All posts by Brad Will

Know Your – Sugar Substitutes

Natural and artificial sugar substitutes – Good or Bad?

If you’re here, it’s probably because you either want to kick sugar from your diet, or you have kicked sugar from your diet and want to know more about the sugar substitutes in your food. It can be overwhelming to hear words like Xylitol and Erythritol, but we’re here to simplify the differences so you know what’s right for you!

In this article, we’re breaking down the top 5 popular sugar replacements, what foods they’re in, a touch of science behind them, how your body may respond, and where to get started. In this day and age, we have so many different artificial and natural sweeteners, and it can be really hard to tell how your body will respond. Some of these sweeteners may sound frightening, but remember, we’re here for the healthy alternatives! Without further ado, here are your top 5 sugar substitutes and how they work.

Monk Fruit

The Monk Fruit, also known as lo han guo, is a small sweet melon native to Southeast Asia. It has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and has now made its way into Western markets as a zero-calorie sugar substitute.

Monk fruit extract alone is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar, so it is often combined with other common approved ingredients, such as erythritol, to make it suitable for use in food and beverages. Monk fruit sweeteners are also stable at high temperatures, making them perfect for use in baked goods. However, foods made with monk fruit sweeteners may have some slight differences in appearance, texture and taste than foods made with sugar. There are no known negative side effects of monk fruit.

Replacing sugar with monk fruit can help people with diabetes and/or people who are avoiding sugar to find good foods and take a step in the right direction towards weight loss goals. One thing to be sure of when consuming low-calorie substitutes to reduce overall caloric intake is to avoid additional caloric compensation from other foods. At The Low Carb Grocery, we carry these granular monk fruit sweeteners and these monk fruit foods & drops.


When you’re watching your blood sugar levels, there’s a chance you’ve tried stevia, or at least you’ve heard of it. Stevia is a miraculous plant, but there are some things we have to consider with it, and some of its newer research. There are a lot of benefits with stevia, but we have to address a couple of cons too.

Stevia gets the green checkmark, right out the gate, so don’t worry about any big curveballs. However, Stevia might produce a little bit of insulin. It’s not anything super significant, but it’s still something to be cognizant of with the research that’s available right now.

One of the great benefits of stevia is that it does increase sodium excretion. Sodium excretion is the process of eliminating or expelling waste matter in your cells. So, if you’re feeling puffy, or if you’re holding a lot of water, a little bit of stevia can encourage the kidneys to expel sodium causing you to drop that extra water weight. Stevia has some powerful effects! At The Low Carb Grocery, we carry these granular stevia sweeteners and these stevia foods, candies, chocolates & drops.


Despite probably the most difficult name on this list, Xylitol may be one of the simpler sweeteners to breakdown. However, before we break down its benefits for humans – we must address that xylitol is fatal in dogs (like chocolate). If you buy anything xylitol, it’s okay for you and children, but be sure to keep it on a top shelf or locked in a cabinet in your kitchen so your dog doesn’t get to it!

A really good source of xylitol will come from birch bark. When you’re shopping for this sweetener, you want to make sure that it’s organic and non-GMO. There’s no aftertaste with Xylitol, which is a great benefit, and it tastes very similar to sugar. Xylitol can also be found in nasal sprays because it helps bacteria break from the wall of your mucous membranes, which clears out microbes (bacteria).

Another large benefit of Xylitol is that it can reduce tooth decay. Its glycemic index is around 7, which means Xylitol can affect blood sugars, but only in great quantities around 65g or more. It can be purchased at The Low Carb Grocery in these Xylitol granular sweeteners and Xylitol chewing gum.


Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, meaning that it won’t count towards net carbs – if you’re counting. Sugar alcohols are commonly confused with artificial sweeteners; however, they are not the same. Artificial sweeteners can have several health risks and also leave a bad aftertaste. In comparison, sugar alcohols are much safer.

Sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol. They are not absorbed by the body like other carbohydrates and they will not contribute to weight gain. Common side effects of consuming a large amount of sugar alcohol (more than 18g) may include bloating, gas and possible laxative effects. However, erythritol is often better tolerated than other sugar alcohols.

Erythritol is about 70% as sweet as table sugar and produces a slight “cooling” effect, similar to the effects of mint flavours. This occurs through an endothermic reaction, in which erythritol essentially absorbs the heat from your mouth.

Erythritol is made by fermenting natural sugars found in certain fruits and vegetables. Corn is commonly used; however, watermelon, pears and soy sauce also contain the same natural sugars.

Erythritol is specifically designed to replace sugar and bakes in a way that is almost identical to sugar. However, erythritol may be used in combination with other ingredients due to its sugar-like properties, so it is always best to check the ingredients list for any harmful artificial sweeteners.


Inulin is a soluble, prebiotic fibre that is found in many fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as in manufactured forms. Although it is not digested or absorbed in the stomach, consuming inulin can provide many health benefits. Some common sources of inulin are in asparagus, garlic, onions, and chicory root.

When consumed, inulin travels to the bowels where good bacteria use it as a food source to grow. These bacteria help convert the inulin into short-chain fatty acids, which provide various health benefits and can also aid in weight loss. Short-chain fatty acids are the main source of nutrients for your colon cells and are also involved in the metabolism of carbs and fat. High-performance (HP) inulin may also provide benefits for those with diabetes and prediabetes by reducing blood sugar levels.

Note that inulin is a “fructan,” meaning that its chemical structure is made of fructose molecules that are linked together in a way that cannot be digested. We are hesitant when we see “fructose” on an ingredient list, but if you see the term “oligofructose” on a label, this simply indicates a manufactured form of inulin. At high doses (more than 30g) some may experience side effects of inulin including bloating, gas, laxative effects, constipation and cramps.

Bonus 3: Sucralose, Isomalt & Maltitol

Sucralose, also known as Splenda, is one of the most common sweeteners to use on a keto diet. There is some controversy with sucralose because it’s an artificial sweetener and is kind of in a grey area, so we have to break some things down a little bit.

Sucralose is not as simple as it seems because if you get a packet of sucralose or a packet of Splenda, it usually has maltodextrin added to it. The maltodextrin can trigger an insulin response, therefore if you’re commonly using sucralose via the small packets, then you’re probably triggering an insulin response and kicking yourself out of keto and potentially harmful for diabetics. Sucralose in packets should be avoided.

If you buy sucralose that’s in a product; be aware that it isn’t that good for you, but it shouldn’t kick you out of keto if it doesn’t have the maltodextrin attached to it. The main point to mention with sucralose is to just be careful with it.

Isomalt and maltitol are commonly found in diabetic candies and sometimes in no-sugar-added chocolates. You could go as far as saying isomalt and maltitol are keto- and diabetic-friendly, but these sweeteners are a little disreputable because these sugar alcohols can trigger an insulin response. You don’t need to avoid them entirely, although they may make you feel a little bloated and trigger possible laxative effects, but it’s usually printed on the candy’s packaging.

What do you think?

This is our breakdown of the most popular sugar substitutes. Monk fruit can help diabetics find good foods and be a step in the right direction towards your weight loss goals. Stevia gets the green checkmark and can encourage your kidneys to expel sodium to drop some extra water weight. A good source of Xylitol comes from birch bark and can commonly be found in nasal sprays to remove bad bacteria. Erythritol is well known for its cooling effect, like mint, and is commonly found in combination with other sweeteners to make the perfect cup for cup measure with sugar. Inulin provides various health benefits and can also aid in weight loss. And the bonus substitutes, sucralose, maltitol, and isomalt, are technically keto- and diabetic-friendly, but you should steer clear or at least be careful with these when possible.

Shop all our sugar substitutes here and try the few that best match your needs! Do you agree with our list? Did we miss anything? Share your sugar substitute choices and experiences by letting us know in-store or on Facebook or Instagram.

