Swerve sweetener is a sugar substitute that often receives the “natural” tag, and it is the self-proclaimed “ultimate replacement for sugar.”
This article examines whether that claim is really true.
Over recent years, low carb baking has become increasingly popular.
With the popularity of low-carb and keto diets, more people are looking into sugar replacements for their kitchen.
As a result, there are a vast number of natural and artificial sweeteners on the market, but is Swerve a safe choice?
What Is Swerve Sweetener?
First of all, Swerve is a sweetener produced by a company of the same name: Swerve.
Low carb dessert and baking enthusiasts love Swerve and use it for a wealth of different recipes.
It can also be used as a straight swap for sugar to sweeten drinks such as coffee and tea.
The company who make it claim that their sweetener is natural and safe, as shown in the quote below;
“Swerve is zero-calorie, non-glycemic and measures cup-for-cup like sugar. It’s sweet, safe and natural.”
In this article, we will try to verify these claims of safety.
First of all, let’s examine the three ingredients that Swerve contains.
The product is a blend of three supposedly natural ingredients;
- Erythritol: a sugar alcohol extracted from corn.
- Oligosaccharides: a fermentable pre-biotic fiber, otherwise known as inulin.
- Natural Flavors
Swerve comes in two varieties; one is granulated, which has a texture similar to regular table sugar.
The sweetener also comes in a powdered confectioner’s style.
Erythritol is the main ingredient in Swerve, and it is a sugar alcohol derived from corn (1). While it looks and tastes similar to sugar, it has almost none of the calories.
Alone, erythritol is approximately 60-70% as sweet as sugar (2).
Despite its “natural” reputation, erythritol is an industrial product. As part of its manufacture, a hydrolysis process extracts glucose from corn.
Next, the producers add a type of yeast — often Moniella — which ferments this glucose.
Finally, the product is cleaned by filtering and then undergoes a crystallization process, resulting in erythritol (3).
Surprisingly, the initial discovery of erythritol came way back in 1848, Scotland (4).
According to Swerve, their erythritol is certified non-GMO.
Oligosaccharides are a type of prebiotic fiber that naturally occurs in various plants (5).
Swerve uses an extract of this fiber initially derived from vegetables. Although the manufacturer does not disclose the exact source, we can guess based on the plant foods that are high in oligosaccharides.
Typically, the sources of these sweet-tasting compounds are vegetables such as chicory root, garlic, leek, onions and scallions (6).
Oligosaccharides add to Swerve’s sweet taste, and as they are prebiotic fiber, they may provide some benefits for our gut bacteria too.
Food products often label this ingredient as ‘inulin,’ which is a common alternate name.
While ‘natural flavors’ certainly sounds better than ‘artificial flavors,’ they are not so different in reality.
Artificial flavors are entirely human-made in a lab using synthetic chemicals.
On the other hand, natural flavors use a chemical initially found in nature.
After extracting and modifying this ingredient, it is then mixed with various other things.
In fact, these ingredients can number in the hundreds, and the extraction process often uses solvents (7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
Sadly, the legislation surrounding the use of the term ‘natural flavors’ is lacking.
Providing an extract originated from food, it doesn’t matter what happens next.
In other words; that extract can be fried, boiled, mixed with various solvents, or anything else the flavor producers want to do.
And it still gets to keep the name ‘natural.’
Personally, I view ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ flavors as the same thing; neither is something you will find in nature.
How Are Swerve’s Natural Flavors Made?
Unfortunately, this information is not public.
The official Swerve website advises that the natural flavors are “from citrus,” but we already know that natural flavors must originate from real food.
The real question is; what process is used to make the flavors?
Unless this information is made available, we don’t know.
How Many Carbs Are In Swerve?
While Swerve sweetener’s label claims to be ‘zero-calorie,’ this isn’t entirely accurate.
For example, according to the FDA label requirements, anything containing less than five calories per serving can be called zero-calorie (12).
The serving size for Swerve is listed as one tsp (4g). While this might be okay for a cup of coffee, baking recipes call for cups rather than teaspoons.
Despite this, the actual calorie content is still reasonably low; Swerve contains 51 calories per cup serving.
Concerning carbohydrate, Swerve sweetener has 5g carbs per serving.
Although this sounds very high, the body doesn’t metabolize these carbs.
As a result, erythritol is non-glycemic and does not affect blood sugar and insulin levels (13).
Is Swerve Sweetener Safe?
To understand the safety profile, we have to examine each of the ingredients.
Erythritol is the main ingredient in Swerve sweetener.
I set out trying to find both positive and negative impacts of erythritol, but the studies are generally positive.
In a study looking at pre-diabetics, a daily dose of erythritol for two weeks did not affect blood glucose levels (14).
Additionally, unlike natural sugars, erythritol appears to have a positive impact on dental health. Studies show that it inhibits harmful bacteria and reduces plaque – even more so than xylitol does (15, 16).
And most significantly, toxicity and carcinogenicity tests on erythritol show that it’s very safe for humans.
Studies testing high-dose ingestion show no adverse gastrointestinal response. Further, long-term animal studies show no signs of any tumor-promoting effects (17, 18, 19).
