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If you’re following a low-carb or keto diet and have a sweet tooth, then you’ll love this keto candy collection. It includes several keto-friendly candy options to buy like peanut butter cups, gummy bears, and Swedish fish. In this post, I give tips on what makes a candy keto-friendly, some sweeteners to avoid if you want to have candy and stay in ketosis, and how to look at labels.
Why share a Keto Candy post?
If you’ve searched the web, then you know there are a few posts about keto-friendly candy options. I decided to make my own because I found that most of them included lots of options that had so much sugar that it would likely kick me out of ketosis. In this post, I’m sharing what I learned about why every low carb candy isn’t necessarily keto-friendly.
What makes something keto candy?
I’ve mentioned many times, including in my what is the Keto Diet post, that keto is not a specific food. In fact, keto is all about ketosis, which is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for fuel. With that, you could technically have anything that you want on keto as long as it keeps you in ketosis.
Keto-friendly Candy Does Not Kick You Out of Ketosis
Even though you could technically have anything that keeps you in ketosis, the only real way to know how a food impacts you is to measure your ketones. You can do this precisely with a ketone meter. But, if you don’t have a meter, the next best option for determining if something will help you stay in ketosis (or not) is to use the information available about how different foods impact most people when consumed normally.
For example, we know that having normal amounts of sugar raises your blood sugar levels and can kick you out of ketosis. So, it is safe to avoid it.
How to tell if a specific candy product is keto-friendly
- Check the ingredients for all-natural & low-to-no impact sweeteners
- Figure out the number of net carbs and look for items with 5g net carbs or less
- Figure out if any grams of sugar on the label is added sugar
I explain each of these three things below, but I also have an example using one of the labels from a candy that I included in this post.
#1: Check the ingredients for all-natural & low-to-no impact sweeteners
If you’re new to keto and not yet measuring your ketones to determine how a specific food impacts you, then you should stick to no-to-low impact sweeteners. Some sweeteners that have 0g net carbs are:
#2: Figure out the Number of Net Carbs Per Serving
Besides the sweeteners, I also looked at whether or not the product was low-carb. Limiting our net carbs is another way to stay in ketosis. In this case, I looked at items with 5g or fewer net carbs per serving. You can opt to have more or less net carbs per serving. But, I chose 5 grams since that’s about 25% of the number of net carbs I aim to have daily.
#3: Figure out if any grams of sugar on the label is added sugar
Some products have naturally occurring sugar. For example, if I buy a strawberry candy, it will have sugar just because strawberries are naturally sweet. So, when looking at product labels, it’s important to focus on whether or not the sugar is added.
Can I have keto-friendly candy 24/7/365?
No. One of the biggest mistakes I made when starting keto was eating all the things that were keto-friendly with no end. My thought was this has only a few net carbs so why not?!
One thing that I wasn’t quite focusing on was the calories or how the sweeteners in the product would impact me. I’ll talk more about this below, but some low carb sweeteners have almost the same impact on the body as regular sugar!
So, you should definitely consume keto-friendly candy in moderation, just as you would with regular candy.
Are there specific sugar substitutes & sweeteners to avoid on keto?
Yes. There are some sweeteners that you should avoid if you’re on keto because they have a lot of carbs per serving and/or impact your blood sugar. Some of these might be a bit shocking since a few are all-natural and perfect sweeteners for paleo and clean eating.
One sweetener that I chose to avoid when including items in this post is Maltitol.
Even though Maltitol is a sugar substitute and technically low carb, there is evidence that it has a negative impact on our weight and blood sugar.
This means that if you measure your blood sugar levels after eating Maltitol, this substitute has been shown to raise them (similar to the way that regular sugar raises them). One popular product that includes Maltitol, but is technically low carb is nutty fudge brownie bars.
I’m not sharing this to say that you should or should not have them. Trust me, I am not and am never going to be the keto police! But, I’m pointing this out, mostly because they’re advertised as keto, despite having ingredients that you might not realize kick people out of ketosis.
And, if you’ve ever been stalled and not sure why, then I’m sharing a mistake that I made so that you can have all the info!
Here’s a Low Carb Sweetener Chart to check other sweeteners
One helpful low carb sweetener chart from Diet Doctor is below. It gives a nice summary of what is known in research about how different sweeteners impact most people’s weight, blood sugar, and insulin.
Looking for low carb snacks besides candy?
This post focuses on keto candy. But, if you want things like keto-friendly chips, then you should check out my post on keto snacks to buy. Like this post, all of the items can be purchased online and (some) in stores.
Homemade Keto Candy
All of the low-carb candy options in this post are ones to buy. They offer convenience since you can pick them up without having to worry about doing things like tempering chocolate. You can also make keto candy at home. My low carb candy recipes post has more than 20 sugar-free options, including my white chocolate clusters.
Here’s 11 Low Carb & Keto Candy to Buy:
4 Low Carb Candy Products that Didn’t Make the Cut & Why:
The products below are highly rated on Amazon and they look AMAZING, but they’re sweetened with Maltitol. Most of these are technically under 5g net carbs per serving.
Looking at the reviews, some people mention that they don’t impact them and are “diabetic-friendly”, but these didn’t make my cut of products to recommend because of their ingredients.
You can try these if you want, but I’m not volunteering to test them out for us!