It’s quite easy to stick to your diet UNTIL those sugar cravings kick in! There are tons of healthy sweets in the market today. But is Russell Stover Sugar-Free Candy keto?
Keto is a highly carb-restrictive diet and trust me, it gets really boring sometimes! That tiny sweet tooth can scream for attention anytime, and you must be prepared!
Most of your typical desserts are off-limit because they are filthy rich in sugar and carbs! So what can we have instead?
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Overwhelmed with my sugar-cravings, I went to my local store to look for options.
I requested the salesperson to show me something “without any carbs”. He seemed confused! After a few seconds, he replied “You mean..without sugar?”
I said YES! (my hopes rising up at this moment).
He proudly presented me with a pack of Russell Stover Sugar Free Candy.
But me being a skeptical person (the reason for this blog!), I knew I should research first before popping that thing in my mouth!
In this article, we’ll find out how Russell Stover fits into the keto diet, and look at some promising alternatives as well!
This post may contain affiliate links, which help keep this content free. (Full disclosure)
Is Russell Stover Sugar Free Candy Keto Approved?
Even though it has just 2g net carbs, Russell Stover Sugar Free is not at all keto-friendly! It contains the sweetener Maltitol which can easily spike your blood sugar, throwing you out of ketosis!
We keto-ers are always on the hunt for low net carbs!
However, we should also consider other factors that decide whether a product is keto or not.
In whole foods and natural items, you may easily get away with just the knowledge of net carbs. But manufactured and processed foods is a different game altogether!
Not every sugar-free item can be considered keto-friendly right off the bat!
For example, even the Sugar Free Jell-O can kick you out of ketosis if you go overboard with the quantity! It contains the sweetener Maltodextrin which is known to spike blood sugar.
Similarly, Russel Stover’s candy comes with a whopping 17 grams of the sugar alcohol Maltitol, which has a Glycemic Index of 36 (which is way too high!).
Just for your reference, the table sugar has a G.I. of 65 while keto-friendly sweeteners like Erythritol rank in the bottom with a G.I. of 1.
Russell Stover also uses Stevia, but Maltitol is still the major sweetener present inside these candies.
Some products are so tricky that even highly-reputed keto apps like Carb-Manager can’t be trusted!
It just scans the label and gives out an “A” grade rating to the Russell Stover candy, simply based on the net carbs present!
But marketers are way smarter than these apps and they exploit the loopholes to stand out as a “healthy” alternative.
In fact, there are many diabetics falling for these marketing gimmicks and picking up this stuff hoping it’s actually sugar-free.
But in reality, Maltitol is almost half as bad as raw sugar, if not more!
(Suggested: Keto-Friendly Soda)
So can you Eat Russell Stover candy on keto?
The answer is a big NO! Even if it is low in net carbs, the sugar alcohols it contains can throw you out of keto in no time!
And if you simply can’t resist the taste, have the candy on your cheat day.
But let me remind you, never consume a full candy while on keto, even if it’s a cheat day! Unless you are ready to spend the next few hours sitting on the toilet seat!
Russell Stover Sugar Free Net Carbs
Russell Stover Sugar Free candy has 20g of total carbs, 17g of sugar alcohols, 1g fiber, leaving us with just 2g of net carbs.
However, it is still not a keto-friendly product because it contains Maltitol, an anti-keto sweetener!
Net carbs isn’t the only keto factor and you need an overall nutrition profile to judge a food product.
Russell Stover Sugar Free Nutrition Facts
Here are the nutrition facts for the Sugar-Free Caramel flavor:
As you can see, one serving of 2 candies has 17g of sugar alcohols (maltitol) and just 2g net carbs.
It has 6g of fats, out of which 4.5g is the saturated fat (not quite great!). And there is only 1g of protein per serving.
Clearly, these candies have little to offer in terms of nutrition.
If it’s the first time you’ve heard about the term “net carbs”, don’t worry!
Net carbs is an essential element of the keto diet, and it’s very easy to calculate.
Generally, the formula for calculating net carbs is given as:
Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols = Net Carbs
Let me give you an example for better understanding:
When talking about the “carb limit” in a keto diet, we are always referring to the net carbs.
Fiber and sugar alcohols are NOT digested by our body and hence they pass unabsorbed. They have little to no effect on our blood sugar levels and they are considered keto-safe.
Is Maltitol Keto Friendly?
Maltitol is a sugar-free sweetener that falls under the category of sugar alcohols (just like Erythritol). It has around 80% of the sweetness of table sugar.
Even though it’s considered to be a safe sugar replacement, Maltitol’s Glycemic Index is the highest of all sugar alcohols!
Maltitol powder has a G.I. of 35 while Maltitol Syrup has a G.I. of 52. They are very closely positioned to table sugar, which has a G.I. of 65!
Maltitol is not a keto-friendly sweetener because it can easily spike your blood sugar and ruin your hard-earned ketosis!
In fact, before the whole keto revolution, 9 out of 10 so-called sugar-free products used Maltitol and got away with it.
But now times have changed and people are much more aware! That’s why brands are shifting to lower G.I. sweeteners like Erythritol and Stevia.
Glycemic Index or G.I. is a numerical value from 0-100 (100 for pure glucose). It is a relative term that depicts how much a food will spike your blood sugar within 2 hours of consumption.
Even to this date, many people are unknowingly consuming hidden carbs in the name of sugar-free products (flavored with Maltitol!)