Overall studies on inulin appear to be very positive.
Daily supplementation of inulin over a 16-day period improves the diversity of the human gut microbiota. Also, randomized controlled trials show that inulin improves inflammation, intestinal permeability and overall gut health (20, 21).
Inulin may also hold promise for reducing insulin levels. In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, participants supplementing inulin at 10g per day had significantly reduced fasting insulin levels (22).
Another study also shows that inulin had a significant effect on decreasing fasting glucose levels in forty-four subjects with prediabetes (23).
Of course, these doses are much higher than what you will find in a few servings of Swerve sweetener. However, they do show that oligosaccharides are beneficial for health rather than something to cause worry.
As previously mentioned, ‘natural flavors’ can include hundreds of different ingredients.
Therefore, it is difficult to know precisely what these ‘natural flavors’ contain.
Swerve and Type 2 Diabetes
People with diabetes are some of the biggest consumers of low-carb sweeteners.
Therefore, it is essential to know what effect Swerve may have on blood glucose and insulin levels.
As shown while discussing the various ingredients, nothing in Swerve appears to impact blood sugar adversely.
In fact, it appears that these ingredients may reduce fasting glucose levels.
However, it is important to note that anyone with diabetes should always discuss dietary changes with their medical team.
For one thing, using Swerve as a replacement for sugar may require existing medication doses (such as insulin) to be lowered.
Is Swerve Safe For Children?
Unfortunately, there is nothing specific in the literature concerning the safety of the ingredients in Swerve for children.
However, there is also no reason why it should cause harm.
After all, children and adults are not so different biologically. Furthermore, the FDA would not allow a baking product to go on sale if it was explicitly harmful to children.
It is worth remembering that children are little, though, and this means that their digestive system is only small too.
As a result, any digestive sensitivities to erythritol would be “felt” at a lower dose than what a fully grown adult would experience.
If a child displays any discomfort after trying food containing Swerve, then its use should be discontinued.
High-Dose Erythritol Side Effects
One potential adverse effect to be aware of is that sugar alcohols, including erythritol, are capable of causing mild side effects.
These side effects revolve around high-dose consumption causing slight digestive discomfort such as bloating and gas.
The reason this can occur is that we don’t fully digest sugar alcohols and they are left to ferment in the intestines, which leads to the above symptoms.
However, these side effects of erythritol are uncommon in anything other than high doses.
For instance, controlled studies demonstrate erythritol is “well-tolerated” at repeated daily doses of 1 gram per kg of body weight, for seven consecutive days.
How Does Swerve Sweetener Compare To Stevia?
Both Swerve and stevia are natural sweeteners, and many people wonder which one is best.
The truth is that both these sweeteners are reasonably good choices, especially in contrast to their artificial alternatives.
Where Swerve Wins
Stevia has a mild, slightly bitter aftertaste which some people dislike (24, 25).
It’s also not as well suited to baking as Swerve is. For instance, Swerve serving sizes are simple because it’s a like-for-like, cup-for-cup sugar replacement.
In contrast, working out the required serving size of Stevia necessitates some guesswork.
Where Stevia Wins
Two kinds of stevia exist; refined and whole-leaf.
While the refined version is similar to Swerve concerning the natural flavors and unknown ingredients, the whole-leaf version is not.
Whole-leaf stevia is merely the dried green leaves of the stevia plant; nothing is added nor taken away, no extractions, and it is 100% natural.
However, whole stevia leaves are much milder in sweetness, and they would not be suitable for baking.
Natural Sweeteners vs. Artificial Sweeteners
Natural sweeteners and artificial sweeteners are similar in some ways.
First, they are both very sweet, contain no digestible carbs, and substitute for sugar in many foods and drinks.
However, when it comes to their safety profile, there is one clear winner: natural sweeteners.
The links between artificial sweeteners and cancer, weight gain and gut health are unclear.
While some studies find connections, others do not.
To summarize, here are a few recent negative findings on artificial sweeteners:
However, in the interest of balance, there are also many studies showing no link between artificial sweeteners and illness (36, 37, 38, 39).
But why take the chance of using artificial sweeteners when we can use something that appears to be much safer?
Can Sweet Taste Lead to Sugar Cravings?
One of the most intriguing and evolving areas of research concerns sweet taste perception.
Sweet taste has an impact on the ‘reward center’ of our brain, activating dopamine receptors. This action may profoundly influence satiety and the amount of food we want to eat (40, 41).
Researchers query whether this might be the reason for artificial sweeteners having a link to weight gain; perhaps they decrease the satiety response and thus encourage over-consumption of food (42).
However, most of this research is on artificial sweeteners and, unfortunately, very little exists on erythritol.
Could “natural” sweeteners like Swerve sweetener have the same effect on dopamine receptors?
With this in mind, it may be better to avoid any form of sweetener should you be prone to sugar (or sweet taste) cravings.
Where To Buy Swerve?
Swerve sweetener is available in many health stores, including Whole Foods. If you cannot find it offline, then you can also buy on Amazon.
If you buy this product, then you will probably want some ideas for what to do with it.
