Best All-Purpose Sweetener for Keto and Diabetes Diets

 

Advertised as “the ultimate sugar replacement,” Swerve is a new calorie-free sweetener made from natural ingredients which are sourced from the United States and France. 

Suitable for diabetics, low calorie, low fat, and ketogenic dieters, Swerve has zero calories, zero net carbs and is certified non-GMO is non-glycemic.

Plus – Good News for Sugar-Free Bakers … Unlike natural sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit, Swerve is ideal for baking as it caramelizes and holds its shape just like sugar.

It also measures cup-for-cup like regular sugar, and comes in both granular and confectioners sugar forms, Swerve Brown, and in individual packets.

 

Swerve: For Keto Diets and Diabetics

 

Swerve Granular

 

Swerve, advertised as “the ultimate sugar replacement,” is a new calorie-free sweetener made from natural ingredients which are sourced from the United States and France.  Suitable for diabetics, low calorie, low fat, and ketogenic dieters, Swerve has zero calories, zero net carbs and is certified non-GMO is non-glycemic.

Plus – Good News for Sugar-Free Bakers … Unlike natural sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit, Swerve is ideal for baking as it caramelizes and holds its shape just like sugar.

It also measures cup-for-cup like regular sugar, and comes in both granular and confectioners sugar forms, Swerve Brown, and in individual packets.

 

Swerve Brown bakes just like brown sugar!

 

– But with zero calories and net carbs!

 

 

Swerve Sweets Baking Mixes

Swerve has recently launched it’s Swerve Sweets line of baking mixes, which include:

All the mixes are gluten and grain-free, and suitable for low carb ketogenic dieters and diabetics.

 

Swerve Sweets Chocolate Cake Mix allows keto dieters and diabetics to enjoy dessert!

 

 

 

 

Swerve Facts

Swerve Sweetener is a “natural” sweetener blend. Loved by low-carb and keto bakers, Swerve provides a similar level of sweetness to sugar and an ability to caramelize, making it an easy sweet substitute in many recipes.

According to the manufacturer, Swerve is “zero-calorie, non-glycemic and safe for those living with diabetes, since it has no effect on blood glucose or insulin levels.”

 

That all sounds great, but what’s actually in the stuff?  

 

Swerve Sweetener is composed of erythritol, oligosaccharides, and natural flavors. Let’s break it down further.

Swerve Sweetener is made from only three ingredients: erythritol, oligosaccharides and natural flavor.

  • Erythritol is made by fermenting glucose with a microorganism in brewery tanks, similar to the way that beer and wine are made.
  • Oligosacharides are made by adding enzymes to starchy root vegetables to break down the starch
  • Natural flavors are added to replicate the taste of table sugar

 

Swerve Ingredients

 

Erythritol

 

Erythritol is virtually calorie free.

 

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that comprises the bulk of Swerve. In comparison to sugar, it’s said to be 60-70% as sweet and have a similar taste profile.

But that’s where the similarities stop. Containing a mere 0-0.2 calories per gram, erythritol is virtually calorie free.

As a sugar alcohol, erythritol is made from fermented glucose, usually sourced from corn. Considering Swerve uses only non-GMO corn, this probably isn’t too much of a concern for most folks, but it’s something to note.

While the fermentation aspect is “natural,” there are certain synthetic processes along the erythritol production line, including hydrolysis to extract the glucose from corn or other fruits/veggies, and a crystallization phase to form the final product.

All in all, not too bad as far as sweeteners go. The scientific literature is positive regarding erythritol, showing no adverse effects on blood sugar and demonstrating beneficial effects on vascular function and oral health.

Swerve also claims that erythritol is non-allergenic and less likely to cause digestive issues than other polyol sweeteners like xylitol. Good times.

 

Oligosaccharides (Inulin)

 

Inulin (oligosaccharides) is made from chicory root.

 

Next down the ingredient list are oligosaccharides. These are a type of prebiotic fiber otherwise labelled as inulin, providing additional sweetness for your tastebuds and a beneficial food source for all the little good guys hanging out in your gut.

