Sweeteners on the keto diet can be pretty confusing. Sweeteners like stevia and erythritol are really pushed hard in the keto community, but why?
What's wrong with other sweeteners if they're technically no-calorie?
Keto Domain has put together a rating system for common keto sweeteners so you can quickly choose which sweeteners to use for everyday cooking and baking. We've included artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners, sugar alcohols and a few additives that hide as sugar. We've updated this list to include some more recent sweeteners for the ketogenic diet community including monk fruit extract and allulose, which replaced xylitol and sucralose in our list (even though those weren't really good sweeteners to begin with).
We've also listed out the largest factors that effected each sweeteners rankings below the table.
Keto Sweetener Ranking System
Factors that were included in the keto sweetener ranking system were:
- effects on blood glucose and insulin levels that would directly affect ketosis
- taste, sweetness and aftertaste
- safety including long term effects
- whether the sweetener is chemical or natural
- benefits vs short term side effects
Keto Sweeteners Summarized
Keto Natural Sweeteners
Stevia is a natural keto diet sweetener. It has a sweet flavor but bitter aftertaste. Stevia is often mixed with maltodextrin that is not good for ketosis so check ingredients. This is the stevia we recommend without any additives:
Chicory Root fiber
Chicory Root Fiber is a natural sweetener in fiber form, that is ok for ketosis. It is a great ketogenic diet sweetener that should be partnered with other sweeteners because it is only 30-50% as sweet as sugar. If you've never heard of chicory root fiber, read our article on details of chicory root fiber. This is the chicory root fiber we use:
Monk Fruit Extract
Monk fruit extract is a natural sweetener for ketosis. In fact, it gives stevia a run for its money as the top keto sweetener. It is 300x sweeter than sucrose. It may even have a better flavor than stevia. Read more on what makes monk fruit extract keto.
Allulose is a naturally occurring sweetener, yet chemically made for mass quantities. Allulose is ok for keto because it does not raise blood glucose or insulin levels. It is only 70% as sweet as sugar so should be combined with stevia or monk fruit. It may cause gastrointestinal disturbances similar to sugar alcohols in large quantities. You can read more on what makes allulose keto.
For more information check out our detailed post on natural sweeteners relating to ketosis.
Keto Sugar Alcohols
Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol although it is artificially made. It is ok for ketosis. It has a sweet flavor but can cause digestive issues so ease into serving sizes. Personally for me, the digestive issues outweigh the benefits.
Here is the erythritol we use:
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol. It slightly raises blood glucose and insulin levels and contains 2.4 calories/gram. It is equivalent to sucrose for sweetness. It can also cause digestive issues so ease into serving sizes.
For more information check out our detailed post on sugar alcohols relating to ketosis.
Keto Artificial Sweeteners?
Aspartame is an artificial chemical sweetener that does not have short term effects on ketosis but could have long term effects on how your body processes glucose. It has an ok sweet taste and no effects on digestion. The safety issue is for people with Phenylketonuria. If you're going to use it, use it very sparingly and be aware of side effects. Discontinue use if you notice any issues - falling out of ketosis, stalled weight loss or headaches. Because of these possible effects, we don't call aspartame keto.
Sucralose is an artificial chemical sweetener that in some studies raises blood glucose levels therefore possibly affecting ketosis. It also may have long term effects similar to aspartame. Many people have noted side effects. The sweet flavor is ok. Because of the possible long term effects and links to cancer, we don't call sucralose keto.
For more information check out our detailed post on chemical/artificial sweeteners relating to ketosis.
Maltodextrin is basically a sugar. It actually has worse effects on blood glucose and insulin than sugar. Avoid products with maltodextrin as an additive for ketosis.
This should be obvious, but avoid products with cane sugar as an additive for ketosis.
Keto Domain Recommendations on Keto Sweeteners
The keto diet decreases your cravings for sugar. If you are eating that much added sweeteners you are not getting the full benefits of reduced cravings of the keto diet.
Desserts using these keto-approved sweeteners should be eaten sparingly.
We recommend using a mixture of stevia, erythritol and chicory root fiber for the best results in your recipes.
This will get you increased sweetness, with less after taste and added health benefits of fiber.
If you would like more information for the factors we've used for rating, please contact us.