Just to repeat; it is a like-for-like sugar replacement, so you can use it in the same amounts as you would use sugar.
See here for some delicious Swerve recipes.
Is Swerve Good or Bad For You?
So, is Swerve sweetener a healthy replacement for sugar?
Well, sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet, and Swerve certainly makes a great substitute.
However, I wouldn’t specifically call it ‘healthy.’
Despite this, the safety profile of Swerve is relatively good, and there are no standout concerns.
All in all, there is nothing wrong with using it for an occasional sweet treat.
But it is always best to base diets around nutrient-dense whole foods.
For more on sweeteners, see this guide to the sugar alcohol sorbitol.
137 thoughts on “Swerve Sweetener: Is it a Safe Sugar Substitute?”
and the insulin response levels, rather than the blood glucose levels ?
Also virtually no (minimal) response.
Thanks for this excellent article.
Thanks Lauren, glad you liked it.
And happy new year!
What about GMO corn? Does the inserted insectacide make it through the prossesing? It will change the gut and set up a new or differant microbiome.
Good news: Swerve Sweetener uses non-gmo corn.
That is good news. I am preparing to use it as a sweetner in making canned Guavas.
Sounds good! Although guavas are already quite sweet… or is it just me?
Awesome to know! I was very concerned about this. Thank you so much!
I have been using Swerve for my baking needs only. For drinks I use honey, or stevia, which I still dislike after like 8 years. Some things I’ve given up using it period in and learned to drink the drink bland. I use it for baked goods only because of the cost. It’s very expensive, so I have to limit my use of it. It’s come down in price but, still needs to fall a bit more for me to give it a try for something else.
I’ve had a life long problem with weight. I am 66 years old, and the first diet I was put on with a doctor I was 5. I had gastric sleeve 9 years ago and am still very limited, so I have been successful in keeping weight off. Wish I could have done it when I was a young women. But, I have to say I have to give Swerve a push because I have used it now for about a year and a half and done well with it. I am one that does not believe in the sweet making you crave more food idea. I think it’s absurd. I am not a huge sweet lover though, but, am a carb lover. I have learned to love good carbs more so that helps along with my surgery, to keep myself in check, but, love Swerve I absolutely do. Interesting article. Thank you.
Swerve is a great choice for low carb baking. I do think that sweet foods can cause a craving for more… but I’ve never experienced (or heard of it) with erythritol/swerve. Some people get into a cycle of reliance on sugary foods though – and many of them don’t even realize the situation because it’s just part of their normal day.
As for your recent success with weight, it’s better late than never 🙂 Keep up the good work and let me know if you have any tasty recipe ideas!!
Sue, I’m with you. I have suffered with my weight all my life, now almost 70, its’ still my nemesis. I have never had weight loss surgery, but now trying the Keto diet and I’m coming along “ok”, but think I will start using Swerve as much as I can.
Best of luck soul sister, Anita
Anita – I am curious how the Keto diet worked for you – I have been on the Keto diet since the last week of August 2018 and as of December 1, 2018 I am down 29 lbs. My goal was to lose 100 lbs by February but I see now that is not going to be possible. I am hoping you did well on your Keto diet – everyone I have talked to is doing great!! I think it’s time to get a little gym time in for me and maybe that will help me reach my goal. Good Luck to you!! FYI I am 61 and I have struggled all my life too with weight problems. The Keto diet is the easiest diet I have ever been on and it is helping to get me to eat healthy!! I do miss the pasta cuz I am Italian and may splurge for Christmas since they are serving homemade lasagna!! We will see if I cheat or not for the day!! Again good luck hope you are doing great!!
All substitute sweeteners cause me to crave real sugar or more food. They have all my life and nobody ever believed me until now.
There is a bit of research on this, and many researchers believe it may be an effect of sweet taste perception.
I have been on the Keys way, but I have been using Monk Fruit and I think it caused me to gain 4 lbs. I was craving the cookies I made. Then I was told that Swerve would be better for me. I’m not so sure now. I am type 2 diabetic. I need to be real careful.
If you feel sweeteners give you a craving for sweet food, it may be better to avoid them altogether. I’ve heard of this happening before, but it usually tends to be with the artificial sweeteners.
Hi I’ve been reading recipes with Monk fruit sweetener too and have never heard of it here in Australia. Can you please tell me about this sweetener substitute?
Sure – please see here: https://www.nutritionadvance.com/is-monk-fruit-sweetener-healthy/
Hope this helps!
I read where this was from yeast and invented by a French chemist. I read where the sweetener is only absorbed in the lower intestine not upper. I have been using it for several months now. I don’t have diabetes, over 60,. Use mostly for coffee. When I first started using it, I had to take double to triple my normal saccharin use. After a few uses I found using less and less to get the sweetness. If you wait a few seconds the sweetness comes through. As I drink my coffee, the sweetness is even stronger. It’s a learning curve. I do not have a sweet tooth craving with this sweetener. I haven’t tried cooking with it.
Yes, I think it’s definitely one of the better options (along with stevia) in regard to taste and impact on cravings.
