Is coconut sugar keto: spoonful of coconut sugar

Is Coconut Sugar Keto? Everything You Need to Know About Natural Sweeteners

If you're following a low-carb diet — like the keto diet — refined sugary sweets are out of the question.

Here's why: Consuming refined sugar spikes your blood glucose levels. Since your body will prioritise using glucose over other forms of energy (such as ketones or fat), this prevents your body from burning fat as an alternative fuel source [1]. In other words, as long as sugar or high carbs is readily available, your body won't enter the metabolic state known as ketosis

If you have a nagging sweet tooth, the thought of giving up all sugar can be extremely daunting. But here's the silver lining: There are plenty of sweeteners that do not contain refined sugar, carbs or calories and are perfectly suitable to consume on a ketogenic diet

Below, we answer the question, "Is coconut sugar keto?" We investigate why this sweetener is — or is not — safe to consume on the keto diet, and other keto-friendly sweeteners you can safely eat. 

Is Coconut Sugar Keto?

Coconuts beside a bowl of coconut sugar

Unfortunately, coconut sugar is not keto-friendly.

Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of coconut palm trees. After mixing the sap with water, it is boiled as a syrup. From there, the syrup is allowed to dry and crystallise, creating a brown-coloured, granulated sweetener.

Unfortunately, coconut sugar is made up of sucrose, fructose and glucose (types of sugars), and is therefore not suitable for the keto diet. In one serving (4 grams) of coconut sugar, you'll find [2]: 

  • 15 calories 
  • 4 grams of carbohydrates (all of which come from sugar)
  • 0 grams of fibre
  • 0 grams of protein
  • 0 grams of fat 

This nutritional profile is the exact opposite of what you should consume on the keto diet as a keto lifestyle is focused on nutrient density, higher fat and low carb — with many keeping their carbohydrate intake to below 20g per day.

Why Can't You Consume Sugar on Keto?

On the keto diet, your meal plan should be built from 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. Consuming high amounts of fat, with moderate amounts of protein and very little carbs, helps prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking. At the same time, it makes for less glycogen (stored glucose) in your body, thereby forcing it to search for an alternative energy source: fat. 

With plenty of high-quality fats readily available, your body will start to burn fat for fuel. This is the metabolic state known as ketosis — the entire goal of the keto diet

Sugar Substitutes: Sugar Alternatives That are Not Keto-Friendly

If you're wondering, "Is coconut sugar keto?" the answer is a resounding no. 

Unfortunately, many people mistake coconut sugar as a keto-friendly sweetener because it's advertised as a natural sweetener — thereby creating a 'safe alternative' for white sugar. However, just because a sugar is natural doesn't mean it's ideal to consume on keto

There are plenty of natural sugars that are loaded with carbs and, well, sugar, and are therefore excluded from the keto diet. These include:

  • Coconut sugar
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey (even raw honey) 
  • Molasses 
  • Maple sugar 
  • Fructose (fruit juice, dried fruit and most fresh fruits)
  • Brown sugar 
  • Many sugar alcohols (like aspartame or Splenda)

Low-Carb Sugar Alternatives: 4 Keto-Friendly Sweeteners 

There are plenty of low-carb sweeteners that will not spike your blood sugar levels, and are therefore safe to consume on the keto diet. These sweeteners contain zero carbs or sugar, and rank zero on the glycemic index (measuring how much it will raise your blood sugar) [3]. These include: 

1. Stevia 

Stevia is a natural sugar alternative, harvested from the Stevia rebaudiana plant (found in Brazil and Paraguay). Stevia is made sweet by its steviol glycosides, which can be up to 150 times sweeter than sucrose (regular table sugar) [4].

Since Stevia does not have calories or carbohydrates, it has zero effect on your blood glucose levels. Therefore, it's safe to consume for those who suffer from chronically high blood sugar, are diabetic or follow the keto diet

2. Monk Fruit 

Monk fruit sweetener is extracted from the Siraitia grosvenorii plant, which is native to China. Monk fruit can be produced as a granulated or liquid sweetener which is up to 300 times sweeter than regular cane sugar [5]. This is made possible by its mogrosides, or antioxidants that provide a naturally sweet taste. 

Like Stevia, monk fruit contains zero carbs or sugar, making it suitable for the ketogenic diet. In addition, since it has zero impact on your insulin levels, it is commonly recommended by nutritionists for those diagnosed with Type I and Type II diabetes.

3. Erythritol 

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, one which is roughly 60-80% as sweet as regular sugar. Unlike the previous sweeteners on this list, erythritol does contain some traces of carbs and sugar. Erythritol contains 0.2 calories and zero net carbs per teaspoon, but still ranks zero on the glycemic index [6]. In other words, it will not raise your blood sugar levels.

While many sugar alcohols are not included on the keto diet, erythritol has not been shown to have any negative side effects. While other artificial sweeteners (like aspartame) have been shown to cause digestive issues, erythritol does not. 

4. Xylitol 

Like erythritol, xylitol is another keto-friendly sweetener that happens to be a sugar alcohol. Xylitol is extracted from the bark of birch trees, and is commonly used as an additive in gum and candy. 

Xylitol contains 2.4 calories per gram, and ranks 8 on the glycemic index [7]. (Note: While this is the only sweetener on this list that does not have a zero ranking on the glycemic index, it is so low it will have minimal effects on your blood sugar levels.) Unfortunately, xylitol has been known to cause digestive distress in some people, so try to use it sparingly in recipes. It's also toxic to pets, especially dogs, so make sure it's stored safely so your furry friends aren't able to access it.

Keto-Friendly Dessert Recipes 

Is coconut sugar keto: chocolate mug cake with raspberries

If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are plenty of keto-friendly desserts you can eat. These treats contain zero-sugar sweeteners (or no sweetener at all). These include: 

Is Coconut Sugar Keto? No — But There Are Other Alternatives 

So, is coconut sugar keto? The answer is no. Coconut sugar is made up entirely of sugar, containing 15 calories, 4 grams of carbs and zero grams of fat or protein per serving. However, there are plenty of other ways to satisfy your sugar cravings

While coconut sugar is a high-carb, high-sugar sweetener — and therefore not suitable for the keto diet — there are plenty of zero-sugar alternatives available. Monk fruit and stevia are sugar-free, gluten-free, calorie-free and rank zero on the glycemic index. While xylitol and erythritol contain some traces of carbs and sugar, the carb content is so low (nonexistent at net carb level for erythritol) that they are unlikely to negatively impact your blood sugar levels

If you have a sweet tooth but are following the keto diet, there are plenty of low-carb, low-sugar sweets you can consume. Be sure to browse the recipe section of this site for delicious, keto-friendly desserts — without the added sugar

All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.

It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms, and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.

We do, however, recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.

RESOURCES 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

[2] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/3950997/2

[3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/a-good-guide-to-good-carbs-the-glycemic-index

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4890837/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7973523/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5756564/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3982014/

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