Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

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When you follow a ketogenic diet, you need to swap your high-carb sweeteners for natural low-carb options. This post will guide you through the best sweeteners to use while following a healthy low-carb, high-fat diet.

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Here's our easy to follow guide to healthy low-carb sweeteners with sweetener conversion chart. Feel free to pin, share and print it!

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Top 5 Low-Carb Sweeteners

1. Stevia

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Stevia is an herb also known as “sugar leaf” or “stevia leaf”. The extract from the stevia plant is used as a sweetener and sugar substitute. It’s a zero calorie sweetener that doesn't affect blood sugar. Pure liquid stevia and stevia powder are 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so make sure to use very small amounts to avoid a bitter aftertaste. The rule of thumb is to use no more than 3 to 5 drops per serving.

Apart from pure stevia powder and stevia drops, there are other types of products, including stevia glycerite (2-4 times as sweet as sugar with gooey texture), and granulated stevia-erythritol blends which are typically as sweet as sugar.

In a Nutshell, Stevia:

  • has zero carbs and calories
  • is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar
  • recommended serving size: 3 to 5 drops of liquid stevia or a small pinch of stevia powder
  • may taste bitter if amount exceeded
  • recommended products: SweetLeaf, NuNaturals

Keto Recipes Using Stevia:

2. Erythritol

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods. It’s another keto-friendly sweetener as it does not affect blood glucose and has zero calories. 90% of erythritol is absorbed before it enters the large intestine and is excreted through urine. Compared to Xylitol—another type of sugar alcohol—it seems to be well tolerated and is less likely to cause stomach discomfort.

Apart from pure Erythritol, sweetener blends made with Erythritol are available. Swerve is a brand sweetener that is made with a blend of erythritol and prebiotic fibers called fructooligosaccharides (FOS). While Swerve is as sweet as sugar and can be used in 1:1 ratio, erythritol has about 70 percent of the sweetness of table sugar. If you don't like the cooling effect of erythritol, try Swerve. Apart from tasting more like sugar, it caramelises just like sugar and is suitable for treats such as Keto Crème Brûlée

In a Nutshell, Erythritol:

  • has zero carbs and calories
  • is 70% as sweet as sugar
  • recommended serving size: to taste
  • has a slight cooling effect which some people may not like
  • recommended products: Now Foods, So Nourished, Swerve, Sukrin (also offers brown sugar substitute)

Keto Recipes Using Erythritol:

Some of my low-carb recipes use both stevia and erythritol. Using a combination of sweeteners rather than just one sweetener improves the taste as some sweeteners can be overpowering, e.g. too much stevia will result in a bitter aftertaste, while too much erythritol will enhance the cooling effect.

3. Monk Fruit (aka Luo Han Guo)

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Monk fruit, also known as "luo han guo" or "longevity fruit", is a fruit native to China and northern Thailand. Similar to stevia, monk fruit extract is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat obesity and diabetes.

It’s as sweet as stevia, has no calories and does not affect blood sugar. It’s available in both liquid and powdered form. Just like stevia, it’s found in some brand sweeteners where it’s combined with erythritol.

In a Nutshell, Monk Fruit:

  • has zero carbs and calories
  • is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar
  • recommended serving size: 3 to 5 drops of liquid monk fruit or a small pinch of monk fruit powder
  • may taste bitter if amount exceeded
  • recommended products: Lakanto, NuNaturals

Monk Fruit can be substituted for stevia in equal amounts in any of my sweet keto recipes.

4. Xylitol

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Similar to Erythritol, Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that naturally occurs in the fibres of certain fruits and vegetables. It tastes like sugar but has a low glycemic index and contains fewer calories. Although it's a healthy low-carb option for humans, beware that xylitol is toxic for dogs!

In a Nutshell, Xylitol:

  • is very low in carbs and calories
  • is as sweet as sugar
  • recommended serving size: no more than 2 Tbsp
  • may cause GI distress if amount exceeded
  • is toxic to dogs
  • recommended products: Morning Pep, Now Foods

Keto Recipes Using Xylitol:

Unlike Erythritol, Xylitol has the ability to crystallize and is the ideal sweetener for hard candies and suckers. Although some low-carbers use xylitol, it is known to cause stomach discomfort and I personally avoid it because I can’t tolerate it very well.

