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I am going to start this article off by saying, I am not going to ask you to eliminate sweeteners from your life.
Now that we have established that, let's talk about sweeteners!
There are two classes of sweeteners. Artificial (yuck) and natural (yay).
Artificial sweeteners include aspartame, sucralose, asulfane potassium, and saccharine. You may have seen these in NutraSweet, Equal, Splenda, Sweet n' Low, and Sweet One packets. Aspartame is thought to be an "excitotoxin", which is a compound that can overstimulate the nerves in your brain. The biggest concern with aspartame is the phenylalanine, because it may be hard for some people to metabolize. When you have high levels of phenylalanine in your body, it could potentially result in brain damage. This is why there is an FDA warning on all products containing aspartame. There are several side effects of artificial sweeteners, including:
- Blood sugar spikes
- Blurred vision
- Allergic reactions
And the research is still being done, so there could be possible links to cancer. In fact, in the 1970s, saccharine caused cancer of the bladder when tested in animals.
So let's just all agree to stay away from artificial sweeteners.
Now let's discuss natural sweeteners.
Natural sweeteners include honey, stevia, dates, coconut sugar, maple syrup, monk fruit, among others.
While there are health benefits to consuming raw honey, or dates, they contain quite a few carbohydrates. So, if you are following a paleo lifestyle, those are great options in moderation. If you are trying to maintain ketosis, we recommend a couple other low carb natural sweeteners.
- Stevia- When you are looking for natural keto sweeteners, and are comparing prices, Stevia might seem like a lot of money, for a tiny bit of product. But what you may not know is that Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar. So, you are using a very small amount in your cooking. I currently have a 2 fl oz bottle in my pantry that has been there for 3 months. And it is still half full! It also contains no calories, and no blood sugar spikes.
- Monk Fruit Sweetener- Monk fruit, when extracted, is 300-400 times sweeter than sugar, contains no calories, and has no effect on blood sugar. It also contains a high number of antioxidants. Throughout history, it was used as a cough remedy. It is a great low carb natural sweetener option for keto dieters.
We do advise caution in how you are using these keto sweeteners. If you are entering into the keto diet as someone who loves sugar, such as, baked goods, candy, chocolate (me, me, me), it can be very beneficial to cut sweet tasting things out of your life for at least a month. What this does is help you re-train your taste buds to enjoy the sweetness of food the way it was intended to taste. Carrots will taste sweeter. Almond butter, more satisfying. Dark chocolate (80% or above), no longer bitter. It's well worth the sacrifice. I also use Kegenix PRIME to help me bust those sugar cravings. It works wonders. I also look forward to the part of my day when I get to have a Keto Meal smoothie. The vanilla tastes like yellow cake batter and the chocolate tastes like a delicious chocolate milkshake. Plus they have actual ketones in it, so I maintain ketosis all day.
If you are the type of person who would just like a keto dessert every couple of days, that’s just fine. You can use these keto sweeteners. But watch out, so that they don't become a daily treat. Because daily could become after-every-meal. And suddenly, you have plateaued because you are eating too many keto treats and getting in too many calories.
Here are 5 takeaways from this article.
- If you are brand new to the ketogenic diet, avoid keto sweeteners and desserts. Learn to love food in its natural state. It will happen in just a few short weeks. Kegenix PRIME and Keto Meal can help you make that transition much more comfortably, and much quicker.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs.
- When you are ready to start implementing low carb natural sweeteners back into your diet, look to whole stevia leaf extract/powder or monk fruit as your #1 picks. Second, look to erythritol and xylitol.
- Make sure you are treating your dessert as a once or twice a week occurrence. Don't let it creep into your everyday meals.
- Enjoy every bite of that keto dessert!