The Best Sugar Substitutes for Baking in Ketogenic Diets

If there isn’t enough debate and misinformation about natural and artificial sweeteners the LCHF and Ketogenic Diet forums ought to really confuse you. The best sugar substitute for baking low-carb or keto diet, high-fat food depends on the recipe you’re cooking and also its impact on ketosis.

At the same time, we don’t just go throwing any old thing in when cooking our tasty sugar-free recipes without thorough research first.

The best sugar substitute for baking

Our collection of Sugar Substitutes and Sweeteners for Baking.

We’re here to let you know that we do use a variety of sweeteners in our keto recipes mostly “all” of the sugar substitutes we use are natural. It enables us to keep the things we bake and cook low-carb and sugar-free, yet still tasting delicious.

Our recipes just wouldn’t be possible without sugar substitutes. The sweetener we use is dependent on the recipe we’re cooking.

Both artificial and natural sweeteners all have varied intensities and flavors.

For example, we wouldn’t use pure Stevia in a fat bomb that we wanted to taste like strawberries.

We might use Stevia if we wanted to create a sugar-free licorice, however.


The Best Sugar Substitute for Baking that we use in our Ketogenic Diet Recipes


Erythritol

We use Erythritol liberally in our recipes mainly as a blend with stevia in a product called (Natvia). We use it particularly in our keto snacks and keto desserts as it’s ideal as a bulking agent as well.

Erythritol (along with erythritol blends) is our most used sweetener in cooking; we keep plenty of it on hand.

Due to its easiness on the stomach, and clean sweetness (no aftertaste).

While we can tell slight variances in the taste of desserts with erythritol vs. sugar.

We cannot tell which is the sugar dessert or the erythritol one, just that there is a slight difference.

One point to note is that erythritol is not hygroscopic (it does not attract moisture).

For this reason when making recipes that require a moist texture we use a blend of erythritol and stevia (Natvia) or one other natural sweetener depending on what we’re trying to achieve.

If there were one contender as the best sugar substitute for baking cookies or crackers, and we could only choose one. It would be Erythritol.

  • Erythritol occurs naturally in fruits and from fermentation.
  • It is a sugar alcohol;
  • It has zero bearing on blood sugar and no side effects unless eaten in large doses.
  • When taken in large doses (that you just wouldn’t) nausea is the most common complaint.
  • Erythritol is very easy on the stomach and doesn’t cause bloating, or gas like some sweeteners do in higher amounts.

It may be hard to locate Erythritol on supermarket shelves but you can get it here on Amazon.


Xylitol

Another sweetener we use often is Xylitol. Xylitol probably has the closest resemblance to sugar in taste without any after taste.

We use Xylitol sparingly as it can cause gastrointestinal upset. We limit it to some desserts that require little added sweetness, the odd coffee and with chewing gum.

  • Xylitol has the added benefit of being anti-bacterial
  • It has been used in medicine to control middle ear infections
  • Xylitol’s anti-bacterial properties protect your teeth from decay-causing bacteria.
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort may occur in doses upward of 50gram of Xylitol.

We use a Xylitol chewing gum and a teaspoon of it in our coffee. Be aware that Xylitol is toxic to dogs, so don’t feed your keto snacks to Scooby! You can get Xylitol here.


Stevia

Stevia is a natural plant based sweetener with a sweetness 150 times that of a corresponding amount of sugar.

We use Stevia, but only in certain recipes and often as a blend with Erythritol (see Natvia below).

As Stevia has a unique aftertaste, kind of like aniseed when used on its own in things such as tea or coffee.

You can get Stevia  here on Amazon

  • Stevia has no impact on blood sugar
  • Stevia contains magnesium, zinc, potassium and vitamin B3
  • Due to its sweetness, a lot less of it is required

Stevia has some great qualities and is all natural. If someone could bring that aftertaste under control, it would be our best sugar substitute for baking.

But that aftertaste is intense, and it really needs to be blended with Erythritol. When it is, it makes a fantastic sugar substitute for baking on a ketogenic diet. Like the product

If someone could bring that aftertaste under control, it would be our best sugar substitute for baking.

But that aftertaste is intense, and it really needs to be blended with Erythritol.

When it is, it makes a fantastic sugar substitute for baking on a ketogenic diet. Like the product

When it is, it makes a fantastic sugar substitute for baking on a ketogenic diet.

Like the product Natvia which is a pre-blended erythritol and stevia baking mixture.


Best Blended Sugar Substitutes, Natural and Artifical Sweeteners that we use in our Ketogenic Cooking


Natvia

Natvia (is a brand) it’s not a sweetener in its own right.

Natvia is a blend of Stevia and Erythritol, which makes it excellent for low-carb, ketogenic baking it’s what we use most for our Keto Recipes.

The sweetness of Stevia is still evident without the strong aftertaste.

Erythritols bulking properties remain to make it the perfect addition to cookie and cake recipes.

It’s available on shelves in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. If you’re from the United States, or elsewhere you can get Natvia here from Amazon.


Swerve

Swerve is a relatively new brand of sugar substitute.

Like Natvia, it is a blend of Erythritol but with Oligosaccharides instead of Stevia. It has no after taste and no impact on blood glucose.

Swerve is ideal for cooking and equal to sugars sweetness pound for pound. It works excellently in tea and coffee. You can get Swerve here.

It’s early stages for us with this product but everything is looking good so far.

We just need to test it with some recipes before we can recommend it as one of or the best sugar substitute for baking.

What are Oligosaccharides?

Oligosaccharides are a fiber carbohydrate (your body does not absorb them) found in certain fruits and vegetables.

They have no impact on blood glucose and are beneficial in harvesting good bacteria in your digestive system.

We’ve provided further reading for you below in our resources links if you love yourself a good scientific research paper.


Natural or Artificial Sweeteners We Avoid in our Keto Recipes and Low Carb Cooking


Maltitol

Maltitol is a Sugar Alcohol like Erythritol but unlike Erythritol, Maltitol has a high glycemic index (as you will see in our table of sweeteners below).

Though Maltitol’s GI is significantly lower than refined sugar, it still has a GI above 30.

Whether you debate the importance of the Glycemic Index or not, Maltitol has far too high an influence for a Ketogenic Diet.

It can throw you out of, or keep you out of ketosis depending on how much you eat.

One thing of concern for those on a ketogenic diet is that Maltitol is an ingredient in many products claiming to be low-carb.

Products such as low-carb protein bars, protein shakes, meal replacements and other sugar-free alternatives.

Many of them often contain Maltitol as their sugar substitute.

If you’re looking for health bars with no Maltitol try Quest Bars they use Erythritol, sucralose, and stevia for their sweetness rather than maltitol.

Don’t despair manufacturers are starting to realize that consumers are awake to maltitol’s bad attributes.

Smart companies are beginning to replace Maltitol with Stevia and Erythritol, snatching the educated segment of the health food market.

It simply isn’t in anybody’s interests to include maltitol in their products.

So before you go chomping down on any low-carb or sugar-free bars or shakes check the ingredients for the sugar substitute.


Other Sweeteners That We Consume But Don’t Use For Cooking


Aspartame, Sweetener 951

We (myself in particular) consume a variety of diet sodas and sugar-free Energy Drinks. They have no nutritional value really; I just enjoy them.

Most of them contain Aspartame, but Stevia has been working its way into some.

There are plenty of boogie man stories about Aspartame, but our research has found no compelling evidence to prove that Aspartame is detrimental to your health.

There is no evidence that aspartame causes any disease in any research document that we’ve read.

We’re more than happy to read and change our mind if someone can show us one.

Sucralose, Sweetener 955

Sucralose is a very common artificial sweetener added to diet sodas, energy drinks and various other products.

You won’t often see the word sucralose listed in the list of ingredients rather it’s often labeled as Sweetener “955”. Sucralose has no nutritional value, it is used for sweetness only.

Sucralose has been researched extensively and is found to be safe for human consumption.


Where does the fear of Artificial Sweeteners or Sugar Substitutes arise?


The majority of the negative voice about artificial sweeteners is either repeated myth and speculation or a well-marketed ruse.

Remember large chunks of the food and nutrition industries have a lot to lose from people ditching sugar.

Most of the fears began surrounding saccharin and one study using rats that the media and portions of the food industry grabbed hold of and ran with.

That study has since been proven to have no bearing on humans (yet many still use it). 

Saccharin (Sweetener 954) was found to increase rates of bowel cancer in lab rats which led to panic way back in the 70s. However in 2000 scientists proved that not to be applicable to humans.

The mechanism in which the saccharin caused cancer in rats was due to other chemicals and a reaction that are unique to them.

The EPA in the United States removed Saccharin from its list of carcinogens; no longer is it labeled as a dangerous substance for human consumption.

Then came other sweeteners such as Aspartame with similar claims of cancer and more negative press campaigns pushed by those who had a lot to lose from their popularity.

Frankly the hysteria over artificial sweeteners heavily outweighs any facts associated with them.

Especially considering the copious amounts of proven health problems and disease associated with sugar.

I think people can relax over a little Erythritol in their cookie and ignore being puppeteered by big business.


 Nutritional Values of Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

NameCalories / GramSweetness IndexGlycemic IndexCalories / Spoon-Equiv
Sucralose060000
Saccharin030000
Aspartame418000
Cyclamate04000

Sugar Alcohols Nutritional Values

(It is recommended that people on a Ketogenic Diet not consume food containing Maltitol due do its Glycemic Index)

NameCalories / GramSweetness IndexGlycemic IndexCalories / Spoon-Equiv
Erythritol0.20.6511
Xylitol2.411210
Maltitol2.40.93511
Sorbitol2.60.55419

Natural Zero Calorie Sweeteners

NameCalories / GramSweetness IndexGlycemic IndexCalories / Spoon-Equiv
Stevia030000
LuoHanGuo030000

Sugars Nutritional Values

(It is recommended no sugars be used for baking or eating on a ketogenic diet)

NameCalories / GramSweetness IndexGlycemic IndexCalories / Spoon-Equiv
Fructose41.7239
Sucrose416516
Glucose40.7510021
Dextrose40.7510021
Trehalose40.457036
Galactose40.32353
Maltose40.310553
Lactose40.1545107

Natural Caloric Sweeteners

(It is recommended that honey and coconut palm sugar not be consumed on a ketogenic diet)

NameCalories / GramSweetness IndexGlycemic IndexCalories / Spoon-Equiv
Honey41.15014
Coconut Palm Sugar413515

Below are some of the facts we used to make sure we had it right in this article.

References And Further Resources About The Safety Of Artificial Sweeteners:

National Cancer Institute: Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer

EPA Removes Saccharin from Hazardous Substances Listing

Aspartame: A Safety Evaluation Based on Current Use Levels, Regulations, and Toxicological and Epidemiological Studies

Aspartame, low-calorie sweeteners and disease: Regulatory safety and epidemiological issues