Is Erythritol Keto?

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Written by Rahul Malpe, Certified Nutritionist and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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In the keto community, there's a lot of debate about whether or not erythritol is keto-friendly. Some people say that it's ok to include in your diet because it doesn't affect blood glucose levels, while others believe that it can knock you out of ketosis. 

So, what's the truth? Is erythritol keto-friendly or not? Here's a closer look at the science behind this sweetener.


What is it?

If you’re like most people, it’s likely you’ve never heard of this sweetener. But if you’re a fan of sugar-free candy or diet soda, chances are you’ve had it before. 

It is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables. It’s also produced commercially as a sugar substitute. 

Unlike other sugar alcohols, it is almost entirely absorbed by the body before it reaches the large intestine, so it doesn’t have a laxative effect. 

It is about 70% as sweet as table sugar and has a similar texture. It can be used to sweeten food and beverages or to make icing and other decorations for cakes and cookies. Because it doesn’t promote tooth decay, it is also popular as a dental hygiene product.

In 1848, a chemist in John Stenhouse's laboratory accidentally discovered erythritol while working with some fermented beet juice. The chemist, Alexander Andre, initially thought that he had found a new form of sugar, but further testing revealed that it was actually sugar alcohol. 

This sweetener remained relatively unknown for many years after its discovery, but it began to gain attention in the early 1900s as a possible sweetener. In the 1960s, more research was conducted on Its properties and it was eventually approved for use in food products in the United States. 

Today, it is used as a sweetener in a variety of foods and beverages. It is safe for most people to consume and has negligible calories, making it an attractive option for those looking to reduce their sugar intake. 


Nutrition facts

One serving of this food contains the following nutrients:

Serving size: 1 tsp (4 g)  

  • Calories: 0 kcal
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sugar: 0
  • Net carbs: 4 g
  • Total carbs: 4 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

There are some impressive health benefits associated with this sugar alcohol. For example, It has been shown to help improve dental health by reducing plaque formation and preventing cavities. 

Additionally, some animal research suggests it can help regulate blood glucose levels for those people suffering from diabetes mellitus.

What's more, it is devoid of absorbable calories and does not cause gastrointestinal side effects that are common with other sugar alcohols. 

Overall, it appears to be a safe and effective way to sweeten food and beverages while also providing some health benefits.




Can you have erythritol on a keto diet?

Yes, erythritol is keto-friendly. Since it doesn’t spike your blood glucose, you are not at risk of falling out of ketosis. 

It is also absorbed differently than natural sugars. Prior to reaching the large intestine, the body absorbs most of it.

Almost all of it is excreted, unmodified,  in the urine before it has the chance to be metabolized as energy. 


How much erythritol can you have on the keto diet? 

The amount of it that you can have on the keto diet depends on what you are eating it with. Generally, you can be pretty liberal with your erythritol content. 

Unfortunately, there are no guidelines on how much of this you are allowed to consume on a daily basis, either while on keto or just generally speaking. 

However, according to studies, you can tolerate up to 1 g of it per kilogram of your body weight. In this case, a person weighing 60 kg can handle 60 g of it every day. This equates to 12 tablespoons, which is probably much more than anybody needs.


What kind of erythritol can you have on keto?

It can be found in crystalline, powder, or liquid form.

The crystals are the most concentrated form and can be used in place of regular sugar in baking.

Powdered erythritol is also a suitable replacement for sugar, but it dissolves more easily and therefore may not work as well in recipes that require granulated sugar. 

Liquid erythritol is the most diluted form and can be used to substitute honey in drinks or to sweeten yogurt or other foods. 

All types of it have a long shelf life and are stable at high temperatures.



What can you have it with?

As you know, it's about 70% as sweet as table sugar, but it doesn't have the same effect on blood sugar levels. For this reason, it is often used as a sweetener in low-carb and keto-friendly recipes. 