The oligosaccharides found in Swerve are likely sourced from starchy root vegetables like chicory root, onions and garlic.

Once again we have an ingredient that’s natural (in origin, at least), provides a beneficial effect in the GI tract, and doesn’t adversely effect blood sugar.

That being said, those people who are sensitive to FODMAPs might not react well to Swerve, due to the oligofructose found in plants like chicory root.

 

Natural Flavors

This is where Swerve lets the team down a bit. Under the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations, any compound can be deemed a “natural flavor”, provided it was sourced from something natural.

There’s very little regulation surrounding how that natural compound can be processed to form the natural flavor; it could be fried, distilled, squashed, roasted, acidified, discombobulated, or all of the above – just whatever takes the manufacturer’s fancy.

So by the time that natural compound makes it into your sweetener, it’s not really “natural.”

What’s more, Swerve has no legal obligation to disclose what that natural flavoring was actually derived from. On their site, there’s vague references to “natural flavor from citrus,” but that doesn’t really provide the consumer with much information.

 

Swerve Safety

 

 

Once again, the literature is overwhelmingly in favor of Swerve Sweetener.

With regards to erythritol, high-dosage trials in rats (up to 4.6 g/kg) failed to show any chronic toxic or carcinogenic effects.

Human trials at lower dosages (1 g/kg body weight—still a decent amount) didn’t reveal any gastrointestinal concerns or digestive upset, aside from higher fluid intake.

That being said, there are anecdotal reports of some people personally not taking well to the stuff.

On the oligosaccharide front, it’s also reasonably smooth sailing. Oligosaccharides like those used in Swerve have been positively associated with improved gut microbial health and permeability

There is, however, a certain propensity for prebiotics like these to increase flatulence and have a mild laxative effect.  So don’t overdo it until you know your personal tolerance.

Regarding natural flavors, the FDA requires natural flavors to be sourced from compounds that are considered GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe), there have been times when GRAS ingredients and products have been taken off the shelves because the FDA didn’t do their homework.

 

Swerve and Diabetes

 

 

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, making your favorite recipes safe for you to enjoy is as easy as a cup-for-cup Swerve-for-sugar swap. 

The Glycemic Index Laboratories in Toronto, Canada, performed a study with 15 healthy participants between the ages of 18 and 75, testing the body’s after-consumption blood glucose and insulin responses to four different sweeteners. Their results showed that Swerve is non-glycemic and doesn’t raise blood glucose (blood sugar) levels.

Swerve was also tested for its effect on insulin levels after consumption. The chart below shows the insulinemic responses of the four sweeteners tested, and Swerve had an extremely minimal impact.

 

Storing Swerve

Swerve can be sensitive to environmental heat and humidity. The manufacturer recommends that it be stored in a cool, dry place like a refrigerator or freezer.

If you find that yours has started clumping, moving it to the freezer can reverse the moisture’s effect. If you are looking for a faster way to de-clump your Swerve, you can always put it in the food processor or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

 

 

 

Swerve Baking Tips

 

 

Icings and Frostings

  • To avoid lumps, use softened, room-temperature butter or cream cheese and room-temperature milk or cream. 
  • If your frosting gets lumpy, try adding a little melted chocolate or cocoa butter to smooth things out.
  • If your frosting gets too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk or non-dairy milk to reach your preferred consistency.
  • Traditional frostings and icings that call for confectioners or powdered sugar can be overwhelmingly sweet—the same will be true if you replace that sugar with Swerve. We recommend cutting the amount in half. For example, if the recipe calls for 4 cups of confectioners or powdered sugar, use 1 1/2 cups of Confectioners Swerve, or sweeten to taste. You can always add more if it isn’t sweet enough!

