Do all sugar substitutes get a green light on low-carb diets? There are various natural sugar substitutes available like monk fruit and sugar alcohols. One is stevia, which is produced from a natural plant of the same name. You might be wondering if various varieties like Stevia in the Raw is OK to consume while on low-carb diets like Keto. This is a low-calorie / high-fat diet that requires low daily carbohydrate intake to stay in the state of “ketosis.” It’s important to take a closer look at stevia in the raw keto.
Fun Fact: One cup of white sugar has 200g of carbs, which is 4x the daily amount allowed on Keto and Atkins.
Some health experts criticize low-carb diets that allow any low-carb food. For example, diet sodas are generally considered Keto-friendly because they’re they have 0g of carbs. However, besides not having any sugar they have no nutritional value due to the various unhealthy ingredients. In the case of sugar substitutes, they’re sometimes based on real plants but have little nutritional value after being highly processed. That’s why it’s important to weigh the difference between natural stevia and sugar substitutes. This can help you determine not only if it’s Keto-friendly but whether or not you should be consuming it from the get-go.
What Exactly Is Stevia?
it’s a 0-calorie sweetener that’s extracted/process from the plant with the same name. It’s one of the many sugar substitutes on the market. Stevia is a natural sweetener yet also causes some possible side-effects and risks that you should know about.
One of the main features of stevia leaves is they’re around 200x sweetener versus white sugar. While it’s been trending in recent years people have been using the plant as a sweetener and supplement for hundreds of years.
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) only classifies high-quality extracts from the plant to be safe for humans to consume. The FDA hasn’t approved stevia leaves for food additives or unprocessed stevia extracts.
So, it’s important to research specific products before you consider purchasing a particular stevia product like Stevia in the Raw. The FDA recommends consuming a maximum of 4mg of stevia extracts for each kg of body weight. It’s not believed purified stevia will trigger unwanted side-effects.
many studies done in the past couple of decades have shown that stevia has possible unwanted side-effects. However, several of them have been proven to not exist. Some possible side-effects are connected to consuming stevia including:
- Food allergy
- Digestion problems
- Kidney damage
- Low blood sugar
There’s no guarantee that you’ll experience these symptoms if you consume stevia. However, if you have various health conditions you should certainly talk to your doctor before you start consuming stevia. This can help to prevent various unwanted side-effects.
Other people are at greater risk of experiencing symptoms by consuming stevia. This is due to its providing lower blood pressure and blood sugar. It can also cause “interactions” with certain medicines. It’s critical to get a thumbs up from your doctor before you start consuming stevia to make sure you won’t have any negative effects.
There are also various risk factors including conditions/medications involving:
Stevia in the Raw: Keto-friendly?
Stevia in the Raw is one of the various stevia products on the market. It’s a 0-calorie natural sweetener that is made from stevia extracts. The extract is taken from the stevia plant’s leaf. It then gets purified to make a sweetener that’s up to 400x sweetener versus cane sugar.
it’s combined with a “bulking agent.” this is due to the sweetener being so sweet. This makes it easier to use as a sugar substitute and allows for easier measuring/pouring. This is a plus since it makes it easier to consume the natural sweetener.
The product is made into a zero-calorie sweetener by blending with a corn-based carb. This allows you to get the same sweetness as sugar, minus the carbs, which is ideal when you’re on a low-carb diet like Keto or Atkins.
Technically this product has 4 calories per serving. However, based on FDA guidelines it’s basically “0-calorie.” This also makes it low-carb, which is critical for Keto and similar diets.
One of the plusses of this product is you can get the same sweetness in about 10-ounces of Stevia in the Raw as a 5-pound bag of white sugar. This is due to the natural sweetener being hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. However, since it’s 0-carb you get the same benefits minus the carbs.
When selecting foods on low-carb diets it’s important to go with low glycemic index (GI) foods. This means that they take longer to cause blood sugar levels to increase. It’s more practical to measure sugar substitutes by their glycemic load (GIL).
Stevia in the Raw can help to lower the GLs of foods you consume. So not only is the sweetener itself low-carb, but it can also reduce how fast other foods affect your blood sugar level. This is a plus if you want to prevent consuming high-carb foods that cause blood sugar spikes.
What’s Wrong with Sugar on Low-carb Diets?
This is the main issue that stevia addresses. The main objective of diets like Keto and Atkins is to stay low-carb. This usually means consuming a maximum of 50g of carbs per day. Sometimes it’s lower like Phase 1 of Atkins/South Beach and some modified Keto programs.
It’s critical to go low-carbon on these diets so your body goes into a state of “ketosis.” This causes your body to stop getting energy from carbs. It first uses up all the available/stored blood sugar. Then the body starts breaking down stored fat to get energy.
This process isn’t the body’s first choice of energy since carbs are the first option. So, your body can experience something called “keto flu” as it switches from carbs to fat for energy. These low-carb diets are producing a similar effect on fasting.
However, the main difference between fasting is low-carb/high-fat diets provide energy through healthy fats. This includes foods like fatty fish, olive oil, avocados, nuts/seeds, full-fat dairy, etc. Fats have 2x more calories than protein/carbs so they’re much more filling. This helps to keep you full between meals and less likely to binge during meals.
The main issue with sugar is that it’s not only high-carb but also highly-processed. The form is much different from sugarcane juice, which is freshly extracted from the plant. This is true of all types of sugar including white, brown, and raw. While raw sugar is closer to the original sugarcane it’s still high-carb.
If you consume high-carb foods this kicks your body out of the state of “ketosis.” You then start getting energy from carbs again, which is a problem on low-carb diets. Sugar substitutes like stevia are a better option because they’re low-carb. However, it’s a good idea to go with high-purity options like stevia in the raw keto.