Is Stevia Keto-Friendly?

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Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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Although sugar cravings are reduced on keto, you might still be looking for something sweet after lunch. Sugar substitutes are now easily available on the market, and you can find a wide variety of them. Stevia, monk fruit, aspartame, sucralose, erythritol, and neotame are some of the sugar substitutes most commonly found.

Stevia being a more natural sugar substitute, is one of the most frequently used. It is 200 to 400 times sweeter than regular table sugar. This means that with a small amount, you get a punch of sweetness. No wonder many people decide to include it in their coffee. However, is it keto-friendly?

In this article, we will review the most common topics regarding this sugar substitute. What is it? What does its nutritional content look like? Does it have any carbs? Are you allowed to eat it on keto, and how much? What kind can you have? What can you eat with it on keto? And finally, other keto-friendly sugar substitutes

 

What is stevia?

It is a plant native to South America, more precisely found in Paraguay and Brazil. Its leaves offer a very sweet taste. For hundreds of years, it has been used as an additive to provide sweetness for drinks.

Although it was briefly banned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991, the organization approved it as a food supplement in 1995 and has allowed its use in mainstream food production since 2008. 

You can use the purified form of stevia (stevioside) since it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Products that contain stevia extract or Stevia rebaudiana in their ingredients are FDA approved. However, the crude extract or the leaves are not authorized by the FDA due to the lack of information.

In the industry, the part of the plant used is the leaves, and that is where you find the sweet component. The benefit of using this sugar substitute is that it is 200-400 times sweeter than table sugar, so you only have to use it in very small amounts, plus it is very low in calories. However, some people find that it has a bitter aftertaste.


Stevia nutrition facts

One of its appeals is that you can obtain it from natural ingredients. It comes from a plant and is not created in a lab. The other main reason people normally choose this product is because it is low in calories, carbs, fats, and protein. Is it keto-friendly?

Serving size: 1 individual packet of stevia powder (1 g)

  • Calories: 0 kcal
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Net carbs (total carbs - fiber): 0 g
  • Total carbs: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

It has no calories and no significant macronutrient value, including no carbohydrates. So it is, in fact, keto-friendly.

However, it also lacks nutrient value when it comes to micronutrient properties. It offers no vitamins or minerals that are going to contribute to your health.


JUMPSTART YOUR KETO GOALS


Can you use stevia on keto?

Yes! You definitely are allowed to eat it on keto.
It doesn’t have a significant number of carbs, so it will not affect your ketosis.

If you want to have something sweet added to your beverages or baking goods, this is a good way to go. It won’t have calories or a significant carb overload.

However, for some people, it might cause gastrointestinal problems like bloating, diarrhea, or an upset stomach.

Keep in mind that when you are buying a sugar substitute, read the nutrition label since some companies add dextrose or maltodextrin into their stevia mix. These two components are carb additives that could raise your daily carbohydrate intake.

 

How much stevia can you have on a ketogenic diet?

You can have almost an unlimited amount of stevia added to your diet without affecting ketosis.

However, the FDA does specify an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of stevia per day, which is up to 9 tabletop sweetener packets per day for a person who weighs 132 pounds (60 kg), or 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. 

More than the recommended amount can give you gastrointestinal problems. If you start consuming stevia and present any symptoms, stop and switch to another sugar substitute.

 

What kind of stevia can you have on keto?

Since it can be used in multiple ways, you can find stevia in several different forms. All of the following are safe to use for keto.

  • Powder. Best to have for drinks since it can dissolve easily. It’s also easy to carry individual packets around your purse, briefcase, or backpack.
  • Liquid. Another good choice to have for drinks or to use in recipes.
  • Granulated. Best for cooking. It gives a similar texture to regular table sugar when baking.

Any form that you choose is a great option to add something sweet without the extra calories. However, remember to avoid the whole leaves or crude extracts since they are not FDA approved as food additives.

If you are looking at which brands are the best alternatives for a keto diet. Here is a list of the top 5 brands that use no carbs fillers on their mix.

  • Splenda Stevia (also contains erythritol)
  • Thrive Organic
  • Now Better
  • Sweet Leaf Organic
  • NuNaturals Organic (also contains monk fruit)

Now you can find this sweetener with added flavors. For example, French vanilla or English toffee, and all are great options to add some flavor to your favorite drinks. Just make sure to read the label and avoid maltodextrin or dextrose.


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What can you eat with stevia?

You can eat it with anything you would usually add sugar to.

It goes with any beverage of your choice. If you are into sweet tea, have a cup of cold or hot tea and add a small amount of this sweetener. The same goes for your morning coffee. If you like sweet coffee, adding this sugar substitute is the way to go.

If you like your berries with an extra little bit of sweetness, you can sprinkle some on top to have some sweet strawberries as a snack.

Are you thinking about making a sweet pastry? Substitute sugar with this non-calorie sweetener for baking. This can significantly reduce the number of carbs the recipe will have.

Homemade sauces, ice cream, jams, jello… the options are limitless when trying to add this non-calorie sweetener.

 

Keto-friendly stevia alternatives

Sugar and honey usually are not generally recommended on a keto diet. When looking for something sweet, you might not like the bitter aftertaste that stevia has, although it doesn’t offer any calories or carbs. Luckily, there are other sugar-free options to use.

Any of the following are great alternatives. They offer zero calories and won’t raise your sugar levels. Most of them are suitable for use in drinks or for baking. No matter which one you choose, they are all great choices!

  • Monk fruit
  • Erythritol
  • Sucralose
  • Allulose

 

FAQ about stevia on a keto diet

Do you still have some questions regarding this sweetener and the keto diet? Here are the most commonly asked questions.

Yes, you can add it to anything that you like.
It is a great option to reduce your calorie intake and have something sweet without the carbs that might affect your ketosis state if you like sweet coffee.

Yes, you can cook or even bake with it, and it is heat stable and will not ferment at high temperatures.
However, it might change the texture or flavor of some recipes. Due to its bitter taste, some people prefer to use erythritol when baking.

The plant itself is not currently approved by the FDA as a food additive. Instead, you can have products made from the plant extract, which are FDA approved.
It is not recommended to use the leaves directly from the plants since they have not been studied extensively enough to be recognized as safe.

The body breaks down the steviol glycoside in the digestive system. The new molecule that is formed (steviol glucuronide) is then removed from the body through your urine. That is why it is said that it has no calories.

Both are great zero-calorie sugar substitutes.

Neither has any carbs, so you don’t have to worry about them affecting your ketosis state. So when making your decision, it all comes down to flavor preferences. Stevia has a bitter aftertaste, while monk fruit might not.

No, it won’t raise your sugar levels. It does not have a significant carb amount for sugar levels to rise.

Some research says that it might lower your sugar levels. However, more studies are needed.

 

Non-keto sweeteners and sugars to watch out for

  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup