sugar conversion chart

Sugar substitute conversion chart

Have you ever had a recipe that calls for sugar and you want a replacement? This easy sugar substitute conversion chart can help!

Sugar Conversion Chart for Paleo and Keto

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How to Substitute Sugar in a Recipe

Many people are moving to paleo, low carb, and keto lately.  I think that is a fantastic thing! I happen to combine all three into my perfect little way of eating.

I eat carnivore/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

These should be common knowledge at this point, but you still see them lurking around, especially aspartame and sucralose. Before we even start, let's mention that a study showed that saccharine, aspartame, and sucralose all may disrupt gut bacteria [1].

Now we can look at them individually.

Saccharine

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 aftertaste, and the jury is out on whether it is safe for human consumption (well, not really).  Some studies show that saccharine increases the risk for diabetes, obesity, liver issues, renal issues, and cancer [7].

Aspartame

Studies suggest that aspartame itself can be more hazardous than the original use of sugar. Not only that but it has been shown to potentially be associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity, mood disorders, depression, autism, and more [6].

The World Health Organization has finally labeled aspartame as possibly carcinogenic to humans (IARC Group 2B). What boggles my brain is that people are still making excuses as to why aspartame is fine. Are diet soda and gum worth it?

Sucralose

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, which has calories and also affects blood sugar (from my experience).

Studies have shown it to break down at high temperatures and produce harmful substances, and possibly affect gut bacteria (notice any trends here) [3]. The studies have mixed results, in the end. Again, this is a cause that should just make you pause for a moment.

Substitutes For Sugar in the Keto Diet

Below are the sugar substitutes that I use in a keto or low carb lifestyle. I used to use erythritol mostly and now I have switched to allulose.

  • Erythritol
  • Monkfruit
  • Stevia
  • Swerve
  • Allulose

Keto Sweetener Discussion

I pretty much use all of these most of the time.   None of them affect my blood sugar and that is fantastic. Allulose has quickly become my favorite.

Erythritol and monk fruit are each great in combination with liquid stevia.  This is the perfect blend to remove any potential aftertaste that can come with sweeteners. 

Lakanto monkfruit is blended with erythritol.  On its own, it is incredibly expensive, especially in liquid form.  Mixed with erythritol is the 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.

Erythritol-education-003

Note – Erythritol is a sugar alcohol and has been known to cause an upset tummy for some.  I have never experienced an upset tummy with erythritol, however.

Then there is Swerve.  I use Swerve occasionally, but it 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.

Finally, let's talk about allulose! This was the sweetener that I warmed up to and has quickly turned out to be my favorite. You can read much more about it in the article Is allulose keto?

In short, allulose naturally occurs in a few fruits, including figs and jackfruit. It is a monosaccharide and has the same chemical formula as fructose. It is a different shape, therefore making it indigestible. There is a zero glucose response since the body does not absorb allulose.

Best Low Carb Sweetener

The Besti brand is what I have switched to now and their allulose and monk fruit blend is what I use in most of my recipes now. There is no aftertaste and it is the perfect amount of sweetness.

Substitution Pro Tip

You can use sugar free maple syrup as a replacement for corn syrup.  I bet you didn't know that!

Substitutes For Sugar For the Paleo Diet or Keto Carb Up Days

The Paleo stance on sugar and sugar substitutes is that added sugar is not allowed and sugar substitutes 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.

  • Real Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Blackstrap Molasses

Paleo Sweetener Discussion

I’ve used all three of these, but my 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.  

Other Common Paleo Sugar Substitutes

A few other common paleo sweeteners are below.

  • Dates and Date Sugar
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Stevia  

I have never used date sugar.  However, I have used dates crushed/blended.  I am 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

Here is a simple graphic to save that shows the most common substitution ratios. I tend to decrease these just a bit, but many people like them as is.

(right click, save as)

Sugar Conversion Chart for Paleo and Low Carb

Conclusion

Whether you are paleo or keto/low carb, it is good to be informed about sweeteners and sugar substitutes. Sometimes you need to experiment a little and find what works best for you,

Trust me, there will be something that can work for your taste buds and diet!

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25231862 & https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saccharin-good-or-bad

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/aspartame-side-effects

[3] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sucralose-good-or-bad

[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/xylitol-101

[5] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/swerve-sweetener

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8227014/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6843803/

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