March 20, 2019
Sweeteners are a contentious topic in the keto world. There are endless debates about which sweeteners are the healthiest, which are unsafe, and whether sweeteners should even be part of keto at all.
There's no way to declare an objective "best" keto sweetener, but we can look into our data to figure out which sweetener is the most popular. So, we analyzed nearly 4,500 recipes from 15 different keto sites to figure out how often recipe authors use various sweeteners, and we have an answer for you:
Popularity of Sweeteners in Keto Recipes
Erythritol and stevia are, by far, the most popular sweeteners in the keto world. Erythritol represents 51% of sweetener usage in keto recipes. At 42%, stevia is not far behind. This means that 93% of sweeteners in keto recipes come from just these two ingredients!
Has it always been this way? Interestingly, no!
Sweetener Usage over Time
In the first few years that keto gained popularity, stevia was the juggernaut of the keto baking world, representing 60-80% of sweetener usage in keto recipes. In 2014, the situation flipped. Erythritol, a longtime second-place sweetener, suddenly became the dominant force. Stevia had a bit of a resurgence in 2015, but for the last four years, erythritol appears in recipes 25-50% more frequently than stevia.
Clearly, mainstream sugar substitutes like erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit reign supreme, but what about the less popular options?
Only five of the sites we analyzed had experimented with alternative sweeteners:
|Low Carb Yum||Ruled.me||KetoDiet App||Wholesome Yum||KetoConnect|
|Sucralose||3 recipes||13 recipes||-||-||1 recipe|
|Inulin||10 recipes||-||-||1 recipe||-|
|Allulose||2 recipes||7 recipes||-||-||-|
|Xylitol||1 recipe||-||3 recipes||-||-|
Low Carb Yum is, by far, the most adventurous; they're the only site in our data that created recipes using every type of keto-safe sugar replacement. Ruled.me has proven themselves willing to experiment as well, publishing many recipes using sucralose or allulose. We also give honorable mentions to KetoDiet App, Wholesome Yum, and KetoConnect for dipping their toes in the waters of alternative sweeteners for a recipe or two.
In addition to evaluating what's popular, it's also interesting to observe which sweeteners are absent from the data.
Let's start with the obvious ones: if these were mainstream recipes, the top sweeteners would be sugar, sugar, and sugar. The world's most popular sweetener is decidedly non-keto, so keto authors always exclude it from recipes.
Also notably missing are aspartame, acesulfame potassium (aka Ace-K), and saccharin. All three are low-carb, low calories, low glycemic impact, but they're all mired in controversy over their safety. As a result, keto bloggers won't touch them.
The timeline above shows us that sweeteners change with the times. Erythritol was only 7% of the keto sweeter landscape in 2012. Five years later, it had skyrocketed to almost 60%.
Could there be a future where ingredients like allulose come to dominate? Check back with us in five years or so to find out!
We collected recipe data from the following keto websites:
Are you wondering about other trends in the world of keto? Let us know what other graphs and investigations you'd like to see next!
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