This article is my own opinion and is not sponsored. I include links to studies and an affiliate link to the Xylitol on Keto I buy but all opinions and research is my own.
We all know sugar is the devil, and the reason so many people are overweight or obese.
In starting the keto diet, you might wonder, how do you get things sweet without sugar?
There are many sugar substitutes available online, and deciding which one to use in your Keto lifestyle can be a minefield.
A major concern when making your choice is that a lot of the studies out there are not independent.
They are often sponsored by, or completely funded by, the company that makes the product being studied OR are funded by a sugar company to discredit their use.
Choosing whether to use Xylitol on Keto can be difficult.
Carefully deciding which studies to read can be really difficult.
Any study you read should be independent and peer reviewed, which is incredibly important when it comes to trusting any online information.
Below I have summarised why, after a lot of research and personal trial and error, I decided to use Xylitol on Keto.
I have included the links below to articles and studies I have used to come to this conclusion.
Warning: Wait until you are keto adapted before introducing sweeteners of any kind!
This is really important.
Generally it will take a few weeks of strict low carb, high fat eating to become fat adapted and break the cycle of insulin spikes and sugar/carbohydrate binges.
I remember the days where I would eat a full plate of dinner, loaded full of nutrient-lacking carbs, and then dig straight into a chocolate bar because I was riding the carb roller coaster.
Once you are fat adapted, you stop craving these sweet treats as much and instead eat to hunger only, becoming satiated quickly with high fat, low carb foods.
It is crucial that you are strict for the first few weeks, and then slowly introduce more varied foods like baked goods, desserts and the sweeteners that come with them.
If you are starting day one with baked goods and sweeteners, your body won’t get used to what REAL sweetness tastes like.
I have learnt this through some of my recipes – I can always tell the people who have not allowed themselves at least 4 – 6 weeks of Keto before introducing sweet things.
You know how? They say my sweet recipes aren’t sweet enough!
Once you’re on strict Keto for a while, you will find everything tastes naturally sweeter.
After many personal attempts with Splenda and Stevia, I was always left with a really nasty after taste.
It got to the stage where my husband couldn’t even eat anything with Stevia as he found the taste that awful. And he loves cake.
I could manage it, but it certainly wasn’t pleasant and when I have spent an hour making a cake or ice cream, and the main taste you get is bitterness or a weird chemical taste, it’s very disappointing.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that was first found naturally occurring in birch wood and has since been found in many fruits and vegetables.
It is extracted and refined into its granulated form and has 2.4 calories per gram which is about 40% less than standard sugar.
One of the key benefits of the keto way of eating is the regulation of insulin spikes, as this is what puts us on the constant cycle of craving carbs and sugar.
When we eat high carb foods, we get an insulin spike and once this crashes back down, we reach for another serve of pasta, bread or sugary treat.
By levelling this out and controlling our blood sugar, we stop the cycle and have constant energy throughout the day.
When I was testing out sweeteners for myself, I bought a glucose monitor and tracked my blood sugar carefully after consuming different sweeteners.
I found using Xylitol on keto to have the lowest effect on my blood sugar and did not cause further sweet cravings like some do.
The Added Health Bonuses of Xylitol on Keto
Healthier teeth using Xylitol on Keto?
Xylitol has a few other added benefits in addition to the control of insulin response.
- Oral Health. Many of the earliest studies of Xylitol connected it to benefits for your teeth and oral health, and studies continue to show that xylitol sweetened gum especially can help with dental hygiene. Xylitol also increases the production of saliva and lowers the acidity of saliva, both contributing to healthier teeth and gums
- Calcium Absorption and Stronger Bones. Studies have found that xylitol increases the absorption of calcium, a key driver in preventing osteoporosis and dental issues.
- Starvation of bacteria that causes infections. Further studies have found that Xylitol starves certain bacteria (like it does for your teeth), which cause yeast infections and ear infections.
There are many more studies on the benefits of xylitol when used properly, and in moderation.
Risks of Xylitol On Keto
All aspects of using a new sweetener, or any food product, should be considered.
Doses of 40 – 60 grams a day cause laxative effects – but this is a lot of sweetener.
For example in my Keto Brownies, you use a total of 1/3 cup of xylitol which weighs about 75 grams, across 12 brownies so 6.25 grams per brownie.
The key here is moderation with sweeteners of any kind. There is no point making a Keto friendly treat, only to eat the entire batch.
The second thing to be aware of is that xylitol is poisonous to dogs, even in small amounts.
If you have a dog, be very wary of this for obvious reasons!
Keep your xylitol stored safely away in containers that can’t be accessed by curious pups and be very careful not to spill any on the floor.
Sorry pup, no brownies for you
After considering many different sweeteners and personally trying most of them, I settled on xylitol. I have been using the product for over 2 years in many different forms, and have found the natural taste and low insulin response to perfectly match my keto way of eating.
What do you think? Do you use xylitol on keto, another sweetener or steer clear of sweeteners all together?