A keto-friendly sweetener sounds a bit like an oxymoron: Sweeteners are typically sugars, sugars are carbohydrates, and the ketogenic diet is very, very low in carbs. But the fact is, there are sweeteners out there with little to no carbs—and while the list below is short, stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol can all be part of your ketogenic diet.
It’s a zero-calorie sweetener (with no carbohydrates or sugars) that’s about 50 to 350 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is a popular choice because it’s considered natural, and several food regulatory authorities have deemed it safe. There isn’t enough research yet to determine whether it can help with curbing calories and weight loss, but if you're doing keto, stevia will help you keep your carbs in check.
Another no-carb, no-sugar, no-calorie sweetener, monk fruit is said to be about 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar. Like stevia, monk fruit can help you cut carbs, but it may not help you slash your total calorie intake. In one smaller study, men who drank a monk fruit- sweetened beverage didn’t eat less over the course of the day, or have much of an improvement in blood sugar spikes, compared to when they drank a sugar-sweetened beverage.
Slightly different from stevia and monk fruit, erythritol is technically a sugar alcohol, which means your body doesn’t fully absorb it. Erythritol has zero calories and is about 70 to 80% as sweet as sugar. It does have 4 grams of carbohydrate per teaspoon, but zero net carbs, so it doesn't count towards your daily carb allowance on keto.
Recent research suggests that erythritol may be beneficial for people with diabetes: in animal models, the low-cal sweetener helped lower blood glucose spikes after eating a meal.