Know Your – Health Bars (Protein vs. Fat vs. Energy)

Understanding the 3 Primary Bar Types: Protein, Fat and Energy Bars

Do you ever find yourself spending valuable time looking at the back of on-the-go health bars just to go back and forth with the options in your hand? Maybe you prefer to ask the staff? This article is put together to debunk the major differences of the top 3 bar types: protein bars, fat bars, and energy bars – and help you make the right choice!

And the best part, you can learn about these bars in the comfort of your home and order the bars you love online at The Low Carb Grocery.

  1. Protein Bars

It may seem obvious, but when you’re on the hunt for a protein bar, the main purpose should be to consume protein. The benefit of protein is to rebuild torn muscle tissue. This type of bar goes hand-in-hand with the growing trends of health and fitness. However, depending on your needs, some bars are more well balanced… let’s break it down.

When you’re in the grocery, you may be asking yourself, “which is the best protein bar?” and that’s one of our most common questions. There are 2 ways to help find the bar that’s right for you.

1) Do a macro breakdown. Take a glance at the calories, total fat, total carbs, fibres, sweeteners, and protein. You want the bar to be less than 200 calories, sit around 7g of fat, and vary around 20g of protein.

2) Determine your carbohydrate needs. If you follow a low-carb program, like the keto diet, or perhaps you’re diabetic, your carbohydrate intake should be very little and your sweeteners should pan towards erythritol, maltitol, sucralose, and/or stevia – these sweeteners won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Your bars should aim at 5g net carbs or less.

3) Bonus. If you don’t follow a low-carb diet, common ingredients like dates and sweetened chocolate will add to the total sugar. As a result of a rise in total carbohydrates, your bars might sit around 20g net carbs.

On our list, we include Quest Protein Bars and Grenade Carb Killa Bars because these bars have great macro breakdowns. A Quest Protein Bar has 180 calories, 7g fat, 20g protein, 4g net carbs, and sweetened with Erythritol and a touch of Stevia. The Grenade Carb Killa Bar has 214 calories, 8g fat, 23g protein, 7g net carbs, and sweetened with maltitol.

  1. Fat Bars

Transitioning off sugar or transitioning off carbohydrates can be one of the most difficult challenges when you’re on, or plan to start, a low-carb lifestyle or keto diet, but this is exactly where fat bars come in. If you haven’t tried a fat bar, the first thing you’ll notice is that they taste insanely good, and you’ll feel full for a very long time after.

Fat bars, like Love Good Fats, use a combination of good fats and soluble fibres. When these nutritional values are placed together, with the right formula, they create a ketogenic fat bar. These are not to be mistaken with a protein bar. Fat bars have a strong mission to kick sugar out of your lifestyle and to start looking at fats differently.

Fat is bad. Right? Not necessarily. When the right kinds of fats combine with the right kinds of fibres, we get this process called passive diffusion. Passive diffusion is a process of water going into the small intestine or the colon. If it happens too much it can cause discomfort, but if you match the right amount of passive diffusion from the right amount of soluble fibres and fats, the process will slow digestion. As a result, your body receives every piece of nutrition from the bars and you will feel full for much longer.

On our list, we include Love Good Fats, Stoka Bar, Keto Bars, and Good to Go bars. These bars average around 16-17g fat, 6-8g protein, 3-4g net carbs, and vary between 160 calories to 250 calories. Click on each for more details.

  1. Energy Bars

Gaining in traction, energy bars hold a happy medium between protein bars and fat bars. They don’t have a ton of protein and they don’t have a ton of fat, but they are still low in carbs. Contrary to the name, energy bars don’t possess caffeine and could place in the category of a snack.

You should reach for an energy bar when you’re in between meals, packing a lunch for work or school, or especially if you’re about to reach for comfort food. The advantage and disadvantages of energy bars are the same. By this, energy bars have a variety of choices and their differences they can be great.

