Honey on Keto: Does Sugar-free Honey Ever Exist?
First of all, real Sugar-free Honey – there is no such thing. Actually, there is no “fake” honey, because then the name alone would be misleading, and that is not allowed.
Remember, honey, consists mainly of different sugar forms, which are already contained in flower nectar or honeydew.
Honey is very popular as a natural keto sweetener and is widely regarded as a healthy alternative to refined granulated sugar.
We have already established that sugar is not suitable for the keto diet.
If, on the other hand, honey is the next widespread source of sweetness, one finds out: honey, like sugar, consists of glucose and fructose.
So why should honey be the healthiest keto sweetener?
How many carbs and calories in Honey?
A look at the ingredients of honey shows that there is no honey without sugar. In fact, honey portrays the image of being “healthy”. Also, it is the only natural sweetener available to humans in its original, natural form.
Honey contains the same substances as sugar – and much more. Nutritionally, honey has a different effect than pure sugar.
It would be an exaggeration to write that the two products are completely different because honey can also have a harmful effect on health if consumed excessively. And I’ll tell you why.
Sugar contains glucose and fructose … and nothing else. Honey also contains glucose and fructose, but much more: minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
The carbs content in raw honey varies from variety to variety. But on average, honey is 76-82% sugar. Which is not good considering it’s coming from something considered “healthy”.
It consists of many different sugars, but mainly sucrose, glucose and fructose, maltose and other di- and oligosaccharides, as well as many different types of sugar.
- Fructose (fruit sugar): is a simple sugar that forms tiny, white crystals. Single sugar is one of the monosaccharides and consists of numerous individual molecules. Fructose is a very sweet substance and its calories in honey is reflected in crystallization (honey containing a higher proportion of fructose crystallizes later).
- Glucose (grape sugar): is also a single sugar and it is mainly responsible for the candied of honey. The more glucose is contained in the honey, the faster the honey crystallizes. However, glucose does not taste quite as sweet as fructose or sucrose.
- Sucrose: is a double sugar (disaccharide) composed of one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose.
However, fructose accounts for the largest share (average 38%) and glucose (average 30%). In addition, honey not only tastes sweeter than sugar but even more.
The aroma of honey depends mainly on the plants whose nectar the bees harvest. Furthermore, the season, even the region has an influence on taste.
Rapeseed honey, from South and North Dakota, can therefore be composed differently and taste different from the rapeseed honey in Texas.
People tend to use raw Honey in many ways, either as a digestible spread, as a sweetener in tea, as a sugar substitute when baking, or as an ingredient in cooking and frying.
Fortunately, the Honey Regulation clearly stipulates that it must not be withdrawn or added to the natural product. Honey without sugar would therefore no longer be honey.
Can you have Honey on a Keto or Low-Carb Diet?
We have just seen that honey is on average 76% sugar. Depending on the variety, a further 15-23% water is included. There is not much left.
In addition to sugar and water, you can find many other things and calories in honey. This includes pollen, minerals, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, dyes and flavorings.
So, the argument “but there are so many good things in honey”, is perhaps a little valid when compared to household sugar. But if you really want to eat vitamins and nutrients, then an apple is the better choice.
Because even with the values are in favor of honey, that is still at 100g of honey. Would you eat 100g of honey? Or rather a whole apple?
So, it’s easy to conclude that honey is not suitable for the keto and low carb diet.
3 Best Keto Sweeteners to Use Instead of Honey
It’s not always easy to find a Keto-friendly Sweetener that fits the Keto diet plan, as many alternative sweeteners have very different properties.
Sugar substitute shavings are also available, which fit into both the low carb and the keto kitchen. There are several keto-friendly and natural sweeteners that are contained in Keto sweets without calories or carbohydrates.
They also give you the opportunity to satisfy the desire for sweets, without getting you out of ketosis or stopping fat loss.
As with most Keto products, you need to pay attention to the ingredients used with the sweeteners you choose.
Even if a product is categorized as “carbohydrate-free” or “sugar-free,” it can still contain enough carbohydrates and calories to slow the progress of the ketogenic diet. (That’s why we need to consider all carbohydrates when tracking our macros.)
Here are some keto-friendly sweeteners, that give you the freedom to decide which honey-alternative is most likely to suit your preferences:
Is one of the most well-known alternative Keto sweeteners, and at the same time one of the most popular in the low carb diet.
This sweetness is derived from the “stevia rebaudiana”, a plant originally native to South America. This plant is also referred to as sweet or honey herb.
It constitutes a sweet pleasure, without having a bad conscience for those following the Keto and Low Carb Diets.
What is special about this sugar substitute?
The special thing about the stevia sweetness is that it has about 400 times more sweet than conventional household sugar.
