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Most people on low-carb find that once they get used to the diet, the cravings for sugar go away.
Following is an overview of healthy sweeteners you could use provided your net carbs limit allows for it.
According to medical research, the human body can safely tolerate daily doses of 1 gram per kilogram of body weight. Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo or longevity fruit, is a fruit native to China and northern Thailand.
Avoid anything containing dextrose and maltodextrin or artificial sweeteners and unnecessary additives. Chicory root inulin (chicory root fibre) is probably the most popular inulin-based sweetener.
Apart from chicory root, there are other natural sources of inulin such as Jerusalem artichoke, banana, garlic, jicama, onion or yacon. Unlike sugar alcohols, inulin-based sweeteners don't have any cooling effect and shouldn't cause digestive problems if the recommended amount is not exceeded.
Unlike chicory root, which is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, chicory inulin is generally recognised as being safe (GRAS). When it comes to side effects, inulin has shown to not only feed the good bacteria, but also bad bacteria.
Mannitol does not affect blood sugar but has more calories compared to Erythritol - about 1.5 calories per gram. Mannitol is soluble at higher temperatures and great for candy coating but I haven't tried it. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that naturally occurs in the fibres of certain fruits and vegetables. Like Stevia, it doesn't contain many nutrients but has some other benefits for dental health and may prevent osteoporosis.
When you look at the label of most sweeteners containing sugar alcohols, they claim to be "sugar-free" or "carbs-free".
This is not exactly true, as sugar alcohols may affect blood sugar and contain calories, too.
This may be a conservative way of calculating net carbs but when you are on a low-carb diet, it's better to be safe than sorry.
My advice is that you pay attention to any carbs consumed - even from alcohol sugars, as they may disrupt ketosis & weight loss, as I explain in another post: Not Losing Weight on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet?
Tagatose is a sugar substitute, a monosaccharide naturally occurring in dairy products, fruits and cacao. Tagatose only has a small effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, therefore is recommended for low-carb diets.
Among other benefits linked to consuming tagatose are increased HDL cholesterol (reduced risk of heart attack), prebiotic effect (feeding healthy bacteria in your gut) and antioxidant effect. When it comes to side effects, higher doses of tagatose have been shown to cause mild stomach discomfort, however, lower doses of 10-30 grams have been shown to be well tolerated.
Yacon syrup is a sugar substitute extracted from yacon plant from its tuberous roots grown in South America, Andes. Yacon syrup is also high in antioxidants and potassium which is an essential micronutrient, when dealing with the symptoms of "Keto-flu". Yacon syrup has other health benefits thanks to its significant antioxidant properties and keeping the kidneys and gut healthy. When it comes to side effects, excessive consumption of yacon syrup can lead to stomach discomfort.
Berries are generally known to be the most nutritious and lowest in net carbs from all fruits.
Fruit powders add a lot of flavour and you will only need to use a very small amount, so you don't have to worry about excessive carbs.
The net carbs content of freeze-dried fruit varies from 30 to 70 grams per 100 grams (raspberries contain less, while blueberries more carbs). Dark chocolate can be added to your breakfast "cereal" (such as my recipe for Faux keto oatmeal from KetoDiet), baked goods or yogurt. When looking for high-quality dark chocolate with the least amount of net carbs, opt for products with over 75% cacao.
Sugar is sugar - no matter how healthy the sweetener is, it will always impair your weight loss and potentially kick you out of ketosis.
Although fruits and fresh fruit juices should be avoided on very low-carb diets, you can use them in small quantities to sweeten yogurt or smoothies. Dried fruits like figs and dates are often recommended on paleo diets and may be acceptable for weight maintenance. Together with blackstrap molasses and maple syrup, unfiltered raw honey is one of the best nutritive natural sweeteners.
High-quality honey tends to crystallise, as it contains nutrients and enzymes not present in processed types. Coconut palm sugar comes from coconut palm blossom and has a slightly caramel taste and smell. The sugar content in coconut palm sugar is mostly sucrose, which is half fructose and glucose.
Remember, when looking for a healthy sweetener, the lower the fructose content, the better. Maple syrup is also rich in calcium and contains B vitamins as well as vitamin A and antioxidants.
Other sweeteners such as processed sugar or high-fructose corn syrup must be avoided completely. I used to include agave syrup in the list of suitable sweeteners and used to believe it was good for me. Some basic facts: Agave syrup is produced from the blue agave, which is also used in making tequila. If you plan to use any artificial substitutes like Aspartame, Saccharin, Acesulfame K or Sucralose, beware of potentially negative health effects.
Sometimes it's quite difficult to know what ingredients some commercially available products contain.
As mentioned above, there is no definite rule for counting carbs content in sugar alcohols or inulin and oligofructose and the effect could be different for each individual. Please note that due to the high volume it can take us several days before we can approve and reply to your comment. Hello Martina, This is really usefull, since I'm still figuring out which sweetener to use for which recipe.
Take your Total Carbohydrate 9g, subtract Dietary Fiber -2g and Sugar Alcohol -3g = 4g Net Carbs per ice cream bar.
This is a great product to stock in your freezer, for those times you need a little ice cream.
While you may be sticking to a healthier eating plan on most days, there’s nothing better than tucking into a pizza and glass of wine after a long week.
Don’t worry about feeling guilty for the rest of the week however, now you can enjoy a sin free pizza and wine for under 500 calories!
Each of the pizzas are ultra thin and light, topped with artisan ingredients which are full of flavour. RSVP offers unparalleled access for advertisers interested in reaching Irish women enthusiastic about trends, beauty, interiors, fashion, travel, health and weddings. These sweeteners are often used to improve sweetness of liquids such as coffee, tea, and sport drinks.
Novel sweeteners are a combination of various sugar substitutes and cannot be defined as a single type.
Jessica Diaz is a registered dietitian who has been writing about nutrition and health since 2010.
Carb counting is a type of diet usually used by people who have diabetes to help control blood glucose (sugar).
Sugar alcohols are a type of low-calorie sweetener used in sugar-free candy, sugar-free baked goods, sugar-free gums and sugar-free desserts. Sugar alcohols are important because they have fewer carbohydrates than regular sugar, and for people with diabetes, this can help with blood sugar control. Sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed by the body during digestion, which means the body does not get as many calories or carbohydrates from these.
Carbohydrates (car-bow-HIGH-drates) are nutrients in food that turn into glucose (sugar) after being digested to provide energy to the body. Below are some basic guidelines for counting and regulating the amount of carbohydrate in the diet. Limit high-fat protein sources, including highly marbled beef, regular cheese, hot dogs, and processed lunchmeats (such as bologna and salami). Rather than frying, prepare foods by baking, broiling, grilling, or steaming.

Fat does not raise your blood glucose, but like protein, can keep the blood glucose elevated if eaten in excess. You can eat unlimited amounts of food and drinks that have zero carbohydrate and zero calories. People with diabetes should eat the same moderate amount of total carbohydrate at about the same time every day.
Labels on many supermarket foods read “low carbohydrate” (low carb). Before you buy a low-carbohydrate food, be sure to look at the nutrition label. Some low-carbohydrate products may have higher amounts of other items such as calories, fat and soduim than the regular products. Review this sample nutrition label to help you understand more about counting carbohydrates. Look at the total carbohydrate number. This shows the amount of carbohydrate in 1 serving of this food. For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In fact, most of my recipes in KetoDiet, KetoDiet Basic and my new cookbook don't include any sweeteners at all.
People with very low net carbs limit should avoid using anything other than "zero-carb" sweeteners, like Stevia, Monk fruit sweetener or Erythritol. Even on the official product websites, don't seem to know either if it's safe to consume or not. You can try commercially available sweeteners like Erythritol (non-GMO) or Swerve (a combination of erythritol and oligosaccharides).
It's 300 times sweeter than sugar and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat obesity and diabetes.
Although pure monk fruit is claimed to have no calories and carbs, most products contain other sweeteners like inulin, which contains a few calories. A product based on chicory inulin, commercially known as Just Like Sugar, additionally contains vitamin C, calcium and orange peel. You may find products made from these foods - just make sure you avoid unnecessary additives and additional sweeteners. Studies show that inulin has a beneficial effect on blood sugar and it one of the best sugar alternatives for diabetics and those on a low-carb diet. As for the side effects, Mannitol is not recommended for people with anuria and congestive heart failure.
I personally don't use Xylitol, as I experienced minor insulin spikes and digestive problems. In fact, the main reason I use this method is to avoid overconsumption of sugar alcohols because they may be perceived as foods to be consumed freely.
Tagatose has been indicated to be a potential treatment for anaemia, haemophilia, infertility and it doesn't promote tooth decay.
It consists of 50% of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and a fiber called inulin which does not increase blood sugar. However, the root consists of primarily free fructose at about 35%, so you should consume this sweetener with caution (see this table at the bottom of this post).
A study has shown that a daily intake of yacon syrup resulted in a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index when given to obese pre-menopausal women.
If you can find freeze-dried berries and berry powders with no additives, try them in smoothies, yogurt and baked goods.
If you want to know how you can use it, have a look at my recipe for No-bake Mini Berry Cheesecakes.
I personally don't mind a small amount of added sugar but avoid products containing certain sugar alcohols which raise blood sugar (sorbitol, maltitol, etc.) which tend to be added in large quantities. While blackberries, raspberries and strawberries have the least amount of net carbs (6-8 g per cup), blueberries contain more than twice the amount of net carbs. However, these are not always great for weight loss, in which case you should avoid using dried fruit high in carbs. Honey contains flavonoids, which are frequently found in fruits, and vegetables and are known for their antioxidant ability.
Several studies have shown that too much fructose in our diet is responsible for what is known as "fatty liver" and the storage of dangerous visceral fat surrounding the internal organs in the abdominal area. According to the USDA database, it is high in magnesium and zinc and helps in maintaining optimal immune system function. Just be aware of your net carbs level: If it's just 20-30 grams a day, avoid it completely. The flavour is sweet and bitter - it is perfect for baking or even for meat and vegetable meals. In fact, it's probably the worst sweetener you could possibly use - yes, even worse than sugar!
There are some websites that recommend using agave syrup due to some positive health effects, while others advice against it.
Specifically, based on a review of studies regarding the safety of Aspartame I do not recommend using it. If you want to know the ingredients in various products, have a look at this list: Comprehensive All Sweetener List (scroll down to see List of Sweetener Brand Names).
The table below shows estimates of net carbs in various sweeteners following a conservative approach of counting net carbs, where all calories are derived from them. Yes, vegetable glycerine is another option but I would only use it when making ice-cream (keeps it wonderfully soft and creamy). Artificial sweeteners are significantly sweeter than standard sugar, so their selling point is that less quantity is needed to bring about the same sweetness as sugar. They are made from plant sources, contain less calories than sugar,and are found in many processed foods. Used in almost every type of food product, natural sweeteners absorb slowly into the bloodstream. These sweeteners come from the stevia brush plant which is native to Central and South America. Besides the immediate negative hormonal impact on the body, sugar substitutes can cause harmful long-term effects on a persons’ health such as diabetes, fat storage, weight gain, hypertension, headaches and more.
When sweetness is required, choose natural sweeteners as well as Stevia products over the competition. Diaz has worked in various settings like hospitals, doctors' offices and community health clinics helping adults understand how nutrition relates to disease prevention and disease management. The goal of carb counting is to eat a limited amount of carbohydrates at each meal because carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the blood. Sugar alcohols also have fewer calories and can be helpful for people who are trying to lose weight. Because sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed, they can sometimes cause stomach upset. Because sugar alcohols have fewer carbohydrates, half the amount of sugar alcohol content can be subtracted from the total carbohydrate amount, but only if the product has more than 5 g of sugar alcohol.
Although foods are labeled sugar free, they usually still contain carbohydrates that can come from various grains and starches.
People with diabetes should have a moderate amount of carbohydrate at each meal, rather than avoiding them completely. If you eat 2 servings, you must double the number of carbohydrate grams. Dietary fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohols are indented under the total carbohydrate count because they are part of the total carbohydrate amount. To find a dietitian in your area, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762), then select option 1. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. If your target is weight loss, sweeteners may impair your progress, as even so-called "zero-carb" sweeteners may cause cravings.
However, based on recent studies of the WHO (World Health Organization), Stevia extract doesn't appear to have any harmful effects. Beware of sweeteners, especially powdered stevia products, that may additionally contain artificial sweeteners, dextrose, maltodextrin (e.g. Another product I've recently come across and would recommend is Lakanto, which is made from non-GMO Erythritol and luo han guo fruit (monk fruit).
Products containing Monk fruit are: Kal Monk Fruit Powder (mostly monk fruit-based), Swanson Lo Han Sweetener (mostly inulin-based) or NuNaturals Lo Han Supreme (monk fruit, vegetable glycerine, alcohol and water). Although the packaging claims there are almost no calories and no carbs, this isn't exactly true. It also inhibits digestive enzymes and degradation of carbohydrates in the small intestine which results in inhibition of carbohydrate absorption in the body - that's why the amount of available carbohydrates (net carbs) is quite low (see this table at the bottom of this post).

FOS are also extracted from fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, chicory root, garlic, asparagus, jicama and leeks.
It's high in carotene and B vitamins, especially B3, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. In general, these are not suitable for weight loss but can be added for weight maintenance. As with all nutritive sweeteners, they are not suitable for a very low-carb diet and also, there is a controversy regarding the safety of rice malt syrup, as it may contain potentially harmful levels of dietary arsenic.
Processed honey lacks essential nutrients, which are destroyed during pasteurisation and heating processing. For example, honey with bee pollen and a part of the comb is more likely to be high in quality than the ones in squeezable plastic bottles. Honey could be included in your diet with caution, because it contains a high amount of carbohydrates.
Date syrup can be used in moderation but should be avoided when your aim is weight loss through ketosis, as even just a teaspoon may disrupt it. It has a lower GI than sugar but it's 90% fructose, which has damaging effects on our metabolism. When it comes to other artificial sweeteners like Sucralose, there is inconclusive evidence about their safety in the long term and I personally avoid them.
