The Best Low Glycemic Index Sweeteners That Won’t Elevate Blood Sugars

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gi and keto sweeteners

What is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food causes our blood sugar level to rise. The food is ranked on a scale from 0 to 100.

Foods with a high GI are quickly digested and absorbed causing a rapid rise in blood sugar, which often, but not always, are highly processed carbohydrates and refined sugars.

For example, a saltine cracker has a GI of 72, whereas a skinless baked potato contains a GI of 94! Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed at a slower rate and result in a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are typically higher in fiber, protein, and/or fat. Foods with very little to no carbohydrate (meats, fish, eggs, and avocados) do not have a GI value.

In other words, no carbohydrates = no GI = no effect on blood sugar, insulin, and ketosis.

Choosing foods with a low GI can make it easier to lose weight and feel satiated. Diets focused on low GI foods have been shown to improve insulin resistance, and lower glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Glycemic Index and keto sweeteners

Luckily, low-carb, high-fat diets like the ketogenic diet are centered around foods with a very low GI! But one particular food type continually raising eyebrows is alternative sweeteners. Although the majority of these type of sweeteners have a very low GI, they are by no means created equal (pun intended).

Generally, there are three classifications of sweeteners: natural, sugar alcohols, and synthetic (a.k.a. artificial). Below is a breakdown of common sweeteners and where they fall on the GI. Note that similar to honey and agave, others like erythritol and stevia are also found in nature. That said, I recommend not using the natural sweeteners honey, agave, and maple as these will elevate blood sugar, insulin, and kick you out of ketosis.

GI index chart with sweeteners


What should you look for on sweetener labels?

what's the gi index & best sweeteners — dextrose filler in sweetener

When you purchase a sweetener, aim for the pure form rather than one with fillers, like Splenda and Stevia in the Raw. Avoid being swayed by the product name, and check the ingredients on the packaging.

If you see fillers like maltodextrin or dextrose, put it back on the shelf. These fillers are hidden carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar and potentially result in lower ketones.


Which sweeteners are the best to avoid blood level spikes?

By a long shot, my favorite keto-friendly sugar substitutes are Stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit. These sweeteners are all naturally derived, have little to no effect on blood sugar and insulin, and have minimal negative gastrointestinal or laxative side-effects (which can be experienced with some sugar alcohols).

Allulose is also at the top of the list, and some small studies have shown that Allulose may even help suppress the glycemic response when it is consumed with other types of glycemic foods.

In addition, these sweeteners have not been shown to negatively affect the good bacteria in the gut, which is a concern with synthetic or artificial sweeteners.


Should I use sweeteners on a keto diet?

Most people who follow a keto diet often find the sweet cravings go away, and many don’t use sweeteners at all! However, if you do use sweeteners, choose natural alternatives with the lowest GI, and avoid (or limit) artificial sweeteners as much as possible.

If your goal is weight loss, even natural, zero-carb sweeteners may impair your progress as these can result in cravings and overeating. If you find you have stalled, try eliminating all sweeteners for a couple of weeks and see if this helps.

Otherwise, choose your sweeteners wisely and keep rockin’ that keto lifestyle!


How to read a nutrition label when you’re following keto.

Join The Discussion

Comments 11

  1. deziree

    Lakanto is is by FAR the best tasting of the sugar substitutes. It’s a blend of erythritol and Monk Fruit.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Nice! I’ll have to try that one. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sanjay

      If you try Whey Low sugar (www.wheylow.com), you’ll forget about all sugar substitutes…including Lokanto. It tastes EXACTLY like sugar, has a glycemic index of around 20 (which is extremely safe, even for diabetics), and has 75% fewer calories than sugar. It’s the best tasting sugar I’ve ever had so far, and I’ve tried them all.

      NOTE: I’m NOT an affiliate of Whey Low, nor do I have any commercial interest in this company.

      • Al

        No, a diabetic wants the zero GI of eryhtritol

      • R. Payne

        I’m not sure if you read the nutritional value of Whey Low Sugar but it has 4 grams of carbs per 1 tsp serving with zero fiber which means 4 grams of carbs is the net! That is way too great of carbs for anyone on keto. If you used a cup of Whey Low Sugar in a recipe that would equal 48 teaspoons x’s 4 equals 192 grams of carbs! Eating keto, I’d never consume that kind of sugar. It’s sounds like a good sugar but not for someone eating keto.

  2. Sandra

    Not all people have no gastrointestinal effects from stevia. I’m in the small percentage that do. And it hits me immediately. If I drink a couple sips of Zevia soda with a meal, I have to run to bathroom before I finish eating meal. Ate sugar-Free Baskin Robbins ice cream cup and spent next 12 hours in the bathroom.

    • Angie (Hip2Keto Sidekick)

      Hi Sandra! Darn I’m so sorry to hear that. You are right though. It does not affect everyone the same way. Fortunately I am able to tolerate stevia. Hopefully you find a good substitute that agrees with your tummy ❤

  3. EiLL

    Thank you for the information about Stevia in the Raw. I will no longer purchase or use this product. Best to throw it out instead of sabotaging my keto scores. I do use liquid Stevia from NutriMedix with my daily Cistus Tea as an ongoing treatment for Lyme Disease. I also use (your photo) Now Erythritol in baking, but I don’t bake except for family holidays. I do appreciate the warning of Dextrose, even if it is in amounts that do not create calories.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome! Glad these tips have been helpful!

  4. Lelia Warren

    Monkfruit tastes like the real deal!! My favorite.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      It’s my fave, too!

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