There are a handful of sweeteners that are good for using in the ketogenic diet. Mostly these sweeteners do not raise your blood sugar or insulin levels. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, don’t raise your blood glucose (sugar) but can raise your blood insulin levels, triggering the hunger hormones. There are over 50 names for sugar-like sweeteners used in manufacturing that you probably don’t recognize as sugar-like sweeteners, another reason for learning to read labels.
Sugar is 100% carbohydrate. It is 50% glucose and 50% Fructose (Eenfeldt, A. 2021). What you may not know is that any ‘food’ that is not meat or fat is probably a carbohydrate. There are three kinds of carbohydrates; Monosaccharides like glucose and fructose; disaccharides like sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (found in milk); and polysaccharides like starches (bread, cellulose (plant fibre) and pectin (in jams) (Wilson, J. and Lowery, R (2017).
Eating carbohydrates raises blood glucose. A scale for telling how much glucose is raised is called the Glycemic Index (GI). Everything is based on glucose. The scale is from 1 to 100 with glucose being 100. The number for a food indicates “how fast a food blood glucose after it is consumed (Wilson & Lowery. p. 41). Another tool is the glycemic load. This scale take into account how many carbohydrates are in the portion of food. The glycemic load scale is usually on the 0 to 20 range, but can go higher. There are a few resources where you can find the glycemic index of foods. One book to look for is authored by Rick Gallop — “The GI Diet”. Generally the lower the GI the better for ketogenic diets. In all fairness, you won’t be looking food items up for very long; you’ll pick up where the carbohydrates are in short order. I have these references around just in case I need to research a food for its impact on my blood sugars (blood glucose).
The formula for finding the glycemic load of a portion of food is:
([the number of carbs of the portion] X [the GI number of the food]) / 100 = [glycemic load]
A slice of bread is 15g of carbohydrates and the GI of bread is 75 so the formulas for this example is
(15 X 75) / 100 = 11.25
There is more to say about the role of fibre in sweeteners and how fibre affects blood glucose and blood insulin levels. More about that in a future post.
Here’s the question. Can you, or are you willing to, live without sweeteners?
Eenfeldt, A. (2021). Keto sweeteners – the best and the worst. Retrieved June 4,
2021, from https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/sweeteners
(Wilson, J. & Lowery, R. 2017. The ketogenic bible: The authoritative guide to ketosis. Victory Belt Publishing Inc. p.40.
monk fruit – https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/monk-fruit.htm
GI Diet – http://www.gidiet.com/canada/books.html