Can You Have Dextrose on Keto?
Dextrose is a sweetener that can quickly push you over your daily carb limit on keto if you’re not careful. Find out why you should avoid dextrose on keto and which low-carb sweeteners you should use instead!
What is dextrose?
Dextrose is a carb and acts just like table sugar. It will raise blood sugar quickly, causing your insulin levels to spike. Dextrose will kick you out of ketosis, switching your metabolism from fat-burning to using carbs for energy instead.
Dextrose is very high in net carbs and is often produced from GMO corn or wheat and should not be a part of your Healthy Keto® diet.
How much dextrose can you have on keto?
Dextrose is generally not considered keto-friendly but some very small amounts may be okay. To stay in ketosis, you must stick to 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. One teaspoon of dextrose contains 4 grams of net carbs.
Because dextrose often is used in processed foods and as a filler, it’s important to read nutrition labels. Also, remember that dextrose is low in nutritional value. Don’t waste your daily net carbs on processed foods with little to no health benefits.
Is dextrose keto-friendly? While small amounts may not kick you out of ketosis, dextrose is not optimal for your keto lifestyle.
Should you use sweeteners on keto?
Sugar cravings do happen, particularly in the early days of your keto diet. Once your body adapts to fat-burning, cravings will diminish. This study confirms that following a ketogenic diet leads to less hunger and cravings compared to a low-fat diet.
If you have the occasional sweet tooth, there are several keto-friendly alternative sweeteners you can use. Watch the video below to learn about ideal sweeteners for your keto recipes.
Healthy Keto-approved sweeteners
To make sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners a keto-friendly choice for you, they must hit a few criteria. They should:
- Be low carb or zero carb
- Have a low glycemic index and not raise your blood sugar significantly
- Not cause gastrointestinal discomfort
- Be able to be heated safely
- Have an established safety record
Here are four keto-friendly sweeteners that meet these criteria.
Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. Often used in keto dessert recipes, stevia is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar but contains zero carbs and zero calories.
Stevia isn’t just an excellent keto-friendly sweetener. A study published in 2022 found that stevia lowers blood pressure, improves kidney function, and benefits liver health.
Choose an organic stevia product that has been minimally processed and does not contain fillers (read those labels!). Add liquid stevia to carbonated water to make your own keto-friendly sodas.
2. Monk fruit
Monk fruit is a no-carb, no-calorie sweetener. Gaining increasing popularity, you will not struggle to find monk fruit to use in your keto recipes. Monk fruit is an ideal keto-friendly sweetener to help balance your blood sugar and support weight loss.
Erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol, has a similar structure to pure sugar, making it a powerful sugar substitute. Your body doesn’t digest this zero-carb sweetener, keeping your blood sugar balanced and your insulin healthy.
One of erythritol’s big selling points is that it leaves no bitter aftertaste and has a flavor profile similar to sugar.
Xylitol is a natural, low-carb sugar alcohol extracted from the bark of birch trees. It’s as sweet as table sugar but has minimal impact on your blood sugar levels. Small amounts of carbs in xylitol will count towards your daily net carbs.
Sweeteners to avoid on keto
We have looked at keto-friendly sweeteners, but which ones should you avoid? Understanding which sweeteners to avoid helps you to make smart and confident choices for your keto diet. Here are three types of sweeteners to stay away from on keto!
1. Refined sugar
Refined sugar, also known as table sugar, simple sugar, brown sugar, and high fructose corn syrup, are all unsuitable for a keto diet. These processed sugars are high in net carbs, have a high glycemic index, kick you out of ketosis, and prevent you from losing weight.
Naturally derived sugars like honey, agave, maple, or date syrups fall under the same category as refined sugars and should not be included in your keto diet recipes or keto products.
You may have heard that brown sugar and coconut sugar are healthy, but this isn’t true. There are only small amounts of vitamins and minerals in these products. Following the Healthy Keto diet will ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs without high-net carb foods.
Maltitol, a sugar alcohol, has a glycemic index almost as high as pure sugar. It will throw your blood sugar and insulin out of balance, making maltitol unsuitable for keto.
3. Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose)
Artificial sweeteners are in most sugar-free food products and diet sodas. These sweeteners may cause you to retain water (affecting body weight), increase your resistance to insulin, and alter your intestinal microflora.
Choosing the right keto-friendly sweetener is essential to maintain your low-carb diet while curbing the occasional craving. Dextrose may be ok in minimal amounts but generally should be avoided.
Stevia and monk fruit are excellent options for most of your keto recipes. If you like to expand your selection of keto-friendly sweeteners, experiment with xylitol or erythritol. Watch out for possible GI symptoms and adjust your use of sweeteners accordingly.
Last but not least, check labels to spot products with added sugar or hidden artificial sweeteners, and if you consume any amount of dextrose, make sure to include it in your daily net carb count.
1. Can I have dextrose on keto?
Minimal amounts of dextrose may be ok, but generally, you want to avoid it.
2. Can I have dextrose while fasting?
No, dextrose will break your fast and cause a spike in your insulin levels.
3. How much dextrose will kick me out of ketosis?
How much dextrose it takes to kick you out of ketosis depends on your daily net carb count. Dextrose has 4 grams of net carbs per teaspoon.
4. What is the glycemic index?
The glycemic index is a system to score how different foods impact your blood sugar levels. This index classifies on a scale between 0 and 100. A score of zero means no impact on your blood sugar. A score of 100 indicates this food will rapidly increase your blood sugar.
5. How high is dextrose on the glycemic index?
Dextrose has a high glycemic index of 100.
6. Is dextrose a carb?
Yes! Dextrose is a carbohydrate and should count toward your daily net carbs.
7. Is dextrose a sugar?
Yes, dextrose is a simple sugar derived from corn or wheat.
8. How much dextrose can I have on keto?
As little as possible, ideally none. Remember, dextrose has 4 grams of net carbs per teaspoon.
9. What sugar substitutes will kick me out of ketosis?
Maltitol, dextrose, all types of honey, syrups, and large amounts of xylitol will kick you out of ketosis.
10. Is dextrose with maltodextrin keto-friendly?
No, the combination of dextrose and maltodextrin is not keto-friendly. Maltodextrin’s glycemic index is 136, making it the highest-ranking sugar substitute.
11. Is stevia with dextrose keto-friendly?
No, dextrose will impact your blood sugar and raise your insulin levels.
12. Is dextrose safe on a low-carb diet?
No, dextrose is not suitable for a low-carb diet.