We all know keto diet for being a low-carb meal plan, so where does sugar fit in and can you still eat it on this diet? Do you have to say goodbye to it forever doing keto, or is it ok to keep eating the sweet stuff?
How does the keto diet work?
When you start a keto diet you stop using glucose as energy, and instead start using fat, which is a state called ketosis. This is where our body converts fat into ketones, a group of molecules that work as a fuel for your body.
Getting into ketosis is not easy, and it can take a while to reach this state, and then maintaining it can be lot harder - and just one high-carb food can be enough to stop the process of burning fat, taking you out of ketosis and switching your body back to burning glucose instead of fat.
So that said, I wouldn't recommend eating sugar on a keto diet, since it's going to stop the ketosis process, and won't allow you to burn fat like you intend to.
There is a great guide to the keto diet for beginners here.
Don't let sugar addiction hold you back
If you are considering the keto diet, you need to make sure that sugar isn't going to be the thing that holds you back. You might want to look at your current diet and see how much sugar you're eating beforehand, as it's addictive stuff and can cause quite powerful cravings.
I have a blog here which takes you through the complete process of quitting sugar which you might want to do if you struggle with sugar addiction and want to do the keto diet. One of the added benefits of quitting sugar is often weight loss too, so cutting sugar out of your diet is a win/win!
Once you are in ketosis, you'll be mainly eating protein and fat, with very few carbs and sugar, and so just in case here are a few tips on dealing with sugar:
Check the labels: Just because a food says that it is low-carb, and low-sugar doesn't mean that it is necessarily true, keep an eye specially on foods that come with sauces, since these ones are normally full of flours and sugar.
Just because the sweetener is natural it doesn't mean it's ok on keto: Avoid sweeteners like honey, or dates, yes, they are natural and have a high amount of nutrients, but both are also high in carbs.
Don't trust any type of sugar-free product: A highly used sweetener is maltodextrin, this one has the same amount of carbs as sugar.
So what are some good sweetener alternatives on the keto diet?
If you really crave something sweet whist on the keto diet, rather than reaching for something that's going to knock you out of ketosis, you could try using artificial sweetened products including Stevia, as this natural alternative contains little to no carbs or calories.
Another alternative is Xylitol. This is a sugar alcohol that contains just 4 grams of carbs per teaspoon, just be careful to use it in moderation since it can have gastrointestinal side effects including increased wind!
The bottom line
If you are serious about trying the keto diet you'll need to cut out sugar. If you don't eat much sugar then that shouldn't be a problem, but if you regularly eat and drink sweet foods then it can be an extra hurdle you need to overcome when you cut it out of your diet.
If you are about to start a keto diet, and want to reduce your sugar intake, there are lots of blogs on this website with tips and advice and if you'd like some extra help you can sign up to my 21 Day Sugar Detox Program here.