Are you doing a keto-friendly diet? If so, you’ve probably already discovered many keto-friendly foods that have surprised you.
If you’re just starting out with keto, you may be surprised at just how many foods are actually keto-friendly, and today, we’ll be walking you through one for all of you sweet-tooth dieters: sugar-free jelly.
Is it keto-friendly, and can you add it to your diet?
Let’s find out!
Is Sugar-Free Jelly Keto-Friendly?
Good news jelly-lovers, sugar-free jelly IS keto-friendly! BUT not if you’re doing the “clean” keto diet. If you’re doing the “dirty” keto diet though, feel free to add a generous helping of sugar-free jelly to your daily diet!
Clean Vs. Dirty Keto
If you’ve never heard of these terms before, don’t worry – it’s not as complex as it sounds.
Before you take on the keto diet, you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to do clean or dirty keto.
Clean keto is a version of the keto diet that completely avoids any processed foods, whereas dirty keto is a bit more lenient.
Clean-keto dieters are more likely to eat whole and nutrient-dense foods, paying greater attention to the quality of your food.
You’re more likely to eat foods such as non-starchy vegetables, salmon, eggs, avocado oil, coconut butter, nuts, and more. Those following a clean-keto diet will also avoid things such as:
- Artificial ingredients
- Processed foods
Dirty keto, on the other hand, is a little more relaxed. Dirty keto still follows the low carb high-fat rule, but you’ll probably be eating more food sources that aren’t as nutritious.
Processed foods and those with artificial ingredients or sweeteners won’t be a complete no-go, and it’s a popular choice for dieters who want keto results without having to spend as much time prepping all of their clean-keto meals.
If you’re doing dirty keto, just remember – it’s all about balance. Living off nothing but processed foods is NOT going to do your body any favors, even if it’s keto-friendly.
Try and eat an equal balance of whole, nutrient-rich foods and processed foods to keep your mind and body healthy.
Sugar-Free Jelly: Nutritional Information
So, why exactly is sugar-free jelly a good choice for dirty keto dieters? Let’s take a closer look at its nutritional profile so you know how to incorporate it into your diet.
The information provided below is based on one serving of jelly (or ½ cup of prepared jelly).
- 10 calories
- 0g fat
- 70mg sodium
- 0g carbs
- 0g sugar
- 1g protein
- 0g net carbs
Keto is all about low-carb, high-fat. The good news is that jelly contains absolutely no carbs whatsoever!
If you’re also keeping a close eye on your calorie intake, you’ll be pleased to know that just one serving of your sugar-free jelly contains 10 calories, making it a great guilt-free snack to add to your dity keto diet.
If your ½ cup serving of jelly contains just 10 calories, this means the average box contains as little as 80 calories for the whole thing.
So, even if you get carried away during snack time, you wouldn’t have to feel too guilty (still, we wouldn’t recommend it).
Remember: the nutritional information for each batch of sugar-free jelly varies. Always check the nutritional information for each brand before making a purchase.
Although sugar-free jelly contains 0g of net carbs, it also contains no fat. This doesn’t make it bad for your keto diet, it just means it won’t be an effective, sustainable food to rely on in your diet.
Sugar-free jelly should be eaten as a snack in moderation. For best results and a healthy body and mind, ensure you’re getting enough nutrients in other areas of your diet.
Sugar-Free Jelly Ingredients
So, what exactly makes up sugar-free jelly? Whether you’re doing keto or not, knowing the ingredients in your food is essential.
Gelatin is of course the main ingredient in jelly, but you’ll also find a few other common ingredients, including:
- Fumaric Acid (used for tart flavor)
- Maltodextrin (corn-derivative used for texture)
- Adipic Acid (used for tart flavor)
- Aspartame (used as an artificial sweetener)
- Acesulfame Potassium
- Red 40 (used as an artificial dye)
- Blue 1 (used as an artificial dye)
- Phenylketonurics (contains phenylalanine)
Some varieties of sugar-free jelly may also use other colors and flavorings, such as:
- Beetroot red
- Trisodium citrates
- Acidity regulator
This ingredient list won’t be the same for all brands, so check your packaging for more information.
Although we’ve taken a brief look at some of the most common ingredients in sugar-free jelly, it’s important to know exactly what these do, where they’re made, and how healthy or unhealthy they are for your keto diet.
So, let’s take a closer look at the most common ingredients found in sugar-free jelly, including gelatin.
Gelatin is the primary ingredient in sugar-free jelly. Gelatin is, by itself, keto-friendly, but not everyone enjoys eating it. Gelatin is created from the boiled and dried connective tissues of animals such as cows or pigs.
Skin, tendons, ligaments, and sometimes bones are used in the process.
They’re then treated with acid and filtered out to give us gelatin, the colorless, odorless substance that features in many popular processed foods, including our sugar-free jelly.
As long as you aren’t vegan-keto, gelatin is fine to incorporate into your dirty keto diet.
Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are what make sugar-free jelly sugar-free. Aspartame is the most common artificial sweetener out there, and it’s a type of low-calorie sweetener that can be as much as 200 times sweeter than sucrose.
Aspartame is used in a variety of foods and beverages, and because it’s sugar-free, it won’t boot you out of ketosis. Aspartame has a glycemic index of 0, and it’s great for the keto diet.
However, you should avoid consuming too much aspartame too regularly, as it may lead to gut health issues.
Maltodextrin is another common ingredient found in sugar-free jelly. Maltodextrin is a derivative made from corn, and its final form is a type of white powder that’s highly processed and can be used to improve the flavor, shelf life, and thickness of certain foods.
0Although maltodextrin can be made from wheat and even rice, it is almost always made from corn in sugar-free jelly. Although maltodextrin is fine to consume on the keto diet, it should be eaten in moderation.
Maltodextrin can increase your blood glucose and cause insulin spikes, so eat it sensibly.
How To Make Sugar-Free Jelly
Making sugar-free jelly is so simple – no thought or effort is required! If you want a quick, tasty snack to add to your dirt keto diet, this is the one for you. Here’s exactly how to make sugar-free jelly.
If you’re using a store-bought sugar-free jelly, the instructions on the back of the box are pretty simple. We’ll be using the usual guidelines for store-bought sugar-free jelly below, and this will be relevant to most brands.
- Add two cups of boiling water to the sugar-free jelly mix in your box. Stir this mixture generously for two minutes until your jelly mixture is totally dissolved.
- Once dissolved, mix in two cups of cold water. When stirred together, leave your sugar-free jelly in the refrigerator to set – this will take anywhere between 3-4 hours. Wait until your jelly is firm before eating it.
If you’re in a rush, here’s a slightly quicker way to make your sugar-free jelly. This method will yield around 2.5 cups of jelly.
- Pour around 1.5 cups of boiling water over your gelatin mixture to dissolve it. Then, add ice to a cup of cold water.
- Stir your icy water into your gelatin mixture, and keep stirring until it becomes slightly thicker. If you find any ice that hasn’t dissolved, remove it from the mixture.
- Now, place your jelly in the refrigerator and leave it for 60-90 minutes until it’s firm and set.
Can I Make Sugar-Free Jelly From Scratch?
If you want your sugar-free jelly to be a little healthier, why not try making it at home? For those that don’t want to rely on highly-processed, store-bought recipes, we’ve included this sugar-free jelly blackberry jelly recipe below.
It’s healthier, includes real-food ingredients, and still tastes absolutely amazing.
To make this sugar-free jelly, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Unflavored gelatin
- A keto-friendly sweetener of your choice
- Grape extract (this is optional), but if you want your jelly to be grape flavored, it works exceptionally well
- Boil: start by adding water and your blackberries to a medium-sized pan. Bring the combination to a boil, stirring frequently, and start to mash the berries together as they soften. Then, leave it to simmer.
- Strain: Once you’ve left your ingredients to simmer, you can then pour your mixture over a sieve and press it together with the back of a bowl or a spatula. Keep doing this until you’ve managed to strain out around two cups of juice. If you haven’t produced this much, keep adding water to your mix and straining until you achieve the desired amount.
- Bloom: Now, it’s time for the blooming process. This is pretty simple. All you need to do is sprinkle some gelatin over some water in a separate bowl. Now, keep stirring the mixture together and leave it to bloom. Once bloomed, it will become extremely thick – this is normal, and exactly what we want.
- Dissolve: Once bloomed, you can now add your keto-friendly sweetener to a small saucepan and keep stirring it with water until dissolved. Once dissolved, add in your gelatin and do the same – stir until dissolved. At this point, you can adjust the amount of sweetener you’re using to suit your tastes. Make it as sweet (or as subtle) as you like. If you’re aiming for a more subtle sweet flavor, add small amounts of sweetener at a time.
- Chill: Once everything is combined, you can then go ahead and pour your liquid into a container and leave it to refrigerate until set. It’s best to leave it overnight, but if not, you can expect it to set within 5-6 hours.
And that’s it! Once set, you’re ready to enjoy your healthier, homemade keto-friendly sugar-free jelly.
Different Ways To Eat Jelly
There’s just so much to love about jelly, isn’t there? Personally, we love how versatile it is.
There are so many ways to enjoy your jelly, so if you want to make a big batch to last you for a few days, you can add plenty of other things to it to keep it interesting! Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy jelly.
- With keto-whipped cream: If you’re feeling inventive in the kitchen, why not make yourself some delicious keto-friendly whipped cream and serve it up with your jelly? This is the perfect dessert that you can enjoy the whole year round.
- Add some fresh fruit: Although you’ll have to watch your fruit intake when you’re on the keto diet, you can still add a nice portion of fresh fruit (such as strawberries) to your sugar-free jelly for an extra sweet, fruity burst! If you’re counting your macros, just remember not to overdo it.
- On its Own: Although many people love to dress their jelly up, you don’t have to. There’s so much to love about jelly, so why not just enjoy it in its purest form – on its own? You won’t feel like you’re missing out, and it’s a surefire way to keep on track with your keto diet and still feel satiated!
Can You Get Sugar-Free Jelly Without Aspartame?
