Have you ever had a recipe that calls for sugar? And you want to use a keto or paleo sweetener? Check out this easy conversion chart for quick substitutions.
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How to Substitute Sugar in a Recipe
Many people are moving to Paleo, Low Carb and Keto lately. And I think that is a fantastic thing! I happen to combine all three into my perfect little way of eating.
I eat keto 5-6 days a week and then Paleo 1-2 days a week to include a few higher carb days. There are many benefits of a carb up day with keto!
Either way, there usually is some confusion over how to substitute sugar in a recipe!
When it comes to baking especially, here is where it gets tricky. Because, let’s face it, almost everything calls for white or brown sugar.
First, let’s talk about the substitutes to stay away from. Then we can talk about 2 different ways to substitute sugar depending on what your goal is: Paleo (for higher carb, cyclical days) or Low Carb/Keto since they will be different. For the sake of simplicity, we will lump low carb and keto into the same bucket.
Sugar Substitutes That You Should Stay Away From
Saccharine (is that even a thing anymore?)
So, first of all… I am honestly not sure if saccharine is even around anymore. But just in case it is, let’s just agree to stay away from it, shall we?
Saccharine is made in a lab, has a bitter after taste, and – the jury is out on whether it is safe for human consumption (well, not really). Previous studies showed it wasn’t and then there were rebuttals.
A study DID, however, show that saccharine, aspartame and sucralose all may disrupt gut bacteria .
So while the jury is still out on aspartame as well (but is it reall???) some folks believe it to cause some health issues such as cancer, seizures, etc..
Here’s the thing – why risk it? If there is controversy – stay away from it.
As for sucralose – This is a tough one. Do I feel STRONGLY about it? Not really. But here’s the thing with sucralose, it is not a calorie-free sweetener like most people might think. It contains maltodextrin and that not only has calories but also affects blood sugar (from my experience).
Studies have shown it to break down at high temperatures and produce harmful substances and to possibly affect gut bacteria (notice any trends here) .
Substitutes For Sugar For the Keto Diet
The keto sweeteners that I use are below (I have not used allulose so I will not discuss it here):
Stevia sweetened sugar-free maple syrup
Keto Sweetener Discussion
I pretty much use ALL of these ALL the time. None of them affect my blood sugar and that is fantastic.
I use the maple syrup when I need something a little thicker and as a replacement for corn syrup.
Erythritol and monkfruit are each great in combination with liquid stevia. This is the perfect blend to remove any potential after taste that can come with sweeteners.
Lakanto monkfruit (which is what I use most often) is blended with erythritol. On its own, it is incredibly expensive, especially in liquid form. Mixed with erythritol is most common.
Now, erythritol is the most common keto sweetener, especially given that monkfruit is often mixed with it. Learn more about the erythritol sweetener here.
Note – Erythritol is a sugar alcohol and has been known to cause an upset tummy, just an FYI . I have never experienced an upset tummy with erythritol, however.
Then there is Swerve. I use Swerve occasionally, but is isn't my top choice. The reason I do not use it more is that the ingredients are erythritol, oligosaccharides and natural flavor. I don’t know what natural flavor means. This is a general term that can sometimes mean a whole plethora of things.
Substitutes For Sugar For the Paleo Diet or Keto Carb Up Days
The Paleo stance on sugar and sugar substitutes is that 1) added sugar is not allowed and 2) and sugar substitute must be natural and whole. Meaning no sugar alcohols and no artificial sugars. Most anything else is free game.
Below are my favorite Paleo sugar substitutes.
The 3 most common “wet” sweeteners are:
Real Maple Syrup
Paleo Sweetener Discussion
I’ve used all three of these, but my goto favorite is maple syrup. I only use molasses in cookies like ginger snaps and things that can handle the strong taste that comes with it.
Maple syrup is the most subtle, but perhaps you might think honey is! I am simply not a honey fan so I rarely use it.
The other common Paleo sugar substitutes are:
Dates and Date Sugar
I have never used date sugar. However, I have used dates crushed/blended. Not a date fan all on their own, but they are GREAT binders and sweeteners to use in things like Paleo granola bars.
I have used Coconut Sugar in baking and it works well as a substitute as well.
And lastly, stevia! We talked about that in the keto section, so refer to that above.
How to Substitute Sugar Conversion Chart
(right click, save as)
Whether you are Paleo or Keto/Low Carb, sometimes you need to experiment a little and find what works best for you!
But there WILL be something that can work for your taste buds and diet!