If there's one thing I wish I didn't have, it would be my sweet tooth. I seriously can't understand how some people don't love candy and sweets.
What candy can you eat on keto? Any candy that is low in carbohydrates and fits within your daily carb intake can be eaten while remaining in a state of ketosis. Regular candy in small quantities or sugar-free candies can be enjoyed in moderation while on a ketogenic diet.
In this article, I'll go over what to look out for in choosing if candy is ok to consume, some of my keto-friendly dessert recipes, and even keto-friendly candy from the store you may be able to find locally.
What Candy Can You Eat On Keto?
You may automatically assume that when following a ketogenic diet, it's an all or nothing game when it comes to sweets and carbohydrates. The truth is, while there are plenty of keto-friendly recipes to recreate many of your old favorites, you can still consume certain candies, in moderation, of course.
Carbohydrate tolerance will vary from person to person, though most people can consume between thirty to fifty net carbs 1 and remain in a state of ketosis. If you're a highly active individual or athlete, you may be able to consume two or three times that and stay in ketosis.
The only way to know is by conducting your own experiment and seeing how many carbohydrates you can consume while remaining in ketosis. To find your threshold, you would need to check for ketones after consuming varying levels of carbohydrates, preferably with a blood ketone meter.A blood ketone meter is commonly used within keto research and touted as the gold standard when it comes to measuring ketones.
Does Sugar Kick You Out Of Ketosis?
Sugar in and of itself won't kick you out of ketosis. Consuming more carbs than you're allowed will ultimately be the most significant determining factor of whether you get kicked out of ketosis or not.
Since we're talking about candy, let's take a bite-sized snicker as an example. One fun size snickers almond bar has:
- 12g of total carbohydrates
- 1g of fiber
- 10g of sugar
Therefore, a fun-sized snicker almond bar has 11 grams of net carbs since we subtracted the 1g of fiber. If your diet allows up to 30 grams of net carbs, you could potentially eat two fun-sized snickers bars and remain in ketosis.While candy isn't the best food nutrition-wise to spend your carbohydrates on, eating a piece of candy once in a while is perfectly ok and won't knock you out of ketosis.
A great analogy is to think of your carbohydrates allotment like money. Imagine you had $100,000 that you could spend, but had to make last for an entire year for every day living.
Now, you COULD go out and buy that shiny new car you've always wanted for $90,000 and have $10,000 left to spend the rest of the year. Or, you can be sensible and opt for a more economical car while still having plenty of money left over to spend on necessities like rent, food, you know… things you may need to survive.
Yes, I know a few of you would buckle down and buy that shiny new car, and it would be worth sacrificing the rest of the year.
But you get my point.
If you're dying for a piece of candy and can exercise restraint at only one or two pieces, then, by all means, have as much as you can fit. Sugar in and of itself will not kick you out of ketosis. It's the quantity of sugar that will kick you out.
On the flip side, if eating one piece of candy opens the flood gates and causes you to binge on MANY pieces of candy, it may not be the best idea.
What If You Eat Too Many Carbs On Keto?
Now, if you went a little overboard (or a lot) and ate too many carbohydrates, chances are you'll knock yourself out of ketosis. Bear in mind, this doesn't necessarily mean you'll stop losing fat if that's your primary focus. 2
How long it will take for you to get back into ketosis will depend on how overboard you went with the carbohydrates. Generally, you should re-enter ketosis within 24-hours if you quickly course-correct and resume your ketogenic diet. You may potentially be back in ketosis in as little as a few hours if you barely went over your threshold.
Most importantly is that you get back on track. It's not what you do once that will determine your outcome, but what you repeatedly do.
I did the ultimate self-experiment eating A LOT of carbohydrates over a prolonged time to see how long it took me to enter a state of ketosis, the results might shock you.
Athletes who follow a Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) do this all the time by consuming carbohydrates pre-workout to help fuel performance. While they temporarily knock themselves out of ketosis, these same individuals usually find themselves back in ketosis by the end of their workout or not too long after.
Again, how much is too many, and how quickly you'll get back into ketosis will vary from person to person.
These factors will influence the above:
- Amount of muscle mass you carry
- Activity level
- How long you've been in ketosis
- How many carbs you ate
What are the best keto sweeteners?
Everyone has their preference when it comes to what sweeteners are “best” to use on keto. In general, most keto-friendly candy on the market today will use erythritol, stevia, or a combination of both.
Most of the recommendations below use stevia or erythritol, but what matters most is what you prefer and works best for your specific needs.
Controversy aside, the most researched and studied sweetener substitute is aspartame, which is shown to be safe for consumption. Aspartame is also considered safe by many leading regulatory organizations including the FDA and World Health Organization.
Check out this article and video by PBS which also mentions four additional peer-reviewed studies.
Sugar alcohols are listed on the back of most nutrition labels, but since they're not digested in the same way, they do not count against your total net carb intake.