5. Yacon Syrup

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Yacon syrup is extracted from the yacon plant grown in South America. The root has been used for its nutritional and medical purposes for hundreds of years.

It’s made via natural evaporation, and it has a slightly caramel flavor that is similar to blackstrap molasses. It derives it's sweetness from fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a type of sugar with a very low glycemic index. Although it’s low in carbs, it’s not a zero-carb sweetener and you should be using small amounts, such as 1-2 tablespoons per recipe, or no more than 1 teaspoon per serving.

In a Nutshell, Yacon Syrup:

  • is low in carbs and calories
  • recommended serving size: no more than 1 tsp
  • very low glycemic index, low-moderate carb count
  • 50 to 75% as sweet as honey
  • recommended products: see available options on Amazon

Keto Recipes Using Yacon Syrup:

These are the top five low-carb sweeteners. For even more healthy low-carb options, check out my Complete Guide to Low-Carb Sweeteners.

Sweeteners To Avoid So You Don’t Exceed Your Carb Intake

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Apart from table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), stay away from foods and sweeteners containing dextrose and maltodextrin. They are absorbed directly through the gut and raise blood sugar and insulin levels. Beware that some stevia and monk fruit sweetener blends use dextrose and maltodextrin to bulk up but do not count them as effective carbs!

Spotting sugar in foods is not as easy as you may think. With all the bad press sugar-laden products have received over the past few years, food manufacturers do anything to disguise sugar by using unfamiliar names such as galactose, lactose, fructose, maltose, carob syrup, fruit juice, sucrose or evaporated cane juice. You have to be extra careful - always check the nutrition facts! You can find all 60 sugar names at Sugar By Half.

How About "Healthy" High-Carb Sweeteners?

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Sugar is sugar. It will always impair your weight loss and kick you out of ketosis. We live in the era of sugar overconsumption where soft drinks and sugary foods have become part of the standard diet.

There has never been more people with metabolic issues including insulin resistance, obesity and hypertension, eventually leading to more serious conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Even seemingly healthy sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, rice malt syrup and coconut palm sugar should be approached with caution.

Perhaps one of the worst sweeteners is agave syrup which has been marketed as "health food" for decades. Agave is 90% fructose that has damaging effects on our metabolism. Excessive consumption of fructose promotes insulin resistance, accumulation of visceral fat (buildup of fat around organs) and non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD). Having NAFLD increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Some Sugar Alcohols and IMOs

Certain sugar alcohols, including maltitol and sorbitol, should also be avoided as they will spike your blood sugar and disrupt ketosis. Most people should also avoid sweeteners with isomaltooligosaccharides (IMOs) as they will likely cause blood sugar spikes.

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Many "low-carb" and "zero-carb" products are made with sugar spiking maltitol, sorbitol or IMOs which are fully deducted from their total carb count, leading to mislabeled effective carb count (net carbs). In fact, blood sugar spiking sweeteners used in products are the main reason why the approach of counting "net" carbs is being misunderstood.

You may eat a chocolate bar with just 3 grams of net carbs and yet experience a blood sugar spike. This is simply down to the fact that sugar-spiking sweeteners used in the chocolate bar are not counted correctly.

Artificial Sweeteners - Eat or Avoid?

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

Although artificial sweeteners are zero-carb, they are not the best option for a healthy low-carb diet. While some sweeteners such as Sucralose, seem to be well tolerated, other artificial sweeteners including Aspartame, Acesulfame K and Cyclamate have been linked to adverse health effects. Although they are generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), studies have shown that some artificial sweeteners can trigger migraines and cravings.

Although research on artificial sweeteners remains controversial, let's not forget there are interest groups and research on aspartame seems to be greatly affected by the sources of funding. Notice that all industry funded studies found no adverse reactions to aspartame, while almost all non-industry funded studies found adverse reactions to aspartame.

Since there are so many better options, I personally avoid all artificial sweeteners.