 

Cakes and Cookies

  • An extra tablespoon or two of butter or oil can improve results when baking traditional flour-based cakes. This typically doesn’t apply to almond-flour based recipes.
  • When baking a cake, pie or brownies, cover with aluminum foil about halfway through the suggested baking time. For example, if a carrot cake needs to bake for 50 minutes, cover the cake after 30 minutes and finish baking. This prevents the outside crust from becoming too firm or overcooking.
  • If you prefer a thinner, flatter cookie, it can help to pre-flatten the cookie dough ball with your palm, on the cookie sheet. This works well for chocolate chip cookies.
  • Additionally, if you prefer a chewier chocolate chip cookie and your recipe calls for two eggs, use one egg instead. It can also help to add a little milk to your wet ingredients.

 

Custards and Curds

  • Confectioners Swerve is the best choice for custards, curds and mousses since it delivers the smoothest consistency.

 

Chocolate

  • If you’re adding Swerve to melted chocolate, whisk in one tablespoon at a time. If it thickens too much, add a few teaspoons of oil to help thin it out.

 

Swerve Troubleshooting

  • The manufacturer recognizes that every once in a while you may experience a “cooling effect” or feel like you “chewed a piece of refreshing, minty gum” when consuming Swerve. Here are their tips to minimize this cooling sensation:
    • Use enough fat in the recipe. Combining Swerve with ingredients like butter, heavy cream, or oils creates a rich mouthfeel that reduces the cooling effect. A good ratio to start with is 1/2 cup Swerve to 1 cup butter.
    • Bake or dissolve Swerve with other recipe ingredients.
    • Use the smallest amount of Swerve possible to get to your desired level of sweetness.
    • Avoid sprinkling Swerve on top of a baked good or rolling cookies in Swerve.
    • Try Swerve in cold-temperature recipes, such as cheesecake, ice creams, or puddings.
  • Erythritol, the main ingredient in Swerve, can have the tendency to recrystallize back to its granulated texture when exposed to colder temperatures. If you want a smooth, creamy texture, Swerve, Confectioners style is the best option.  

 

This video helps to explain when to use confectioners. You can also eat the dessert the same day it was made, before it has the chance to recrystallize:

 

 

 

Cranberry Cheesecake Pie Recipe

 

Cranberry Cheesecake Pie: 5 g of fiber and only 3 net carbs per serving!

 

Try this Cranberry Cheesecake Pie recipe – it’s so simple, and you’ll end up with a fancy dessert with 5 g of fiber and only 3 net carbs per serving!

One tester said her kids loved it, and didn’t even realize it was a sugar-free recipe.  Impressive!

 

Ingredients

 

Cranberry Sauce
  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen is fine)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup Swerve, Granular
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
Crust
  • 1 ¾ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup Swerve, Granulated
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Filling
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup Swerve, Confectioners
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Instructions

 

Cranberry Sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the cranberries and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries have popped and can be easily mashed, about 7 minutes. Stir in Swerve and lemon zest and mash up a little. Set aside to cool.
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, Swerve, coconut flour, and salt. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract until dough begins to clump together. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture.
  3. Press the remaining crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate or a 10-inch tart pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Filling
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and Swerve together until well combined. Beat in the egg, cream, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  2. Spread cheesecake mixture into crust. Dollop with cranberry sauce and swirl lightly with a knife. Stir pecans, if using, into reserved crust mixture and sprinkle over filling.
  3. Cover lightly with foil and bake 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheesecake filling is set.
  4. Remove and let cool, then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. 

Makes 10 servings.

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 slice

Servings 10

Calories 310
Total Fat 28g
Total Saturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 65mg
Sodium 140mg
Total Carbs 28g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 4g
Swerve 20g
Protein 6g
Net Carbs: 3g

 

 

Final Thoughts

At face value, and even below the surface, there’s nothing to complain about: Swerve Sweetener really does seem like the real deal. But it’s not my favorite sweetener when I reach for one, especially when I get that strange cooling sensation on the tongue after eating something sweetened with it. 

But the fact remains that most people tolerate Swerve well, and it’s won over much of the keto crowd—arguably some of the most discerning of all foodies. If you’re looking for a new sugar substitute, play around with Swerve, maybe mix it with other natural sweeteners to optimize taste, and see whether it works for you.

Have you tried any of the Swerve products?  What do you think?

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