However, you don't have to be on a special diet to enjoy this sweetener. Here are some delicious ways to include it in your daily meals and snacks:

  • Add it to your morning coffee or tea for a touch of sweetness.
  • Stir it into oatmeal or yogurt for a quick and easy breakfast.
  • Mix it with unsweetened cocoa powder to make a healthy chocolate pudding.
  • Use it to sweeten homemade low-carb desserts like cookies, cakes, and ice cream.
  • Enjoy a refreshing glass of erythritol lemonade on a hot summer day.


Keto-friendly erythritol alternatives

One of the challenges of the keto diet is finding keto-friendly sweeteners that won't kick you out of ketosis. While there are a few different options available, not all of them are created equal. Here's a look at some of the alternatives you can have to it.

Allulose: It is a type of sugar that is found naturally in some fruits and vegetables. It has all the sweetness of regular sugar, but with fewer calories and no glycemic impact. 

Allulose is slowly metabolized by the body, so it does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Because of these benefits, allulose is often used as a sugar substitute in low-calorie and diabetic-friendly foods.

Sucralose: It is an artificial sweetener that is made from sugar. It’s often sold under the brand name Splenda. It is about 600 times sweeter than the regular one, so only a small amount is needed to achieve the desired sweetness. Sucralose is not metabolized by the body, so it provides no calories and does not raise blood sugar levels. 

Aspartame: It is another artificial sweetener that is made from two amino acids: phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Like sucralose, it is very sweet: about 200 times sweeter than a regular sweetener. 

Aspartame also has no caloric content and does not raise blood sugar levels. However, because it contains phenylalanine, aspartame should be avoided by people with phenylketonuria (PKU).

Stevia: It is a plant that is native to South America. The leaves of the stevia plant are used to sweeten food and drinks. 

Acesulfame K: It is a calorie-free artificial sweetener. It is often used in diet sodas and other sugar-free products.


FAQ about erythritol on a keto diet

Here are a few more questions related to this and other sweeteners.

Erythritol does not usually cause the side effects typical of other sugar alcohols, like gas or upset stomach. However, if you have IBS or a sensitive stomach, you may want to avoid it or eat only small quantities at first, then wait and see how you feel.

Yes, since it does not have the same impact on the body as sugar, you can use it to replace the foods and drinks that would usually contain table sugar in them. This may help to reduce caloric intake, which can lead to weight loss. 

Another benefit of erythritol is that it does not cause spikes in blood glucose levels that other sweeteners can cause. This makes it a good choice for people who are trying to avoid these spikes. 

If you are looking for a sweetener that may also help with weight loss, erythritol may be worth trying.

A study in rats found that it was rapidly absorbed from the intestine and then slowly excreted by the kidney. The study found no evidence of toxicity or damage to kidney cells.

Another study in humans found that it was quickly absorbed and then excreted unchanged in the urine. This study also found no evidence of adverse effects on kidney function. 

Taken together, these studies suggest that erythritol is safe for consumption by people with healthy kidneys. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

  • Swerve is one popular brand of this sweetener that's perfect for keto dieters. Not only is it zero-calorie and zero-carb, but it's also non-glycemic, which means it won't raise your blood glucose levels. 
  • Another great option is Truvia, which is made from stevia leaf extract and erythritol. And like Swerve, Truvia is also zero-calorie and non-glycemic. 

So if you're looking for a keto-friendly brand, these are two great options to try.

Yes, sucralose is keto-friendly. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, because sucralose is so much sweeter than sugar, you only need to use a small amount to get the same level of sweetness. 

This means that you'll be consuming fewer carbohydrates overall. Secondly, while sucralose is safe for most people, for some it can lead to gastrointestinal issues like upset stomach

For this reason, it's important to monitor your intake and see how your body reacts. If you notice any negative changes, it's best to cut back or eliminate sucralose from your diet altogether.

Aspartame does not impact blood glucose levels, so it technically can be consumed on a ketogenic diet. However, some people report feeling negative side effects after consuming aspartame, such as headaches, dizziness, and gastrointestinal distress.

Therefore, it's important to listen to your body and see how you react after consuming foods or beverages containing aspartame. If you experience any negative side effects, you may want to avoid aspartame or limit your intake.