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“Sneaky” Sweeteners

Some products labeled “zero calorie” sweeteners are practically 100% carbs, including Equal, Splenda, Sweet’ n Low, and Stevia in the Raw.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, servings under 1 gram of carbs and under 4 calories per serving can be labeled “zero calories.” The labels are attractive to consumers and technically meet regulations, but these packages contain almost 4 calories and a gram of carbs each.


Low Carb Sweeteners


If you chew sugar-free gum or use mouthwash, you are ingesting xylitol. It is a sugar alcohol derived from plants and produced commercially from corn cobs or birch trees through an  extraction process. Xylitol is low carb, but not zero carb, hence is not usually a good option while you follow a keto diet.

Xylitol has a low glycemic index, and only 50% or so is absorbed in the small intestine. When used in small amounts it has a minor impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. It has half the calories of sugar, and can replace sugar in recipes on a 1-for-1 basis.

However, it can cause digestive upset in humans, and it is highly toxic to dogs, cats, and other pets. 

Xylitol is highly toxic to pets…

“Good” Sweeteners

So, along, your keto living way, you will choose to use sweeteners. It’s just inevitable…

Here are three choices that may do the least harm to you:

Stevia is South American in origin, and the leaves were used by indigenous peoples in teas, medicines, or to chew as a treat. Today, commercial use and marketing of stevia leaves is not permitted in the Unites States. Instead, the active sweet compounds, known as stevia glycosides, are extracted and refined to meet the US requirements.  The FDA has designated the refined extract as “Generally Regarded as Safe.” As of today production includes more than forty steps, and China is the leading grower and producer of this extract worldwide. It can be purchased as a liquid, powder, or granulated, although the granulated form contains dextrose.

Stevia has no calories, no carbs, doesn’t raise blood sugar, and is very sweet (200-350 times the sweetness of sugar.)

Many people, however, find that stevia has a bitter after taste (me included), and it also cannot simply be swapped out in lieu of sugar into existing recipes. There is not enough existing data as yet to know its impact on the health of frequent users.


Erythritol is made of fermented corn or cornstarch, and is a sugar alcohol. It is only partially absorbed and digested by the intestinal tract, which can cause some folks gastrointestinal issues.

It, however, has no calories, no carbs, and this active compound passes into the urine without being used by the body, which is a big plus. Its granulated form is easy to be used to replace sugar in recipes, and it may prevent dental plaque and cavities compared to other sweeteners. It is 70% as sweet as table sugar.

Again, as with stevia, erythritol doesn’t taste like sugar, and it can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea in some people, though to a lesser degree than some other sugar alcohols. Its effect on the kidneys long term is not known as of this time.

Monk Fruit

The newer sugar substitute on the market is monk fruit, so called because it was cultivated by monks in Northern Thailand and Southern China. It is derived from a round, green fruit, and was dried and used in herbal teas, soups, and broths.

While monk fruit contains fructose and sucrose, it is non-caloric compounds called mogrosides that makes it sweet.  Proctor and Gamble patented a method of solvent extraction of the mogrosides from monk fruit in 1995. Although the FDA has not ruled monk fruit as “Generally Regarded as Safe), it has publicly noted that it accepts the manufacturer’s determination as such.

Monk fruit is often mixed with stevia to give it better taste and to lessen stevia’s after taste. It can also be mixed with erythritol ti improve cooking flavor. Monk fruit does not generally cause digestive upsets.

However, monk fruit is expensive, and some “propriety blends” have little active mogroside ingredients.

Next, low carb sweeteners…


Keto Sweeteners-Worst of the Worse

Beware-falling into the sweetener pit!

Sweet-tasting foods and drinks tend to encourage you to crave even more sweet-tasting treats. In keto living craving are not abolished; they are simply kept at bay. Even no-calorie sweeteners, such as erythritol and stevia, are added to foods that mimic desserts. They can promote snacking and extra consumption of treats and desserts, and undermine your ability to stick to eating reasonable amounts.

It is, of course, ideal for all of us to avoid all sweeteners, if possible.

That said, this is reality-not television.

Fortunately, over time, keto living reduces cravings for sweets. It gets easier to reject sweets or to eat them occasionally. Many folks find that the natural sweet taste of foods began to tickle the taste buds and the desire for sweeteners eases.

It then becomes a matter of making smart choices when you do decide to indulge.

Real sugar is a double molecule of glucose and fructose. That makes sugar 100% carbs!!!  Many artificial sweeteners are made up of sugar and have the identical effect of white sugar on weight, insulin resistance, and blood sugars. These include brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and dates.

What’s worse than sugar? Fructose, because it goes straight to the liver, promoting fatty liver, insulin resistance, belly obesity, and unhealthy lipids. Fructose sweeteners-corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey, molasses, and agave syrup could be called “super sugars,” because of their detrimental long-term impact on the body. The worst of these-agave syrup-with the highest fructose content.

Coming up next-zero calorie sweeteners-

Pinterest Info

I have pinned several pictures, graphs, recipes, and otherwise useful information regarding going on a ketogenic lifestyle on Pinterest. Please use the link on the website to travel there.

And, feel free to contact me or leave comments. I read every one of them, and will follow up on any questions you may have.

I’ve been making fat bombs lately, and wanted to let everyone know that folks usually make them and put them into little silicon muffin cups. Those are available at Amazon here.