Sweeteners

 

Are you having a stall?  Maybe you are consuming the wrong sweeteners.  Your sweetener might be advertised as zero calories, but beware, because it may also have a high glycemic index and spike your insulin.  You know what happens when you spike your insulin, right?  Fat retention.  Bottom line, if it ends in “-ose,” it’s a no-no.

Sugar alcohols are also called polyols.  These are a class of long-chain carbohydrates that are neither sugar nor alcohol. Included in this group are maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, erythritol, lactitol, and hydrolyzed starch hydrolysates (HSH).  These sweeteners give the texture and sweetness of sugar to corn syrup and can be used to make crunchy toffee, chewy jelly beans, and slick hard candies, moist brownies and creamy chocolate. However, they are incompletely absorbed by the human intestine.  This causes problems, as side-effects of these long-chain carbohydrates include gas, bloating and diarrhea for a significant portion of people. The other issue is that there seems to be notable variability in people’s ability to absorb these long-chain carbohydrates. In other words, these sweeteners affect people differently and may actually increase the blood sugar and insulin release in varying degrees among individuals.

Maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol seemed to be worse offending culprits in this class of artificial sweeteners. They cause an insulin response of about half that of normal sugar (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 65, 947-950).  Maltitol and sorbitol have also been shown to increase cholesterol (International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 1990 Vol. 60 No. 3 pp. 296-297). Erythritol is absorbed and excreted unchanged and appears to have no insulin response (Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 36, Issue 12, December 1998, Pages 1139-1174). Erythritol also seems to inhibit fructose absorption (http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1180462637). A great combination sweetener using stevia and erythritol is called Truvia.

Below is a list of acceptable sweeteners with examples if you are following a ketogenic diet:

Natural Stevia:   SweetLeaf Sweet Drops

Erythritol:   Swerve

Monk Fruit Powder:  Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener

Inulin-based Sweeteners: Just Like Sugar

 

Avoid these:  Agave syrup, aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, Maltitol, saccharin, Sucralose, splenda, equal, dextrose, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K, Sunette) and maltodextrin.

 

There is no definite rule for counting carbs content in sugar alcohols or inulin and the effect could be different for each individual. The table below shows estimates of net carbs in various sweeteners following a conservative approach of counting net carbs, where all calories are derived from them.

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