Sweetener could be the most trending topic of Keto world. We the humans love to taste the sweetness of food. The sweet taste gives a signal from the brain to the pancreas to get ready for releasing the insulin. This process is demand-driven. Insulin gets secreted only when your digestive tract starts absorbing food. The amount of insulin depends on the quantity of this food and the glycemic load. Of course, it gets released gradually, whenever the body senses that more insulin is needed. If you are insulin sensitive, the amount of insulin released is the minimum amount needed to process the macronutrients.
Are only the carbohydrates insulinogenic?
The majority of people think that only the carbohydrates are insulinogenic. On the contrary, protein can be highly insulinogenic too! Of course, protein will not convert immediately into fat because it needs a long series of processes. Only excess glucogenic amino acids can be converted to glucose when the glycogen stores are full through the gluconeogenesis pathways. I think we talked a lot about gluconeogenesis in our live videos. Now, excess glucose gets converted to fatty acids via de novo lipogenesis (DNL).
We tend to overuse the sweetener
Healthy bodies release the smallest amount of insulin depending on the type and quantity of food. However, if you use an excessive amount of sweetener, you will only create the effect of carb craving. Especially when your stomach is empty or while you are fasting. For example, aspartame is a poison and when it’s ingested in supra-physiological doses, it causes terrible fatigue and headaches.
Can the use of stevia or any other sweetener in my coffee kick me out of ketosis?
If you are not insulin resistant, even mildly insulin resistant, then don’t worry! A small amount of stevia won’t have an impact on your ketosis. If, in any case, you are over consuming the sweeteners while you are fasting and taking only artificial sweeteners, you can experience severe hypoglycaemia.
Furthermore, caffeine has a short half-life of 3-7 hours. While fasting will provide you satiety on an empty stomach, it leads to a horrible rebound effect. The rebound effect after caffeine gets metabolised and leaves the body is extreme and uncontrollable hunger. Too much caffeine leads to enormous stress and this will make you feel jittery, leading to elevated cortisol levels. This is something you should avoid because cortisol does negatively affect fat oxidation.
What is Fat Oxidation?
The aerobic energy system uses fats and oxygen as an energy source while on the ketogenic diet. Our fat cells contain stored triglycerides. To break-down these triglycerides, we need an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). With the help of this enzyme, the fatty acids will be released into the bloodstream and from there will enter the muscle fibres. Also, a limited amount of triglycerides is located in the muscle fibres. It is known as Intramuscular fat or Intramuscular triglycerides (IMTG).
Now, the fatty acids will enter mitochondria and a catabolic process known as beta-oxidation will take place. During beta-oxidation, the fatty acids will break-down to generate acetyl-CoA (acetyl coenzyme A). The body will use acetyl-CoA to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
Best possible sweetener choice?
Pure monk fruit, followed by stevia extract are two of the best sweeteners you can choose. You can read why in this article. However, It’s important to stay away from blends and artificial sweeteners. If a zero or <1 kcal sweetener is used, and it causes the insulin spike sharply while fasting for a long period of time, you will definitely notice the hypoglycaemic symptoms. Sugar alcohols and sucralose may cause blood glucose spike since sucralose is a compound derived from sugar. It may share common characteristics with the actual sugar. In fact, sugar alcohol can cause blood glucose spike depending on the extent to which it is insulinogenic or glucogenic.
Furthermore, coffee provides a dopamine spike. This decreases insulin at some point so it can negate the impact of certain sweeteners. For example, if you opt for stevia dried leaves most of the people will not have problems during the fasting period.
Natural taste of sweetness without any sweetener
Those who can stay away from sweeteners have much better natural sweetness receptors. People who follow the carnivore diet or zero-carb approach can taste extreme sweetness in, for example, raw milk. My personal perspective is that after months on a zero carb diet, I can feel that certain types of fat have a sweet aftertaste. Why is this happening? The secret lays in the glycerol. In fact, certain cuts of meat contain a lot of glycerol which provides this sweet taste.
If you are following a zero carb diet without taking any sweetener you will understand what I mean. Some people may have the urge to use more sweeteners. However, if you are determined enough to reduce the amount of sweetener you need, you will start feeling the natural sweetness of whole food!