The Best Low Carb Sweeteners (A Visual Guide)
What sweeteners are good on a low-carb diet? Check out the visual guide below for an easy way to compare the best low-carb sweeteners out there!
Print this out and keep it on hand when you’re in the kitchen. And if you don’t feel like baking yourself, check out our delicious, allulose and monk fruit sweetened cookies and dry mixes for sale here: ChipMonk Products.
What’s our favorite sweetener? We like to use a blend of Allulose and Monk Fruit. We even sell it so you can use it at home: AlluMonk Sweetener (Allulose + Monk Fruit Blend).
What is it?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in some plants. Though it looks and tastes like sugar, it has 40% fewer calories.
Unlike sugar, xylitol has negligible effects on blood sugar and insulin levels. Animal studies indicate impressive benefits for metabolic health.
Xylitol can starve the harmful bacteria in your mouth, reducing plaque buildup and tooth decay. This can help prevent dental cavities and inflammatory gum diseases.
Xylitol-sweetened gum can reduce ear infections in children and combat candida yeast infections.
Xylitol may increase collagen production and reduce your risk of osteoporosis. It also feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut
Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, leading to hypoglycemia and liver failure.
Xylitol may cause digestive upset in some people, but high doses are well tolerated by others.
xylitol additional reading
where can i buy xylitol?
What is it?
Inulin is a soluble fiber found in many plants. Your gut bacteria convert it into short-chain fatty acids, which provide several health benefits.
Inulin is found naturally in several foods. It's also modified for commercial use, and there are several varieties
Improves digestive health: For many people, inulin can help relieve constipation by causing more frequent bowel movements and better stool consistency.
Promotes weight loss: Inulin and oligofructose supplements may help regulate appetite in adults, leading to weight loss.
Helps control diabetes: Inulin has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
May support heart health: Several studies indicate that inulin may improve certain risk factors for heart disease, but the evidence is mixed.
May improve mineral absorption and bone health: A few studies show that inulin may increase absorption of calcium and magnesium, and improve bone mineralization in children.
May help prevent colon cancer: Animal studies have found that inulin can reduce gut inflammation and reduce the growth of precancerous cells. This may lead to a reduced risk of colon cancer, but more research is needed.
May help treat inflammatory bowel disease: Inulin may also have benefits against inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
Although inulin is safe for most people when taken at recommended dosages, people with certain allergies (e.g., ragweed) or a FODMAP intolerance should avoid it (FODMAP = "fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols". These are short-chain carbs that are resistant to digestion. Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, they reach the far end of your intestine where most of your gut bacteria reside. Studies have shown strong links between FODMAPs and digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea and constipation)
inulin additional reading
where can i buy inulin fiber?
What is allulose?
Allulose is a rare sugar with the same chemical formula as fructose. Because it isn't metabolized by the body, it does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels and provides minimal calories.
Great taste, low calorie: Provides a taste and texture remarkably similar to sugar, while providing minimal calories (allulose also provides only 0.2–0.4 calories per gram, or about 1/10 the calories of table sugar)
May help control blood sugar: In animal and human studies, allulose has been found to lower blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity and help protect the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.c
May boost fat loss: Studies in obese rats suggest that allulose may increase fat burning and help prevent obesity. However, high-quality research in humans is needed
May protect against fatty liver: Research in mice and rats has found allulose may reduce the risk of fatty liver disease. However, the number of studies is limited, and high-quality research in humans is needed.
Animal studies using extremely high doses of allulose for up to 18 months found no signs of toxicity or side effects. Human studies are limited, but have not found any health risks related to this sweetener.
Allulose Additional Reading
where can i buy allulose?
what is erythritol?
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol used as a low-calorie sweetener. It provides only about 6% of the calories found in an equal amount of sugar.
With only 6% of the calories of sugar, erythritol still contains 70% of the sweetness.
Most of the erythritol you eat is absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted in urine. It seems to have an excellent safety profile.
Does not spike blood sugar or insulin: Erythritol does not raise blood sugar levels. This makes it an excellent sugar replacement for people with diabetes.
May reduce risk of heart disease: Erythritol acts as an antioxidant and may improve blood vessel function in people with type 2 diabetes. These benefits may potentially reduce the risk of heart disease, but more studies are needed.
About 10% of ingested erythritol is not absorbed into the blood and travels down to the colon. For this reason, a very high intake of erythritol may cause some digestive side effects.
Has a noticeable “cooling effect” when used in food
Erythritol Additional Reading
where can i buy erythritol?
What is stevia?
Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana). As it has zero calories but is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, it’s a popular choice for many people looking to lose weight and decrease sugar intake.
If you have diabetes, stevia may help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Stevia may disrupt your levels of healthy gut bacteria. Counterintuitively, some evidence even suggests that it could increase food intake and contribute to a higher body weight over time.
The FDA says stevia glycosides, such as Reb-A, are “generally recognized as safe.” They haven’t approved whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia extract for use in processed foods and beverages due to a lack of safety information.
There’s concern that raw stevia herb may harm your kidneys, reproductive system, and cardiovascular system. It may also drop blood pressure too low or interact with medications that lower blood sugar.
Stevia is known to have a bitter aftertaste sometimes when used in food
Stevia Additional Reading
where can i buy stevia?
What is monk fruit?
Monk fruit sweetener is made from extract derived from dried fruit. The extract is 150-250 times sweeter than table sugar, has zero calories and carbs, and does not raise blood glucose levels.
Monk fruit benefits
Safe for diabetes: Monk fruit gets its sweetness from natural compounds called mogrosides. It’s generally safe for those with diabetes because it doesn’t increase blood sugars. Even so, foods and drinks sweetened with monk fruit (as well as some monk fruit sweetener blends) may include added sugars and other ingredients that increase carb and calorie counts or affect insulin sensitivity. Don’t assume all monk fruit products are carb- and sugar-free.
Promotes weight loss: Monk fruit has no calories, carbs, or fat, so it may be a great option for anyone watching their waistline. You can save substantial calories and carbs by simply substituting monk fruit sweetener for table sugar throughout your day.
Anti-inflammatory properties: According to a 2011 study, monk fruit has been used in China for centuries to make hot drinks that relieve sore throats and reduce phlegm. The fruit’s mogrosides are said to be anti-inflammatory, and may help prevent cancer and keep blood sugar levels stable.
Monk Fruit Downsides
Monk fruit is challenging to grow, harvest, and dry. It’s also expensive to import and process. This makes monk fruit sweetener more pricey than other nonnutritive sweeteners. It’s also why there are fewer monk fruit sweetener options on your local supermarket shelves.
May cause allergic reaction if you are allergic to gourds (e.g., pumpkin, squash, cucumbers, and melons)
Does not cause gastric distress like other sweeteners
monk fruit additional reading
where can I buy monk fruit?
USEFUL LINKS & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
If you loved this guide, check out our other recipes and baking guides on the ChipMonk blog such as: