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Before testing the Smart Sweets Gummy Bears, I had heard very mixed reviews. They are a beloved brand for those who have kicked sugar both in and out of the ketogenic community with only 3g of sugar per bag. However, those that test their ketone levels in the ketogenic community have been calling fraud on these being “keto friendly”.
Smart Sweets is run by a young woman named Tara Bosch who was fed up with all the additional sugar in our everyday foods and snacks. She set out to create a gummy with NO added sugar that she could share with the world. Smarts Sweets has no sugar added, is sugar alcohol-free, peanut and tree nut free, GMO free, dairy/soy/lactose free, and has no artificial flavors or colors. That is all great, but does that translate to a keto friendly product?
SOUR GUMMY BEARS: Prebiotic soluble fiber from tapioca, chicory root fiber, gelatin, lactic acid, citric acid, rice flour, malic acid, fumaric acid, fruit and vegetable juice (for color), natural fruit flavor, coconut oil, stevia leaf extract, carnauba wax.
Looking solely at the ingredients, the first thing that stands out as truly not keto-friendly is the rice flour (in the sour gummies only). Rice is a high carb food and, as such, those on the ketogenic diet avoid it. However, you may notice that this ingredient is in many “keto” or “low carb” prepackaged foods. In this case, the gummies are not being marketed as low carb or keto. Yet those in our community have seen that the gummies have a low net carb amount for a candy, specifically gummies. Does this mean you can’t have them due to the rice flour? The answer isn’t quite that cut and dry.
The answer I want to give is, yes, you can have them… in moderation. If you have read my previous article on reading nutritional labels, you’ll remember reading that ingredients are listed from highest concentration in the product to lowest. In the case of these sour gummies, rice flour comes in 6th out of 13 ingredients. So in moderation, the sour gummies can be keto friendly. When it comes to the fruity gummies, there is nothing in the ingredients list that sticks out as non-keto-friendly.
You may be thinking, “didn’t’ I see something on Instagram/YouTube/Facebook about soluble fiber being turned into sugar when it was digested?” or, “doesn’t it cause me to crave sweets?” Well, folks, I am sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m going to address this with some citations. Harvard School of Public Health discusses fiber by saying that, “Fiber is the type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check” (Fiber, 2018). From this brief statement, one can safely assume that we don’t have to worry about soluble fiber being broken down and converted into glucose. And while we won’t get too deep into the science here in our review, you bet there is a follow-up piece coming on fiber!
So in conclusion, the sour gummies are a maybe when it comes to ingredients (in moderation) and the fruity gummies have no ingredients that would have us concerned.
Based upon the nutritional facts alone, consuming the entire package of gummy bears would not be keto friendly. There are 5g of net carbs in this one bag. Most on the ketogenic diet restrict their carbohydrate intake to 20g of net carbs or less. With this single bag being ¼ of your daily allotment, that would be a poor use of your carbohydrates which would be better served by foods with more micronutrients and good fats. That aside, it does not mean that these gummies are not keto-friendly… just that the serving size may not be. We would suggest, instead, splitting the bag into 2 to 3 servings. This would lower the net carbs to just 2.5g of carbs each for two servings or 1.7g of carbs for one of three servings. The bag is large enough to split the servings and still feel like you have a satisfying treat (although that can be somewhat subjective!)
These gummies taste delicious, with my favorite being the sour gummies! They have the gummy consistency that you are used to and love in the high carb equivalent. This was one area where I was very pleasantly surprised. The granular sour mixture on the sour gummies reminded me of a sour patch kid (although a tad less sour). I would amp up the sour just a bit!
EFFECTS ON KETOSIS
I decided to try eating a full bag, ½ a bag, and ⅓ of a bag on different days to test how each serving size affected our level of ketosis. I was pleasantly surprised to find that hypothesis on the effect of serving size seemed to play out. But keep in mind that this was a study of one, and each of you could have a different response (remember everybody body is different and react to different foods differently).
Based on the ketone levels tracked I would suggest being cautious with the sour gummies. While I did stay in ketosis, levels did take a substantial hit and didn’t fully recover by the 2-hour mark as I normally like to prefer to see. As with all snacks on keto or any diet, eat them in moderation.