Is Vanilla Extract Keto? Does It Have Sugar? Is It Healthy?

In this article, I am targeting keto vanilla extract. Can you have vanilla extract on keto? Is vanilla extract keto? Keep reading to find out more. 

Welcome to another episode in “Is this ingredient keto?” 

The ketogenic diet is pretty restrictive (in a good way.) There are some foods you need to give up. For example, your favorite carbs, including bread, doughnuts, and cake. That leads me to talk about a key ingredient in baking: vanilla extract. Can you have vanilla extract on keto? Let’s dig deeper. 

Do you have a particular question about using vanilla extract while on keto? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Is vanilla extract healthy?

Natural vanilla extract is made using vanilla beans steeped in alcohol. To be labeled “pure vanilla extract,” a gallon of vanilla extract must contain 13.35% vanilla bean extractives, 35% alcohol, and distilled water. 

Pure vanilla extract won’t contain sugar or corn syrup. These are sometimes added to the vanilla extract to mask the harsh tones from the alcohol used in preparation – especially if the vanilla beans are of poor quality. That said, is vanilla extract healthy?

I’ll say this: vanilla extract is okay. It’s not the healthiest thing out there – but it’s not bad like aspartame or stevia. Most of the time, you only use a small amount of the ingredient in a recipe. However, some people are allergic to vanilla extract, and it may give them headaches. 

How many carbs in vanilla extract?

According to Calorie King, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract contains 0.5g of carbohydrates. That’s not an alarming amount of carbs for an ingredient that you can’t possibly use too much. Remember that most recipes will ask you to add at most 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Rest easy, knowing that the carbs in the vanilla extract will not make you go over the carb limit prescribed in the ketogenic diet.  

Carbs are an essential food group to watch in the keto diet. You need to watch your carb intake very closely. That’s because going over your daily limit of carbs can kick you out of ketosis. Depending on your metabolism, your carbs should remain within 20-50g. 

Does pure vanilla extract have sugar?

Pure vanilla extract doesn’t have any sugar. Vanilla extract provides that warm smell and taste that we associate with cake. So, it doesn’t necessarily need any sugar content in it. However, you need to double-check your vanilla extract bottle or call the company to find out if they add sugar or caramel to their product. Otherwise, a sugar-free vanilla extract would have to be completely pure and natural. 

Some vanilla extracts contain sugar, corn syrup, or caramel. But even with these ingredients, just know that you will still be in ketosis. Think about it – say in one teaspoon, you have 0.5g of carbs in vanilla extract. You bake a keto-friendly cake. You have one tiny slice. This slice will have a negligent amount of carbs. That’s why I think you have nothing to worry about. 

Does vanilla extract spike blood sugar?

This is another crucial question for people on the keto diet. Sugar counts towards the carbohydrates you eat on keto. As long as you keep your sugar and carbs under 20-50g, you will remain in ketosis. It is highly recommended to stay away from table sugar. That’s why some people will resort to sugar alternatives like monk fruit extract or aspartame (which I would never recommend to anyone because it is very unhealthy.)

If you use pure vanilla extract, you don’t have to worry about spiking blood sugar. Pure vanilla extract won’t have sugar in it. However, even if you are using any random vanilla extract with sugar in it, you won’t have to worry about your blood sugar spiking. The sugar in vanilla extract is not high enough to spike your blood sugar. 

Now to the important question – can you have vanilla extract on keto? Keep reading to find out.

Is vanilla extract keto-friendly?

What makes an ingredient keto-friendly? It’s two things – the lack of carbs and sugar. The keto diet is a high-carb, medium-protein, and low-carb diet. Keep your carbs low, and you will be just fine. But where does sugar fit in? Sugar is also part of the carb load, so don’t treat it as a separate carb.

When we eat sugar, the body releases insulin. Insulin is a hormone that directs sugar to the liver for storage. Sugar is not recommended in the keto diet because it can spike insulin production. When the body detects insulin in the blood, ketones will no longer be produced. You can check your blood insulin levels using a blood test. 

So is vanilla extract keto-friendly?

Yes. Vanilla extract is keto-friendly. You can add it to your smoothies, coffee, keto-friendly cakes, and other desserts. 

The amount of vanilla extract that you use in recipes is minimal. That means the amount of carbs in vanilla extract is also small. Most recipes require just one teaspoon of vanilla extract. And in that recipe, chances are that you are not going to eat many servings – only one or two. Most of the time, the vanilla extract does not contribute significant portions to your carb load. 

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