Are Low-Carb Sweeteners Suitable for Weight Loss?

Top 5 Keto Sweeteners and Low-Carb Sweetener Conversion Chart

If your goal is to lose weight, you should limit or avoid all sweeteners as they may still trigger cravings. It doesn't mean you can never use any sweeteners but you should consider reducing or even avoiding them completely especially if you reach a weight loss plateau.

That’s why both of our premium keto meal plans use limited amounts of sweeteners to avoid cravings, while providing sufficient level of electrolytes to eliminate the symptoms of keto-flu.

If you want to avoid sweeteners altogether but still want to enjoy an occasional treat, below is a list of sweetener-free keto treats.

Sweetener-Free Keto Treats:

How To Substitute Sugar With Low-Carb Sweeteners

The amount of sweetener you’ll use depends on your palate. As you get used to low-carb eating, you will use smaller amounts of sweeteners or you may even avoid them altogether.

Sweetener Conversion Chart

1 tsp sugar

  • = 2 to 3 drops liquid stevia or monk fruit
  • = a pinch of pure powdered stevia or monk fruit
  • = 1 tsp Erythritol or Swerve

1 Tbsp sugar

  • = 6 to 9 drops of liquid stevia or monk fruit
  • = 1/4 tsp of pure powdered stevia or monk fruit
  • = 1 Tbsp Erythritol or Swerve

1 cup table (granulated) sugar

  • = 1 cup granulated Swerve
  • = 1 1/3 cups granulated Erythritol
  • = 1 cup granulated stevia or monk fruit blend
  • = 1 tsp pure powdered stevia or monk fruit
  • = 1 tsp liquid stevia or liquid monk fruit

1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • = 1 cup confectioners' Swerve
  • = 1 1/3 cups confectioners' Erythritol

1 Tbsp honey, blackstrap molasses or maple syrup

  • = 2 Tbsp yacon syrup
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Martina Slajerova
Creator of KetoDietApp.com

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (13)

Thanks, Martina, for this informative article!  I haven't used all of the sweeteners in the article, but usually use Swerve or Sweet Like Sugar (Ketologie brand).  Have you tried Allulose yet?  I've used it several times, and usually mix it with Sweet Like Sugar. It's only 70% as sweet as sugar.  I've read several articles on Allulose, and all agree that it has no affect on blood sugar.  The only negative is that it's pretty expensive.  

Reply

Hi Margaret, I do like Swerve, it's a combination of erythritol and FOS. I think it's better than erythritol but not available in the UK (I only got a review package) so that's why I mostly use erythritol. Ketologie looks great (a combination of stevia and erythritol with vanilla). I haven't tried allulose but it does seem to be quite pricey compared to other similar options.

Reply

Thank you so very much for the easy to understand information. I can’t wait to try Yacon syrup!

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Thank you Dee! Yacon syrup is delicious - just make sure to keep the serving size at 1 tsp - it can add up 😊

Reply

I'm intrigued to try yacon syrup. It looks like a great alternative to honey! Do you know if it would work for marshmallows? 😊

Reply

Hi Karen, I'm not sure about yacon syrup (will have to try that) but here's how I make marshmallows using powdered erythritol: Healthy Low-Carb Marshmallows

Reply

Thank you so much for sharing! I'm new to keto and was just wondering how much erythritol I should use if I want to make keto ice cream.

Reply

Thank you Molly! It depends on your palate. It's always best to use less and add more to taste. When I make treats, I use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of erythritol or Swerve for every cup of sugar. My palate has adjusted to low-carb eating 😊

Reply

Xylitol is NOT keto friendly. It spikes blood sugar and will kick you out of ketosis. Please do some research.

Reply

Please, read my post before commenting - it is clearly explained.

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Beware the keto police is watching :-D I second Martina, you didn't bother to read the post.

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I've been using xylitol for years and it never kicked me out of ketosis. It's not as keto friendly as stevia or erythritol but it's less expensive and I don't use it very often. You should "do some research" or at least read what the guide says.

Reply

I prefer stevia and Swerve because they are carb free but I agree with Jeannette. If you use one or two tablespoons it will not kick you out of ketosis.

Reply