Maltitol is also linked with short-term side effects such as bloating, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
So why do brands use Maltitol in sugar-free products?
Well, not the whole world is on a keto diet (yet!). And a lot of people want to ditch sugar simply because of its high calories!
Maltitol has fewer calories than the traditional table sugar, and it is also lower in the Glycemic Index. On top of that, it tastes almost like real sugar without the weird aftertaste!
With that said, Maltitol is neither keto-friendly nor easy on your stomach!
It is known to have a blood sugar response similar to glucose, and will leave you running to the nearest bathroom!
Chocolate and the Fitness Industry
An article from CandyIndustry.com reveals the massive explosion of sugar-free chocolate sales during the COVID-19 pandemic!
When the whole world is locked inside their homes, snacking seems to be the only escape from boredom!
But thanks to the rise of fitness influencers, we are much more health aware now.
That’s why people are reaching out for sugar-free chocolates to contain another possible pandemic – obesity!
During the summer of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russell Stover Candies Inc. saw a huge 15.9 percent increase in sales to a whopping $114.1 million!
Sadly, their sugar-free options aren’t sugar-free in the real sense!
As discussed earlier, even though a sugar-free sweetener, Maltitol is still half as bad as sugar!
For a truly keto-friendly and diabetic-friendly dessert, they should stick to low G.I. sweeteners like Erythritol.
But all of this does tell us something! We are going towards a healthier society, where people are actively taking care of their bulging bellies!
Let’s get back to the keto side of things for now.
Keeping Russell Stover aside, what other options do you have? Let’s find out!
(Recommended: Is Cool Whip Keto?)
Can You Have Candy on Keto?
Candy is almost a synonym for sugar and carbs! But as keto-ers, we are bounded by our daily carb limit of 20-30g per day!
Thanks to the booming keto industry, we have a lot of low carb options in the market!
While looking at their labels, don’t just go by the net carbs. We just saw in the case of Russell Stover candies that net carbs can be highly misleading!
You should also scan for any hidden ingredients that may trigger an insulin spike (such as Maltitol).
As a rule of thumb, stick to natural and plant-based sweeteners like Erythritol, Monk Fruit, Stevia, or Allulose. Sucralose used in Propel Water is also suitable for the keto diet.
Sugar alcohols is still a very complicated subject! Not everyone is going to like their aftertaste and it may even lead to frequent visits to the bathroom.
The answer for “Is Russell Stover Sugar Free Keto” is probably a big NO, but we have much better options in the market.
You can definitely enjoy a single serving of candies as an occasional indulgence! But look out for hidden sources of carbs.
Here are a few candies for your insatiable sweet tooth on keto:
Lily’s Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels
Lily’s Sweets is a hugely popular keto-friendly brand!
Their bite-sized caramels glazed with chocolate taste can blow away your minds!
These candies are flavored with Erythritol and Stevia, both of which are keto-friendly sweeteners! It is also free from hydrogenated fats (the bad type of fats).
A 28g serving contains just 6g of net carbs. You can easily split it into two parts without missing out on taste!
One little ball comes out to be 1g net carbs. And trust me, it is really really rich in flavor! You can even enjoy it every day and still be in a rock-solid keto mode!
Even if you decide to eat a full serving, it still won’t kick you out of ketosis. Just make sure you factor in those carbs in your daily budget.
I have tried almost every low carb candy out in the market! This one is probably among the top 10 sweets I’ve bought from the store.
It has just the perfect balance of sweeteners, making it free from that weird bitter-ish aftertaste.
The markers don’t try to give you an ultra-sweet product highly loaded with sugar alcohols!
Lily’s actually tastes like dark chocolate combined with a hint of sea salt and sweet caramel.
These chocolate-covered caramels have a tough shell on the outside, accompanied by a soft center.
They aren’t keto-exclusive treats and your whole family can enjoy these tiny caramels. In fact, my wife (not on keto) sometimes prefer this over the traditional sugar-laden chocolates.
The price might be an issue here, but it starts making sense as soon as you have the first bite! IMO the price is totally worth it!
ChocZero Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut Butter and chocolate is the ultimate soul-satisfying combination!
Just like Lily’s, ChocZero also offers a wide range of low-carb delights.
If you are a fan of white chocolate, you’ll love these peanut butter cups. They are made from high-quality Cocoa butter, sourced from South America!
I had always LOVED Resee’s peanut butter cups, which are highly loaded with sugars, unfortunately!
Thanks to ChocZero, we have our own version of white chocolate P.B. cups that are free from any sugar alcohol, or artificial sweetener!
A single cup of ChocZero’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups has just 1g net carbs.
They are sweetened with Monk Fruit and are free from palm oil, soy, and gluten.
This sweet little combination of P.B. with white chocolate will surely spark your childhood nostalgia!
You get a bag of 6 cups for $6, which is totally worth as a keto-friendly dessert (without any aftertaste!)
Each cup is individually wrapped inside the bag, making portioning way easier!
Is Russell Stover Sugar-Free keto-friendly?
While low in net carbs, Russell Stover Sugar Free candy is NOT at all keto-friendly. It uses the sweetener Maltitol, which can spike your blood sugar, throwing you out of ketosis!
It teaches us that merely looking at net carbs can’t define whether a product is keto-friendly or not. We should also look at other factors!
Lily’s Dark Chocolate and ChocZero have keto-friendly candies to satisfy your sugar cravings.
Please share this post as it can help a struggling Keto-er. Cheers!