Sugar is one thing you can miss consuming as you progress through your weight loss journey. Sugary foods are often high in calories and contain too many carbohydrates. Consuming such foods can hinder your weight loss journey or can simply play with your blood sugar levels.
But, wait! You don’t need to give up sweet foods altogether when shedding those pounds off your body. If you are a total health freak, calorie and carb-conscious, there are several alternatives to regular sugar.
Today, we will acquaint you with numerous low-carb sweeteners. Using these sweeteners in baking, cooking, etc., will allow you to savor a sweet taste. You will no longer have to ditch your cravings and settle for boring and tasteless treats anymore.
What Are Low-Carb Sweeteners?
Before we introduce you to the best options in low-carb sweeteners, let’s first talk about these sweeteners. Low-carb sweeteners are the perfect substitutes for sugar for those who care about their diet and what they put into their bodies.
People who follow a ketogenic or a low-carb diet often resort to these alternatives to fulfill their sugar cravings. These sweeteners are popular because they contain considerably lower amounts of carbohydrates.
If you are on a ketogenic diet or trying to get into shape, you too can use these sweeteners to prepare sugar-free mithais without affecting your weight loss program.
Best Low-Carb Sugar Substitutes
There are several low-carb sugar substitutes available that can be used to sweeten your foods and beverages without the added carbohydrates. Here are some popular options:
For hundreds of years, people have used stevia in sugar-free baking. It is a natural sweetener that brings sweetness to your food. A great thing about stevia is that it allows you to taste sweet foods without being concerned about your blood-sugar level.
Stevia is commonly available from the leaves of the stevia plant. Let’s assess the pros and cons of these sweeteners to understand why it’s a worthy alternative to regular or refined sugar.
- Stevia is easily available in your local market.
- Most people are of the view that stevia is one of the most natural forms of sugar-free sweetener. When using stevia in baking, you don’t put anything artificial in your body.
- This low-carb sweetener is easily available in drops, granulated form, or as a powdery substance.
- Usually, it is almost 300 times sweeter than sugar. So, you only need a very small amount of stevia in your baking. You can also dilute it or mix it with something else before using it.
- Most people fail to understand the amount of stevia to put in while cooking.
- The lack of knowledge can result in very sweet foods.
- Sometimes, it often leads to a bad metallic-after taste. But this usually happens when you use more than the needed amount.
- Stevia drops can be a great option to consider when you don’t want to use products that are high in carbs. A few drops of stevia can be the perfect replacement for whipped cream or sauces.
Stevia is available in several flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, etc. It makes baking simpler.
The granulated or powdered form of erythritol is also a great option to go with when looking for low-carb sweeteners. Erythritol is also easily available and is a popular choice in ketogenic diets and for sugar-free bakings.
What makes erythritol a perfect sugar substitute is its ability to blend in well. So, you can easily use them in many recipes.
- Erythritol comes in a powdered and granulated form.
- It measures spoon for spoon.
- Since erythritol is used in most ketogenic diets, it is easily available in the markets.
- Erythritol is a form of sugar-alcohol.
- Some people might experience a cooling effect in their mouths after consuming products prepared with this sweetener.
Erythritol can be an excellent choice if you are looking to have mouth-savoring dishes without worrying about your blood sugar levels. It does not raise your insulin levels either.
This low-carb sweetener is the result of the fermentation of glucose with microorganisms in a honeycomb.
The sweetener does not cause any gastrointestinal problems. Other sweeteners can affect your gut flora, but you don’t have to worry about it when using this sweetener. Erythritol also helps in keeping a check on bacteria in the mouth.
Xylitol is a popular alternative to sugar in many ketogenic diets. It is a sugar alcohol that you can consume without affecting your blood sugar levels.
Consuming xylitol not only offers substantial benefits for your health but it’s also great for your dental health. It can support the remineralization of the tooth enamel.
- Xylitol has a low glycaemic index.
- It is non-carcinogenic.
- Xylitol is diabetic-friendly as it does not cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
- It has a sugar-like taste and texture. So it is a perfect replacement in many recipes and summer drinks.
- Xylitol contains fewer calories than sugar, making it the best option for the calorie conscious.
- This low-carb sweetener might also offer several oral health benefits by checking the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
- Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. By feeding xylitol to dogs, you can expose them to several health issues. Sometimes it can even lead to potential liver damage.
- Some individuals may experience a cooling or minty sensation in their mouth after consuming xylitol.
- This low-carb sweetener can be more expensive than other sugar substitutes. So it might not be the best option if you’re on a tight budget.
Xylitol can be your go-to low-carb sweetener. But it’s important to consume it within limits. Sometimes excessive consumption of xylitol can lead to potential digestive disturbances. In such cases, you can consult your dietician or choose another low-carb sweetener.
4. Monk Fruit
Monk fruit is popularly known as Luo Han Guo. Just like stevia, monk fruit is naturally occurring. Monk fruit is native to Southern China. People in China have used it for centuries as a natural sweetener. Its properties as medicinal herbs are also famous.
The sweetener is prepared by concentrating the juice of monk fruit. Concentrating the juice helps in increasing the sweetness in reducing the water content. The concentration process preserves sweetness without the need for any additional additives.
After concentration, the sweet components are separated, dried, and converted into a powder form.
- Monk fruit is 200 times sweeter than sugar. So you would need only a small amount to achieve the desired level of sweetness in your recipes.
