There’s a ton of confusion about low-carb sweeteners. One of these is tapioca fiber. Is soluble tapioca fiber keto? Find out in this guide.

The ketogenic diet limits carbs, increases fat, and keeps protein moderate. On the topic of carbohydrates: Choosing the right sweeteners ensures that you don’t get blood sugar spikes, taking you out of ketosis. There are those that have a significant impact on your insulin – which you need to stay away from. For example, refined sugar and honey 1.

Anyone on the diet who buys packaged snacks labeled “keto-friendly” should pay attention to the nutrition label. Whether that’s low-carb bread, gummies, or chocolate chip cookies, you need to check the ingredients.

Tapioca fiber is one ingredient you may find in a lot of store-bought keto goodies. The most important question to ask is: Is it good for the keto diet? Will it keep you or kick you out of ketosis? Let’s find out.

What Is Tapioca Fiber?

Tapioca fiber is an ingredient that comes from tapioca – starch that is extracted from the roots of the cassava plant. But wait. Doesn’t starch convert into sugar in your bloodstream? We’ll answer that in a while.

One thing to know about tapioca fiber is that it is soluble. Study shows that soluble fiber decreases LDL cholesterol and helps promote satiety 2. Additionally, tapioca fiber is a good way to boost your fiber intake to avoid constipation.

Tapioca fiber is commonly used in many low-carb, high-fiber, and high-protein products. Sometimes, it is stated as “prebiotic soluble fiber from tapioca.”

Soluble tapioca fiber has zero grams of net carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

This is important: Beware of isomaltooligosaccharides (IMO, for short).

IMOs are general-purpose sweeteners included in many commercial food products including shakes, protein bars, and supplements. Keep in mind that IMOs are not a source of fiber. They’re separate from tapioca fiber and should be declared as IMOs, and not “vegetable fiber” or “soluble corn fiber.” In fact, the FDA denied a petition to include IMO as a dietary fiber:

“Based on our consideration of the scientific evidence and other information submitted with the petition, and other pertinent scientific evidence and information, we conclude that the strength of the evidence does not show that the consumption of IMO has a physiological effect that is beneficial to human health. Consequently, we do not plan to propose to amend the list of nondigestible carbohydrates that meet the definition of dietary fiber to include IMO as a dietary fiber based on this scientific evidence.”

The difference between IMO and true soluble tapioca fiber is that IMOs are not a fiber source and they stimulate a blood glucose and insulin response like regular carbs 3.

Is Soluble Tapioca Fiber Keto-Friendly?

In a nutshell, yes, soluble tapioca fiber is keto-friendly.

While it is sourced from tapioca starch, the fiber portion is being separated in order to achieve an ingredient that will not affect your blood sugar levels. As you can tell from the nutrition facts above, tapioca fiber has zero net carbs.

Additional tip: Even if a food or snack has soluble tapioca fiber, look at its nutritional information as a whole. The food itself could still ruin ketosis if it has other high-carb ingredients.

Summary

If you’re shopping for packaged low-carb foods, look for soluble tapioca fiber on the ingredients list. Soluble tapioca fiber is a source of dietary fiber on a keto diet, and it will not spike your blood glucose unlike regular carbohydrates. Since it has 0 grams of net carbs, it can help reduce the overall carb count of a food item – which keeps you in a ketotic state.

REFERENCES:

  1. Macdonald IA. A review of recent evidence relating to sugars, insulin resistance and diabetes. 2016 November 23 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5174139/

  2. ScienceDirect. Soluble Dietary Fiber. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/soluble-dietary-fiber

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