Keto Sweetener Conversion Chart For Erythritol, Monk Fruit, Stevia, & More

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Before you start converting sweeteners, read my guide about sugar substitutes and keto sweeteners here — it’s crucial for understanding how they work and has a big section on baking. The most common question I get, though, is how to replace sweeteners in keto recipes. So, I created a sweetener conversion chart, as well as an easy calculator to do it for you. I’ll also talk about erythritol substitutes (the most common question), and the recipe differences when using erythritol vs stevia, monk fruit vs stevia, and allulose vs erythritol.

If you’re overwhelmed about which keto sweetener to try first, I highly recommend starting with Besti Monk Fruit Sweetener With Allulose! It tastes and bakes just like sugar, but unlike other brands of monk fruit, it also dissolves and browns like sugar as well. It’s great for a keto diet and you don’t have to sacrifice taste.


Join 300,000+ others to get a FREE printable conversion chart for keto sweeteners!

How To Substitute Sweeteners In Recipes

If you need to replace a sugar-free sweetener, try to replace it with one that has a similar volume and sweetness level, and the same type (liquid, granulated, or powdered). This is the safest way to get a positive end result. Use the sweetener conversion chart or calculator below for the exact amount.

If you can’t, the way to do it will vary depending on the recipe. Here are some general tips:

  • To replace a granulated sweetener with a concentrated one, replace that bulk with something else. If you are baking, this would be whatever flour the recipe uses. As long as that flour is not drying (like coconut flour), it should turn out okay. But, you will likely need a little more of the converted amount of concentrated sweetener, to account for the extra (not sweet) flour. If the flour is drying, like coconut flour, you’ll need more liquid as well to compensate.
  • To replace a granulated sweetener with a liquid one, add more of the dry ingredients in the recipe to absorb the extra liquid.
  • To replace a concentrated sweetener with a granulated one, add more of the wet ingredients in the recipe to balance out the extra bulk from the granulated sweetener.

Are you seeing the pattern? There are no guarantees when replacing sweeteners of different types. These tips are a guideline, but not guaranteed to work. At least this should give you a general idea.

You want to try to maintain the same consistency of the batter or dough that you are working with, while keeping a similar level of sweetness. It’s not always easy!

There are various sources out there for converting among sugar-free sweeteners. The problem is that I have yet to see a chart that lists many or most of them in one place, in a concise way. I put together a chart that you can use as your go-to place for sweetener conversion.

Want a printable version of the sugar-free sweetener conversion chart? Sign up below and I’ll send it to you!

What’s Not In The Sweetener Conversion Chart

  • Natural sweeteners that use sugars as bulking agents – Examples of such bulking agents are dextrose and maltodextrin. These raise blood sugar and are often GMOs.
  • Natural sugar sweeteners – Granulated natural sugar-based sweeteners (like coconut sugar) can be used 1:1 like sugar, so they require no conversion. Keep in mind they do still raise blood glucose levels. Most other natural sugar-based sweeteners are syrups (such as maple syrup, honey, agave, etc.), which are also excluded for the reasons below.
  • Keto liquid sweeteners and syrups – These are excluded because they do not easily convert from granulated table sugar. The liquid aspect would require other modifications to be made to a recipe using table sugar. This can sometimes be true for converting among various granulated sweeteners as well, but not as often as when converting between granulated and liquid.
  • Confectioners and brown sugar replacements – These are obviously specialized for certain uses, so there isn’t a point to convert regular sugar to them. They are not included in the sweetener conversion chart.

You can still read about these sweeteners and their sweetness level compared to sugar in my Sugar Substitutes post.

Sweetener Conversion Calculator

I also created a calculator that does the work for you, so you don’t have to figure it out from the sweetener conversion chart!

Conversions in the chart and calculator come from product packaging or experience.

Comparing The Most Common Sweeteners

You can learn about what the most common keto-friendly sweeteners are and how they work in baking in my Sugar Substitutes post, which is why I recommend reading that first. But below are specific comparisons people ask about the most. All of them are keto friendly, but there are differences in their sweetness and baking properties.

Erythritol and stevia are totally different, but there are some commonalities because of how stevia is typically sold:

  • Erythritol is a sugar alcohol derived from corn via fermentation, whereas stevia extract comes from stevia leaves and has a very concentrated sweetness from the stevia plant.
  • Erythritol is 70% as sweet as sugar. Stevia is 100 to 300 times as sweet as sugar. This makes plain erythritol easier to use than plain stevia.
  • Stevia can have a bitter aftertaste, especially in its pure form. Erythritol has very little to no aftertaste, but may show a mild cooling effect, similar to mint.
  • Both erythritol and stevia have 0 glycemic index, 0 calories, and 0 grams net carbs.
  • Many brands of stevia are actually blended with erythritol to make a 1:1 sugar substitute. These will have similar properties to plain erythritol, but sweeter. However, some brands of stevia are pure extract (very concentrated) and some 1:1 brands are blended with maltodextrin or dextrose instead (these are other names for sugar — not good).

