It isn’t easy to make the switch to keto if you are used to creamy desserts and sweet beverages. Cutting out sugar from your diet can be harder than you think, primarily if your body is used to it. People have a tendency to sweeten everything from their cheese spread to their coffee. Therefore, when you go keto, curbing your sugar intake will be the hardest thing for you. That’s why experts suggest turning to more natural alternatives for sugar. When used in moderation, these alternatives allow you to have sweet items while on the keto diet. Can you use sucralose on a keto diet? Is sucralose keto-friendly? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about sucralose and whether it is suitable for your body!
Is Sucralose Keto-Friendly?
Several studies have highlighted that sucralose does not contribute to raising blood glucose levels. It also does not affect ketosis adversely, and therefore, technically, it is keto-friendly. However, this does not mean that you should go ahead and use it without any inhibition. If you are a vegan or someone who prefers natural products, then sucralose is not for you as it is made synthetically. Certain studies have also found that at high temperatures, sucralose loses its stability and produces hydrocarbons, which can be cancerous. Therefore, even if you do use it to sweeten your tea or coffee, make sure you don’t use it for high-heat cooking and high-temperature baking. Also, since there are so many natural alternatives available, most people tend to bypass sucralose in favor of those options.
What Makes Sucralose Different?
Sucralose is not metabolized in our bodies. This essentially means that it passes through without getting digested, which means that it does not add to our calorie intake. The most common sucralose-induced sweetener found in the market is Splenda. One of the biggest reasons for its popularity is that it has no aftertaste, unlike other artificial sweeteners. Also, while sucralose independently does not provide any calories, Splenda is a blend of sucralose, maltodextrin, and dextrose. The additives add around 3 calories and 1 gram of total carbs per serving.
As it cannot withstand high temperatures, it should be used only for sweetening drinks, oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies. Splenda works as a 1:1 ratio substitute for sugar, whereas pure sucralose is over 600 times as sweet as sugar. Also, experts have not been able to pinpoint the exact glycemic index of sucralose. However, Splenda claims it is around 80 GI when consumed in powdered form. Additionally, pure sucralose has a GI of 0 as it is not digested by the body.
Types of Sweeteners
- Natural sweeteners: These are made from concentrations of edible plants. Stevia extract comes from the concentrated stevia plant leaf extracts. The most popular natural sweeteners are Stevia, monk fruit, inulin, allulose, and tagatose.
- Sugar alcohols: Sugar alcohols are sweet carbohydrates that are at least partially resistant to digestion. While some are made using fermentation, others require artificial processes, such as hydrogenation. They are hybrid molecules made by combining sugar and alcohol, as the name suggests. While they do contain carbs and calories, it is seen to be much healthier than the nutritional profile of regular sugar. The most popular sugar alcohols are Erythritol, Xylitol, and Maltitol.
- Synthetic sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are produced via synthetic methods, and are typically scrutinized heavily by medical and health experts. They are complex molecules that are metabolized by the body in different ways, meaning they interact with our bodies very differently. Artificial sweeteners may engage and activate sugar cravings, cause inflammation, and are, therefore, to be consumed with caution.
Ideal Sweetener for a Keto Diet
Use these guidelines to choose the most optimum keto-friendly sugar substitute
- Has either a positive or nil effect on controlling blood sugar levels and insulin response
- It does not interfere with other biomarkers, like blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Has no side effects which can harm your body
- Scientifically proven to be safe for consumption in recommended doses.
- Does not degrade or turn toxic when heated, grilled or exposed to high temperatures
- Preferably Zero-calorie and low-carb
- Should not contain any hidden carbs or sources of net carbs
Sweeteners to Avoid on the Keto Diet
The following sweeteners should be avoided as they are high in carbs, in comparison to other alternatives.
- Maltodextrin: A highly processed sweetener, maltodextrin, comes from very starchy plants, such as corn, wheat, and rice. It contains the same amount of calories as regular sugar.
- Honey: Though high-quality honey is healthy as it has antioxidants and nutrients, it is still high in calories. While it definitely is better than regular sugar, it is best to avoid it when on the keto diet.
- Coconut sugar: This substitute is made from coconut palm sap. While it is absorbed slower than regular sugar, it is high in fructose, impairs blood sugar control.
- Maple syrup: Though maple syrup contains a sleuth of micronutrients like zinc and manganese, it is high in sugar, making it unsuitable for the keto diet.
- Agave nectar: Agave nectar contains 85% fructose, which studies have found have a negative impact on the body’s ability to control blood sugar. It also contributes or promotes metabolic syndrome, impairing insulin sensitivity, and making it difficult for the body to regulate glucose levels.
- Dates: Though dates are a healthy dried fruit, they contain a significant amount of carbs, making them unsuitable for consumption while on a keto diet.
Following a keto diet requires you to limit your carb intake significantly. As sugar is very carb-dense, it is one of the first things you will have to limit. Therefore, choosing the right sweetener and sugar substitute is very important to staying healthy. As we have seen above, though sucralose is technically keto-friendly, you shouldn’t rely on it too heavily. It is always better to go for natural products that are minimally processed. Use either monk fruit extract or stevia extract instead, as they are safer and healthier. Use these natural sweeteners in moderation to follow a balanced keto diet that will help you get fit and healthy in no time!