Not everyone enjoys aspartame. Although aspartame is healthy in moderation, it has been linked with serious side effects and health problems.
Although these findings have not been confirmed, some people still like to err on the side of caution and limit their intake. So, can you get hold of sugar-free jelly that doesn’t contain aspartame?
Unfortunately, the short answer is no. It’s pretty hard to find sugar-free jelly that doesn’t contain aspartame, which is a shame if you’re trying to reduce your intake, or you’re not a fan of its aftertaste.
When used in large amounts, aspartame can have a slightly chemical-like aftertaste that’s more noticeable in sugar-free jellies without much flavoring.
If you want to avoid aspartame, we’d recommend following the homemade sugar-free jelly recipe we included above and choosing an alternative keto-friendly sweetener.
Here are a few of the most effective ways to bypass aspartame in your sugar-free jelly:
- Keto Friendly Natural Gelatin Dessert: One of the simplest ways is to simply pick up a box of keto-friendly natural gelatin dessert from your local grocery store. These can be a little hard to come by, but if you do find them, you’ll be pleased to know that these are usually sweetened with either stevia or erythritol rather than gelatin, and they also use natural colorings which may make them more appealing to keto-followers who are trying to limit their intake of ‘dirty keto foods.
- Make Your Own Gelatin: Alternatively, you can make your own gelatin from home. This is easier than it sounds, and you can use a gelatin powder to make your own natural jelly in just a few simple steps.
Although instructions may vary, we’d recommend using 3-4 packs of gelatin and mixing them with one cup of cold water until the gelatin has bloomed.
- Then, get hold of an alternative sweetener (such as erythritol), and dissolve it in boiling water.
Then, add your boiling water, sweetener, and ½ -1 tsp of flavoring to the gelatin and mix everything together until it’s dissolved. You can now place your homemade jelly in the fridge until it sets.
- We’d recommend leaving it overnight for the best results.
Can Sugar-Free Jelly Knock You Out Of Ketosis?
Unfortunately, yes, Some varieties of sugar-free jelly have the potential to knock you out of ketosis, especially if they contain ingredients that can spike your blood sugar or mess with your insulin responses.
If there’s one ingredient that’s likely to knock you out of ketosis, it’s maltodextrin. Although it can have no effect on ketosis when consumed in small quantities, larger quantities may raise your blood sugar.
If you want to add sugar-free jelly to your keto diet, we’d recommend experimenting with a variety of homemade recipes and store-bought alternatives to see how your body reacts.
What Sugar-Free Jelly Flavors Are Available?
If you want to add sugar-free jelly to your keto diet, good news – it doesn’t have to be boring! Sugar-free jelly comes in a variety of flavors, including:
- Black Cherry
…. And many more.
If your grocery store doesn’t have a varied selection of sugar-free jelly, we’d recommend shopping online. Stores like Amazon often have a great selection of sugar-free jellies that are safe for the keto-diet.
So, if you don’t want to limit yourself to just one or two flavors, shop around and see what you can find – the variety may surprise you!
What Is Serving Of Jelly?
Want to keep on track with your diet? Don’t go overboard. Your average box of sugar-free jelly contains approximately eight servings, and one serving is around ½ a cup of jello.
However, serving sizes may vary depending on the brand. Always check your manufacturer’s guidance (which can be found on the back of the box) for the most accurate serving suggestions.
Does Sugar-Free Jelly Contain Citric Acid?
Citric acid is a type of organic compound that occurs naturally in citrus fruits. Citric acid is keto-friendly because it’s no carbs, no fat, and no protein.
However, some keto-dieters have claimed that citric acid can prevent them from entering ketosis. Even if this does happen, it’s unlikely to have any effect on ketosis once it’s established.
Sugar-free jelly often doesn’t contain citric acid. Most sugar-free versions actually contain adipic acid rather than citric acid.
Adipic acid is one of the most common ingredients in sugar-free jelly, and it’s used to help achieve that distinctive tart flavor.
Can You Get Sugar-Free Jelly Without Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin consumption can be a concern for some keto dieters. If you want to limit your maltodextrin intake (or eliminate it completely), it is possible to find sugar-free jellies without maltodextrin.
Some UK brands including Hartley’s sugar-free jelly (which is available in some US stores), do not contain maltodextrin. If you’re struggling to find Hartley’s in a US store, you may be able to buy it online.
You can also hit up Walmart and get your hands on their Winky Brand Sugar-Free Gelatin. This contains no maltodextrin and has just five calories per cup!
You’ll also find plenty of flavors available, including strawberry, orange, cherry, lemon lime, and many more.
Some flavors contain it, and others don’t. You’ll have to shop around to find maltodextrin-free brands, so be sure to check the box before making a purchase.
The Bottom Line
Sugar-free jelly can be a great addition to your keto diet, as long as you’re doing dirty keto, or don’t mind breaking your clean-keto streak.
Although most sugar-free jelly won’t knock you out of ketosis, some varieties may contain ingredients that can influence your blood sugar.
For more information, check the ingredients on your store-bought jelly, or try making your own jelly from scratch for the healthiest, safest option!