For this reason, you must be careful when dosing, because even the smallest amounts make a significant difference here.
The active ingredients in stevia are called steviol glycosides. They are heat and pH stable, which means you can use it without any problems for baking or sweetening hot coffee or tea.
Stevia contains no carbohydrates, no calories and has a glycemic index of 0, which means that it does not increase blood sugar. This makes it an ideal keto sweetener for a very low-carb diet, as is necessary for the ketogenic diet.
It is also a proven tool for caries prevention. The development of dental plaque, can also be prevented by this sweetness. Therefore, not only the low carb kitchen appreciates this sweetener, but also the dentistry.
This natural sweetness does not affect blood sugar levels and is therefore also very suitable for diabetes patients. This sugar substitute consequently offers several crucial advantages.
But stevia is not to everyone’s liking. Some people find the sweetness too intense and unnatural. Too high a dosage can even leave a slightly bitter taste in some cases.
The recommended daily maximum is 10 milligrams per 1 kilogram of body weight.
How is Stevia available?
Stevia can be purchased in powder, tablet or liquid form. Stevia is particularly suitable in liquid form for calorie-free sweetening of beverages, such as tea or coffee.
The advantage of stevia tablets over the liquid sweetener is the simple dosage. The tablet dispenser is also very well suited for on the go. However, the liquid form can also be dosed simply, with generally just a few drops.
Is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, and is widely used as a sugar substitute. Unlike stevia, it is less sweet than sugar, but it contains only 6% of the calories of sugar while having a very low glycemic index of only 1.
This sugar substitute is carbohydrate-free and is the only one among sugar alcohols virtually calorie-free. Sugar has about 400 calories per 100 grams. In comparison, erythritol has only 20 calories – a very clear difference!
You can use erythritol in keto desserts. It is an excellent sugar substitute as it has the volume and consistency of sugar. However, you should be aware that it has a slight cooling effect that could be unpleasant for some people.
To compensate for this, you can mix it with another keto-friendly sweetener. As already mentioned, stevia and erythritol form a very good combination.
Sugar alcohols are known to cause digestive problems in large quantities, but erythritol is very, well-tolerated by most people.
However, if you are particularly sensitive to other sugar alcohols such as maltitol, you should start with a lower dose of erythritol to ensure that it has no adverse effects.
Another possible advantage of using erythritol instead of Honey is that it does not feed bacteria in the mouth (which are responsible for cavities in teeth) and therefore protects against tooth decay compared to sugar.
But during the ketogenic diet, you consume very, very small amounts of naturally occurring sugars (e.g. in vegetables) anyway, so your teeth will be thankful for it in the long run.
Erythritol is found in the retail market as granules and in powder form.
3. Luo Han Guo: The Monk Fruit as a Sugar Substitute.
The so-called monk fruit is an exotic fruit that originates from China.
Luo Han Guo is considered a very intelligent sugar exchanger, and a proven remedy for ailments such as gastrointestinal discomfort, flu-like infections or diabetes.
This natural sweetness is about 400 times sweeter than conventional sugar.
The monk fruit must first be dried and is only then suitable for further processing. Luo Han Guo, for example, is available in liquid or powder form.
What can the monk fruit do?
The natural Keto sweeteners contained in the monk fruit, the so-called mogrosides, have no calories at all. According to a Japanese research study, these sweeteners can have a very positive effect on blood lipid levels and fat metabolism.
Luo Han Guo has played a central role in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries. The monk fruit differs from stevia very much in taste.
Compared to Stevia, Luo Han Guo leaves no specific aftertaste, quite the contrary: the monk fruit tastes neutral and has a very fine and fruity-fresh note.
Many experts see the monk fruit as the “sugar of the future”. Luo Han Guo is ideal for baking and cooking, as the taste of the food is neither negatively influenced nor distorted.
When purchasing Luo Han Guo Powder, be sure to check the label for additives, as sweeteners containing Luo Han Guo are often added to dextrose.
The monk fruit is safe to use, and so far, no negative side effects have been documented. Some find the taste a little too fruity.
Studies have also shown that insulin resistance can be reduced by Luo Han Guo. The disadvantage is that the Luo Han Guo extract is quite expensive and difficult to find.
However, if you have access to it, you can try it out. Sometimes Chinese markets sell dried Luo Han Guo.
For the volume and convenience of cooking, especially when baking, Luo Han Guo can be taken in pure form or as a mixture with erythritol.
The Bottom Line
Now, you are confidently aware of what alternatives there are to honey, in order to use as a natural Keto-friendly sweetener.
We have only mentioned the natural alternatives here, as they have little or no side effects, as opposed to the artificial alternatives. These alternatives include Aspartame, Xylite, Agave syrup, and they must be avoided.