Keto and Food Freedom
KETO AND FOOD FREEDOM
Once you’ve found your groove in a ketogenic state and are seeing signs of fat adaptation, it may be reasonable to bring in small amounts of natural sweeteners from time to time. While we don’t advise this become a daily occurrence, there is a time and a place to bring them in and we 100% prefer these REAL FOOD options over non-caloric sweeteners like Swerve or Stevia and other “Frankenfoods!” Remember, keto is a metabolic state, NOT a YES/NO food list!
Our Top 5 Natural Sweeteners
Dates (and other fruit like bananas) provide potassium for electrolyte boost, prebiotic fiber for gut health, and a good amount of B6 which supports production of serotonin while promoting adrenal health!
Dark Amber Maple Syrup good source of B vitamins and great in baked goods or on keto pancakes, the flavor of dark amber is more robust and it retains more of its minerals than grade A
Honey raw local honey may help with allergies and retains moisture in baked goods
Sucanat This is whole cane sugar in a granulated form and is not stripped or processed like white sugar
Coconut Sugar made from coconut sap and provides inulin to slow down glucose absorption
How to play with natural sweeteners once keto adapted
Try adding to a baked good such as our Low Carb Collagen Zucchini Muffins or Paleo-ish pumpkin muffins or reducing the sweeteners used in your favorite paleo baked goods by ½ to start. Once in keto 6+ weeks our palate will shift and the amount of sugar once used in recipes will taste way too sweet!
Make it count! A cookie from the grocery store is SO not worth it, but making muffins on a Sunday and enjoying them with your spouse or children adds value and connection and can teach them to enjoy low carb treats as well while supporting satiety and brain balance with healthy fats!
How NOT to play with natural sweeteners
If you’ve gone 6 weeks without sweetener in your coffee and have retrained your palate to enjoy the ritual of keto coffee (or tea), there’s no reason to go back there! Same thing goes for your full fat Greek Yogurt–if you’re enjoying it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a few blueberries there is really no need to gob on the honey! If you are a recovering sugar addict, go slow! Take 6-8 weeks off ALL sweeteners, fruit etc. to truly embrace the palate reset with occurs with removal of hyper-processed foods and unnatural levels of sweet! When an almond or coconut milk or vanilla extract TASTES sweet to you, that is likely a sign that you are ready to slowly step into adding small amounts of naturally sweet foods back into the diet!
Why we hate non-caloric sweeteners
Non-caloric sweeteners are NOT real food. Even if derived from a plant like stevia or monkfruit they have been stripped, bleached and processed in many other ways and are not in a whole food form. Sweeteners like Swerve or Erythritol have problematic influence on the gut microbiome. At the end of the day, they deceive the palate by providing a sweet taste (100s of times sweeter than sugar!) and can actually contribute to insulin resistance and sugar addiction, perpetuating the vicious cycle! If something seems too good to be true, it probably is! Tons more in Episode 89 of the Naturally Nourished Podcast!
Check out these real food keto recipes that use small amounts of real food sweeteners!
These treats can be great for keeping kiddos invested in a real food low carb lifestyle and can be shared with keto and non-keto friends and family alike. But remember, a treat is still a treat and these recipes should be regarded as such! Just because something has keto in the name does not give a permission slip to eat the whole tray of brownies or add a muffin at the end of every meal! If you find that consumption of these foods sends you over the edge into craving sugar, go back to tight keto for another 6-8 weeks to truly allow you to break up with sugar and gain the satiety and hunger mental reset that is one of the best benefits that comes from a ketogenic lifestyle!
To learn more about my approach to a real food keto diet and redefine your relationship with food, check out my Virtual Food-as-Medicine Ketosis program!