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Xylitol vs Erythritol: Keto-Friendly Sweeteners

If you are following a keto plan or considering the keto lifestyle, then one thing that you will need to get sorted is the type of sweetener that will give you what you need without spoiling your hard work.

With the keto plan, sugar alcohols are used to substitute sugar, and both Xylitol and Erythritol are popular choices. Check out our overview of these two sweeteners before choosing which one suits you best.

What Is Sugar Alcohol? 

Interestingly, many people wrongly assume that because they are called sugar alcohols that they must have an alcoholic content – this is not the case! Sugar alcohols contain no alcohol whatsoever and offer a range of health benefits in addition to providing a tasty alternative to sugar.

Tell Me More About Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is taken from fruits and vegetables that produce it naturally. This sweetener tastes just like sugar and can be used to replace it like for like in recipes that call for sugar. Interestingly, Xylitol does not raise blood sugars or insulin levels in the same way that sugar does, meaning that it does not count as net carbs, making it popular for keto’ers. This sweetener is most often used in sugar-free gum as well as certain mouthwashes.

Benefits of Using Xylitol

This sugar alcohol offers more than just a reduced carb option! It can support the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes, improve your dental health and even reduce the number of ear infections that you get. It is a globally approved sweetener that you will find in a range of products.

The Downside of Xylitol

The biggest issue for people that use Xylitol regularly is that it can cause some seriously unpleasant diarrhoea. In addition to the diarrhoea, many people find that it creates significant abdominal pain and cramping due to the build-up of excessive wind. While fine in small doses, the more you use this sweetener, the more likely you are to suffer from these side effects. Plus, if you are following a keto plan, there is a good chance that this sugar alcohol will kick you out of ketosis, the state in which you need to be in order to lose weight. The carb count process with xylitol is also a little stricter than with erythritol. With Xylitol it is standard practise to divide the polyol count by 2 to calculate the net carb count.

Tell Me More About Erythritol

Commonly found in fruits, mushrooms and fermented items, Erythritol is another sugar alcohol that is great when you need a sugar substitute. This sweetener is hugely popular in baked goods and reduced-calories foods, tasting sweet and delicious. This sweetener not only has a negligible amount of carbs and calories, but it also passes straight into your urine so that it is never used in the body.

Benefits of Using Erythritol

As with other sugar alcohols, Erythritol does not lead to poor dental hygiene and can support people who are battling Type 2 diabetes. Perhaps one of the most interesting findings is that using this sweetener results in antioxidants forming that work hard to support your blood vessels! Erythritol has no impact on your blood sugar levels, and it can even be fully absorbed by your body, meaning that you can be confident that you will not suffer from wind or diarrhoea.

The Downside of Erythritol

While this sweetener does not cause digestive issues like Xylitol, there is a chance that you can become dehydrated when you use it if you forget to top up on water as the day goes on. Some people have also experienced acid reflux when they eat this sweetener in large quantities. The good news is that if you use it minimally in cooking and baking, then you should not suffer any significant side effects, making it a great choice!


Aspect Xylitol Erythritol
Source Derived from fruits and vegetables naturally producing it. Commonly found in fruits, mushrooms, and fermented items.
Taste Similar to sugar, can be used as a direct replacement in recipes. Sweet and delicious, often used in baked goods and reduced-calorie foods.
Effect on Blood Sugar Does not raise blood sugars or insulin levels, making it popular for keto diets. Does not impact blood sugar levels, passes straight into urine without being used by the body.
Health Benefits Supports prevention of Type 2 Diabetes, improves dental health, and may reduce ear infections. Supports dental hygiene, may help in Type 2 Diabetes, and can lead to antioxidants formation in blood vessels.
Downsides Can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping, potentially kicking you out of ketosis. Carb count is strict. Excessive consumption may lead to dehydration and acid reflux. Minimal side effects with moderate usage.
Recommended for Keto May not be the best choice due to potential digestive issues and impact on ketosis. Generally considered the better choice for keto due to minimal impact on blood sugar and fewer side effects.

Which Sugar Alcohol Should I Use When Following Keto?

If you are looking for the best sugar alcohol to support your keto lifestyle, then we would suggest that Erythritol is the best choice. This sugar alcohol is generally taken from corn and is a popular choice with keto’ers all over the world. The only issue that you need to consider is that excessive consumption can cause digestive issues such as flatulence and runny stools.

The reason we would not recommend the excessive use of Xylitol (7) is that it has a higher glycaemic index than erythritol (0) and so technically it would have more of an effect on your blood sugars than xylitol. It might not kick you out of ketosis but why bother if erythritol has a similar effect. Its also not pet friendly so if you drop anything on the floor containing xylitol please please please clean it up! 

Xylitol works better in caramels than erythritol so able to work better for recipes that contains caramel. However if you are counting carbs its advices that with xylitol once halfs the polyol count instead of subtracting the entire value of the polyols so also less preferable to erythritol which you can deduct out fully.

It is, therefore, essential that you read all food labels and ensure that you are getting the right balance of sweeteners in your food so that you don't have to put up with the adverse side effects. We will be talking about sugar alcohols in on of our blogs soon because we know people worry about the term "alcohol" in relation to keto but the short version is that its not an actual alcohol.

Here at the No Guilt Bakes HQ, we use sugar alcohols in our treats and bakes so that you can have the foods you enjoy without breaking ketosis. Ours supplies of erythritol are NON GMO and are also sourced from reputable sources so you can rest assured of the quality of our finished products.  We don't use Maltitol in our products either. Order some today and indulge yourself in the best way possible - The No Guilt Bake Way!

1 Response

Timothy Atkins

Timothy Atkins

March 03, 2022

Do you have any evidence that xylitol kicks you ut of ketosis? Any studies at all?

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