Stevia vs. Sucralose on Keto: Which Is More Healthful?

6 min read
Apr 7, 2024
Stevia vs. Sucralose on Keto: Which Is More Healthful?

A vast array of low-calorie or sugar-free products use calorie-free sweeteners like stevia and sucralose.

Find out why it's advisable to stay away from sucrose and explore the top natural sweeteners that have been authorized for keto.

What is stevia?

The leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant are used to make stevia, a natural sweetener. Despite having 200 times the sweetness of table sugar, it has essentially no calories and no carbohydrates.

Stevia is a well-liked sugar substitute for people on low-carb diets, diabetics, and those with insulin resistance due to its strong sweetness.

But it's crucial to stay away from commercial stevia products that use bulking agents like maltodextrin and choose pure stevia extracts instead.

One of the worst food ingredients is maltodextrin, which makes it inappropriate for keto dieters and people with diabetes since it can boost blood sugar levels and lead to weight gain.

What is sucralose?

Sucralose falls within the category of artificial sweeteners. It is a key ingredient of Splenda, a popular replacement for sugar.

In order to make sucralose, three hydroxyl groups on a sugar molecule are chemically substituted for three chlorine atoms. By using this method, a zero-calorie sweetener that is more than 600 times sweeter than ordinary sugar is produced.

What is sucralose?
What is sucralose?

Sucralose vs. Stevia

While both sucralose and stevia have no calories or carbohydrates, they differ greatly in terms of nutrition, flavor, possible health risks, and keto friendliness.

The following are the main distinctions between sucralose and stevia.

1. Nutrition

Since neither of the sugar alternatives has any nutritional benefit, they are categorized as non-nutritive sweeteners.

Stevia and sucralose have a glycemic index of zero, meaning they don't affect insulin or blood sugar levels because they are carbohydrate-free.

Unlike commercially produced sucralose, stevia is a naturally occurring substance that contains a class of organic chemicals known as steviol glycosides that have been shown to have health-promoting qualities.

According to research summarized in Nutrients, "Stevia leaves appear to have a broad range of biological benefits such as antidiabetic, antihypertensive, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activities." This research validates the possible health benefits of stevia.

2. Taste

While both stevia and sucralose have a strong sweetness, their flavor profiles are slightly different.

When people try stevia for the first time, many say the aftertaste is licorice-like and slightly bitter. Sucralose, on the other hand, tastes strongly like sugar and lacks bitterness.

Sucralose is a neutral-tasting ingredient that is commonly used in sugar-free products because it doesn't dramatically alter the flavor of the meals or beverages it is added to.

3. Potential health effects

According to a report published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), sucralose and stevia are both regarded as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

Independent investigation has, however, raised possible issues with the use of sucralose.

Results from research that was published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health indicate that eating sucrose activates specific taste receptors, which has been connected to altered metabolism and increased body weight.

The same study also revealed that sucralose may alter the gut microbiota, produce hazardous organochlorines when cooked, and potentially obstruct the detoxification of some medications.

On the other hand, data from over 200 studies indicates that stevia usage is safe and not linked to any negative health impacts, as reported in Nutrition Today.

It's crucial to remember, though, that stevia can aggravate sensitive intestinal systems and result in gastrointestinal problems like bloating and stomach pain.

4. Uses

Often employed as a tabletop sweetener, sucralose is found in many sugar-free foods and drinks, including dairy products, diet sodas, soft drinks, baked goods, candies, and desserts.

Sucralose is also added to some liquid and chewable drugs in order to improve their flavor and palatability.

While stevia isn't as popular as other sugar substitutes, food producers are introducing a growing number of drinks, baked goods, desserts, and chocolate that are sweetened with stevia.

People who follow a healthy low-carb diet like Healthy Keto® often choose stevia instead of other sugar substitutes because it doesn't contain carbohydrates and is less likely to create adverse effects.

Best keto-friendly sweeteners

Stevia is a healthier option than artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame because it is free of carbohydrates and may have health advantages. It is also suitable for keto diets.

Best keto-friendly sweeteners
Best keto-friendly sweeteners

On a low-carb diet, pure stevia without maltodextrin added is only one of numerous natural keto sweeteners that help quell sugar cravings.

These three additional sweeteners are OK for keto.

1. Monk fruit 

A common sugar alternative that is calorie and carb-free is monk fruit.

Monk fruit has a much higher sugar content than ordinary sugar, however it has no effect on insulin or blood sugar levels. For people who are on the ketogenic diet or who like to encourage a healthy body weight, this makes it the perfect sweetener.

2. Erythritol

One kind of sugar alcohol that has a chemical makeup similar to sugar is erythritol. But unlike sugar, erythritol doesn't enter the body and doesn't spike blood sugar, which makes it a great ketogenic choice.

Erythritol, which has no unpleasant aftertaste like many other sugar alcohols, is frequently included in dessert recipes that fit the keto diet.

3. Xylitol

A natural sugar substitute made from the bark of birch trees is called xylitol.

While it has a sweetness comparable to sugar, it is far lower in calories and carbs.

Despite being regarded as keto-friendly, xylitol does have some carbohydrates, therefore you should account for these when calculating your daily net carb intake.


Key takeaways

Which is healthier for ketogenic use: stevia or sucrose?

Because of its possible anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antidiabetic qualities, pure stevia is a natural sugar substitute that is keto-friendly and associated with a number of health advantages.

Sucralose, on the other hand, is an artificial sweetener that has been linked to adverse consequences such as imbalance of good gut bacteria, weight gain, and poor detoxification processes.

Frequently asked questions

Is stevia better for you than sucralose?

Indeed, stevia is thought to be a superior option than sucralose. The stevia plant yields stevia, a natural sweetener with a number of possible health advantages.

Contrarily, sucralose, an artificial sweetener with no calories, raises the possibility of weight gain, inadequate detoxification, and an unbalanced microbiota in the intestines.

Can sucralose raise your blood sugar?

Sucralose doesn't directly raise blood sugar levels and is a zero-carb sweetener.

Nonetheless, there is proof that sucralose might activate specific taste receptors, causing metabolic alterations associated with elevated insulin and blood sugar levels.

What is the safest sweetener to use?

Monk fruit extract and pure stevia without maltodextrin are two naturally occurring zero-carb sweeteners that don't spike blood sugar, supporting a healthy body weight and metabolic balance. 

Is there a downside to stevia?

Most people can consume food and beverages sweetened with stevia without experiencing any negative effects, as stevia is thought to be safe for consumption.

But when taking large amounts of stevia, people with delicate digestive systems could get gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating, and pain in the abdomen.

Is sucralose keto-friendly?

Sucralose isn't thought to be keto-friendly.

It has been discovered that sucrose affects detoxification and can change the microbiota in the intestines. It is also not a good choice for keto since it can activate specific taste receptors that might cause spikes in insulin and blood sugar levels.

Can Splenda break my fast?

Yes, Splenda may cause you to break your fast because it includes sucralose, which in some people has been shown to increase insulin and blood sugar levels.

It is thought that sucrose can cause hormonal changes that increase the liver's synthesis of glucose, though this is not entirely understood. This has the potential to increase blood sugar, breaking a fast.

Does stevia break a fast?

Since stevia is a zero-carb sweetener that doesn't affect blood sugar levels or interfere with fast-related metabolic processes, it doesn't break a fast. 


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