Some people experiencing ketosis claim that certain artificial sweeteners contained in diet drinks put them out of ketosis.
Erythritol is slightly better (no FOS) but I think that small amounts won't make a difference.
Major companies are changing the ingredients of their products and introducing sugar substitutes  to meet the demand for the sugar-free lifestyle. They have about 1.5 to 3 calories per gram of sugar alcohol, and do not contain any alcohol.
Sugar alcohols provide sweetness to foods without adding as many calories as regular sugar.
For example, an item that has 25 g total carbohydrate and 8 g sugar alcohol would be estimated to only have 21 g of total carbohydrate.
It is important to still count the carbohydrates in sugar-free foods because they still can raise blood sugar. Eating the right amount of carbohydrate at each meal will help to keep blood glucose in a healthy range. It is important that you limit the amount of fat you eat and choose healthy fats most often. For example, if 1 piece of sugar-free hard candy contains 5 grams of total carbohydrate and you eat 3 pieces at a time, you ate 15 grams of total carbohydrate. Remember, there are no government guidelines for low-carbohydrate and net-carbohydrate products. They also may have a laxative effect and cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea in some individuals. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity.
I've been researching for natural low-carb sweeteners as well as other healthy alternatives to sugar. If your weight is stalling, avoiding sweeteners or joining my 30-Day Clean Eating Challenge is a good way to break the weight loss plateau. When I noticed that myself, I wasn't sure whether it got "contaminated" when handling it or it simply has short shelf life. It's because 90% of Erythritol is absorbed before it enters the large intestine and is excreted via urine.
Secondly, the manufacturer is the same as the one selling Splenda which is an artificial sweetener. Although the human body gets adapted after several weeks of consumption, this study shows that doses over 65 grams can cause diarrhoea.
All these commonly use Maltitol that affects blood sugar but is omitted from the net carbs count. It has a slightly caramel taste and is similar to blackstrap molasses and coconut palm sugar. Additionally, rice malt syrup has a very high GI (98) which is even higher than table sugar. Dr Robert Lustig explains all you need to know about sugar, especially fructose and and its evil health effects. According to this article by Mark Sisson, there is only a little effect (if any) on insulin levels from most artificial sweeteners.
They asked me for pictures of the different products I bought and I've tried to get an answer for like 10 times, with no results. I realize there might be other health factors impeding this goal perhaps (slow thyroid?) but would the oligosaccharides in Swerve prevent Ketosis?
The difference between Erythritol and Swerve is that FOS found in Swerve add more calories (not carbs) but it's still not significant. These sugar substitutes have varying effects on the body and, depending on the type, can be just as harmful to your health.
Fructose is the key element linked between intake and weight gain, especially found in the infamous High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Stevia does not contain calories or carbohydrates, which makes it an attractive sugar substitute. Sometimes sugar alcohols are used as a sugar substitute to lower the amount of carbohydrates in a food. In general, women should have 3 to 4 carb choices at each meal and men should have 4 to 5 carb choices at each meal. Example: 5 large pretzels contain 26 grams of total carbohydrate, which equals 2 carbohydrate choices. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. So, after browsing the internet, I discovered that Nectresse contains the following ingredients: Erythritol (non-GMO?), sugar (for me that's a no-no), monk fruit (good) and molasses (possibly from GM beets). Note: I used the same technique for calculating the amount of net carbs like I did in sugar alcohols. This means that if you use this sweetener, you will likely experience large blood sugar spikes. There was one brief line in Dr Atkins book where he mentions that he felt oligosaccharides would prevent Ketosis but he didn't elaborate or give any reasons as to why he tended to have this opinion. Let’s differentiate the sugar substitutes found in many of the common foods and drinks and outline which types are best for improving health. Many natural sweeteners, however, have beneficial properties such as fiber, minerals, and pre-biotics. The difference is fruit contains fiber in the skin, so the effect of sugar is regulated with the presence of fiber.
A healthy diet for people with diabetes would be to limit sodium to less than 1,500 mg daily. These may be the hidden carbs you are eating which may be the reason you can't get to ketosis.
It could be quite upsetting as it's not a cheap product and it's supposed to last for several months. As we know, a sudden spike of insulin causes weight gain, fat storage, organ dysfunction, and drastic energy changes. Since they retain some of their health benefits, natural sweeteners are the healthier substitute(s) for sugar. Stevia is considered to be just as healthy as a natural sweetener, but it is sometimes combined with a sugar alcohol such as erythritol in certain products. Also, Dextrose is usually made from GMO corn while Maltodextrin is made from rice and may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is not required by law to be labeled.
Here is what I've found out: The problem stopped when I started storing my stevia in the fridge.
In addition, most artificial sweeteners are made from harmful chemicals (some are even found on the FDA’s hazardous list).
This is why Stevia is listed as a novel sweetener, but is still one of the superior sugar substitutes.

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