetness to everything from desserts to drinks. Stevia can be a fantastic addition to people who are following a low-carb diet.
Here’s another zero-calorie sweetener — Sucralose! But when it comes to sweetening dishes, it goes a long way. As per studies, sucralose is 600 times sweeter than regular sugar. So, a tiny amount can prove to be a lot!
However, sucralose is not ideal or suitable for baking, as it can produce harmful compounds when exposed to high temperatures, as per studies. So, you can instead use it to sweeten things like oatmeal, beverages, and more. Remember to use it in the raw or purest form to avoid any side effects.
If you want, you can even use it in place of one of the best sweeteners, Splenda — which happens to be the most common sucralose-based sweetener.
3. Monk Fruit
Monk fruit sweetener is derived from Monk fruit (that’s sort of a “duh” statement) or Luo Han Guo. It contains mogrosides, which account for the sweetness in the fruit.
Monk fruit sweetener can be 100-250 times sweeter as compared to regular sugar, depending on the concentration of mogrosides, making it one of the best sweeteners for people on a low-carb diet.
A study shows that mogrosides stimulate the release of hormones, which ultimately helps to manage blood sugar levels.
4. Yacon Syrup
You may be saying, “What is that?” And you wouldn’t be the only one, as not many people use Yacon syrup or have even heard of it.
Derived from the roots of the Yacon plant, Yacon syrup is rich in FOS (fructooligosaccharides), which your body is not able to digest. It has 50% fewer calories as compared to regular sugar, as per studies.
However, it is recommended to avoid cooking with the Yacon syrup as FOS may break down when exposed to high temperatures, as per the research.
Erythritol is another one of the best sweeteners for people on a low-carb diet, as it is a sugar alcohol that’s derived from natural sources like fruits.
As per studies, Erythritol has 60-80% sweetness as compared to regular sugar and contains a very small amount of calories (0.2/gram).
Studies show that the use of Erythritol helps to lower blood sugar levels. Also, because of its smaller molecular weight, it does not cause digestive issues like other sugar alcohols can. Erythritol can be used for both baking and cooking.
However, if you consume too much Erythritol, you may experience laxative effects and flatulence.
3 Sweeteners to Avoid When on a Low-Carb Diet
Here are some sweeteners you should avoid if you’re on a low-carb diet.
Though honey contains a lot of nutrients and antioxidants, and is a better alternative to refined sugar, it is high in calories and carbs and is not a good option for people on a low-carb or keto diet.
2. Maple Syrup
Undoubtedly, maple syrup is packed with various micronutrients, it is super high in carbs and sugar, which makes it unsuitable for those on a low-carb or keto diet.
Dates are, of course, one of the best sweeteners for desserts. They contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals, but when it comes to carb contents, it contains 75g per 100g, which makes them unsuitable for those looking to keep their carbs low.