Some sweeteners have been shown to impact insulin levels, and this one has numerous studies showing that it doesn’t.
To be honest, I like my coffee just as it is, but I do enjoy the occasional use of this for baking.
I’m new to keto and logging all my carbs. How should carbs be counted using Swerve?
I wouldn’t count Swerve as carbs. It is a sugar alcohol and only minimal amounts are absorbed – about 90% of it remains undigested.
Gary, I agree, I too have found that I use less now than I did at the beginning. I love it for baking because it’s a bulk sweetener and works wonderfully for low carb sweet things that really have the mouth feel, flavor and with no after taste to them. I have given up sweetening my tea, and I love it again plain with a squeeze of lemon. I grew up with a diabetic mom and didn’t grow up eating a lot of sweets. About the only time we had sweets were for our birthday and when we went to Grandma’s house, so I guess I don’t love sweets like some people do. I am more of a savory food lover, but, I have to still give Swerve a ***** star rating. It is wonderful for baking sweets for that good, natural flavor and, I also make some of my fruit syrups now with it and, it’s fantastic.
Anita, You sound like you have a plan. I wish you only the best of luck, and, it really does become easier once you move into your new lifestyle and just don’t stray from it as much as possible. I find at holiday time, I bake a couple items that we all love with it and have taken them to family doings, and no one has ever been wise to it. Everything still gets gobbled up. Part of a healthy living plan IS to treat yourself once in awhile. It’s what I do. I plan for it, and work it into my week, and carb intake. When you stay within your carb intake allotment, you will not lose. It works every time. I use Swerve to bake or make things with, and I am not cheating so much that way, but, feel as though I am cheating because it’s so darned good. It nurtures my tummy and my soul need for something decedent. So, best of luck to you also soul sister. lol
I’m more of a savory food lover now too, but I had a big sweet tooth as a child. In particular, chocolate fudge cake was always my favorite! Tastes unnaturally sweet now though – not sure how I used to eat so much of it (mainly special occasions like birthdays and so on.)
I also know what you mean about feeling like cheating. Personally, I think it’s better to mainly stick to real whole foods…but if someone’s going to “have a treat”, this is a lot better for them than sugar!
Is this safe for people who are allergic to corn?
The allergen is usually in the corn protein, but it’s better to be safe so I would avoid it personally.
Maybe whole stevia leaf or ‘Just Like Sugar’ (http://www.justlikesugar.com/just-like-sugar/) would be a nice replacement option. Both are pretty natural as far as sweeteners go.
I have tumor in my body. My doctor advise me to not take in any sugars or starchy food for 3 months as the tumor feeds on those food. Can use this in my diet? Thanks
This is not metabolized as glucose like sugars and starch are.
However, this is a medical issue so you need to speak to your doctor or a medical professional about this to be safe.
Get well soon.
What about “Just Like Sugar”? I currently use Trader Joe’s liquid stevia not sure if this is great and if I would be better to change to “Just Like Sugar”. Do you know anything about this product? Thanks.
Yes, both are not bad as far as sweeteners go. “Just Like Sugar” is pretty good and one of the cleanest out there.
Here are a few more natural-ish options: nutritionadvance.com/best-natural-sweeteners-low-carb-diet/
Or even Trader Joe’s liquid stevia? I Use it only in my coffee but drink about 3 cups a day.
Just had my first experience with Swerve. Where has it been in my life?! For those who’ve mentioned drinking coffee and being worried about blood glucose levels, be aware that caffeine raises blood glucose levels all by itself. Look it up!
What did you use the Swerve for?
Coffee’s an interesting one – it can either be beneficial or detrimental depending on the person.
Some people can drink it all day long like water, while others can barely tolerate a cup!
No one has mentioned the cool effect Swerve has. I find it slightly unpleasant, like an aftertaste. It is a little chemical. This made me question whether it was healthy.
However, it is definitely an improvement over the bitterness of Stevia.
That comes from the erythritol (it’s the same with the pure erythritol too).
The taste is also similar to Xylitol; if you’ve ever tried any kind of sugar-free mints then there’s a similar taste there too.
It actually leaves a menthol type feeling on my tongue and gums… not sure if I actually like it!
That menthol type feeling is from the erythritol. Other sugar alcohols such as xylitol do the same thing… which is why they are always in chewing gum/breath fresheners/toothpaste etc!
Is xylitol as safe as erythritol? Which is better for a diabetic? Great article by the way. Just heard about Swerve and am interested to try it even more now since reading the information that you provided. Thanks!
Both xylitol and erythritol are sugar alcohols; their carbohydrates are non-digestible and will have zero effect on blood sugars. The only thing I’d watch out for with xylitol is if you have a dog – it can be really dangerous to animals. Swerve is a good choice!
I know this was a long time ago, but just in case you happen along my reply. if you mix liquid stevia extract with Swerve, the mixture cancels out both the bitter aftertaste of stevia and the cooling sensation of Swerve. I use 1 drop stevia for every teaspoon (4 grams) Swerve.
I use 1/2-2/3 the amount of sweetener called for in recipes using Swerve and find it’s plenty sweet. So, for me, a 1-1 substitution for sugar is way too sweet.
