The main goal of the ketogenic diet is to reduce the amount of insulin the body produces by reducing carb intake. The main source of energy would then come from stored body fat and consumed body fat.
When a person consumes carbohydrates of any kind, a blood glucose response is triggered, and insulin levels increase in response to rising blood sugar. Insulin is the signal to the body to stop burning fat, and instead, start storing body fat.
There is a great way of measuring these responses in the body. The Glycaemic Index is a measure of what impact a certain food has on a person’s blood glucose. Foods with a higher glycaemic index are digested quickly by the body and release higher amounts of glucose into the bloodstream.
There is another metric called the glycaemic load, which is basically a measure of the total amount of carbohydrates contained within a certain food, and the amount of insulin required to regulate blood sugar levels as a result.
If your main goal is to burn body fat, avoiding carbohydrates is going to enable your body to actually burn fat for fuel. But what about sweeteners? Aren’t they carbohydrates as well? Well, not all sweeteners are created equal. Let me explain why and determine which sugar replacements are keto-friendly.
SUGARS TO AVOID ON KETO
HIGH GI SWEETENERS
As mentioned before, you want to avoid all high glycaemic sweeteners from your diet. This includes the following list:
Sugar, Honey, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Agave Nectar, Maltodextrin, Sucrose, Beet Sugar, Blackstrap Molasses, Brown Sugar, Buttered Syrup, Cane Juice Crystals, Cane Sugar, Caramel, Carob Syrup, Castor Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Confectioner’s Sugar, Date Sugar, Demerara, Evaporated Cane Juice, Florida Crystals, Fruit Juice, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Golden Sugar, Golden Syrup, Grape Sugar, Icing Sugar, Invert Sugar, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Muscovado, Panela, Raw Sugar, Refiner’s Syrup, Sorghum Syrup, Secant, Treacle, Turbinado, Yellow Sugar, Barley Malt, Brown Rice Syrup, Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids, Dextrin, Dextrose, Diastatic Malt, Ethyl Maltol, Glucose, Glucose Solids, Lactose, Malt Syrup, Maltodextrin, Maltose, Rice Syrup
Since sugar has been getting such a bad name over the years, companies tried fooling everyone by creating artificial sweeteners.
These sweeteners are usually found in diet soft drinks and are generally regarded as a poor diet choice if health is paramount to you.
There has not been enough scientific evidence to prove these substances are not causing longterm health damage, so it is better to avoid them if you can.
- Acesulfame potassium
SPECIFIC SUGAR ALCOHOLS TO AVOID
The only sugar alcohols you should be worried about are the ones that impact your blood sugar levels or have a glycaemic index greater than 0.
These include the following:
Xylitol, in particular, is toxic to dogs. If you decide to use xylitol in your diet, be sure to keep it away from dogs and cats.
SUGAR REPLACEMENTS SAFE ON KETO
Stevia has been sourced from South America for over 1500 years and is a natural plant that has 150 times the sweetness of sugar but is not digested by the body. The active component, called stevia glycosides, is found in the leaves of the plant and has a glycaemic index of 0, which means you will be in a fat burning state all day long. As a result, it is one of the most ideal sugar replacements to have on keto.
Stevia also has a strong antibacterial effect on the body. It has been studied and found to be an effective agent in treating Lyme disease.
The FDA has recently approved stevia as being Generally Recommended As Safe. Prior to this, there was not enough study done on the plant to determine this rank.
Monkfruit, also known as Buddha fruit or the botanical name of siraitia grosvenorii, has been used in diets as far back as the 13th century in South China.
The active compound in monkfruit, called mogrosides, is part of the triterpene glycosides group. It is extracted from the fruit for use as a sweetener and is very similar to stevia, but only 70% as sweet.
It also has a glycaemic index of 0, which means that you won’t need to be worried about this sweetener if your goal is to burn fat.
Monkfruit has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is recognised by the FDA as Generally Recommended As Safe.
The only sugar alcohol which will not impact your blood sugar levels is erythritol. These sugar alcohols are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and wines. They occur due to a by-product of fermentation and are a naturally occurring substance perfect for when sugar replacements are required in home baking.
When purchasing erythritol, make sure it is NON-GMO, as when erythritol is commercially manufactured, it’s generally created with a type of yeast that ferments wheat or cornstarch into sugar alcohols.
Erythritol is the easiest to use when replacing sugar in baked goods, as it mimics sugar very well. Erythritol is Generally Regarded As Safe by the FDA, and has a glycaemic index of 0, which is the most important aspect to the ketogenic diet.