On our list, we illustrate the differences between the Power Crunch Energy Bar and the Extend Nutrition Bar. A Power Crunch Bar has 200 calories, 12g fat, 13g protein, 9g net carbs, and sweetened with 5g sugar. An Extend Nutrition Bar has 150 calories, 3g fat, 12g protein,14g net carbs, and sweetened with maltitol. The Extend Nutrition Bar is a great diabetic bar choice.

With so much noise in the options available, we hope this segment helps you find what’s right for you. Protein bars are a great choice when you’re hand-in-hand with health & fitness. Fat bars are the best choice when you’re focused on a low-carb program, like the keto diet. And energy bars should be the first thing you reach for when you want comfort food or preparing a lunch for work or school.

Shop all our protein, energy and fat bars and try something new to you. Do you agree with our list? Did we miss anything? Share your on-the-go health bar choices and experiences by letting us know in-store or on Facebook or Instagram.

Top 5 Halloween Treats – No-Sugar-Added & Low-Carb

Halloween is creeping around the corner, but don’t be scared because we have a top 5 list of treats for you this year! The Low Carb Grocery created a list of Halloween candies that are no-sugar-added and safe for keto, low-carb, and the health-conscious snacker! Here are our top 5 treats for Halloween, no tricks!

  1. Smart Sweets

Probably the most trendy choice this year, last year, and next year! Smart Sweet gummies were created by Canadian entrepreneur Tara Bosch. The 24-year-old from Vancouver decided to kick sugar naturally without the use of sugar, sugar alcohols, or artificial sweeteners… and it all started from scratch in her kitchen.

The brand is widely known for it’s gummy bears, but some reviewers have humorously admitted to spending $100,000 on the sour blast buddies! And to no surprise, because for something with this kind of nutritional profile, “It’s the best tasting healthy food ever” -Dragons Den Canada S12E01.

Perfect for Halloween, this treat will trick you! The original gummy bear bag is packed with 28g of plant-based fibre, 3g of protein, and only 3g of sugar (from the fruit extracts). We carry all 5 flavours: gummy bears, gummy bears sour, peach rings, sour blast buddies, and sweet fish gummies. Smart Sweets are proof that manufacturers don’t have to add sugar to make foods taste good, and we encourage you to try them this Halloween. Click here for single bags and here for boxes of 12.


  1. Quest Protein Chips

Quest tortilla-style protein chips are the evolution of potato chips. These new chips are packed with protein and great taste! We love them because they’re simple to understand:

  • 1 bag = 1 serving. No math needed!
  • 21g of protein per serving
  • 2-4g of net carbs per bag (depending on flavour)
  • 130 – 140 calories (depending on flavour)
  • Gluten-free

Reviewers point to the nacho cheese flavour because they can resemble Doritos, but if you’re looking to kick up the spice, the chili lime flavour is a great option! But it doesn’t stop there, we carry all 7 flavours: BBQ, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Sour Cream & Onion, Chili Lime, Loaded Taco, Nacho Cheese, Ranch.

Baked and gluten-free, Quest Nutrition is on a mission to make the foods you crave work for you, not against you. Click here to include these chips in your Halloween bag!


  1. Russell Stover Chocolate

Tired of walking down the chocolate section while shaking your head because you know you can’t have it? You don’t have to be scared of this chocolate because Russell Stover’s No-Sugar-Added line is an ideal Halloween hit this year. These chocolates are sweetened with sucralose (Splenda brand) and maltitol. These treats give you the sweetness of sugar without the negative calories and spike in blood sugar.

Our favourite flavour is dark, but we encourage you to try any of the flavours. Some of our other favourites include almond delight and caramel and crispies, but if you’re still not sure we highly suggest these 3 or 4 flavour assorted packs. Bonus, these chocolates are wrapped individually in every bag.


  1. Ivanhoe Nothing but Cheese

Cheese for Halloween? Of course! Halloween is for everyone, and even though the kids may or may not like this as a treat, we’re sure you will! Ivanhoe has been perfecting the way cheese is made for over a century, and their Nothing-But-Cheese snack pouch is one of the best ways to enjoy cheese on-the-go!

