Sweeteners

Sweetener Glycemic Index Type % of which count as Carbs Calories per 100g
Stevia 0 Natural Sweetener 5% 0-20
Inulin 0 Natural Sweetener 1% 150
Monk Fruit 0 Natural Sweetener Up to 25% Up to 100
Tagatose 3 Natural Sweetener 35% 150
Erythritol 1 Sugar Alcohol 5% 23
Xylitol 13 Sugar Alcohol 60% 240
Maltitol 36 Sugar Alcohol 67% 310
Sucralose Up to 80 Artificial Sweetener 0 0
Aspartame 0 Artificial Sweetener 85% 352
Saccharin Variable Artificial Sweetener 94% 364
Sugar 63 Processed 100% 387




Sugar Alcohol – Maltitol:

Commonly used in a lot of chocolate bars labelled as ‘Low Carb’ like Atkins bars. But can also be found in other ‘Low Carb’ products like  Sugar Free Lollies.

Maltitol is the go to option for a lot of manufacturers because it is roughly the same sweetness as sugar (maybe 90% the sweetness of sugar) and cooks pretty similarly to sugar so in order to have no sugar boasting rights on the label, they can just make the straight switch in a lot of cases.

In Australia, Sugar Alcohols are required to be listed on the nutritional label separately to the carbohydrate content because they do not have the same calorie count as regular carbohydrates as only part of the product is digested.

Just because it is listed separately to Carbohydrates, this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t count to your carbs when on a Ketogenic diet. A lot of food manufacturers take advantage of this loophole and plaster ‘Low Carb’ or ‘Sugar Free’ on the packaging which technically is correct but beware not to intake too much of the sweeteners listed in red above as ‘Sugar Free’ and ‘Low Carb’ doesn’t always mean Keto friendly.

As an example, we break down a popular brand of Sugar Free Gummy Bears sold in most supermarkets. The nutrition label reads that each serving of around 3 gummy bears is 10g. In that 10g serving, there is 7.6g of Maltitol and 0g of Sugar. So naturally, they put Sugar Free in big letters across the front of the pack and we see it and think we can stuff our faces with it guilt free but Maltitol has a fairly high Glycemic Index and one serving (3 gummy bears) on a Ketogenic diet should really count as around 5.1g of carbs (7.6g x 67%). And let’s be realistic, in what world is 3 gummy bears a serving?

On nutritional labels in Australia, if the product contains Maltitol you should also see a warning that reads “Excessive consumption may have laxative effect and/or cause stomach discomfort”. If the product is of a jelly form, all sugar alcohols should also have a disclaimer reading the product is ‘Carbohydrate modified’. We spoke to one of the manufacturers to find out what 'Carbohydrate Modified' means and they said it was in relation to Maltitol and that in basic terms it is a carbohydrate but it isn't as it is not fully absorbed like a normal carbohydrate.

So, in a nutshell, should Maltitol be counted towards your carbs for the day? Yes, around 67% of the grams listed can be counted as Carbohydrates. Researched links at the bottom of the page.

Artificial Sweetener – Aspartame:

You will find this in a lot of sugar free drinks and is found in Coca Cola No Sugar and Diet Coke. It can be listed by name or simply by the code 951 which it is listed as in Coca Cola products.

There is a lot of speculation on how much better Aspartame is than Sugar itself. Aspartame is partially digested and up to 85g out of every 100g can be counted as Carbohydrates. However, in the products that use it, you will find a very small amount of this sweetener in there as it is around 180 times sweeter that regular sugar. A 375ml can of Coca Cola has around 40g of Sugar, a 375ml can of Coca Cola No Sugar will have a fraction of gram of Aspartame so unless you are drinking it in excess, in most cases there is not too much to worry about.

Natural Sweeteners:

Stevia is of course the most common natural sweetener we use in most of our foods when we are looking for a sugar alternative. Stevia is generally around 15-30 times sweeter than sugar and there haven’t been too many concerns raised in using it as an alternative to sugar.

There is a lot of speculation on how much better Aspartame is than Sugar itself. Aspartame is partially digested and up to 85g out of every 100g can be counted as Carbohydrates. However, in the products that use it, you will find a very small amount of this sweetener in there as it is around 180 times sweeter that regular sugar. A 375ml can of Coca Cola has around 40g of Sugar, a 375ml can of Coca Cola No Sugar will have a fraction of gram of Aspartame so unless you are drinking it in excess, in most cases there is not too much to worry about.

Sweetener Codes

Acesulphame K - 950
Alitame - 956
Aspartame - 951
Cyclamate - 952
Neotame - 961
Saccharin - 954
Sucralose - 955
Fructose - No Code
Isomalt - 953
Lactilol - 966
Mannitol - 421
Maltitol - 967
Xylitol - 965
Sorbitol - 420
Maltodextrin - No Code
Polydextrose - 1200
Thaumatin - 957

Sweeteners - NSW Health

Australia & New Zealand Food Standards

Nutrition Information User Guide


 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *