While honey has some great health benefits, it’s not a good choice for people on keto or low carb diets because it has a lot of net carbs per tablespoon. Luckily, there are plenty of low-carb honey substitutes that you can use instead. Most of these substitutes have zero net carbs and are perfect for those on a keto diet.
One tablespoon of honey contains about 64 calories. It has no fat and no protein, but it does have 17 net grams of carbs, all from sugar. So you can see why it’s not an approved food for a keto diet.
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What is Honey and Why Isn’t It Keto Friendly?
Raw honey is an unfiltered, natural sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Unfortunately most honey you see today is not raw honey. Raw honey is different from processed honey because it has not been filtered. Processed honey is stripped of most of its health benefits.
Raw honey is quite healthy and has its place in a healthy diet, however it is high in sugar and carbs, which is why it is not low carb or keto friendly.
Honey Substitutes for a Low-Carb Alternative
There are two different types of substitutes you might be looking for when it comes to honey. There are many sugar substitutes that can be used in place of honey, and there are a few sugar-free honey syrups that do an even better job of mimicing actual honey when consistency is important.
5 Honey Substitutes That Mimic Honey (Pourable)
Made with all-natural honey flavor, this allulose syrup is what I consider to be the best honey alternative becasue it has a really authentic honey taste. Allulose is a rare sugar that occurs naturally in raisins, figs, and other foods. It has virtually no calories, glycemic index of zero, meaning no impact to blood glucose and tastes similar to sugar. Simply subtract grams of allulose from total carbs to get net carbs.
The main ingredient in Sweet Nature’s alternative honey sweetener is xylitol. Harvested from birch trees in the USA, Health Garden’s xylitol is all-natural and gluten-free. With a low glycemic index, xylitol honey sweetener won’t spike blood sugar or insulin and can aid in weight loss as part of a healthy diet. 1 teaspoon xylitol honey = 1 teaspoon honey. Just be aware that xylitol does have a small impact on blood sugar, while others like allulose don’t.
This keto sugar-free syrup has just 1 net carb and lower calories than traditional maple syrup. It’s all natural, low glycemic, and gluten free. If you’re looking for a sugar free syrup that can be used in the same way as honey, this is a perfect solution. It’s great on coconut flour pancakes, chaffles, and even as a replacement for simple syrup in cocktails.
Pyure Harmless Hunny offers the same honey flavor and consistency as real honey with far fewer calories and carbohydrates. Pyure is sugar-free and has a low glycemic index, making it perfect for keto, carb conscious and sugar sensitive lifestyles.
It has just 4 net grams of carbs per serving. Drizzle on fresh fruit, stir into tea and coffees or spread on keto English muffins.
7 Dry Substitutes for Honey
Monk fruit extract is a natural sweetener that is derived from monk fruit. It is calorie-free and has zero net carbs. You can use monk fruit extract to sweeten drinks, yogurt, and baked goods. It makes a great substitute for honey.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that is derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is calorie-free and has no net carbs. It is calorie free and has a zero glycemic index. Stevia is about 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, so you only need a small amount to achieve the same level of sweetness. You can use stevia to sweeten drinks, yogurt, and baked goods.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is found in plants. It has a glycemic index of zero and does not affect blood sugar levels. It is also calorie free and has a slightly sweet taste. Erythritol can be used as a 1:1 substitution for honey.
Xylitol can be used as a honey substitute because of its approximation to regular sugar. It is a sugar alcohol that is found in plants. It has a glycemic index of seven and does not affect blood sugar levels. Xylitol is also calorie free and has a slightly sweet taste. You can use xylitol to sweeten drinks, yogurt, and baked goods.
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut flowers. It is a natural sweetener that is low in glycemic index and has a nutrient-rich profile. Coconut sugar is about 70% sucrose, so it can be used as a 1:1 substitution for honey.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is low in carbs and calories, and is a great substitute for honey. If you like stevia you will find that it can act as a sugar substitute in just about any recipe.
I use allulose as a sugar substitute. The reason I use allulose is because it’s a no calorie no carb sweetener like erythritol, but it doesn’t have the cooling effect. I get allulose directly through Wholesome Yum. I think you’ll really like it, especially if you also don’t like the cooling effect.
Honey adds a lot of flavor and sweetness to foods, but you don’t have to give up that sweetness on a low-carb diet if you use one of the honey substitutes we laid out above. These are all useful alternatives to honey that can help you stick with your diet longer.
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These are easy ingredients to find online, if you don’t have them in your regular grocery store. I usually buy them directly from the brand website, but you can also get them on Amazon. I just stock them in the kitchen regularly because I know I’ll want them to make low-carb and keto foods.
Laura is an avid home cook and recipe creator. She shares her favorite low-carb recipes here that are both easy to make and full of flavor, so you don’t even miss the carbs.