- It has almost 0 calories and does not raise blood sugar levels.
- Monk fruit sweetener is a popular choice for people looking to reduce their sugar intake without sacrificing sweetness.
- The sweetener does not leave any bitter aftertaste.
To use monk fruit in your recipes or beverages, you would first need to dilute it.
- The cost of this sweetener can be a limiting factor for some people. It is usually more expensive than other low-carb, sweeteners like stevia.
- When baking with monk fruit, you might not be able to achieve the same texture and browning properties as with sugar. So the appearance of the baked goods might not be the same.
- Sometimes, it can be a challenge to plant Monk fruit with other ingredients. It might not dissolve as rightly as sugar.
- This sweetener might not be widely available as other sugar substitutes.
So, monk fruit can be your sweet companion on your weight loss journey. Also, people with pets (except dogs) can consider it a safer option for their pet-friendly recipes.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that people use as a sugar substitute. It is a chlorinated derivative of sucrose.
You can find sucralose in various food and beverage products as a low-calorie alternative. It gives a sweet taste to several products without adding significant calories.
This low-carb sweetener is safe for human consumption. Various food safety authorities have certified it for human consumption. However, it’s important to use sucralose within acceptable daily intake levels.
- Sucralose is approximately 600 times sweeter than sugar. You need only a tiny amount of this sweetener in your food and beverages.
- Sucralose is non-caloric.
- This low-carb sweetener does not raise blood sugar levels or trigger an insulin response.
- It’s widely available and easy to incorporate into your diet.
- Products prepared with sucralose have a long shelf life.
- Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. So it might not be the best choice for people who prefer a more natural alternative.
- This low-carb sweetener is intensely sweet. Regular consumption of sucralose may perpetuate a preference for sweet-tasting food. You may develop an increased desire for sugary items.
- Sucralose might cause gastrointestinal distress in some people.
Before using sucralose, it’s important to weigh its pros and cons. You should consider your individual health needs and preferences while choosing this alternative. Remember that moderation is the key when using any sugar alternative.
Aspartame is known for its intense sweetness and is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. Its intense sweetness allows only small amounts to be used in cooking and baking.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in many low-carb food and beverage products. Also, it is one of the most extensively studied sweetness. FDA and EFSA also approve the use of this low-carb sweetener.
- Aspartame offers a high level of sweetness without adding calories. It has good potency so you require only a small quantity to sweeten food and beverages.
- The calorie-free properties of aspartame make it an attractive option for people looking to manage their weight
- It tastes like sugar and has no significant aftertaste.
- Your body rapidly metabolizes aspartame into its component, amino acids, and methanol.
- Aspartame contains phenylalanine, an essential amino acid. People with phenylketonuria should avoid consuming it.
- Aspartame breaks down into its parts when exposed to high temperatures. So it’s not the best choice for cooking and baking.
- Some individuals might experience sensitivity to aspartame. Excess consumption can lead to headaches or other adverse effects.
Excess quantities of Aspartame can affect your weight loss goals. Your dietician can suggest whether the use of aspartame alliance with your weight loss goals.
When choosing a low-carb sugar substitute, it’s important to consider factors such as taste, sweetness level, and how the substitute behaves in recipes. Some sweeteners may have an aftertaste or slightly different texture compared to sugar. It’s a good idea to experiment and find the ones that work best for your preferences and needs. Always check labels for any potential hidden sources of carbohydrates or added ingredients.
Are Low-Carb Sweeteners Safe?
Low-carb sweeteners are generally safe. All the sweeteners that we have discussed here have undergone extensive safety testing.
But it’s important to remember that excess of anything can be bad. You should consume these sweeteners in moderation and within acceptable daily intake levels. Excess consumption can often lead to several health issues.
Tips For Incorporating Low-Carb Sweeteners
Below are some tips to incorporate low-carb sweeteners into your diet as a great way to reduce regular sugar intake.
- If you are new to using low-carb sweetness, start by gradually reducing the amount of sugar you consume. This way you will give your taste buds will be able to adjust to different levels of sweetness
- Experiment with different sweeteners. Experimenting will help you choose the ones that best suit your taste preferences.
- The sweeteners often come with conversion guides. Make sure to follow these guys to know the appropriate amount to substitute for sugar.
- Before choosing an alternative to sugar, consider its texture. Some low-carb sweetness might affect the texture of your recipes.
- Avoid overconsumption of any sweetener as it can lead to more cravings for sweet foods
- It’s best to pair low-carb sweeteners with high-fiber foods. The pairing will help you mitigate any impact on blood sugar levels.
- Lastly, stay hydrated. Some sugar substitutes may have a mild diuretic effect. Drinking plenty of water will keep you at ease.
It’s A Wrap
Low-carb sweeteners offer a viable and attractive alternative to traditional sugar. These are the best options for people who want to reduce their sugar intake or manage their carbohydrate consumption.
Most of these sweeteners provide sweetness without adding more calories to your diet. They can support weight management, contribute to a balanced diet and reduce the risk of chronic health conditions that come with sugar consumption. These options have unique tastes, profiles, and sweetness levels, and some come with potential benefits.
But it’s also important to remember that each of these sweeteners have their cons. So, you must thoughtfully consider and gradually adapt any of these alternatives into your diet. Start slowly and experiment with different sweetness until you find the one that suits your taste.