Can you drink Crystal Light on a keto diet or not?
Crystal Light is a “diet” flavored fruit drink or powdered drink mixes that first brought on the market by General Foods in 1982. Crystal Light comes in a variety of flavors as well as with some products that feature Crystal Light tea or have added caffeine.
Crystal light ingredients
Crystal Light contains the following ingredients: Water, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Natural Flavor, and contains less than two percent of Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Potassium Citrate, Red 40, Blue 1, and Potassium Sorbate.
Let’s break down the main ingredients of Crystal Light and see if any of them are significantly keto-unfriendly.
Malic acid was originally derivated from apples and is the compound that gives green apples its sour taste. Malic acid is also found in grapes and wine. It’s used as a food additive to give a tart or sour taste to food.
Malic acid is considered a carbohydrate and therefore has 4 calories per gram. Because of its tartness, only small amounts of malic acid are used in foods, Because of the small amounts used. malic acid adds little or no calories to food.
Citric acid is also used as a food additive to add tartness or sourness to foods. Citric acid also has about 4 calories per gram, but like malic acid, it is also used in very small quantities so is usually listed as “zero calories” on many food labels.
Citric acid and Malic acid have also have a low glycemic index and have been found to lower blood sugar levels in diabetes. (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917331/
Glycerin, which is sometimes called glycerol, is a sweetener that is about 2/3rds as sweet as regular table sugar. Glycerin has about 27 calories per teaspoon, which is higher calorie count than sucrose (table sugar) but has a lower glycemic index than sucrose.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener made by the chlorination of sucrose (table sugar) and is about 1000 times sweeter that regular table sugar. Sucralose by itself has no calories and should not raise glucose or insulin levels unless combined with carbohydrates. (2)https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(20)30057-7 Sucralose can be mixed with dextrose or maltodextrin as Splenda and the maltodextrin and dextrose will contribute calories.
Acesulfame potassium is another artificial sweetener that is about 300 times sweeter that sucrose/table sugar but can have a bitter aftertaste. Because of the aftertaste, acesulfame potassium is often combined with other artificial sweeteners like sucrolose to help mask its bitter after taste.
Acesulfame potassium also has no calories and has not been shown to raise blood glucose and insulin levels in humans, so it should not have any negative impact on someone on a ketogenic diet.
Potassium citrate is used in soft drinks as a buffering agent and does not have any calories, so there should be no concerns with potassium citrate knocking you out of ketosis.
How many calories are in Crystal Light?
The number of calories in Crystal Light depends on which flavor and formulation of Crystal Light. Most versions and flavors of Crystal Light are listed as having between 0 and 15 calories per serving. Since there are so few calories, there should not be much impact on your blood glucose levels and Crystal Light should not trigger much of an insulin response either.
So is Crystal Light keto or not?
Crystal Light has no added table sugar and minimal amounts of artificial sweeteners. Crystal Light also does not have any food additives that would increase your blood sugar and insulin levels so Crystal Light is keto-friendly and is fine to have on a ketogenic diet.
Find out more about Crystal Light here