You've switched to a low-carb diet, but aren't ready to give up life's sweetest pleasures. Baking chocolate chip cookies with your kids, or pulling out a fresh batch of muffins when they walk through the door are memories you should cherish. Life can be sweet without all the sugar.
Thankfully, there are countless low carb sweeteners available at the grocery store and online, so you can still make your favorite desserts while following a keto diet.
The Best Sugar Substitutes!
We've tried just about every sugar replacement that exists at this point and have found which ones impact our blood sugar levels and which do not.
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One of the key points of eating a keto diet is to keep your blood sugar from becoming elevated, so it's important to find the right low carb sweetener.
Watch out for low carb sweeteners like Maltitol, which will actually spike your blood sugar. Check out this video where we test all the low carb sweeteners and discover how they effect our blood glucose and ketone readings.
Stevia is definitely a favorite of ours. The most popular of a handful of natural sweeteners that are used for low carb diets. We buy the bottle of liquid stevia, which we prefer over a powdered version because those will usually be bulked with a powder that may add to the carb count. Stevia comes from a plant and is naturally about 300 times sweeter than sugar. Over 200 studies have been done to examine the safety of stevia consumption for humans and they have found it to be safe in very high amounts.
Some people will notice a bitter aftertaste when using stevia. This effect is more extreme the first few times you use it, but will go away after continued consumption.
Derived from the Luo Han Guo plant, monk fruit is 200 times sweeter than sugar and comes with less of an aftertaste than stevia. Humans have been using the Luo Han Guo plant as a sweetener for centuries so it has been clearly demonstrated as safe for humans. We buy it in liquid form and use it much the same way we use liquid stevia.
Erythritol is definitely our favorite granular sweetener from both a taste and a cost perspective. It is made by fermenting the natural sugars found in different foods, but is primarily derived from corn. It can be used to replace sugar in traditional dessert recipes. A granular sweetener is needed because when recreating full sugar dessert recipes something is needed to replace the volume of the sugar. Erythritol is your best bet for that. There are many sutdies demonstrating the safety of erythritol consumption.
This one is a little different than all of the rest. Allulose is known as a rare sugar, and has only recently made its way into the food supply. However, all studies that have been conducted seem to indicate it is safe for humans and has very little effect on blood glucose levels and contains very little calories. The only thing stopping us from using allulose more often is the fact that it is so expensive when compared to erythritol.
If you want more in-depth info on every low carb sweetener then read our full write up of the best sugar substitutes.
It's important to distinguish between different ingredients and different brand names. Swerve is not a different type of sweetener, it is simply a brand name that combines erythritol and stevia together to form a low carb sweetener that measures cup for cup with sugar. It's pretty useful when recreating your favorite high carb desserts and can be found at a number of grocery stores these days.
Delicious Low Carb Dessert Recipes
The biggest reason we started this food blog, was to help people transition to the keto diet, without them having to feel like they're missing out on all their favorite foods. Most of our recipes are old-school comfort foods and replications of your mom's classics. Here are some of our favorite keto treats.
Extra Fudgy Keto Brownies
If you're new to keto sweeteners and desserts then you have to try the most popular dessert recipe on our website! These dark chocolate keto brownies are the perfect introduction to sweets on a ketogenic diet and the sweetener they use is erythritol.
Keto Coconut Cream Pie
Sweetener: Erythritol and Liquid Stevia
This Low Carb Coconut Cream Pie is a dream come true for any coconut lovers out there. Not only is it cream and delicious, but it's nut-free as well! Toasting the coconut before sprinkling it on top is a must, in our opinion! We use a mixture of both liquid stevia and Swerve confectioner's (powdered erythritol) in this recipe for maximum sweetness and flavor.
Cooking with Low Carb Sweeteners
Unfortunately, not all sweeteners can be substituted for each other one to one. If you want an erythritol substitute in a recipe, you will have to make some quantity adjustments, since most of the best recipes will require a granular and a liquid sweetener. Use this low carb sweetener conversion chart to make your substitutions in the kitchen. Print it off and stick it to the fridge for easy access.
Pro Tip: Many people try deciding between erythritol vs stevia. The best baked goods are made using a combination of these two sweeteners. Both sweeteners, when too much is used, will have unwanted aftertaste and possible digestive discomfort. To avoid the downsides and create a better tasting dessert use a combination of erythritol and stevia!
Low Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart
We don't recommend using sugar on a keto diet, but we have it on the conversion chart so you can easily make substitutions in any of your favorite recipes.