Ketogenic diets require a reduction of foods that are high in carbs, including sugary foods and drinks, in order to reach a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body breaks down fat into ketones to use as energy rather than carbs. It is a normal bodily response to low glucose availability and has become a popular diet to aid in weight loss. With sugar hidden in many foods, it can be challenging to find foods that will fit your low-carb or keto diet and still taste good or satisfy your sugar cravings. Here are three plant-based sugar alternatives for low-carb and keto diets that won’t affect your blood sugar or break your diet:
Stevia is one of the most popular sugar alternatives due to the rising demand for a sweetener with no calories and little impact to blood sugar and insulin levels. Compared to regular white table sugar, stevia is about 200-400 times sweeter. Less is definitely more with this sweetener! One drawback is how difficult it can be to measure out the right amount because of how concentrated stevia sweeteners are. Additionally, stevia has been found to have a metallic or bitter aftertaste similar to artificial sweeteners. While Bala contains stevia sweetener, the plant-based enzymes help mask the aftertaste, ensuring that the product is diabetic-safe! Some brands opt to blend stevia with other sweeteners to hide the taste, so if you are watching your sugar intake, verify that no other sweeteners have been added.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a great alternative to stevia sweetener. Monk fruit sweetener is 100 times sweeter than white table sugar and does not have the same aftertaste as stevia. With no calories, no sugar, and no carbs, monk fruit sweetener is safe for diabetics as it does not raise blood sugar levels. While the use of monk fruit sweetener is growing quickly, it is still more expensive than stevia due to the cost of exports.
As a newer low-calorie sugar alternative on the market, kabocha extract is beginning to make waves in the keto community. The sweet compound from winter squash or Japanese pumpkin is isolated to create a sugar alternative that is on par with white sugar, except with zero carbs, zero calories, and a zero on the glycemic index. Kabocha extract can be used in a 1:1 substitute ratio as a replacement for sugar in baking, cooking, and drinks without changing the texture or overly sweetening. Despite all the raving pros about kabocha extract, the drawback is that it is significantly more expensive for the time being and there are very few published studies on its health effects.
As more people join the low-carb and keto revolution, there is a growing demand for natural, low impact sweeteners to replace artificial sweeteners. There are many more natural sweeteners beyond this list that are low in calories, won’t affect blood sugar, and are safe to consume; the hard part is finding the one that you enjoy. Let us know your go-to sugar alternatives for low-carb and keto diets below in the comments!