In some cases, maltitol's used as a sweetener, which does act differently compared to other sweetener alternatives. While a little is ok in moderation, many individuals like to still count 50% of maltitol sugar alcohols into their total carbohydrate intake, but that's entirely up to you.
Now that you have a firm understanding of what you can and can't have while on keto, candy, or not, here are a few of my favorite recipes that won't break the bank (or carbohydrates in this case).
Keto Chocolate Recipes
Who doesn't love chocolate? What you may not know is that 100% cocoa or cacao is fairly low in carbohydrates, mostly fiber, and chock full of anti-oxidants that may potentially improve cardiovascular health. 3
If you've got a hankering for chocolate desserts or candy, here are a few of my favorite recipes.
Rich 3 Ingredient Chocolate Keto Fudge
The best recipes are the simple ones with the least ingredients, at least that's what I think. Here is a three ingredients keto fudge recipe from Healthy Eats Real that should take no more than 15 minutes to make.
Even better is that this recipe is both paleo and vegan-friendly.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup stevia-sweetened chocolate chips (I use this brand)
- 1/2 cup cashew butter (or other nut butter) (I use this brand)
Keto chocolate nut clusters
Want something with a little more bite? Try these keto chocolate nut clusters from Peace Love and Low Carb that are also only three ingredients.
- 9 ounces sugar-free dark chocolate chips (I use this brand)
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 2 cups salted mixed nuts
Keto chocolate cookies
Ok, if you want something a little fancier, these are for you. I love the keto chocolate cookies courtesy of the Healthy Recipes Blog. Be forewarned, these cookies are soft, chewy, and quite addicting.
- 2 Eggs, large
- 1 cup Nut butter, natural creamy
- 1 1/2 tsp Stevia
- 1/4 tsp Baking soda
- 1/2 cup Cocoa powder, natural unsweetened
- 1/3 cup Dark chocolate chips (I use this brand)
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 1/2 cup Water
Keto Gummy Recipes
Big fan of gummy bears and gummy worms? Here are some of my favorite keto-friendly gummy recipes that will do the trick.
Keto Kombucha Gummies
This recipe is courtesy of Thrive Market and The Keto Reset Diet Cookbook. I've personally used Thrive Market since they opened their doors a few years ago.
Thrive Market sells natural and organic products that usually are 25 – 50% off retail prices. I would highly recommend you check them out and see if there are any products you typically purchase (or can't find locally) that could be found cheaper and delivered straight to your door.
Sugar-Fere Gummy Bears
These sugar-free gummy bears are a perfect treat for you or your little ones but do take a bit more time and effort. Courtesy of Low Carb No Carb, these gummy bears also use her keto infused tea recipe.
- 1 Pkt Gelatine sheets (20g) (I use this brand)
- 140ml Hot water (1/2 Cup)
- 2 tsp Lemon juice
- 4 Stevia packets
- Variety of teas:
- Orange – Camomile Tea
- Red – Hibiscus Tea
- Green – Matcha Tea
- Purple – Blueberry tea
Low Carb Strawberry Margarita Gummy Worms
Saving the best for last, these low carb strawberry margarita gummy worms from Peace Love and Low Carb are fun and delicious. While these are suited for adults, you can easily make these kid-friendly by eliminating the tequila.
- 10 hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 ounces silver tequila
- 3 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin collagen protein (I use this brand)
- 2 tablespoons powdered erythritol (I use this brand)
- 1 ½ ounces fresh lime juice
Keto Hard Candy Recipes
Chocolate or gummies, not your thing? Here are some hard candy recipes for when the cravings hit, and you want a sweet treat that you can munch or suck on.
Keto Butterscotch Candy
Almost like toffee, this keto butterscotch from Better Than Bread Keto is excellent as “hard” candy or even as a topping by adding a little cream to the mixture.
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
Keto Hard Nougat Turron
Being of Filipino Spanish descent, turron is a dessert I grew up eating. The Spanish version from Recommended.Tips is a little different than that of the Filipino version but just as good.
- 1 cup macadamia nuts or almonds
- 1 cup erythritol (I use this brand)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 large egg white
- 1 pinch salt
Keto-Friendly Candy From The Store
Maybe cooking and baking isn't your thing, that's ok, we got you covered. With the internet, it's easier than ever to find keto and low-carb snacks or candy when we don't want to take the effort to make them ourselves.
Remember, just because you CAN eat something, does it mean you SHOULD eat it. I'm still an advocate for relying on whole and unprocessed foods for 80 – 90% of your diet, but having an occasional treat from above or the list below is perfectly ok.
Here are some keto-friendly treats you can potentially find at your local store or at least online.
Smart Sweet Keto Gummy Candy
While I've listed some of my favorite keto gummy recipes, these are some of my favorite store-bought gummies.
Smart Sweet Gummy Bears come in a variety of fruity or sour versions, depending on your taste buds.
