3 Worst Ingredients In So Called Keto Friendly Foods

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 02/12/2024

Unraveling the complexities of keto-approved eats, we uncover secrets that might undermine your nutritional efforts in ways you hadn't anticipated.

This time, we're plunging into the realm of sweeteners and additives, which, despite being advertised as suitable for keto diets, might be undermining your health and ketosis efforts.

You'll learn why maltodextrin, dextrose, and maltitol might need a second look due to their high glycemic indexes and other concerns like GMO origins and potential glyphosate residues.

In our journey today, we're also unraveling how to pick superior sweetener options—highlighting erythritol and xylitol as prime substitutes—and illuminating the obscurities in FDA sugar labeling practices that might leave folks in the dark about their actual consumption.

Armed with this knowledge, making informed decisions about which sweeteners to incorporate into your ketogenic lifestyle will become much more apparent.

The Hidden Truth About Maltodextrin in Keto Foods

Maltodextrin sneaks into keto-friendly foods, masquerading as an innocent additive. But don't be fooled. With a glycemic index soaring at 110, it's anything but friendly to your ketosis goals, outranking even table sugar on the blood sugar spike meter.

Most troubling is its origin story—often derived from corn or wheat that's been genetically modified (GMO). This means not only are you grappling with potential blood sugar issues, but you're also possibly consuming GMOs and glyphosate residues without realizing it.

If staying in ketosis matters to you, reading labels becomes more than a habit; it's your shield against hidden disruptors like maltodextrin. Opt for whole-food ingredients and sidestep this unwelcome guest hiding in your so-called "keto" treats.

Dextrose: The Hidden Sugar Impacting Ketosis

Imagine you're on a keto diet, carefully picking your foods to stay in ketosis. But here's the kicker: some "keto-friendly" products might pull the wool over your eyes with dextrose.

This sweet devil has a glycemic index of 100, which is like inviting sugar to crash your low-carb party uninvited.

Dextrose sneaks into various foods under the guise of being harmless or even beneficial. Yet, its high glycemic index means it can spike blood sugar levels fast and hard, throwing you out of ketosis quicker than you can say "carbs." Here’s why that matters for keto followers.

This synthetic sugar is often found where you least expect it - from processed meats to salad dressings. The necessity of diligently scrutinizing labels and opting for unadulterated, natural edibles becomes evident due to their ubiquity.

The Deceptive Nature of Maltitol in Keto Products

Maltitol might seem like a keto dream come true, but it's more of a wolf in sheep's clothing. With a glycemic index ranging from 57 to 70, maltitol isn't as innocent as it appears.

For perspective, pure glucose sits at the top with an index of 100. Maltitol, though seemingly harmless, can still cause a surge in your blood sugar, jeopardizing your state of ketosis.

Glucose Content in Maltitol

Buckle up because here’s where things get tricky: half of maltitol is glucose. Yes, that molecule with a glycemic index score hitting the roof at 100. If staying in ketosis was your goal, maltitol could be secretly sabotaging your efforts without you even realizing it.

Navigating Better Sweetener Options for Keto

When you're on keto, picking the suitable sweetener is like navigating a minefield. You want something that tastes good without kicking you out of ketosis.

Erythritol: The Zero-Glycemic Sweetener

Erythritol is a superhero in the world of keto sweeteners. Erythritol, boasting a glycemic index of nada, ensures your blood sugar stays steady and serene.

This makes erythritol an excellent choice for keeping your body in fat-burning mode. Moreover, selecting non-GMO varieties helps dodge potential health hazards linked to genetically altered edibles.

Xylitol's Moderate Glycemic Impact

Xylitol is another ally with a mild twist, with a glycemic index 30. While higher than erythritol, xylitol still falls within acceptable ranges for most people following a ketogenic diet.

However, like its counterpart, sticking to non-GMO sources can help dodge unwanted side effects and support overall wellness.

The FDA's Stance on Added Sugars and Its Impact

Understanding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policies is crucial when navigating the murky waters of keto-friendly foods. Surprisingly, the FDA doesn't classify maltodextrin as an added sugar.

Navigating the labyrinth of keto-compliant consumables, it's easy for maltodextrin to elude detection on ingredient lists, plunging numerous shoppers into oblivion regarding their actual consumption.

Maltodextrin can sneak into your diet without you even knowing, impacting your ketogenic journey more than you might expect. Despite its absence from sugar content listings on nutrition labels, this ingredient has a higher glycemic index than table sugar.

For those meticulously tracking their intake to maintain ketosis, this oversight by labeling standards could pose significant challenges.

To stay informed and make healthier choices while following a keto diet, educating yourself about these FDA labeling guidelines is key.

Natural sweetener on wooden spoon

Making Informed Choices on Keto-Friendly Sweeteners

You want to enjoy your coffee, desserts, and snacks without getting kicked out of ketosis. While many turn their eyes towards the glycemic index as their guiding light, more beneath the surface needs our attention.

Beyond just looking at how fast sugar enters your bloodstream, consider what these sweeteners are made of. Some might hide GMO ingredients or have undergone heavy processing with chemicals you'd rather avoid.

And let’s not forget about taste; some alternatives can leave an aftertaste akin to licking an envelope.

​Keto Fast Food Ingredients

Understanding the ingredients in keto fast food is critical to making informed choices that align with your dietary goals. Many keto fast food options feature ingredients low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats and protein.

Common ingredients include lettuce wraps or bunless burgers, which replace traditional high-carb buns with low-carb alternatives. Grilled chicken, beef, and fish often staple in keto-friendly meals, providing satiating protein without added sugars or starches.

Additionally, ingredients like avocado, cheese, bacon, and non-starchy vegetables are frequently included in keto fast food offerings, adding flavor and texture while keeping carb counts low.

By familiarizing yourself with the ingredients commonly found in keto fast food, you can navigate menus with confidence and enjoy convenient meals that support your ketogenic lifestyle.


Embarking on a journey through keto-friendly cuisine reveals some unexpected realities. What are the worst ingredients in keto-friendly foods? They often hide in plain sight: maltodextrin, dextrose, and maltitol.

Remember this: Not all that glitters is gold. Maltodextrin's high glycemic index can knock you out of ketosis faster than sugar itself. And GMO concerns? They're accurate and relevant.

Remember: Dextrose may seem innocent, but it's another ketosis disruptor waiting to trip you up. Bear this in mind, too: Maltitol might dress like a friend to keto lovers, but its effects say otherwise.

So what now? Opt for erythritol or xylitol instead; they're your true allies on this journey. Knowledge is power—use it to make smarter sweetener choices and sail smoother towards your health goals.

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