Does the word “sugar” make you think of the white, granular substance that you add to your coffee or sprinkle on your cereal? If so, you’re not alone. When most people think of sugar, they think of the refined, processed variety. But sugar comes in many forms, and understanding the different types can help you make better choices while on a ketogenic diet. Why? Because sugar is a carbohydrate, and consuming too many carbs can kick you out of ketosis, the metabolic state in which your body burns fat for energy. So how much sugar can you have on keto? Let’s take a closer look.
The Different Types Of Sugar
There are four main types of sugar:
Fructose is a simple sugar that is found in fruit and honey. It’s sweeter than glucose but isn’t used by your body for energy (1).
Sucrose is a type of sugar that is made up of one molecule each of glucose and fructose. It’s also known as table sugar or cane sugar (1).
Lactose is a type of sugar that is found in milk and other dairy products. It’s made up of one molecule each of glucose and galactose (1).
How Much Sugar Can You Have On A Keto Diet?
The amount of sugar you can have on a keto diet will depend on your overall carb intake. The standard ketogenic diet allows for 50 grams or less of carbs per day.
Remember, not all 50 grams of carbs should come from sugar. Some should come from other sources, such as starchy vegetables. There are no hard, fast rules when it comes to how much sugar you can have on keto.
However, keeping your consumption of both naturally-occurring and added sugars low is a good idea if you want to maintain ketosis.
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How To Avoid Too Much Sugar On Keto
The best way to avoid consuming too much sugar on a keto diet is to focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods. This means filling your plate with plenty of healthy fats, proteins, and low-carb vegetables.
Avoid the following foods, which are high in sugar:
- High-sugar fruits: while fruits do contain some nutrients, they’re also high in sugar. Stick to low-sugar options like berries or avoid fruit altogether. You can get similar nutrition from veggies.
- Processed foods: many processed foods, such as cookies, cakes, and candy, are loaded with sugar. If you’re craving something sweet, opt for a keto-friendly treat like dark chocolate or berries.
- Sweetened beverages: sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda and fruit juice, are also high in sugar. Stick to water, unsweetened coffee or tea, or sparkling water.
- Foods with hidden sugars: sugar can be hiding in many unexpected places, such as salad dressings, sauces, and even bread. Always check the label to see how much sugar has been added.
Which Keto-Friendly Sugar Options Are Available?
If you want to add a little sweetness to your keto diet, there are some sugar substitutes that can help. Here are a few keto-friendly options:
- Erythritol: Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol that is 60-70% as sweet as sugar. It’s found naturally in some fruits and vegetables but can also be produced commercially (2).
- Stevia: Stevia is a plant-based sweetener that is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s commonly used as a sugar substitute in foods and beverages (2).
- Monk fruit extract: Monk fruit extract is another plant-based sweetener that is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar. It’s often used in place of sugar or other sweeteners (2).
- Xylitol: Xylitol is a type of sugar alcohol that is as sweet as sugar but has only about half the calories. It’s found naturally in some fruits and vegetables but can also be produced commercially (2).
The Bottom Line
So, how much sugar can you have on keto? It really depends on your overall carb intake. However, keeping your consumption of both naturally-occurring and added sugars low is a good idea if you want to maintain ketosis.
If you do choose to add sweetness to your diet, there are some keto-friendly sugar substitutes available.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Knowledge about Sugar Sources and Sugar Intake Guidelines in Portuguese Consumers (2020, nih.gov)
- Top 5 Best Keto-Friendly Sweetener (2020, carbmanager.com)