Is Maple Syrup Keto-Friendly?

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

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The sugar substitute market has boomed during most of the last decade as people have become more aware of the dangers and pitfalls of adding sugars to their diets. 

The list of sweeteners, including natural and artificial, ranges from honey to splenda to provide a bit of sweetness to our food. Ketogenic lifestyles, however, limit the choices that are available.

Syrup from maple trees is one of the most popular sweeteners especially in Canada and the U.S., where it is commonly found at breakfast tables alongside pancakes and waffles. Even so, for people following the keto protocol, it may not be the first suggestion that comes to mind since it's loaded with sugar.

Thus, here’s the most important question: is maple syrup keto-friendly?

Throughout the course of this article, we will answer a few questions about this popular sweetener. How is it made? What is the carb content of a tablespoon? Can it be consumed while on a keto diet? What types are allowed?  With what can it be consumed? And much more. Here we go.


What is maple syrup?

This natural sweetener is made from the concentrated sap of maple trees, resulting in the form of a thick, drippy liquid. The sap from maple trees is collected in the early spring, then it's cooked down to create the syrup. Unlike other sugar products, it is unique to North America and is enjoyed most commonly in countries like the U.S. and Canada.

There are two main steps to making this delicious treat: 

  1. Drill holes into sugar maples so their flowing fluid can pour into containers.
  2. Boil it until most evaporates, leaving only a thicker syrup residue called "sirup." 
  3. This final product can be used to sweeten anything you like, but what most people really love doing is making yummy desserts.

In terms of flavor, darker syrups tend to be more robust while lighter ones are delicate. All share a characteristic sweetness with subtle variations depending on the tree the sap was taken from. The most common types are Amber, Medium, and Dark.

  • Amber is light in color with a mild taste, making it ideal for those who want a more subtle flavor in their dishes.
  • The medium syrup is darker and has a stronger maple flavor. It's perfect for use in recipes that call for a little extra sweetness.
  • The dark type is the richest and most intense in terms of both color and flavor. It's perfect for baking or to give an extra boost to savory dishes.


Maple syrup nutrition facts

One tablespoon of this sweetener contains the following nutrients:

Serving size: 20 g (1 tablespoon syrup) 

  • Calories: 52 kcal
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Total carbs: 13.4 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

As you see, it is pretty high in its carb content with no fiber, making it unsuitable for a keto lifestyle. With just one tablespoon you have the risk of spiking the blood sugar and putting you out of ketosis.




Can you have maple syrup on a keto diet?

No, unfortunately, you can’t. As you can see above, it is packed with sugar. 

When ingested, sugar is broken down into its component parts and absorbed into the bloodstream. This process causes a spike in blood sugar levels and pushes you out of ketosis, which is why this sweetener is not considered to be keto-friendly. 

However, if you are really craving the taste of maple, you can make your own. 

A mixture of powdered erythritol, maple extract, xanthan gum, one cup of water, and sugar-free pancake syrup is all you need. You have complete control over all the ingredients and the carbs by choosing this option.


How much maple syrup on the keto diet can you have?

You can incorporate a small amount of it into your ketogenic diet if you control your portion sizes, even though it is not keto-approved. It all depends on your daily carb allowance. If you have a 50 g daily net carb limit, then you can add a small amount of this sweet treat without going over.

One tablespoon of it is just too much for keto, but you can incorporate one teaspoon. This only contains 4 g of net carbs, which is reasonable on keto. 

It would probably be possible to consume 1 teaspoon if you have a 50 g net carb limit, or ½ teaspoon if you have a 20 - 30 g limit, without significantly affecting your overall carb intake. Then again, you should always make sure you are keeping track of the carbs you eat every day so that you avoid overdoing it when it comes to your daily carb allowance.


What kind of maple syrup can you have on keto?

You can have the sugar-free versions of this tasty sweetener. However, you must be careful with your choice.

They may be sugar-free, but some of them may contain hidden ingredients such as maltodextrin, which carries the risk of knocking you out of ketosis. So, make sure to read the ingredient labels carefully before purchasing.

Nevertheless, there are a few varieties of keto-friendly syrups available on the market, including:

  • Choc zero – made with Monk fruit extract as a sweetener.
  • Lakanto – Contains safe and low-glycemic sweeteners, including Monk fruit and erythritol.




What can you have maple syrup with?

The high carb content of this liquid means that you should avoid pairing it with other high-carb food such as oats or cereals. However here are some ideas:

  • Add it to your morning coffee or tea for a little sweetness.
  • Stir it into yogurt or cottage cheese for a quick and easy snack.
  • Drizzle it over chicken or salmon before cooking for a touch of sweetness and flavor.
  • Mix it with coconut oil and spices to make a simple, yet tasty keto-friendly salad dressing.

Unfortunately, there are limited options for using it on keto to avoid going over your carb ceiling. 


Keto-friendly maple syrup alternatives

For those who are looking for a way to enjoy their favorite sweet treats without all the sugar, there is an option. You can add the following keto-approved sweeteners to your diet and still eat your favorites!

  • Stevia: It is a plant-based sweetener that is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is around 200 times sweeter than sugar but has a slightly bitter aftertaste.
  • Monk fruit: It is a plant-based sweetener that is derived from the fruits of the siraitia grosvenorii plant. It is around 150 times sweeter than sugar and has a clean, sweetness with no aftertaste. 
  • Sucralose: It is a synthetic sweetener that is around 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is made by adding chlorine atoms to sucrose (table sugar). 
  • Allulose: It is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruits such as figs and raisins. Although it is a sugar, the body is not able to use it as fuel and so it does not add much to your caloric intake.
  • Aspartame: It is an artificial sweetener typically used in foods and beverages. It is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar and has negligible calories in the amounts that we eat it. Aspartame is broken down by the body into its smaller parts, which are amino acids. 
  • Erythritol: It is a type of sugar alcohol that is often used as a sugar substitute. It is 70% as sweet as regular sugar and has very few calories.
  • Yacon syrup: It is a natural sweetener made from the roots of the yacon plant. It has a molasses-like flavor and is 50% as sweet as regular sugar.


FAQ about maple syrup on a keto diet

Are there any other questions you need to be answered? We've got answers below.

Lakanto is the best as it is sweetened by using monk fruit and erythritol. This product has 9 g of total carbohydrates in a 2-tablespoon serving, according to the nutrition facts. 

However, when you take out 3 g of fiber and 5 g of sugar alcohols, you are left with 1g of net carbs. There are a total of just 1 g of carbs in this one as opposed to the 26 g you'd get in the real thing due to the usage of erythritol and monk fruit sweetener. 

Moreover, Lakanto's product tastes and feels like the real maple without the sugar, so you don't feel that you are missing out on anything.

Making this sweet liquid is relatively simple and only requires a few ingredients. 


  • Water
  • Erythritol
  • Sugar-free pancake syrup
  • Maple extract
  • Xanthan gum (optional, for thickening)


  1. To make the liquid, simply combine all of the ingredients in a pot and stir until they're well combined. 
  2. Then, heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil.
  3. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. After that, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. 
  5. Once it's cooled, transfer the liquid to a container and store it in the fridge. It will keep for up to two weeks. 
  6. When you're ready to use it, simply add it to the recipe of your choice in place of regular maple.

Some of the most popular brands that cater to the keto lifestyle include ChocZero, Lakanto, and Swerve.

  • Lakanto: This brand uses monk fruit to sweeten its product, making it a perfect option for those on a ketogenic diet. It also has a rich, maple flavor that makes it perfect for keto-friendly pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast dishes.
  • ChocZero: Its product is made with erythritol and stevia, giving it a very low sugar content. It's also gluten and dairy free, making it an ideal choice for those with dietary restrictions.
  • Swerve: Its product is made with maltitol, a sugar alcohol that is slowly absorbed by the body and doesn't cause a spike in blood sugar levels.

The brand Lakanto does not have xanthan gum in its product. However, it does have cellulose gum which is similar to xanthan. Most keto maple liquid recipes include xanthan gum to create a syrup-like consistency. 

Xanthan gum is a type of fiber that is added as a thickening agent, without which it won't have the same texture. So, it is unlikely to find a syrup without xanthan or cellulose as an ingredient. 

Yes, it is keto-friendly since it is made from monk fruit and erythritol, which are both sugar-free and do not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. It also contains zero calories and zero grams of net carbs, making it an ideal sweetener for people following a ketogenic diet. Additionally, the product is vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. 

While it does not contain actual maple, it does have a similar taste and can be used in any recipe that calls for pancake syrup. When it comes to choosing a keto-friendly pancake syrup, Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup is a great option.

It is possible to make a keto syrup without maple extract. Instead, you can use stevia or another sugar-free sweetener to create a low-carb version. To make it, simply heat water and the sweetener of your choice in a saucepan over low heat. 

Once the sweetener has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, the liquid can be used in any recipe. One advantage of using stevia or another sugar-free sweetener is that it will not add any additional carbs to your diet.