Great article. I learned much. I had never heard of Swerve. I use Stevia and no sweetness in baked goods. Mostly muffins. I use nuts and fruit instead. Thanks.
Nuts and fruit sound like a great natural sweetener!
A few weeks ago I switched over to erythritol in my coffee instead of Stevia In the Raw. I found myself carb-hunting because my body (apparently) noted the absence of the maltodextrin that is in in SitR. It just takes a few weeks to adjust. I also prefer Swerve over xylitol because I have pets (xylitol can be deadly for dogs).
Yes, it’s really important to be careful with xylitol if there are dogs around.
I have a cat so I’m cautious about this too. Cats are generally a bit more discerning than most dogs though (who will eat anything!)
Erythritol is a nice choice and doesn’t appear to have any major negatives.
As a type 2 diabetic, I’m constantly trying to eat right but still enjoy a dessert once in awhile. I bought a bag of Swerve and passed around a little bit for each of my dinner guests to taste. They were ALL impressed at the flavor…no after taste! Then I baked a batch of strawberry quick bread, as a real test. It measures cup for cup and the result was wonderful! I’m so relieved to know I can enjoy baked goods along with everyone else. I’m on my way to get the confectioner’s equivalent too. I can now combine almond flour and swerve recipes and feel good about what I’m serving up to guests! I’m hooked and I’m grateful!!
Glad that you’ve found something that works well for you!
Of course, desserts aren’t the healthiest things in the world, but this is so much better than eating typical desserts and needing more insulin. Hope the strawberry quick bread was tasty!
What is the story on Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin is basically sugar, approximately 95% carbohydrate by weight.
Isn’t maltodextrin derived from corn? How is it then basically a sugar?
Yes, correct – maltodextrin is derived from corn. Technically it isn’t a sugar, but it has a glycemic index of over 100 (regular table sugar is only 65) so the action it has in the body is basically the same as a sugar. This is the main reason why it’s in many sports drinks/post workout recovery formulas.
Thanks for providing a link to actual research! I like Swerve but I was worried it could have a negative effect because it seems “too good to be true.” I can use it with confidence now.
No problem! A lot of people feel like that about sweet (and fatty) things – we’ve had the instinct that they’re “bad” instilled in us for a long time. Of course, the “bad” part is mostly true for sweet things…
Thanks for the article. I have been a vegetarian for many years noe, but have recently become dairy free due to health problems but do like to bake and looking at recipes that have included Swerve and hadn’t heard of this before. I have used other artificial sweeteners but hate the aftertaste of saccharin and stevia so will purchase this and give it a try.
Thanks – yes, saccharin and stevia definitely have a strong aftertaste. Hopefully, this one will taste a bit better for you. Good luck with it!
I have a recipe that calls for 2 Tbsp of Splenda. How much Swerve would I use in place of the Splenda?
Most people recommend a ratio of between 1 to 1 and 1.5 to 1.
It isn’t quite as sweet, but it isn’t too far away. So between 2 and 3 tablespoons depending on your sweet preferences sounds about right.
Please provide links to the long term safety studies on Swerve that you mentioned in your article. Thank you!
Hi Janet – those are long-term safety studies on erythritol, which is one of the ingredients in Swerve.
Following all mentions of studys/health claims there is a little clickable number in brackets that will take you to the studies – please see and click (17, 18, 19).
When a recipe calls for 1 packet of Stevia, how much Swerve is that going to be?
Is the stevia just 100% stevia powder? If so, it would be 2 tsp of Swerve.
I LOVE Swerve! I always wondered if it was safe or not…good to know that it is. I used to drink a lot of Diet Coke and the Nutrasweet in it caused migraines- and I believe made me crave sugar even more. Swerve is great for baking, and doesn’t cause me to crave sugary stuff more. I’ve used it to make a healthified version of Reese’s peanut butter cups with cocoa and no sugar added peanut butter & coconut oil, and they turned out delicious! I was craving a bit of chocolate but didnt want to buy store bought. I ate a half of one and it quelled my craving 🙂
There is some interesting research on aspartame and sweet taste cravings, but I don’t think there’s anything concrete right now. I think there might be something to it though!
Glad that Swerve is working well for you. Healthier peanut butter cups sound good!
Peanut butter cup Recipe plz!!
So.. If most (if not all) corn is genetically modified and one wanted to lessen the amount corn in diet.. not to mention allergies to corn. In addition, yeast is an issue or something you want to steer clear from.. this would not be an ideal alternative.. for those reasons. Correct?
I understand your thoughts, and erythritol does originally come from corn, but it is heavily processed and really has little to do with corn in its final state. A little bit like other food products such as coconut sugar do not have much resemblance to the actual whole coconut.
Also, the culprit behind corn allergies is actually a corn protein which some people can’t digest. Erythritol shouldn’t contain any traces of this, and so shouldn’t cause any problems. That said, I have heard of some people having issues with erythritol too – but those would be a separate issue from the allergy to corn protein.
Hello Mr. Joseph:
Could you please reveal if you work for the manufacturers of Swerve, or are in any way compensated directly or indirectly by clients associated with them?
I have used Swerve twice and it is certainly tasty as an ingredient to use in place of sugar very occasionally. (I do not use sugar or other sweeteners and do not eat processed food, with a few exceptions. This is certainly one.)
However, your argument that swerve “has little to do” with corn seems dubious (or at least I do not understand your thinking on the chemistry of this).
I have a sensitive reaction to Swerve that has been reported elsewhere on the internet — sore throat. However, it isn’t severe. But I think it would be severe if I was eating sweets made with Swerve on the scale of many people who have sweets more often. And if I had a true corn allergy rather than sensitivity I would not use it. Thanks in advance,
Sure: not compensated directly, indirectly or in any other possible way – no opinions for sale here.
If you isolate fructose from corn and then ferment the fructose into something that is essentially indigestible, it does not have much of a nutritional relationship to corn, which is a high-carbohydrate grain.
That doesn’t mean they are not related at all since erythritol is obviously derived from corn. However, genuine allergies tend to be from reactions to corn protein, which shouldn’t be an issue in something which shouldn’t contain any. As stated, I have heard of sensitivity issues too… but from looking at the research, most of these appear to be from sensitivities to sugar alcohols.
“Erythritol may produce a very sharp taste and a sensation resembling a sore throat.” Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D., adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU Steinhardt, tells SELF. Of course, it doesn’t happen with everyone; Dr. Young points out that the sweeteners can cause different sensations in different people.”
Michael, has there been any testing on erythritol when it comes to Glyphosate (Roundup) residue, which is heavily used in conventionally grown corn?
Not as far as I know.
I assume that this wouldn’t be an issue since erythritol is just the (heavily refined and fermented) extracted glucose, but I can’t say for sure.
Hello! What about Bochasweet? I’ve used it and it helped me lose so much weight on the Keto diet, but there’s nothing out there about it. It tastes amazing and just like sugar. Only downside I see is the high price! But I could be wrong! I’d love to know what you think/find out.
Hi! Interesting, there isn’t a lot of information on this one. Will need to do some research into it and the production process!
On their website, Swerve states they make the erythritol through a natural fermentation process using microorganisms in brewery tanks. This is different than the way typical erythritol is make, correct?
Not really – all erythritol is made by “naturally” fermenting glucose.
However, this glucose is still extracted from corn via hydrolysis, and then after fermenting it is filtered and crystalized.
So, it isn’t really a “natural” product aside from the fact that it was originally located in corn at one point.
That doesn’t have to have a negative meaning though. Some natural things can be harmful, some refined things can be fine.
I would like to try Swerve I recently tried two packets of stevia in some ice tea and ended up with 3 blisters on the backside of my bottom lip!!! I have a lot of allergies to trees, grass and pollen, so that really scared me because I thought it was safe.
Wow, I didn’t hear that about stevia before. Was it definitely the stevia? Hope your lips are better now!
I also had reactions and found out that stevia is related to ragweed! Allergy sufferers beware!
Just to point out: Swerve doesn’t contain any stevia – it’s a blend of erythritol and inulin. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work well for you, though!
I have used Swerve in many many recipes and it works very well. I use it to make keto friendly real ice cream with milk, cream, vegetable glycerin (to keep it scoop-able) , xanthan gum (helps with smooth ingredient mixing etc.) and vanilla or cocoa! I use only 1/4 cup for a 1.5 quart recipe in my ice cream maker.
My experience is that I usually use about 1/2 to 2/3 rds the amount of Swerve that the sugar called for. When using it 1 to 1 as a sugar substitute my cake and ice cream are way too sweet and I like sweet!
Swerve is expensive compared to sugar so using less helps!
It has worked well for all recipes I have tried including peanut butter cookies! One cup peanut butter, one egg and 1/4 cup of Swerve! Easy and a real keto friendly treat!
Glad that it is working well for you, Terry!
The real ice cream sounds nice, but I don’t have an ice-cream maker. With summer here and reading your recipe, maybe I should look into getting one!
I have tried that peanut butter cookies recipe before though – it works well 🙂
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes about 2 1/2 years ago, and despite my well-developed sweet tooth, I immediately corrected my diet. I was on a mission to find a good substitute for sugar, though. I really, really dislike Stevia, I can’t stand the bitter aftertaste. I like Splenda, but I know it is not really good for the human body. I tried Swerve in several recipes last Thanksgiving, and I was very pleased with the flavor. My only gripe is that it is so expensive!
Yes, unfortunately… it is a lot more expensive than plain old sugar!
However, I suppose it is OK if used as an occasional treat. At least you found something that works for you!
IS it ok to mix swerve with regular sugar?
That would be OK.
If you are just trying to reduce the amount of total sugar, then there is no reason why you can’t.
