New artificial sweeteners share none of the problems identified in some of the older varieties. When searching for sweeteners, look for the natural ones like Stevia and Truvia.
The best artificial sweeteners are those sold in liquid form. They don’t have binders such as maltodextrin and dextrose. Binding agents are commonly found in blends like Splenda and can add up in carbs very quickly. Stick with sweeteners that have a lower glycemic index.
Best Artificial Sweeteners for Weight Loss: NEW Natural Sweeteners
This new breed of artificial sweeteners typically does not use “filler” ingredients like sorbitol and mannitol, or high glycemic sweeteners like maltitol. Many low-carb products that claim to have low net carbs usually use these sugar alcohols. Additionally, candies that are “sugar-free” also use these sweeteners. When a sweetener has a low glycemic impact (or a low glycemic index), it has little effect on blood sugar. The higher the glycemic index is, the higher your blood sugar will spike during consumption. New artificial sweeteners have zero carbs, near zero calories, and are noted for their sweetness.
- Truvia: Truvia is one of the most common sugar substitutions used on the market today. It is incredibly sweet and has no glycemic impact. The liquid form is preferred. Truvia is the best brand of Stevia. Pure Via has some dextrose.
- Splenda: Splenda is a very easy, but very sweet substitution to sugar that has a lot of misinformation around it. Splenda is the brand name, but Sucralose is the pure sweetener. Liquid versions are preferred. Powdered versions have maltodextrin and dextrose–both carbohydrates. This is a great sugar substitution that has no glycemic impact. It’s special because it passes through our bodies undigested, meaning it is excreted without the carbs being absorbed.
- Monk fruit: This is a less common sweetener and usually used in combination with others. While somewhat rare, if you can find it, it makes a great balanced sweetener.
- Various blends: There are numerous brands on the market that combine these sweeteners in various ratios. Be careful and read the ingredients.
Artificial Sweeteners and Glycemic Index
Beside each sweetener’s name, you will see “GI” and then a number. This refers to the Glycemic Index, which measures how much a food raises your blood sugar. New artificial sweeteners have a zero GI, meaning they don’t raise blood sugar. The baseline is glucose, which measures up at 100. Typically you want to use the sweeteners that are lowest in GI. However, you may find it more flavorful to use a mixture if you do not have diabetes.
New and Old Artificial Sweeteners with Glycemic Index (GI) and Net Carbs):
Hidden Sugars to Avoid – Natural or NOT:
High Fructose Corn Syrup: High fructose corn syrup is a highly processed sweetener derived from corn. Many studies comparing HFCS and sugar have shown similar results. They’re practically the same thing.
Sugar: Sugar, as most of us know, should be avoided at all costs. It is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, bad cholesterol, sugar addiction, and metabolic syndrome. Sugar has no real nutrients and consumption leads to fat storage. While it has many different names on product packaging, nutrition labels, and ingredient lists, a good rule of thumb is if it ends in “ose”, it’s sugar and should be avoided. The body breaks down regular table sugar into fructose and glucose when it enters the bloodstream. Glucose is naturally occurring in our bodies, but fructose is not.
Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar is made from the flower of the coconut palm, where the sap is heated until the water is evaporated. The finished product is brownish in color. It retains some nutrients from the heating process and does contain some inulin. However, at 11g of carbohydrates per tablespoon, it’s still not a good option for people on a low carb diet.
Fruit Juice: Raspberries and blackberries are the 2 best types of berries to consume on a low carb diet due to the lower amounts of sugars they contain. Typically they contain fructose which has a very high glycemic index. This results in both blood sugar and insulin spikes. Most fruit juices will contain at least 20g carbs per serving.
Honey: Honey is one of the most nutritionally dense sweeteners but is packed full of fructose. One tablespoon of honey typically contains 17g carbs which is well over half of our daily allotted amount.
Maple Syrup: While maple syrup and honey are widely accepted on lesser low-carb and paleo diets, they are not allowed on ketogenic diets. Maple syrup typically has 13g of carbs per tablespoon.
Agave Syrup: Agave Syrup is typically a very highly processed sweetener even though it’s marketed as a natural alternative. It can contain up to 80% fructose. Therefore, it has a very high impact on our blood sugar levels and is typically seen as one of the most damaging sources of sugar. It is made by pressing the agave plant until the sugars and fluid come out.