I first discovered these at my local Whole Foods, so if you're reading this and want them ASAP, then head hop over there and grab you some. Otherwise, you can find a variety pack on Amazon and taste all of them to see which you love best. The sour blast buddies are my personal favorite.
Now that I think about it, these would make an excellent Halloween giveaway.
On average, each bag contains:
- 30 – 35g of total carbohydrates
- 28g of fiber
- Total Net Carbs: ~5 grams of net carbs
Twizzlers Sugar-Free Strawberry Twists
Big fan of Twizzlers? Now you can have some as they've started producing a sugar-free version.
I remember buying huge tubs of these at Costco when I was a child, or I guess you can say I remember my parents buying them for my brother and me.
Per 6 pieces you have:
- 34g of total carbohydrates
- 23g of sugar alcohols
- Total Net Carbs: 11 grams of net carbs
ChocZero's Keto Bark, Dark Chocolate Almonds with Sea Salt
If you're looking for that chocolate fix, ChocZero is one of my go-to chocolate treats. ChocZero's sweetened with monk fruit, and I don't feel they have that artificial sweetener taste you would generally associate with sugar-free treats.
- 15g of total carbohydrates
- 13g of fiber
- Total Net Carbs: 2 grams of net carbs
Lily's Chocolate Bars
Lily's chocolate bars were probably the first keto-friendly chocolate bars I ever had. Aside from buying these online, you can also find these at your local Whole Foods market and occasionally will find them on sale.
Compared to ChocZero, Lily's sweetens their chocolate with erythritol versus monk fruit, which means they have a more substantial proportion of sugar alcohols. Lily's bars also come in both milk and dark chocolate flavors to suit your personal preference.
I like the crispy rice dark chocolate variety as it reminds me of a crunch bar, but it does have a little more net carbs relative to the other ones.
On average, each serving has:
- 20g of total carbohydrates
- 12g of fiber
- 5g of sugar alcohols
- Total Net Carbs: 3 grams of net carbs
Werther's Original Sugar-Free Caramel Hard Candy
If you're looking for a keto-friendly hard candy you can buy at the store; then you're in luck. The Werther's hard candy you and probably even your parents and grandparents grew up on comes in a sugar-free variety.
Per 5 pieces:
- 14g of total carbohydrates
- 7g of sugar alcohols
- Total Net Carbs: 7 grams of net carbs
You may be able to find these at your local store, but you can also find them online in the link below.
Koochi Koo Sugar-Free Organic Lollipops
Are you looking for a sucker? You've got to try these Koochi Too lollipops.
Fair warning, though, these lollipops are more on the sour side. If sour is your thing, then I would highly recommend these to fulfill that sweet and sour craving.
- 6g of total carbohydrates
- 5g of fiber
- Total Net Carbs: 1 gram of net carbs
While not precisely a “candy” per se, quest bars are perfect when I have a craving for a candy bar or sweets in general. They also come in a wide variety of flavors that are suitable for almost anyone's taste buds.
My personal favorites are the cookies and cream and birthday cake flavors, which is kind of funny since I don't generally like birthday cake flavor anything. Each bar has, on average, 21 grams of high-quality protein and only 4g of net carbohydrates.
Costco also sells their version similar to a quest bar. The peanut butter is my favorite of the Costco brand protein bars.
You can likely find quest bars at many of your local grocery stores, or you can purchase them online.
Atkins Endulge Chocolate Candies
Want something like m&m's? Atkins candy makes the perfect low sugar version of the popular candy, and only one net carb to boot!
You can find the Atkins Endulge line at your local retailers such as Target or Wal Mart, or if you're like me, then stock up online.
- 13g of total carbohydrates
- 11g of fiber and sugar alcohols
- Total Net Carbs: 1 gram of net carbs
Tom and Jenny's Low Carb Caramels
My latest obsession (as of 2019) are Tom and Jenny's low carb caramels. The caramels come in five different flavors, with coffee being my personal favorite.
Tom and Jenny's caramels use maltitol as a sweetener, which depending who you ask wouldn't consider using maltitol on a ketogenic diet. I think maltitol is fine if you are consuming items sweetened with maltitol in minimal quantities, so don't go buck wild.
Generally, you'll have people count half of the sugar alcohols from maltitol, which I've reflected down below for the sake of ease.
- 24g of total carbohydrates
- 24g of sugar alcohols coming from maltitol.
- Total Net Carbs: 12g of net carbs
Sugar-Free Life Savers
Another keto-friendly version of hard candy from my childhood. I remember buying the tools of lifesavers and picking out my favorite flavors leaving the rest for my brother. It's a good thing we enjoyed different flavors from each other.
- 14g of total carbohydrates
- 14g of sugar alcohols
- Total Net Carbs: 0g
I know it says 0g of net carbs, but still exercise restraint when eating any sugar-free candies, especially since they contain a lot of sugar alcohols and dietary fiber.
There you have it, some of my favorite keto-friendly candy and sweets recipes you can make yourself or buy at the store.
What are some of your favorites?