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.
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:
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.
One tablespoon of this sweetener contains the following nutrients:
Serving size: 20 g (1 tablespoon syrup)
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Unfortunately, there are limited options for using it on keto to avoid going over your carb ceiling.
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!
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.
Some of the most popular brands that cater to the keto lifestyle include ChocZero, Lakanto, and Swerve.
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.