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Corn syrup is widely used in the food industry, especially in soft drinks, because it is a cheaper sweetener than sucrose.
However, consuming high amounts of corn syrup can affect your ketosis and your overall health. It is linked to many diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
When on the ketogenic diet, you’ll want to look for a good keto substitute for corn syrup so you can make tasty low-carb baked goods, frostings, candies, jams, and ice creams.
Find out why you should avoid this carb heavy sweetener on keto and the best corn syrup alternative to try!
What is Corn Syrup?
Corn syrup is a sweet, viscous syrup made of broken-down corn starch. The process is done by heating it with dilute acid or combining it with enzymes.
Also known as glucose syrup, corn syrup can also be made from the hydrolysis of corn, wheat, or rice starch.
Corn syrup is used in the production of different products like jams, soft drinks, and candies. But it is also commercially available as light or dark corn syrup.
While light corn syrup is decolorized for use in baked goods, jams, and other food products, dark corn syrup is sweeter and used as a table syrup.
Dark corn syrup is made with combined molasses and caramel.
Why You Should Avoid Corn Syrup on Keto
Corn syrup is not keto-friendly. 3 tbsp of light corn syrup has 25 grams of net carbs. Adding it to your meal can knock you out of ketosis instantly.
It’s also not keto-friendly because it has no essential nutrients. It’s just “empty” calories.
Here are some other key reasons to avoid corn syrup.
Increased Risk of Weight Gain
Excessive sugar intake plays a key role in developing obesity.
It increases your calorie intake and makes you gain weight.
In one study of healthy adults drinking beverages with fructose and glucose, it was found that the fructose drink did not stimulate regions of the brain that control the appetite to the same degree as the glucose drink.
Fructose in corn syrup also promotes visceral fat accumulation. Visceral fat is the most harmful fat that surrounds your internal organs. Too much of this can lead to heart disease.
Increases Risk of Diabetes
Excessive fructose from corn syrup can result in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
While insulin increases and transports the carbs to the bloodstream, too much consumption might make your body resistant to its effects.
This resistance won’t make your body control your blood sugar levels. In the long run, both insulin and blood sugar levels will increase.
High fructose corn syrup can also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition linked to heart disease and some types of cancers.
Increases Risk of Fatty Liver Disease
In one study, humans with excess weight showed that drinking soda with sucrose for six months increased their liver fat, compared to drinking milk, diet soda, or water.
Another study also found that fructose can increase liver fat more than glucose can.
Liver fat accumulation can lead to critical health conditions in the long run, including fatty liver disease.
Remember that these negative effects of fructose in added sugar are not the same as the fructose in fruit. The fructose in fruit is healthy and safe in adequate amounts.
How to Choose a Keto-Friendly Syrup
Knowing what to look for when buying keto-friendly syrup will help you avoid those that don’t fit the standards.
Follow these guidelines when choosing a keto substitute for corn syrup.
Check the Net Carbs
Checking carb content should be the first thing you look for. There’s no point in considering an organic and healthy syrup if the macros still don’t line up with your carb limit.
Simply subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total amount of carbs to get the net carb count.
Keto syrups usually contain 1-2g of net carbs per serving. It’s up to you if you can spend a bit more of your carb allowance on syrups with 3-4g of net carb per serving.
Check the Ingredients
Once you’ve determined that the net carb count of the product fits in your daily carb budget, it’s time to check the ingredients.
Products with the following ingredients should not be part of your choices:
- added sugars like corn syrup
- aspartame, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners
- artificial coloring
- chemical preservatives.
Check the Sweetener Used
As mentioned, you should steer clear of syrups that use added sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Other sweeteners may be keto-friendly, but they cause gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, and gas.
The best zero-calorie sweetener to consider is stevia and monk fruit. They do not have health risks and won’t kick you out of ketosis.
Stevia is non-toxic and safe at high doses, while monk fruit is an antioxidant with a low glycemic index.
Keto Substitutes for Corn Syrup
Now that you know how corn syrup affects your ketosis and overall health, here are the best keto alternatives to use.
Maltitol syrup is a sugar alcohol that contains fewer calories and carbs. 10 grams of maltitol syrup contains 8.1 grams of net carbs.
It also does not have a bad aftertaste that some other sugar substitutes have.
Maltitol is considered safe as a low-carb sweetener for those who want to lose weight, but people with diabetes need to understand that this sugar alcohol is still a carbohydrate.
Sugar-Free Maple Syrup
It’s the most well-known keto syrup and is made with monk fruit and erythritol. Compared to 25g of net carbs in 3 tbsp of light corn syrup, 3 tbsp of Lakanto only has 1.5g of net carbs.
The sweetener in this syrup does not get absorbed by the body. And it has the same sweet taste as regular maple syrup.
Homemade Low-Carb Vanilla Bean Syrup
This homemade vanilla bean syrup has all the flavors of the real vanilla bean without the unhealthy fructose.
This syrup is very versatile and can be used to flavor anything, like smoothies, ice cream, protein bars, and more.
For this recipe, you will need:
Homemade Keto Corn Syrup
If you’re feeling productive, you can try making your own keto corn syrup! Holistic Yum shares their recipe for low-carb corn syrup which only requires the following ingredients:
- 1 cup granulated erythritol
- ¼ tsp butter extract
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of table salt
One cup of this corn syrup only contains 1.8g of total carbs!
FAQ Ketosis and Sweeteners
How Do I Get into Ketosis?
The main way to get into ketosis is by sticking to a low-carb, high-fat diet called keto. Your macro intake on keto will depend on your body, age, lifestyle, and more.
But in general, you need to consume about 25-50g of carbs daily and rely on good quality fat sources for your energy.
You can also speed up your journey to ketosis with intermittent fasting and doing light exercise.
Check out how you can get in ketosis quickly now!
What is the Best Keto Alternative for Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar is one of the most common sweeteners out there. It is used for baking, cooking, drinks, and more.
However, brown sugar is super high in carbs and therefore not keto-friendly.
Some alternatives for brown sugar include stevia and erythritol. These sweeteners have little to no carbs, so they won’t kick you out of ketosis.
Learn more about keto substitutes for brown sugar now!
Does Maple Syrup Kick You Out of Ketosis?
Maple syrup is considered a natural sweetener that offers a lot of health benefits… even more than pancake syrup, refined sugar, and corn syrup.
However, just because it offers a lot of benefits doesn’t mean it is keto-friendly.
Maple syrup is loaded with sugar and is not recommended on a low-carb diet.
Find out how maple syrup affects your ketosis!
Does Diet Coke Kick You Out of Ketosis?
Diet Coke won’t kick you out of ketosis. But it can increase your hunger or cravings for sweets, resulting in eating high-carb foods that will eventually knock you out of ketosis.
Eliminate Diet Coke consumption and start switching to keto Diet Coke alternatives.
Does Stevia Kick You Out of Ketosis?
Stevia won’t kick you out of ketosis as it contains zero calories and therefore zero carbs. It won’t spike your blood sugar levels and your body will continue using fats for energy.
This sugar-free keto sweetener also helps improve your oral health, cholesterol levels, and fights cancer.
Find out more about stevia on the keto diet now!
Ditch Corn Syrup From Your Diet!
Corn syrup is a syrup that can be found in sodas, candies, baked goods, and more. Although corn sounds healthy, corn syrup is the exact opposite.
Not only will corn syrup kick you out of ketosis, but it will also increase your risk of obesity, fatty liver disease, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Stick to keto alternatives like homemade corn syrup or sugar-free maple syrup. There are lots of these around, so find out the best keto substitute for maple syrup and make the switch now.