The Best Sugar Substitutes for Gestational Diabetes

Are you pregnant with gestational diabetes and struggling with sugar cravings? You are not alone! Don’t worry. There are many delicious low-carb dessert alternatives to try. What works best for your sweet bids and blood sugars may take some trial and error, but it’s worth it. In this blog, I’m diving into what safe options my clients have used and tasted tested to keep their blood sugar and taste buds happy!

Best Sugar Substitutes

brownies with the best sugar substitutes

Are you pregnant with gestational diabetes and struggling with sugar cravings? You are not alone! Don’t worry. There are many delicious low-carb dessert alternatives to try. What works best for your sweet buds may take some trial and error, but it’s worth it. In this blog, I’m diving into the best sugar substitutes for gestational diabetes.

1. Erythritol

Erythritol is the most popular sugar substitute in low-carb, keto recipes and desserts. It does not have a strong aftertaste, so many people prefer it. If you have irritable bowel syndrome or a sensitive gut, I recommend limiting the portion size of any dessert. Substitute it in a 1:1 ratio with sugar.

2. Stevia

Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is much sweeter than sugar and should be used in small amounts, and it’s best used alone in coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. For baking, you can find stevia as part of a baking blend containing erythritol or another sugar alcohol.

3. Allulose

Allulose is a newer sweetener on the market and slowly increasing in many low-carb and keto-friendly products at stores. It is a natural sugar found in figs that do not significantly raise blood sugar.

Allulose is less sweet than sugar and is typically used in a 1:1 ratio to sugar in baking. It tends to cause baked goodies to brown more quickly, so cooking time may need to be shortened. If you’re concerned it may not be sweet enough for a recipe, you can combine Allulose with other sweeteners.

4. Monk Fruit Extract

Monk fruit extract is a natural sweetener made from crushing monk fruit and extracting a component called mogrosides with a sweet taste of 150-200 times sweeter than sugar. It should be used in small portions in baking and often is found in combination with erythritol in products.

Just because you have gestational diabetes does not mean you must give up sweets altogether. With these sugar substitutes and recipes, you can still enjoy delicious desserts without compromising your blood sugars. So go ahead, and indulge in a bit of sweetness!

** I recommend using lower-carb flour such as almond or coconut flour when making gestational diabetes desserts to help keep blood sugars balanced.

Try this recipe for your first Gestational Diabetes Friendly Brownie test!

Ingredients:  

  • 1 cup almond flour 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 3/4 cup monk fruit erythritol baking sugar like this or another low glycemic sweetener 
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2/3 cup 70% dark or sugar-free chocolate chips (optional)
  • ⅓ cup walnut pieces (optional

 Instructions:  Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.  Mix the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix the sweetener, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well combined.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until a thick batter forms. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips if using.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth it out evenly.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.  Let the brownies cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing them into squares.  This recipe makes 16 servings, each containing approximately 123 calories, 3g net carbs, 3g protein, and 11g fat.

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Ginger Cochran is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Care Specialist, Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist, and owner of Nutritious Ginger, an integrative and functional nutrition practice focusing on full body self-care and nourishment. Ginger’s primary specialty is women’s health, with a special emphasis on gestational diabetes, weight management, infertility, digestive wellness, and overall health + happiness.
Ginger serves on the board of director for the Nutrition Care Manual by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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