Most of us remember the tasty gelatin desserts from our childhoods, and some of us like it even today. But, when you are on the keto diet, things like jello and other sweets full of sugar can become a thing of the past.
If you are here, you are probably familiar with Jell-O’s sugar-free gelatin dessert, which seems like a game-changer when it comes to keto dieting. But, all these “sugar-free” desserts have artificial sugars. So, can you really eat it on keto, without it affecting your ketosis?
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Keep on reading to find out.
What is Jello?
Jell-O or often called jello is the name of a variety of gelatin desserts, no-bake cream cakes, and puddings. Jello is trademarked by Kraft Heinz and is based in Chicago, Illinois. The original gelatin dessert or generally known as jello is their most popular and their signature product.
The original jello began when Pearle Bixby Wait and his wife May in Le Roy, New York in 1981 trademarked a product that was made from orange, strawberry, lemon, or raspberry flavoring that was added to granulated gelatin and sugar.
Today jello is sold already prepared (ready-to-eat) or in powdered form which contains powdered gelatin and flavorings, including artificial sweeteners or sugar.
In order to make jello, you need to dissolve the powder in hot water, then put it into molds and let it set in a refrigerator. When the jello is still in a liquid form, whipped cream, fruit and other snacks can be added.
How many flavors of jello are there?
Altogether there are 29 flavors of jello which include seasonal, low-calorie/sugar-free and only available in prepared form.
Those are: Apricot, Berry Blue, Black Cherry, Cherry, Cherry Lemonade, Cranberry, Fruit Punch, Grape, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Margarita, Melon Fusion, Mixchief Grape, Color-Changing, Mixchief Juice, Mixchief Soda Pop, Orange, Peach, Pina Colada, Pineapple, Raspberry, Strawberry, Strawberry Daiquiri, Strawberry-Banana, Tropical Fusion, Watermelon, Jolly Rancher Sour Green, Apple.
How many jello flavors are sugar-free?
Only 9 of their jello desserts are available as sugar-free/low-calorie products.
Those are Black Cherry, Cherry, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Peach, Raspberry, Strawberry, and Strawberry-Banana.
Here is the nutritional information on 5 of the sugar-free jello flavors. These facts are on one serving of jello (2.5 grams of the powder or ½ cup).
|Product||Calories||Fat||Protein||Total Carbs||Fiber||Net Carbs|
|Strawberry Flavor||10 kcal||0 grams||1 gram||0 grams||0 grams||0 grams|
|Black Cherry Flavor||10 kcal||0 grams||1 gram||0 grams||0 grams||0 grams|
|Peach Flavor||10 kcal||0 grams||1 gram||0 grams||0 grams||0 grams|
|Cherry Flavor||10 kcal||0 grams||1 gram||0 grams||0 grams||0 grams|
|Raspberry Flavor||10 kcal||0 grams||1 gram||0 grams||0 grams||0 grams|
The basic ingredients for all the sugar-free jello flavors are the same. Just the coloring and the flavors are different.
The ingredients are: Gelatin, Adipic Acid (for Tartness), Maltodextrin (from Corn), Disodium Phosphate (Controls Acidity), Fumaric Acid (for Tartness), Aspartame (Sweetener) (Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine), Contains Less than 2% of Artificial Flavor, Acesulfame Potassium (Sweetener), Salt, Coloring (Red 40, Blue 1, etc).
What is sugar-free jello sweetened with?
As seen in the table above, and as advertised, sugar-free jello is indeed free from sugar and carbs. So, how is it so sweet still? Sugar-free jello is sweetened with two artificial sweeteners and those are Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium.
- Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is a non-saccharide that was made in 1965. It is a common food and drink additive and substitute for sucrose (common sugar) as it is 200 times sweeter than it.
It is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide that can be found with the trade names Equal, NutraSweet, and Canderel. Aspartame has been studied ever since it was discovered and it is one of the most rigorously tested food ingredients.
There are controversies that aspartame is connected to cancer, headaches and even neurological effects but there isn’t any evidence of that in the numerous studies done. (*)
- Acesulfame potassium often called Ace-K or acesulfame K is an artificial sweetener and substitute for sucrose, found under the trade names Sunett and Sweet One and in the European Union it is found under the E950 code. (*)
It was discovered in 1967 and it has the formula of C4H4KNO4S and it is a white crystalline powder. Just like aspartame, it is 200 times sweeter than common sugar.
Both sweeteners are approved in the United States by the FDA and in the European Union by the EFSA.
Is Sugar-Free Jello Healthy?
Sugar-free jello has only 10 calories per serving that come from the very little protein it contains, so it is a good snack if you are trying to lose weight. But, that being said, too much of anything is never healthy, so be mindful of how much you consume, since it is still a highly processed food.
Also, on every package of jello, there is also a warning about it containing Phenylalanine. So, what is phenylalanine and is it safe for you?
Is phenylalanine safe?
Phenylalanine is an essential α-amino acid and it is naturally found in the breast milk of mammals. It is used in some analgesics and antidepressants and also as a supplement in the dietary industry. So, why is there a warning?
The warning is meant for those with phenylketonuria. Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder that causes a lack of an enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase, that is used to metabolize phenylalanine, and therefore their body can not metabolize it.
So, unless you have phenylketonuria, phenylalanine is safe for you.
Can You Eat Sugar-free Jello On The Keto Diet?
Judging just by the nutritional facts table, it seems that jello is a perfect keto snack, but that is simply not the case. If we look in the ingredients list, we can see that it is full of artificial additives, from sweeteners to flavoring and thickeners, that are highly processed.
Therefore, sugar-free jello is a highly processed food and as you probably already know, highly processed foods are avoided on the strict keto diet.
However, if you are not following a strict keto diet that limits processed food and artificial sweeteners, or if you are on a low-carb diet, then sugar-free jello can be easily fitted into your daily calories and carbs.
Where To Buy?
You can find sugar free jello in common grocery stores. As well as order them online from sites like Amazon.com.
No, sugar-free jello is not keto-friendly, as it is highly processed and contains artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors. It is more suitable for those on a low-carb diet.
Sugar-free jello is sweetened by 2 artificial sweeteners called Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium.
If you are not limiting the processed foods you eat, then sugar-free jello is a great low-carb, low-calorie snack that can help you shed some pounds.
But, if you do not want any processed foods in your diet, then the best way to eat this delicious snack is to make it yourself.
*Featured Photo by homank76/depositphotos