These 18g pouches come in 2 flavours, Cheddar and Monterey Jack, and carry the nutrition benefits of 7g protein, gluten-free, low-carb, and only 100 calories! Aside from snacking, these cheeses work extremely well as a topper for soups and salads. And, if the 18g pouch is a hit for you, try the 57g packs, or go all-in with the 12-pack boxes.


  1. Lily’s Chocolate

Move over sugar, Lily’s Chocolate is coming in this Halloween, and they decided their chocolate is too good to let added sugar get in the way! That’s why they created a whole line of unbelievable treats sweetened with stevia… and you know what happened? Life. Got. Sweeter!

You can enjoy Lily’s chocolate as is, or get creative by crumpling it to add to keto pancakes or yogurt parfait! We carry all 8 flavours, which we’ve broken down to 5 dark chocolates and 3 milk chocolates.

Lily’s chocolate is available by the bar and by the box. Not sure which to try? We strongly suggest the Caramelized & Salted flavour!


These are our top 5 picks for low-carb and no-sugar-added Halloween treats. What do you think of our list? Did we miss anything? Share your low-carb treat choices by letting us know in-store or on social media @lowcarbgrocery on Instagram & Facebook. Have a happy Halloween!

Low Carb Quesadilla

The Low Carb Grocery got creative for a Low Carb QUESADILLA!

We tried using as much in-store products as we can but adding green onion and shredded mozzarella REALLY makes it taste great! This recipe has a bit of a kick so you are warned! But please keep in mind there are other flavour options if you are not good with the spicyness.


1 Mama Lupe’s Tortilla

½ tbsp Glacier Ridge Jalapeno Spreadable Cheese

1 tbsp Desert Pepper Salsa

Shredded mozzarella cheese to preference

¼ of one Spicy Nick Stick, sliced thin

Optional: green onion

Optional: Desert Pepper Divinio Salsa



Bake in oven 5 mins.

Optional: Serve with Desert Pepper Tequila Salsa (1/2 tsp) (2.7 calories, 0.25 carbs).

Nutrition Facts: 

Serving: Per ¼ of Tortilla

 TO be calculated.

Get creative!


Sweet Miracle Rice Coconut Sago

 Sago Soup Dessert

This creative twist to the traditional Sago soup from Cantonese cuisine is the perfect endsago to a perfect meal. Homemade desserts can be easy and time consuming. But this simple homemade dessert can be prepared in less than one hour. While traditional dessert uses  tapioca pearls or sago as its base, we made this delightful dessert a dream come true for all who live the low carb lifestyle.



Recipe makes about 8 servingssago ingredients

1 cup Thai Kitchen Organic Lite Coconut Milk

2 pouches of Miracle Rice

1/3 cup Swerve Granular Sweetener

Optional: 1 tablespoon Xyla Strawberry Jam


  • Drain, rinse, and strain the Miracle Rice
  • In a pot of boiling water, boil the miracle noodle to remove any smell that remains from the preserving liquid, boil for 5 minutes
  • Drain boiled miracle rice, rinse under cold water, drain, and set asidecoconut
  • In a separate pot, bring ½ cup of water to boil and mix in 1/3 cup of Swerve granular sugar until fully dissolved.
  • Turn off the heat, pour 1 cup of Thai Kitchen Organic Lite Coconut Milk and miracle rice into the dissolved sweetened water.
  • Serve sago soup after chilling for 30 minutes
  • Optional: for strawberry add 1 tablespoon of Xyla Strawberry Jam per serving of sago soup.
  • Optional: add fresh fruits such as watermelon, strawberry, or mango


Sago Soup Dessert per 1/2 cup serving Total (not including optional add-on)

Calories 31.2

Fat 2.7

Sodium 3.1

Carbohydrates 9.89

Polyols/Sugar Alcohols 8

Net carb 1.89

Protein 0.3