Melissa, I have been using Swerve for several months, my main use being ice cream. I found that 100% Swerve makes rock solid ice cream, so I tried other combinations I discovered online…adding liquor, glycerin, etc. The alcohol didn’t help and glycerin has a taste I cannot tolerate. Since I’m only doing reduced carbs, not trying for ketosis, I decided that I would mix half sugar and half Swerve. The taste and texture are amazing. Yes, I am ingesting sugar, but the amount is minimal considering there is only 1/3 cup of sugar in 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream. By watching carbs in other ways, I am still gradually losing weight and enjoying some amazing coffee ice cream every night. By the way, my husband is a Type 2 diabetic and can enjoy ice cream with no ill effects.
Thanks! Can you tell me if there are any vegan protein powders that are not sweetened with anything (not stevia, nor swerve, nor xylitol, etc). I would like to make my smoothies by just adding dates, bananas and raisins for sweetness, but still have the added protein.
Sure! there is one here: https://amzn.to/2OFCXZZ
Swerve is my no. 1 go to alternative sweetener. If you’re on no/low carb or Keto, sweeten heavy cream with Swerve to taste, add a little vanilla to tast, shake it well & store in fridge for the perfect coffee creamer. Note: Steer clear of Splenda or Equal. They’re toxic.
That sounds like a tasty recipe – creamy vanilla coffee is great.
I also like vanilla heavy cream over mixed berries!
Very in depth, many thanks, but I’m wondering what you mean when you say that although high in carbs they aren’t metabolised? Would be very grateful for any more info on that, have never heard that. Thanks.
Basically, erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol and we don’t have the required enzymes to break it down (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/human-gut-microbiota-does-not-ferment-erythritol/87A2797F505A71C1E5EA3ADDD2E2A166).
It is technically a source of carbohydrate, but it remains undigested until it is excreted via urine.
I just tried Swerve the first time tonight, and was very impressed. I am sensitive to every other fake sugar (and I have tried them all), but I was not bothered by the Swerve at all (I am also leery of artificial sweeteners because of the possibility of developing cancer). Your article was very informative and helpful to me.
Happy that it was helpful, and I’m glad that Swerve worked well for you. As for the artificial sweeteners, I think a lot of the negative things online are exaggerated, but I’m a bit wary over their potential impact on gut health – more studies are needed on that.
Great article. helped me a lot.
Glad to hear that.
Thank you very much – I started the Keto diet the last week of August and I am down 29 lbs. I just made some Keto fat bombs today (chocolate and peanut butter bombs) and also (cream cheese with strawberry bombs). I used Swerve and I was interested in learning which is the best choice for me to make – sound to me the the Swerve is a good choice. Thanks so much for the article I appreciate it.
Glad you found it helpful (and those fat bombs sound rather tasty too).
Congrats on your progress so far, 29 lbs in such a short time is good going!
I’ve been using Swerve and am delighted to have it as a sugar substitute. However a host of health conscious people are taking note of a growing difficulty with sweet addiction. What next. The only sweets I have in my diet not creating a desire for more are the darker berries I mix in my whole grain and oat cereals.
I think it is true that some people may have an issue with sweet taste as a trigger. We have to look at that from our own personal experience rather than anecdotes though; if it’s working well for you, great. If not, it may be better to avoid it.
Hi, I have a bit unusual question for Swerve use. I know that Swerve is used in baking and such. I make jams and jellies. Do you think that I could use Swerve in place of regular sugar in the recipes? Thanks
Yes, that’s fine. No conversion is necessary, so if you need a cup of sugar, a straight replacement with one cup of Swerve would work fine.
Please don’t try to can the jams and jellies sugar is used as a preservative for canning
Hi great article thanks! could you tell me how I can convert 1/3 cup swerve to a powdered stevia?
That will depend on the exact powdered stevia… some of them are 100%, but others are mixed with various fillers.
For example, if it is Sweetleaf stevia powder, apparently one cup of Swerve would be equal to 2 tsp of their powdered stevia. (see here: https://sweetleaf.com/stevia-conversion-calculator/)
Swerve is a gram-for-gram replacement for sugar, so you can also use any conversions for regular table sugar to work it out.
I am really happy to find a sweetener without the bitter aftertaste. Although I will not totally reject natural Stevia. I will use Swerve or Stevia with some sugar. That way I can cut my sugar intake at least in half if not even more. Yet I will not take from either enough to hurt me in any way I believe. Thank you . I am glad I can find Swerve now.
Glad that you’re finding that Swerve works out well for you.
Cutting your sugar intake in half would certainly be a good achievement!
Is the corn used non-GMO?
According to Swerve, their product is certified non-GMO.
My recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp stevia/erithrytol (I’m assuming granular?) What is the conversion ratio to substitute the stevia for Swerve granulated?
Sorry, it is a little difficult to work this out because it sounds like it is a stevia/erythritol granular blend the recipe is using and I’m not sure of the ratio/amounts.
However, the conversion rate for Swerve and sugar is 1:1. So, if your recipe mentions the equivalent amount of sugar, you could work it out this way.
I also found a conversion chart saying that stevia/erythritol blends are twice as sweet as sugar. In that case, the amount you need would double to 3 teaspoons. Does this sound about right for the recipe?
