Here's a question I'm often asked: What's the Best Sweetener for the Keto Diet? Everyone is looking for the best zero calorie, low-carb, keto sweetener.
Most Keto Diet recipes call for sugar alcohols like xylitol or erythritol (that's what Swerve and Lakanto are made of) to sweeten low-carb desserts. Those types of sugar alcohols are not an option for me as I can’t digest them. If you can tolerate sugar alcohols that's great. However, if you have an autoimmune disorder (MS, celiac disease, Hashimoto's, diabetes, etc) or any type of gut issue I would be incredibly careful using sweeteners like Swerve and Lakanto. For those with autoimmune issues, minding your microbiome is a top priority. Research shows that a healthy gut is the key to a healthy immune system.1
Why are sugar alcohols so disruptive to gut health? The reason is two-fold. First, these zero-calorie sweeteners are polyols (4-carbon sugar alcohols). They can be very difficult for some people to break down, disrupting digestion and causing severe gut dysbiosis, Second, this type of sweetener contains corn.
Xylitol is a zero-calorie sweetener made from birch. However, the majority of keto sweeteners, like Swerve and Lakanto are made from corn, a food that is highly allergenic and incredibly hard on my system. I think it's interesting that so many folks who used to be on a grain-free Paleo Diet, have now switched over to the Keto Diet and are now consuming desserts made with large amounts of corn-based sweeteners. If you're one of those people I'd love to hear from you about this change and if it was positive or negative for you.
The best sweetener for the Keto Diet is stevia. I’ve found that stevia doesn’t cause digestive distress when I use a pure form that does not contain corn, erythritol, and other ingredients that are highly processed, difficult to digest, and allergenic for people with autoimmune disorders.
I use stevia in very small amounts. A little goes a long way! The main issue with stevia is that some people find it has a bitter aftertaste. When I pair it with strong flavors like coffee, chocolate, or citrus I can mask that aftertaste very effectively.
My Sugar-Free Keto Brownies recipe is a total labor of love for my readers on low-carb high-fat (LCHF) Keto Diets. If your digestion is at all compromised, be careful because the recipe contains erythritol. Sadly, because of the sweetener, they are not something I can eat, but Mr. Pantry loves them! My Keto Nut-Free Zucchini Bread recipe is another one of those recipes that I've created for those of you on a sugar-free diet, but that I myself don't eat.
There you have it! The best sugar-free, low-carb sweetener is stevia. If you have an autoimmune disorder, it's perfect for you. Here are some of my healthy low-carb recipes sweetened with stevia!