One of the great health benefits of the keto diet is getting rid of sugar cravings. At the same time, there are several substitutes you can use in its place. First of all, these alternatives are non-caloric and secondly they will allow you to enjoy sweet rewards but without the carbohydrates. Alternative sweeteners, sugar substitutes, are not all the same in either flavor or benefits. In addition, because they are not metabolized in the same way as traditional sugar they can be used to follow a healthier lifestyle.
The main ones are:
- Stevia: is one of the most popular sweeteners in the world. Since it is very sweet, a small amount will suffice. If you have tried it, you already know that it may have a bitter aftertaste. Stevia contains no carbohydrates or calories and has a glycemic index of 0. It is considered a nonfood in that it contains neither carbohydrates nor calories. This makes the sweetener very suitable in low-calorie diets. It has 300 times the sweetening power of white sugar and, being derived from a plant, is rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
- Erythritol Erythritol/erythritol has 60-80% sweetness compared to conventional table sugar and contains no calories. Erythritol is already absorbed in the small intestine and is therefore not laxative like other sugar alcohols. On the contrary, it has no negative effects on dental health: studies have shown that it can even help prevent tooth decay. It also has no effect on blood glucose and associated insulin levels. Therefore, all classic sugars are to be avoided: white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar.
Sugar, in addition to promoting weight gain, it is addictive because it acts on the same areas of the brain on which drugs, nicotine and addictive substances act. Sugar along with refined fats and carbohydrates (sweets, pizza, bread, pasta, ice cream, etc.) is addictive by stimulating those areas of the brain devoted to the sense of gratification and satisfaction. Although sugar addiction obviously has less impact than drug and nicotine addiction, the underlying principle of addiction is the same. A high amount of refined carbohydrates such as sugar or glucose reaching these centers promotes a greater release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives a feeling of gratification, satisfaction, and well-being. Unfortunately, as is the case with other substances, the effect is short-lived, and more and more demand for more sugar comes from the brain to achieve those levels of satisfaction. Because of this, cravings for sweets and sugar go up, as well as bread and pizza.
Fortunately, our brains can be rehabilitated and re-accustomed to a reduced refined carbohydrate diet. This is the magic of keto! Once the sugar withdrawal has subsided, you will feel more in control and cravings will diminish.