The recipe was to make mini cheesecakes. It was a Keto recipe so it did not list the amount of sugar to use (most Keto recipes don’t). It only said 1 1/2 tsp stevia/erithrytol. I used that amount of Swerve and unfortunately, they tasted TERRIBLE! I’m assuming I should’ve used more Swerve but I wanted to learn how to figure out the equivalency before I attempt it again (if I even try again…so disappointing!)
Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that! Yes, stevia is very concentrated, and it is much sweeter than erythritol/Swerve and most other sweeteners. Good luck if you attempt it again!
Also I’m confused—if a recipe says “stevia” is that the brand name? And if it doesn’t state, do I assume granulated, powdered, or liquid?
“Stevia” is the name of the sweet extract derived from the stevia plant.
There are many different brands/companies who make “stevia” products.
If it doesn’t state by mentioning drops/spoons, I would guess from the amounts mentioned. Liquid doses are tiny (way less than a gram). For granulated vs powdered, it is harder to know, but granulated stevia usually contains fillers and so the amounts tend to be higher.
Thanks, I found this article very well researched and informative.
Thanks Mrs. Ruscica, glad you found it helpful!
I just tried them both for the first time the other day and the Swerve wins hands down. I don’t know how anyone can torture themselves with the Stevia.
Was it because of stevia’s bitter aftertaste?
Our local Supermarkets in Australia don’t sell ” Swerve ” so I don’t know what it would taste like and would like to try it, especially now that I want to start a Keto diet and my recipes are all American and I don’t what the equivalent to Swerve would be.
In that case, you could try just pure erythritol (which is the main ingredient in Swerve).
The taste may be slightly different, but it is almost exactly the same.
I would definitely use Swerve while on a Keto diet. It’s the closest thing to regular sugar that I have tasted. It’s much more expensive, but I got a decent deal from Amazon—other than the Costco price mentioned, Amazon seems to have the next best deals.
Tried Swerve for the first time at Costco yesterday and I was impressed. I definitely recommend it anyone looking for a sugar substitute. I am a big fan of Splenda but I think that Swerve may be better. Costoco sold a bag that appeared to be about 5 lbs. for $19.99 US.
Wow, that sounds like a good bargain – it usually costs a fair bit more than that. Good spot!
I am an organic chemist and have worked on non-caloric sweetener technologies since the early 1970s. I have not used Swerve and so I cannot comment on how well it works in food or beverage recipes. However, if as indicated, it is simply a blend of erythritol and inulin, you would have to use much more of it than you would sugar since erythritol is only 0.6-0.7X as potent as sugar, and inulin, which is a fructose polymer, is not sweet at all. Since inulin is a “fiber”, by definition it has no calories. However, fructose polymers like inulin break down very easily in acidic foods or beverages (i.e., anything w/ a sour taste) or during heating to produce the common carbohydrate sweetener fructose which is ca. 1.2X as potent as sugar and which is fully caloric. So it is possible that Swerve performs as well as sugar in food and beverage recipes……..i.e., delivers comparable sweetness……..if there is sufficient inulin present to break down to produce enough fructose to bring up the overall sweetness intensity. However, if the inulin has broken down to produce fructose, the “actual sweetener” in the food or beverage (i.e., a mixture of erythritol and fructose) is no longer a 0 calorie sweetener system.
I tried Swerve two days ago in a cookie recipe. It really is similar to sugar in sweetness and I used the cup for cup conversion.
You can buy swerve at regular grocery stores as well.
I’m allergic to carrots, parsnips, strawberries,blueberries, and pineapple. I can’t find a specific list of ingredients. Kinda fishy if they refuse to list them. Anyone know if this product would be safe for me?
I don’t think you will receive a reliable answer to this online. I would e-mail the manufacturer about this and speak to your doctor.
Is there any way to buy it mail order OTHER than Amazon?
Most probably, yes – but Amazon delivers pretty much everywhere, so I’m not sure what would be local for you. Maybe try a search for stockings in your country/state?
Walmart sells it and you can order it online, but I think you have to spend at least 40 dollars to get free shipping.
I have several recipes using Splenda. Would I use a 1:1 conversion with Swerve? Have used Swerve and am very pleased with it.
The conversion of both with regular sugar is 1:1, so it seems that the 1:1 ratio would be about right. The taste might be slightly different though, so experimenting a little might help with your personal preference.
Is swerve safe for kidney transplant patients to use? I was told not to stevia and other new sweeteners because they had no idea how they reacted with the transplant kidney and keep on Using old ones.
I quit eating sugar about 3-1/2 years ago (including fruits) upon retiring. I was carrying an extra 35 pounds and was unsuccessful in losing any of it. Decided to go keto and was able to lose 25 pounds in 4 months. Felt great about that. Wanted to introduce desserts on occasion and decided on a monk fruit/erythritol blend of sweetener. It seems to give me a negative reaction the next day, a feeling like a soured stomach. I havent tried swerve but seeing it has erythritol in it I am apprehensive to try it. Any other suggestions. I am also apprehensive about stevia because I have heard alot about it concerning an aftertaste. Any other suggestions?
You can find a list of the different sugar substitutes along with some basic information on them here: https://www.nutritionadvance.com/artificial-and-natural-sweeteners/