If a cavemen went into a grocery store, what items would be in their shopping cart? That’s where the paleo diet comes in. The paleo diet aims to reflect what our ancient ancestors ate before farming. Thus, only natural sugars were consumed. No agave, no white sugar, and no stevia. That being said, some sugars are paleo friendly – so let’s explore what paleo sweeteners are out there!

Paleo VS. Keto

Paleo this, Keto that. Sometimes mixed up, the two diet plans have skyrocketed in popularity the past few years and when pooled with all other health tips out there, it is hard to know what is what. So let’s simplify them before we explore what sugars are acceptable to each!


Back when cavemen roamed the earth, food was limited and obtainable only through hunting and gathering. Therefore, the caveman diet was meat, fish, vegetables, along with limited amounts of nuts, seeds, and fruits. The paleo diet attempts to reflect this – limiting grains, legumes, and dairy products, making paleo sweeteners difficult to pinpoint. Much of the human diet changed after farming emerged just over 10,000 years ago, which is why paleo dieters stray away from byproducts of farming, imitating primitive eating habits.  


The ketogenic diet aims to limit almost all carbohydrates, focusing on fats and proteins. When the body is low on carbohydrates (i.e. sugar), it goes into a metabolic state. Known as ketosis, this process uses fat instead of carbs for energy. Keto dieters advocate quick weight-loss on this diet plan which is very high in fat and extremely low in carbs. Typically, the keto diet promotes lots of animal/fish protein, vegetables, and some nuts while it avoids fruit, grains, and all processed foods.

Paleo Sweeteners

Paleo-Friendly Sweeteners

  • Grape Nectar

  • Unrefined Raw Honey

  • Molasses

  • Unrefined Maple Syrup

  • Raw/Turbinado Sugar

Contrary to popular belief, agave is not popular among paleo dieters. Made from the sap of agave plants, this sugar is highly refined and processed until almost 100% fructose sugar (difficult for the body to digest) is produced and sold to the public. Due to its highly processed production, agave fails to meet paleo standards as it was not naturally occurring in Paleolithic era.

Raw honey might have been most prevalent to cavemen so this would be approved if you’re going the paleo route! Maple syrup and molasses are also paleo. Maple syrup, in its purest form without any additives, is a naturally occurring sugar extracted from maple trees. Molasses is sugar of the sugar cane plant after it is harvested and stripped of leaves. Done through crushing, mashing, and/or cutting, a thick liquid comes out as juice which is boiled down, making the molasses we know today. Coconut sugar is also paleo, a huge plus to all those coconut fans out there! Produced from the sap of the coconut palm, paleo dieters typically stray away from this sugar form due to its in-existence in the caveman diet and instead turn to traditional raw sugar.

Yet, don't forget Grape Nectar. Being half the sugar content of honey and half the glycemic index of both honey and maple syrup, Grape Nectar takes the low carb gold medal! Not to mention the taste. We can't get enough of our sugar alternative.

Keto-Friendly Sweeteners

All natural sugars are technically approved by the keto diet, so all approved paleo sweeteners are ok to inquest when on a ketogenic diet. But it is quantity of these sugars that really matters here. The Keto diet promotes 60-75% calories from fat, 15-30% from protein, and a mere 5-10% from carbs. So if natural sugars make up 5-10% of one’s daily calories, all is ok. Below is a list of 0-calorie sugar substitutes that can sweeten up a keto meal:

  • Stevia
  • Sucralose
  • Monk Fruit
  • Erythritol
  • Yacon Syrup
  • Xylitol

The following alternative sweeteners are used only occasionally by keto dieters:

  • Truvia
  • Splenda
  • Sweet’n low
Yet, unfortunately all of these options are highly processed or manmade items. Meaning they do not occur naturally or the nutrients from the plant they are derived from (i.e. monk fruit, stevia, yacon) are almost completely stripped away, and you are left with that funky aftertaste. 

     So where does Grape Nectar come into play?

    Because Grape Nectar is the purest form of naturally occurring grape sugar, it is agreeable with both the paleo and keto diets. Can we get a hoorah! Our three blends may not have been assessable to cavemen, but if you’re willing to modernize your paleo lifestyle, Grape Nectar fits in perfectly. And a small amount our sugar alternative is the perfect marinade for keto meals as long as quantity is monitored closely. Grape Nectar is a healthy ingredient in both keto and paleo diets. Definitely #NotYourAverageSweetener

    Get your Grape Nectar today!


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