Studies show that sugar increases your risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
This is one of the main reasons why the keto diet is so effective. With sugar and carbohydrate restriction, you reduce blood glucose and insulin levels, a major culprit behind chronic diseases.
But what if you’re craving a custard doughnut or sugary cupcake; how much sugar can you have without being knocked out of ketosis?
Well, in this post, I’ll cover how much sugar can you have on keto and some keto-friendly alternatives to sugar.
How Much Sugar Will Knock Me Out Of Ketosis?
In short, keep your net carb intake around 30 to 50 grams per day. Net carbs are total carbohydrates minus fiber since fiber buffers the sugar response and don’t affect insulin levels.
However, with refined table sugar, you want to avoid it at all costs.
The glycemic index measures how much a particular food spikes blood sugar, and a ketogenic diet’s primary goal is to avoid raising sugar and insulin. Your insulin levels go through the roof when eating any simple sugar, including table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
This leads to inflammation, insulin resistance and weight gain.
So don’t eat sugar and avoid foods like:
These processed foods are designed by companies to taste as sweet as possible since they keep customers coming back. Even if you’re eating a small number of processed foods, you’re still triggering insulin and inflammation.
Companies are even genetically modifying fruits to make them taste sweeter.
Now that we know how many carbs and sugar will knock you out of ketosis, let’s look at a few keto-friendly alternatives.
Here Are A Few Keto-Friendly Artificial Sweeteners
When your sugar cravings hit on a keto diet, consider using some of these keto-friendly artificial sweeteners:
Stevia is a natural sweetener that contains almost no calories and carbs. This makes it a popular choice amongst keto dieters because it doesn’t affect insulin and blood glucose levels. It’s also a practical option for diabetics and those looking to lose weight.
Studies show that, unlike regular sugar, stevia lowers blood glucose levels.
When shopping for stevia, you’ll have an option between powdered and liquid form, so you can use it to sweeten anything from your morning coffee to desserts.
However, a slight drawback is that stevia tends to have a powerful aftertaste that lasts for quite a while. If this is a dealbreaker for you, consider some of the other alternatives.
Like stevia, sucralose is an artificial sweetener that doesn’t contain any calories or carbs. Sucralose isn’t metabolized, meaning the body doesn’t digest it.
Natural sucralose is over 600 times sweeter than regular table sugar. This makes it more affordable because you only need to place a small amount of it in your food.
Erythritol is 70% to 80% as sweet as table sugar and has a GI score of zero, which means it has no effect on blood sugar and insulin.
Alongside other sugar alcohols like xylitol, erythritol promotes healthy teeth and gums. Our bodies can also fully absorb it which causes little bloating and gas.
However, in doses higher than 50 grams, erythritol tends to have a laxative effect.
You might be familiar with xylitol if you buy sugar-free candy and chocolate bars. Xylitol is commonly used in these products because it tastes just like sugar and offers potent health benefits like:
- Improved digestion
- Healthier gut
- Reduced gum inflammation
This makes it perfect for those struggling with dental cavities and inflammation. Simply add a few teaspoons of xylitol to your coffee or tea, and you’ll experience all these benefits while satisfying your sugar craving.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk fruit sweetener is 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need much of it. This artificial sweetener is made from monk fruit and doesn’t contain any grams of sugar.
But when buying monk fruit sweeteners, always read the label because many companies add table sugar, molasses, and other inflammatory substances so it tastes sweeter and has a longer shelf life.
Now that we know what to use instead of sugar on a keto diet; let’s cover how to beat sugar cravings.
What If I Really Want That Sugar-Filled Treat?
Let’s say you’ve seen your favorite doughnut on display at your local bakery, and it’s all you can think about. How do you overcome that sugar craving? Well, here are a few simple techniques:
- Make a keto-friendly version
- Stock up on keto-friendly snacks
- Eat some fat bombs
- Budget it into your carb allowance
- Eat some fruit
Make A Keto-Friendly Version
If you’re trying to quit sugar, try making a keto-friendly sweet treat. For example, if I feel like eating a doughnut covered with chocolate, I’ll search for a keto-friendly doughnut recipe online.
It doesn’t matter what food you’re craving; you’ll find a keto version online.
This way, I can eat as much of my favorite treat as I want while being in ketosis.
However, these recipes don’t taste exactly like the original. Sometimes you’ll get a slight almond or coconut taste depending on what type of flour you’re using.
Stock Up On Keto-Friendly Snacks
Stocking up on keto-friendly candy and chocolate is a tasty and healthy way to get rid of cravings.
These keto treats taste like normal snacks, but they use alternative sweeteners that don’t spike glucose and insulin levels.
Eat A Fat Bomb
Fat bombs contain around 15 grams of fat and almost zero carbs, making them a healthy option if you’re battling sugar cravings.
Fat bombs are super easy to make. Most recipes only require coconut oil, butter, cocoa, and an alternative sweetener like xylitol or erythritol. It’s also tiny, so you can store them in a container and snack on the go.
Make sure to check out our list of keto fat bombs recipes that are low carb and sugar-free!
Budget It Into Your Carb Allowance
If you’re still having cravings on a high fat diet, consider budgeting a treat into your meal plan.
Keto is a low-carb, not a zero-carb diet. So you can eat some carbs and still be in ketosis. Your daily limit is around 50 grams. If you eat zero carbs for the entire day, you could sneak in a small cheat meal while remaining in ketosis.
For example, high carbohydrate foods like a large doughnut contains 34 grams of carbs, while one cup of marshmallows has 41 grams of carbs.
However, only use this as a last resort. Although you’ll stay in ketosis, this high sugar intake triggers inflammation, a significant factor behind diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
It takes your body a while to repair itself after this, so if you budget junk food into your diet regularly, you’ll always be inflamed.
Eat Some Fruit
Just like with processed foods, companies modify fruits so they contain lots of sugar. This makes it a big no on keto. However, if you’re experiencing cravings, try eating fruits that are lower in sugar since it helps with sugar cravings.
Fruit also contains fiber which slows down the effect of sugar on blood glucose and insulin.
Fruit is a tasty way to get your sugar fix or reduce the effects of a keto flu. However, some fruit like mangoes, bananas and watermelon will instantly knock you out of ketosis and make it difficult to lose weight.
Instead, eat fruits that are low in sugar like:
Final Thoughts On How Many Grams Of Sugar You Can Have On Keto
A ketogenic diet works because you consume little carbs and no refined sugar. This reduces inflammation, lowers your risk of developing chronic health problems like diabetes and obesity, and promotes a healthy body weight.
You want to limit your net carbohydrate intake to around 30 to 50 grams per day or 5% of your total food intake while avoiding refined sugar at all costs.
Consider using alternative sweeteners to make a keto-friendly version of your favorite food. You could also stock up on keto snacks since they taste like regular treats but don’t raise blood sugar and insulin.
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