Monk fruit and stevia have more in common than erythritol and stevia do:

  • Also like stevia powder, monk fruit based products tend to be mixed with other sweeteners or bulking agents. This is in part because pure monk fruit extract is hard to come by and expensive, but also because blending makes monk fruit easier to use.
  • Both monk fruit and stevia extracts come in powder or liquid form when you buy them concentrated. They can be part of granulated sweetener blends, though.
  • Both monk fruit and stevia have 0 glycemic index, 0 calories, and 0 grams net carbs.
  • In contrast to stevia, monk fruit extract has less bitter aftertaste. This makes it a good choice for people sensitive to the aftertaste of stevia.

Allulose, erythritol, and monk fruit are all pretty different from one another, but monk fruit is often blended with erythritol or (less commonly but far superior) with allulose.

  • Because monk fruit extract is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and difficult to use on its own, most brands of monk fruit are blended with erythritol and will have erythritol-like properties. However, Besti Monk Fruit Allulose Blend is blended with allulose instead, so will have (much more desirable) allulose-like properties.
  • Allulose and erythritol have the same sweetness (70% as sweet as sugar), and both have a pleasant taste, with no bitterness. They are equivalent on the sweetener conversion chart.
  • Erythritol has a slight cooling sensation, whereas allulose does not.
  • Even though allulose and erythritol have similar sweetness, they are structurally very different. Allulose is a rare sugar (in the same family as glucose, lactose, etc.) so it actually tastes and acts like sugar, but because we can’t metabolize it, it still has 0 grams net carbs. Erythritol is a polyol (sugar alcohol), so it behaves less like sugar.
  • Erythritol, like other sugar alcohols, is more likely to cause stomach upset than allulose. Monk fruit on its own does not cause this either, but brands of monk fruit that contain erythritol (as most have) can.
  • Allulose is excellent at locking in moisture, which means it creates moist, soft baked goods. Erythritol tends to be more drying. Pure monk fruit extract is neutral.
  • Allulose browns, caramelizes, and dissolves like sugar. Erythritol does none of these things. Adding monk fruit to either of them does not change how they behave.
  • Erythritol (and erythritol blends of monk fruit) can crystallize, leading to a gritty texture. Allulose and pure monk fruit extract do not.
  • Monk fruit, erythritol, and monk fruit all have 0 calories, 0 grams net carbs, and 0 glycemic index.

Erythritol and xylitol are both sugar alcohols, so they are in the same structural family. They are similar but have some key differences:

  • Erythritol is 70% as sweet as sugar, whereas xylitol measures 1:1 with sugar.
  • Erythritol has 0 glycemic index, but xylitol has a slightly elevated glycemic index of 7. This is still very good compared to table sugar, which has a glycemic index of 65, but is less ideal for keto or diabetics.
  • Xylitol does not have the cooling aftertaste that erythritol has, and in general tastes more similar to sugar than erythritol does.

Natural vs. Artificial Sweeteners

  • Sweetener blends – These are usually designed to measure 1:1 with sugar, which is very convenient. Most brands of monk fruit and stevia are actually erythritol blends, so they will behave the same way, but they are sweeter. If you are replacing erythritol in a recipe with a 1:1 blend, use 3/4 cup of the blend for every 1 cup of erythritol. (Or use 1 1/3 cups erythritol to replace each cup of the blend if converting in the other direction.) The sweetener conversion chart and calculator above make this easy to do. Monk fruit allulose blend will have the same conversion, but will yield better, more allulose-like results (see the Allulose vs. Monk Fruit vs. Erythritol section above).
  • Allulose – The best erythritol substitute in my opinion! In fact, most of the time the results are even better, since allulose dissolves and browns better.
  • Xylitol – This won’t solve the issue if you can’t tolerate sugar alcohols, but works if you just ran out of erythritol.
  • Pure Monk Fruit Or Stevia – These are very concentrated without being part of a blend, so only recommended for recipes where the bulk aspect of sweetener isn’t needed, such as drinks. Avoid substituting them for erythritol in keto baking.

Pinterest-Friendly Sweetener Conversion Chart

The above natural low carb sweeteners chart can be helpful, and I hope you’ll bookmark this page to refer back to it. Another convenient way to save the conversions is to use this Pinterest-friendly image:

Ingredients: 1 cup water, divided 2 1/2 tbsp plain gelatin 2/3 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener 2/3 cup Lakanto (or Bocha Sweet, xylitol, or allulose) 1/8 tsp cream of tartar Pinch salt 1 tsp vanilla extract 10 oz marshmallows 2 cups HighKey Frosted Vanilla High Protein Cereal 2 Bag Ketonia Coconut Macaroons, crumbled 3 Tbsp butter, melted and browned Instructions: For Marshmallows: Line an 8×8 pan with parchment or waxed paper and lightly grease the paper. Attach the whisk attachment to a stand mixer. Pour half of the water into the bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand while preparing the syrup. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining water, the sweeteners, the cream of tartar, and the salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sweeteners. Using a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer, bring the mixture to 237F to 240F. Remove from heat. Turn the stand mixer on low and slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl. Once all of the syrup is mixed in, add the extract. Turn the stand mixer to medium-high and beat until the mixture is lukewarm, thickened, and white. This can take 5 to 15 minutes. Working quickly, pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Let sit for 4 to 6 hours, until the top is no longer tacky to the touch. Flip out onto a cutting board and cut to the desired size. Dust with powdered sweetener, if desired. Let sit for a day exposed to the air to dry out a bit, then store in a covered container. Once marshmallows have rested, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to bubble furiously, swirl pan till butter turns a nice nutty brown. Turn to low and add marshmallows, stir till melted, and remove from heat. Add 2 cups of HighKey cereal and coconut macaroons to a large bowl. Working quickly and using a spatula, stir marshmallows to bowl. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Erythritol (Ah-REETH-ra-tall) is currently one of the most popular sugar alternatives. It’s promoted as the perfect “natural” zero-calorie sweetener, being tooth-friendly, well-tolerated in the digestive system (unlike other polyols), and offering no effect on blood sugar levels. On the other hand, it is less sweet than table sugar and creates a cooling sensation when dissolved in the mouth—which feels like we are sucking a mint (without the mint flavor).

On my quest to discover all sweeteners containing erythritol across the country, I found over a hundred products. Most are blends with another sweetener.

Sweetener manufacturers combine ingredients to make their products look and taste like table sugar. Blends of erythritol with high–intensity sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, or sucralose can fix the reduced sweetness of erythritol. Some products have a mix of erythritol with low-digestible sweeteners, such as xylitol and inulin, which minimizes the cooling effect caused by pure erythritol.

In this blog post, we explore twenty pure erythritol products sold in two forms: granulated and powdered.

Please refer to my previous blog post 60 Facts About Erythritol to learn its source, production methods, appearance, taste, degree of sweetness, digestion & metabolism, culinary roles, and safety.

All twenty products listed in this post contain 99.5 percent pure erythritol. Their crystals might be coarse or fine.

  • Coarse crystal is labeled with terms such as granular, granulated, or crystalline erythritol. It looks like regular table sugar.
  • Fine crystal is labeled as powdered or confectioners erythritol. As the name implies, it looks a lot like powdered sugar. Because it has smaller crystals, it dissolves more easily than granulated erythritol. We can use it as a powdered sugar replacement in frosting and for a smoother consistency in soft, spoonable desserts such as mousse.

Since granulated erythritol tends to be less expensive and is widely available, you might want to make your own powdered erythritol by pulsing the granulated in a food processor or coffee grinder.

When replacing table sugar with pure erythritol, keep in mind that it is 30 to 40 percent less sweet than table sugar. Taste preference varies so start with less and add more until you reach your optimum sweetness level.

  • Measuring cups? Use 1 1/3 cups of erythritol to replace one cup of sugar. Since taste is subjective, you might have to add a little more, such as 1 1/2 cups instead.
  • Measuring teaspoons (tsp)? 1 1/3 tsp of erythritol = 1 tsp of table sugar. Start with that proportion, but if that’s not enough to you, try 1 1/2 teaspoons instead.

Except for two brands, all erythritol products sold in stores are made in China from non-genetically modified (non-GMO) corn.

  • Made in China from non-GMO corn: The vast majority.
  • Made in the United States from corn: Hoosier Hill Farm Erythritol
  • Made in France from apples and pears: Get Chia Erythritol.

Pros of Erythritol

A zero calorie sweetener because most of the amount we ingest is not metabolized.

A natural sweetener because it is “derived from a natural source” and “is found in nature”.

Looks and tastes a lot like table sugar.

Non-hygroscopic (does not absorb moisture) so you can store on the table in a sugar bowl.

Stable at high temperatures and a wide pH range, so use anywhere table sugar is used.

Makes the taste of other sweeteners more “sugar-like,” as it is a flavor enhancer.

as it does not cause tooth decay.

Acts as an antioxidant, protecting us against diseases, since it is a free radical scavenger.

with the least negative digestive effects, such as laxation and bloating.

Zero glycemic index as it is not metabolized into glucose; no impact on blood sugar levels.

Zero “net carbs” as it offers 4 grams of non-digestible carbohydrates per serving (4 grams).

Cons of Erythritol

Not a 1:1 sugar replacement: It is almost 30 percent less sweet than table sugar, so expect to add 1.3 times more than table sugar to get the same sweetness.

Digestive issues: Be prepared for possible digestive discomfort if you over-consume, ingest quickly in concentrated form, or eat by itself in an empty stomach.

Cooling sensation: The cooling effect erythritol causes when dissolved in the mouth is an undesirable distraction, but it may be a positive effect if we have it with mint flavor or beverages. This effect is an issue if we eat it by itself or sprinkle it over our foods.

No browning: Erythritol does not undergo browning during baking and cooking. We can bake with erythritol as we would with sugar—mix it with dry ingredients or cream. It won’t brown, but it will result in soft and crispy baked goods.

Cost: Expect to pay 8 to 40 times more than table sugar—we have to consider that table sugar is sweeter so, not only is it much cheaper, we need to use less than erythritol to get the same sweetness level. To draw a comparison: the cost of erythritol varies from 4 to 20 dollars per pound, and table sugar is an average of 75 cents per pound. Powdered erythritol tends to be more expensive—quickly make your own powdered version by simply grinding granulated erythritol.

Mixing in water: Erythritol’s crystals do not dissolve quite as well as table sugar. Powdered erythritol dissolves more easily than granulated erythritol.

Recrystallization in cold temperatures: Foods and beverages sweetened with erythritol may form crunchy crystals when refrigerated or frozen. To minimize recrystallization, use powdered erythritol instead of granulated in your recipe, or just skip storage by eating it right away.

: Erythritol tends to form lumps even when we think we properly stored it in an airtight container or resealable bag. That does not mean it is unsuitable for eating. By storing erythritol in your freezer or refrigerator, you avoid clumping.

At the time of publishing, the cost of a pound of pure granulated erythritol varies from 4 to 20 dollars in stores across the United States. Please scroll down to see them all.

What’s Out in Stores in 2023?

I invite you to browse my erythritol page to keep up to date with the latest products and brands to hit stores. Any brand of pure erythritol we find in stores across the country is:

Now Real Food granulated

Now Real Food powdered

Health Garden packets

Now Real Food Organic

Tell it Like it Is

Erythritol is promoted as natural, zero-calories, tooth-friendly, zero effect on blood sugar levels, well tolerated by our gut, plus it looks and tastes like table sugar. Here are some facts to consider:

For all erythritol blends in stores, go here

For blends with stevia, go here

For blends with monk fruit, go here

For blends with sugars, go here

For 1:1 Sugar Replacement with erythritol, go here

WhatSugar Blog is reader-supported. When you buy through Amazon links on this website, this blog may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you—A one-woman business relying on Amazon affiliate commission to avoid ads.

Do you love the sweetness of sugar but need to be mindful of your blood sugar levels or need to reduce your sugar/carb intake? Well, here’s an incredible alternative sweetener to solve your dilemma: monk fruit.

What Is Monk Fruit?

A member of the gourd family (which includes squashes and melons), monk fruit is indeed a fruit. It grows in southern China and northern Thailand and has been used traditionally for centuries in Eastern medicine as a remedy for colds and as a digestive aid. Some 13th century Buddhist monks were the first to cultivate the fruit, which is the reason for its name.

Today, monk fruit is grown mainly to extract its juice for use as a sweetener in both liquid and powder forms. In 2010, it was approved by the FDA here in the U.S.

Remarkably, monk fruit is about 150-200 times sweeter than table sugar, but it isn’t absorbed in the upper GI tract. Thus, it has no calories and doesn’t raise blood glucose levels like sugar, according to research.

What’s more, unlike other non-nutritive sweeteners that can cause gas, bloating, and digestive issues, monk fruit sweeteners have no known side effects and have a much milder aftertaste, if any at all.

You can use monk fruit sweetener just like you would sugar, adding it to beverages, sauces, dressings, smoothies, and cereals, and in your favorite desserts and baked goods. It’s compatible with a host of diets such as ketogenic, vegan, candida, paleo, low carb, low sugar, and non-GMO.

While nothing can fully duplicate sugar, monk fruit comes mighty close. Here’s what you need to know about this impressive natural sweetener!

About Monk Fruit Sweeteners

In its pure form, monk fruit has an intense sweetness with a mild licorice-like aftertaste. For those reasons, you’ll rarely find a sweetener with monk fruit only. Most brands blend it with other natural sweeteners such as erythritol to balance monk fruit’s sweetness and round out its taste to more closely resemble that of sugar.

Erythritol is the favored sweetener to use with monk fruit because it doesn’t cause digestive issues the way other sugar alcohols do such as xylitol or sorbitol. Both monk fruit and erythritol have anti-inflammatory properties too, whereas artificial sweeteners can be highly inflammatory and disrupt gut microflora.

Baking With Monk Fruit Sweetener

Bakers rejoice! Monk fruit sweeteners are stable at high temperatures, which makes them ideal for cookies, muffins, cakes, and bread.

Yet, learning how to substitute monk fruit for sugar in baked goods is a trial-and-error process. Sugar has its own unique qualities that factor into the volume and texture of your baked goods. When you swap sugar for monk fruit sweetener, your recipes may turn out slightly different in taste and texture.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Most monk fruit brands offer a standard dry granulated blend and a liquid monk fruit syrup. Additionally, some brands formulate sweeteners specifically for baking and may even offer a blend that duplicates the taste and feel of brown sugar. Give them a try. They work beautifully!
  • If you dissolve the monk fruit in the wet ingredients, it also helps to avoid crystallization.
  • Match liquid and dry uses of sweeteners. If your recipe calls for maple syrup or honey, opt for a monk fruit syrup. If it calls for white sugar, use the basic dry monk fruit sweetener.
  • If you like to experiment using different types of flours or blends of flours, monk fruit sweetener works exceptionally well with almond, spelt, arrowroot, tapioca, flaxseed, and spelt flours. For a really dry flour like coconut flour, make sure you include plenty of wet ingredients!

Powdered monk fruit and monk fruit syrups provide even more options when it comes to desserts.

Powdered monk fruit sweetener has the perfect texture for making sugar-free glazes and frostings, as well as adding visual appeal as a topping on baked goods such a ginger cookies or fudge brownies. Truly, it will be hard to tell the difference from powdered sugar!

Monk fruit syrup is ideal for raw desserts, mousses, and puddings. You can even find maple-flavored monk fruit sweetener. It tastes remarkably more like conventional sugary maple syrup than real maple syrup. It’s ideal for waffles and pancakes and should please the kiddos.

Beverages, Dressings, Cereals, and Sauces

Look for monk fruit sweetener packets to carry with you. When you’re on the go, you can sweeten your hot drinks or iced beverages with it. Start with half a packet and add more as needed.

To offer balance to salad dressings, you can include either the liquid or powder to add a note of sweetness. They work really well in marinara and other sauces, as well.

Don’t forget to try them on your morning cereal. If you like making overnight oats with chia seeds and plant-based milk, monk fruit sweetener is perfect!

Without the excess calories or blood sugar spikes of regular sugar, monk fruit sweetener appears to offer a measured way (pun intended) to enjoy a little bit of life’s sweetness. That said, experts suggest enjoying it moderately.

Vegan Soft n’ Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, mix 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed with 1/2 cup water. Set aside.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 4 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal, oat flour, almond flour, rolled oats, monk fruit sweeteners, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice. Stir in the raisins and chopped walnuts.
  • To the flaxseed and water mixture, add the plant-based milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  • Combine and mix the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  • Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.
  • Allow to cool for five minutes on the tray before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely.

Sugar adds a delicious sweetness to recipes. But for some people, sugar has more calories than they want to consume. This article looks at natural sugar substitutes for baking as well as other natural sweeteners.

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Are you concerned about the negative health effects of too much sugar? Sugar substitutes are one way to lower your risk.

Let’s take a look at all the options when using no-calorie sweeteners for baking.

What can you use instead of sugar in baking?

If you love baking cakes, cookies, or other sweets, a sugar substitute for baking can come in handy. Learn which sugar substitutes for baking are recommended here. I’ve made a list of popular sugar substitutes, including their sweetening power, and tips for using them as sugar substitutes for baking.

Erythritol – Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol that is commonly used as a sugar substitute. It is about 70% as sweet as sucrose and has a caloric content of about ⅓ that of sucrose. Erythritol occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods and is also produced commercially from glucose by fermentation with yeasts. It comes in granular or powdered forms. The powdered variety is best for making icing.

Xylitol – Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is derived from plants. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as in the birch tree. Xylitol has a sweetness that is similar to sucrose, but it does not have the same caloric content. Xylitol is often used as a sugar substitute in food products. Note: Xylitol is toxic to pets.

Monk Fruit – Monk fruit sweetener is a natural sugar substitute that is made from the extract of monk fruit. It is about 300 times sweeter than sugar, so only a small amount is needed to sweeten food and beverages. Monk fruit sweetener does not affect blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for people with diabetes or those who are watching their weight. Some studies have shown that monk fruit sweetener may also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Allulose – Allulose is a monosaccharide that is structurally similar to fructose. Unlike fructose, allulose is not metabolized by the human body and is excreted in the urine unchanged. Allulose has a variety of potential health benefits including reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Additionally, allulose may help to increase satiety and reduce food intake.

Stevia – Stevia is a naturally occurring sweetener that has been used for centuries in South America. The stevia plant is a member of the Asteraceae family and its leaves have been used to sweeten tea and other beverages. The leaves are also used as a sugar substitute in cooking and baking. Stevia is about 200 times sweeter than sugar and does not have the same calories.

Monk Fruit + Erythritol – When many people talk about monk fruit they are referring to the monk fruit and erythritol blends that have become popular, like Lakanto. Pure monk fruit is way to potent to be used much in baking. Most baking need a bit more bulk, that comes from the addition of erythritol.

Joy Filled Eats Sweetener – My favorite sweetener is my own blend of xylitol (or allulose), erythritol, and stevia. By adding stevia to the granular sweeteners they become more concentrated so you use less in total. This makes the cost per recipe less than using a 1:1 sweetener.

What is the healthiest alternative to sugar for baking?

This is a really hard question to answer. What is healthiest for one person may not be healthiest for another. Many people replace sugar with artificial sweeteners to lose weight and improve their health. But there are studies that raise significant health questions about artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, splendas, and aspartame. Artificial sweeteners make food taste sweet without adding calories, but they aren’t considered natural and can do more harm than good.

That is why I only use natural sugar substitutes for baking on my website such as allulose, xylitol, erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit sweetener.

If you are on a low carb, keto, and/or sugar-free diet you will want to choose a sugar-free sweetener when baking. I use a combination of xylitol, erythritol, and stevia to reduce an aftertaste and make keto baking more economical. The three sweeteners erythritol, xylitol, and stevia are all sugar-free. Erythritol is the most common one found in nature, as it is present in fruits like grapes and pears. Xylitol is less common, but can be found in birch trees. Stevia is a plant that is native to South America.

Types of Natural Sugar

Coconut sugar – Coconut sugar, also known as coco sugar, is a type of unrefined sugar made from the sap of coconut palm trees. It is less processed than white sugar and has a lower glycemic index, making it a healthier alternative for some people. Coconut sugar can be used in place of white sugar in many recipes.

Turbinado sugar – Turbinado sugar is a type of raw sugar that has been processed using a centrifugal force. The sugar is then placed in a turbine, which spins the sugar at a high speed. This process separates the molasses from the sugar crystals, resulting in a product that is less refined than traditional white sugar.

Muscovado sugar – Muscovado sugar is a type of unrefined sugar that is made from sugar cane. It is dark brown in color and has a molasses-like flavor. Muscovado sugar is not as sweet as refined sugars, but it does have a higher molasses content. This sugar is often used in baking and can be found in specialty stores.

Demerara sugar – Demerara sugar is a type of raw sugar that is produced in Guyana. It is named after the Demerara River, which flows through the country. The sugar cane plants that are used to produce Demerara sugar are grown in the coastal areas near the river. The sugar cane is harvested and then transported to mills where it is crushed and processed into raw sugar. Demerara sugar has a large, golden-brown grain and a slightly molasses-like flavor.

Palm sugar – Palm sugar is a type of sugar that is derived from the sap of palm trees. It has a distinctive sweetness that is often used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Palm sugar is typically sold in a solid form, but it can also be found in a liquid form.

Can I use maple syrup or agave as a sugar substitute for baking?

If a recipe calls for corn syrup using another more natural liquid sugar can be a good choice but neither maple syrup, agave, nor honey is sugar-free. When using any liquid sugar if the dough or batter seems to be too moist you may need to compensate for the added liquid.

Maple Syrup – Maple syrup is often used as a sweetener in baking recipes. It can be used in place of sugar to add sweetness, or it can be used in addition to sugar for a more complex flavor. Maple syrup can also be used to add moisture to baked goods. When substituting maple syrup for sugar in a recipe, use a 1:1 ratio.

Agave Nectar – Agave nectar is a natural sweetener derived from the agave plant. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar, making it a healthier option for those with diabetes or blood sugar issues. When baking with agave nectar, it is important to remember that it is sweeter than sugar, so you may need to use less of it. Additionally, because it has a lower melting point than sugar, your baked goods may not brown as much.

Honey – When it comes to baking, honey is often used as a sweetener. In addition to its sweetness, honey also has other properties that make it ideal for baking. For example, honey is a natural humectant, which means it helps to keep baked goods moist. Honey is also acidic, which can help to activate baking soda and produce a lighter, fluffier texture in baked goods.

If using a sugar-free option is important to you there are a few companies making sugar-free liquid sweeteners or you can make your own.

Homemade – I melt down my sweetener to make a sugar-free pancake syrup and sugar-free simple syrup. Both can be used as liquid sweeteners in baking.

Sugar-Free Syrup – There are several brands that make these such as ChocZero, Lakanto, and Wholesome Yum. Just make sure to always read the ingredients.

What are the best substitutes for brown sugar in baking?

Homemade – You can make your own brown sugar substitute by adding a bit of molasses to a standard white sugar sweetener.

Swerve Brown – I tend to use this sweetener most often in place of brown sugar because it has a nice flavor and is readily available.

Lakanto Brown – Lakanto also has a product called Lakanto Golden that has a brown sugar flavor but not texture.

Besti Brown – This one has the closest texture to real brown sugar.

Truvia Sweet Complete Brown – Be careful when shopping for a Truvia brown sweetener because they also make one that has regular brown sugar in it.

Natural Sweetener for Baking

Looking for an all natural and economical sugar-free sweetener that actually tastes good? You need to try my natural sweetener blend! It is twice as sweet as sugar so you use less.

Cup measurements

  • plus 2 tablespoons xylitol
  • plus 2 tablespoons erythritol
  • or any pure stevia extract

Brown Sweetener

Granular vs Powder: I’ve only been blending it when needed right before using it in recipes. I put a huge mason jar on my kitchen scale and just pour in the weight amounts of xylitol and erythritol and measure in the stevia. Then I shake it really well.

Stevia Extract: You can use any pure stevia extract. Stevia should be the only ingredient.

Xylitol: This can be made using allulose or just erythritol and stevia if you do not want to use xylitol because of a pet in the house. Replace the xylitol with allulose or additional erythritol. I prefer allulose.

Erythritol: Erythritol has been in the news lately. I believe more information is needed. But you can make this sweetener with ANY combination of 1:1 granular sweeteners.

Sweetness Level: I use this blend of xylitol, erythritol, and stevia in my recipes. This is twice as sweet as sugar. It is comparable to Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet and Truvia.

If you liked this article make sure to get my Free Keto Baking Guide!

As a person with diabetes, a massive sweet tooth, and a set of anti-diet values, sugar and sugar substitutes are something I’ve wrestled with quite a bit. Sugar restriction crashed into my orbit when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven. During my hospital stay, I learned that sugary foods were now a challenge for my body, and found comfort in the candy-red cups of sugar-free Jello that I was allowed to safely enjoy—my first taste of a substance that tasted sweet, but wouldn’t affect my blood glucose like actual sugar.

I came home to a pantry cleared of sweets, soon replaced by sugar-free versions of everything. Sugar-free pudding after school and sugar-free Swiss Miss at bedtime. Sugar-free chocolate Santas on Christmas and bunnies on Easter. At restaurants, little pink and blue packets of white powder mixed in with lemon water for sugar-free lemonade.

Today, sugar substitutes and I are on happier terms. First, I now eat plenty of the real thing. I think the demonization of sugar in recent years—similarly to the austere medical guidance I received as a kid—has done real harm to people’s relationships with food. I firmly believe that eating real sugar every damn day can be part of a balanced and varied diet, people with diabetes very much included. At the same time, it’s a biological reality that processing a large amount of sugar is different for me. A healthy pancreas can handle an influx of simple sugars no problem, but the insulin pump I use to try and mimic my pancreas is imperfect. (Even if I precisely calculate and time my insulin dose, my blood sugar can soar.)

Sometimes this trade-off is 100% worth it, and sometimes I want to enjoy a tray of homemade brownies without worrying about my blood sugar or feeling like crap shortly after—which is where sugar substitutes come in handy. “Sugar alternatives can be a helpful tool to add sweetness without the blood sugar spikes of actual sugar,” Hailey Crean, RD, a Boston-based certified diabetes care and education specialist and certified intuitive eating counselor, tells SELF.

While I still generally avoid most sugar-free packaged foods, sugar substitutes have become a helpful (and fun!) ingredient in one of my favorite hobbies: baking. I love creatively tinkering with recipes—muffins, quick breads, cookies, bars—to lower the final product’s glycemic load (impact on my blood sugar) without sacrificing taste. I often swap out anywhere from one fourth to three fourths of the sugar in a recipe for a sugar substitute (in addition to adding yummy sources of blood sugar-friendly fiber, like nuts, fruit, and whole wheat flour). While it depends on the sweetener and the recipe, I generally notice very modest effects on my blood sugar (and digestive system), and the baking results are excellent.

Originally, I felt conflicted about using sugar substitutes because I worried it clashed with my anti-diet stance and intuitive eating aspirations. But I realized that shunning sugar alternatives because I feel like I should mirrors the black-and-white thinking around food that makes diet culture so harmful. Today I embrace the nuance of being an anti-diet diabetic sweets lover and see sugar substitutes not as a silver bullet but a tool for helping me find balance with priorities that can sometimes feel in competition: enjoying food and my life while also taking care of my body. As Crean puts it, “For someone living with diabetes, we ideally want to keep the diet as liberal and enjoyable as possible while still keeping blood sugar in mind. Using sugar alternatives can sometimes support this goal.”

Of course everyone’s body and relationship with food is different, and the physical effects and emotional implications of sugar substitutes are very individualized, Courtney Darsa, RD, a Manhattan-based certified diabetes care and education specialist and owner of Nourishing NY, tells SELF. It really depends on the person’s health history, food history, tolerance for various sweeteners, and preferences.

Darsa’s advice is to pay close attention to how sugar substitutes affect your system in a holistic way—from your blood sugar’s response to gastrointestinal issues to your sense of satisfaction—to learn what’s best for you. After eating sugar substitutes, “ask yourself, ‘How do I feel, mentally, physically, and emotionally?’” Darsa advises. If you have diabetes and/or other challenges surrounding sugar, it’s best to discuss all this with a health care provider who understands how sugar substitutes can impact your body and well-being, like an endocrinologist, registered dietitian, or certified diabetes care and education specialist.

All that said, if you are looking to experiment with sweet alternatives in the kitchen (or just in your morning coffee), then let’s talk about the best sugar substitutes. There are a ton of options on the market today, and I’ve sampled a lot of them. Thankfully, the overall quality has improved significantly over the last couple of decades—thank you, science!—and many come much closer to the real thing than the Splendas, liquid stevias, and maltitols of years past. Again, these recommendations are based on my personal experience, but you should trust your gut, monitor your blood sugar, and consult your health care team (and taste buds!) about what works for you. Here are my favorite sugar substitutes.

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  • All-Purpose In The Raw Optimal Sweetener BlendBlends like this one have a couple of advantages over single-ingredient sweeteners in baking. For one, they leave the tinkering with combinations and proportions of different sugar substitutes—often necessary for achieving the optimal taste and baking properties—to the food scientists. In my experience, they also cut back on the risk of an offensive aftertaste. This particular blend is dominated by erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol that research suggests, in moderation, is generally better tolerated (kinder to your G.I. tract) than others and affects blood sugar minimally, SELF has reported. (This is true for me as long as I don’t overdo it but, again, everybody is unique—so listen to your body.) Also containing the unique sweetener allulose (more on that in a minute) and plant-derived high-intensity sweeteners stevia leaf extract and monk fruit extract, this product measures, bakes, and tastes much like good ol’ granulated sugar and has helped me make some excellent brownies and banana bread.
  • Miss Jones Baking Co. SmartSugar Coconut Sugar BlendI don’t love swapping out 100% of the sugar in a recipe because the properties of sugar are often integral to chemical and physical reactions in the baking process, as SELF has explained—and the more you swap out, the higher the odds of a baking fail. This unique blend, created specifically for baking, has become one of my favorites—it’s half real sugar, half sugar substitutes. The first ingredient is finely ground coconut sugar, which has a toasty, brown sugar-like flavor that I prefer to white sugar. The rest is a mixture of starches and alternative sweeteners that provide bulk and sweetness: chicory root or tapioca fiber, tapioca syrup, and monk fruit extract. Used cup-for-cup in place of sugar, it bakes like a dream, especially in muffins and quick breads. (The brand’s cane sugar blend is excellent too.)
  • ​​All-u-Lose Natural Maple Flavor Syrup100% pure maple syrup may be my favorite sweet taste in the world and nothing can compete with it. That said, a couple of tablespoons of the stuff on pancakes will reliably make my blood sugar skyrocket, which is a horrible way to start the day. I first used this syrup—made with allulose and natural maple flavor—on waffles, mixed in equal parts with the real stuff. (While the taste hits the mark, the thin texture misses the inimitable viscosity of the real thing.) I’ve since baked with it in recipes that call for liquid sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, or agave. It imparts a lovely, warm maple flavor to muffins and granola bars, and the thinness is less of an issue in baking—though I’ll still use some amount of real maple syrup for optimal taste and texture results.

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