No matter the type of diet approach you take, whether it is one that has been tailored by a physician or dietitian to your nutritional needs or one that you believe works best for yourself, such as the Ketogenic diet, you will typically want to add or have at least some sweetness to your meals.
I am pretty certain that nobody really enjoys eating bland, soggy cardboard meal after meal, day after day. This is why there are so many different types of seasonings to choose from when you are cooking your food. From herbs to chemical spices, the possibilities are endless. However, this is not the case with sweeteners.
Unlike spices, sweeteners only have one distinct taste: sweet. Spices have a wide array of flavors from zesty to spicy and even meaty. Sweeteners exist for the exact reason the name suggests. They are only there to sweeten food.
This can severely limit your options when you are searching for a new sweetener to add some much-needed flavor. This is especially the case when it comes to a ketogenic diet, where you will want to avoid almost all carbs, including sugars, at all costs.
Unfortunately, while there are not nearly as many natural sweeteners as there are spices, there are many, many artificial sweeteners that you can choose from.
As the name suggests, artificial sweetener is a type of sweetener that is made from completely synthetic products.
Of course, there are countless blogs and publications out there that will tell you that these sweeteners are not okay for your health.
These articles many times do not quite understand exactly how harmless artificial sugars are or have money in the game for a competitor and need to sling mud.
In fact, at its worst, artificial sweeteners can stimulate your sweet tooth, causing you to crave some more sweets. Depending on how much you ingest, it can also contribute to obesity and diabetes.
However, when you have everything in moderation, including artificial sweeteners, they are absolutely nothing to worry about.
Now that you understand a little bit more about sweeteners and what sets artificial sweeteners apart from the rest, you can begin to explore the different types of artificial sweeteners that are best for someone who is on a ketogenic diet.
Stevia is one of the most common brands of artificial sweeteners out there. Chances are that you have probably seen the little packets of it whenever you go to a restaurant. In fact, you can even take how commonplace it is as a sure sign of how safe it is.
Considering the fact that everyone, and their children, are allowed to eat Stevia, you can rest assured knowing that it is safe for you to ingest as well, as long as you remember moderation.
Stevia itself derives both its name and its natural sweetness from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Rather than being particularly healthy or unhealthy, Stevia actually has no nutritional value, good or bad.
This means that you won’t have to worry about adding on carbs and calories when you choose to sweeten your dishes with some packets of Stevia.
However, there are many ways in which Stevia is quite a bit better than typical sugar. Stevia is much sweeter, meaning that you won’t have to pour a bunch of sugar just to get the taste you want from the food.
In fact, you can even substitute around 200 grams of sugar for 4 grams of powdered Stevia. That’s just how sweet this artificial sweetener is.
2. Sucralose (Splenda)
Another type of artificial sugar is sucralose, and this is commonly found in foods that claim to have zero sugars in them. However, there are several things that set sucralose apart from the rest.
For instance, you can’t and probably shouldn’t try to use sucralose as a substitute for sugar when you are baking.
You also need to keep in mind that while sucralose is usually calorie-free, the common name brand (Splenda) has three calories and one gram of carbs in it!
Sucralose works by passing through your body without being metabolized, meaning that unless it has something added to it, as Splenda does, pure sucralose will not have any carbs or calories.
Speaking of pure sucralose, if you do manage to get your hands on this stuff, you will need to keep in mind that it is about 600 times sweeter than normal sugar, so be careful when sweetening your food.
Unfortunately, artificial sugars become a little bit less amazing and a little bit more troublesome when you branch away from the biggest forms of it. Erythritol is not quite sugar, but rather sugar alcohol.
It mimics the taste of sugar, but only has about 5% of the calories that real sugar has. This means that you can use it to keep your food tasting wonderful, and you won’t even have to give a second thought to your calorie count for the day.
In fact, this sugar is known for not causing the same type of digestive issues as many other artificial sugars can cause when taken too often.
As with many of the listed sweeteners, erythritol is not quite perfect. It can tend to have an odd cooling sensation when you put it in your mouth, which is something that many people find off-putting and weird.
It also doesn’t tend to dissolve quite as well as natural sugar does, which means that it can leave foods feeling a bit grittier than you wanted them to. Because erythritol can only match up to about 80% of natural sugar, you will want to add a little bit more of this artificial sweetener to your cooking and recipes.
Xylitol is actually pretty common when it comes to artificial sweeteners. You can find it in just about every sugar-free gum, mint, and candy that you can get your hands on.
It’s not quite as perfect as the first two types of artificial sweeteners, but it still has a reduced-calorie and carb count than normal sugar (three calories per gram and four grams of carbs per teaspoon on Xylitol).
This means that while you can definitely feel more comfortable sweetening your foods with Xylitol, you should still pay close attention to exactly how many carbs and calories you are putting into your body.
However, something that might make you happy to hear is that unlike many other different types of sugar alcohols, Xylitol doesn’t count toward your net carbs if you track in that manner.
While you will always want to take things in moderation, you can relax a little bit when you are adding some Xylitol to your morning coffee. It has the same sweetness as normal sugar would.
Do keep in mind that with Xylitol, some serious digestive issues can happen when you eat too much at once. If you are beginning to notice that your stomach is no longer agreeing with you, you might want to consider searching for a different artificial sweetener.
No matter how delicious one sweetener might be, if it endangers your life, you really shouldn’t continue eating it.
Also, you need to know that Xylitol is very harmful to dogs and if you have 4 legged companions you should look to one of the other suggestions for your kitchen.
No reason to add things into your kitchen if you have a dog as we all know they have a tendency to get into places and foods they shouldn’t.
5. Monk Fruit Sweetener
The fifth and final type of artificial sweetener might be something that you have never heard of before. As the name of it might suggest, the monk fruit sweetener is a type of sweetener that is extracted from the monk fruit. This is a fruit that is native to Southern China.
What makes it one of the best artificial sweeteners out there is the fact that no matter how sweet it is, it has approximately zero carbs and no calories. This means that this is one of those rare sweeteners that you can add to just about every meal that you plan to use any type of sugar in.
In fact, this type of sweetener can be anywhere from 100 to 250 times as sweet as normal sugar you would find in a shaker.
A single drop of this sweetener might be more than enough to sweeten all of your meals for the day, which also means that it will be hard to run out of that sweetener.
Some research has even been done to show that the ingredients of the monk fruit can also stimulate the release of insulin, which will further help you manage your blood sugar levels.
Something that you will want to be extremely wary about is the ingredients of the monk fruit itself. Depending on where you get the monk fruit sweetener, the extract of the monk fruit will not be as pure as you thought it was. It could have been mixed with sugar, molasses, or a variety of just about any other type of sweetener.
Having your monk fruit sweetener be sweetened even more by something you cannot eat only ruins the purpose of using that sweetener in the first place.
However, as long as you are extremely careful when you are searching for some more monk fruit sweeteners, like Lakanto Brand, you won’t have to worry about ingesting something that will mess with your ketogenic diet.
One final thing to remember about monk fruit sweetener is because it is literally a couple hundred times sweeter than the sugar you are used to eating, you should cut the amount of sweetener you plan to use in half before you figure out what tastes the best for you.
There is an amazing amount of options in today’s world to allow someone on a Ketogenic Diet the ability to add some sweetness to their drinks and foods.
I would love to hear from everyone if there are others that I missed that you believe should be included for other people. More than likely I haven’t tried them if they aren’t above and I love to try out new things when they become available.
Please let others know they have options for their coffee and drinks, let them know that you can make sweet foods on a ketogenic way of life, from doughnuts to pastry and more are all possible with the cool options in sweeteners.
Just remember that this isn’t a license to consume pounds of them consistently and enjoy your life, remove the stigma and dogmatic approaches in favor of a lifetime approach.
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