Are Rainbow sprinkles keto friendly?

Rainbow sprinkles are a popular topping for ice cream, cupcakes, and other sweet treats, but are they keto-friendly? As a low-carb, high-fat diet, the ketogenic or “keto” diet aims to get the body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of carbs. This requires strictly limiting carb intake to around 5-10% of total calories. While small amounts of rainbow sprinkles can potentially fit into a keto diet, most brands are high in carbs and sugar and should be limited. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at whether rainbow sprinkles can be part of a keto-friendly lifestyle.

What are Rainbow Sprinkles?

Rainbow sprinkles, also called jimmies, are small candy decorations used to decorate desserts and baked goods. They come in a variety of colors and shapes, including round, rod-shaped, and even star and heart shapes. Sprinkles are made from sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, food coloring, confectioner’s glaze, and natural and artificial flavors. While ingredients can vary by brand, most rainbow sprinkles contain lots of carbs and sugar. A typical 2 tablespoon (28g) serving provides:

  • Calories: 110
  • Carbs: 24g
  • Sugar: 21g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

As you can see, just a small serving packs over 20 grams of sugar and carbs. This is far too high for most ketogenic diets.

Keto Diet Guidelines

The keto diet typically limits net carbs to 20-50 grams per day. Net carbs refer to total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. On keto, carbs should make up only around 5-10% of total daily calories. Fats should provide 70-80% of calories, with the rest from protein.

Here are the typical macro guidelines for keto:

  • Carbs: less than 50g net carbs daily, but ideally 20-30g
  • Protein: 0.6-0.8g per pound of lean body mass
  • Fat: Fill in the rest of your daily calories

Consuming too many carbs causes the body to burn carbs for fuel instead of fats, which takes you out of ketosis. Avoiding sugar and limiting high-carb foods is essential on keto.

Are Sprinkles Keto-Friendly?

Looking at the carb counts, regular rainbow sprinkles are too high in carbs and sugar to fit into a keto diet. Just 2 tablespoons would use up nearly your whole carb allowance for the day. Most keto experts recommend avoiding them.

However, there are a few factors that can influence whether sprinkles can be incorporated in moderation:

  • Serving size – Using just a teaspoon or two provides fewer carbs.
  • Net carbs – Some brands have higher fiber, reducing net carbs slightly.
  • Ingredients – Homemade versions can have fewer carbs than store-bought.
  • Your carb limit – People on a more moderate 50g net carb keto diet have more room.

While they’re still a questionable choice, here are some ways sprinkles may potentially fit into keto diets in very small amounts:

Moderate Use on Special Occasions

Many people follow keto long-term for health rather than weight loss. If you’re maintaining weight, occasional higher-carb treats may not kick you out of ketosis. One serving of sprinkles could work for birthdays or holidays if carbs are kept low the rest of the day. But the carbs and sugar can quickly add up.

Small Amounts with Low-Carb Ice Cream

Pairing a teaspoon or two of sprinkles with low-carb keto ice cream can let you enjoy the decoration while keeping carbs in check. Brands like Rebel Creamery, Enlightened, and Halo Top all have pints under 10g net carbs. Just go very light on the sprinkles.

Homemade Versions

You may be able to find or create homemade keto sprinkle recipes using low-carb sweeteners like erythritol or stevia. These swap the sugar for more keto-friendly alternatives to lower the carb content. But homemade doesn’t guarantee safety – calculate the carbs and portions.

If You Have Carbs Left to “Spend”

If you’ve followed keto for a while and know your carb tolerance, sprinkles may potentially fit in on days with extra carbs. But it can be risky if you use too many without realizing. Measure carefully and track intake.

Are Keto Sprinkles Available?

There are a handful of brands marketing “keto sprinkles” with fewer carbs. Options include:

  • SmartCakes – 5g net carbs per serving
  • Picnik – 3g net carbs per serving
  • Lakanto – 9g net carbs per serving

While these have fewer carbs than regular sprinkles, they still contain carbs, sugar alcohols, and should be used moderately. Be sure to read labels and account for the carbs. Portion control is key.

Tips for Incorporating Sprinkles on Keto

While regular rainbow sprinkles won’t fit easily into keto, there are some careful ways you may be able to incorporate small amounts:

  • Stick to 1-2 teaspoons max at a time
  • Use keto-friendly brands with lower net carbs
  • Pair with low-carb desserts like keto ice cream
  • Save for occasional treats or carb-up days only
  • Track your net carb and sugar intake
  • Stevia-sweetened homemade versions can be an option
  • Weigh and measure servings carefully
  • Make sure they fit your macros if having daily

Using more than just a sprinkle or two can quickly sabotage ketosis. Be mindful of portions and carbs.

The Bottom Line

Here is a quick recap on whether rainbow sprinkles can be part of a keto diet:

  • Regular rainbow sprinkles are high in carbs and sugar, and hard to fit into keto.
  • But small amounts may work for occasional treats or if you have carb room left in your diet.
  • Stick to just 1-2 teaspoons and be mindful of net carbs.
  • Pair with low-carb desserts or make stevia-sweetened homemade versions.
  • Keto sprinkle alternatives have fewer carbs but still need portion control.
  • It’s best to consider rainbow sprinkles an occasional treat if doing keto.

While rainbow sprinkles aren’t keto-approved, with careful portioning and tracking, they can potentially be enjoyed once in a while without sabotaging ketosis. But moderation and counting carbs are key.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about enjoying rainbow sprinkles on a keto diet:

Are rainbow sprinkles dairy-free?

Most rainbow sprinkle brands are dairy-free, as they do not contain milk ingredients. However, some may be made on equipment shared with dairy. Check labels for allergy warnings if dairy is a concern.

Do rainbow sprinkles have gluten?

No, rainbow sprinkles are naturally gluten-free, as they are made from sugar, cornstarch, and colorings. But check labels to ensure the brand you buy is not at risk for cross-contamination.

Can I eat rainbow sprinkles on lazy keto?

On lazy keto where you don’t track carbs and macros as closely, it’s best to avoid rainbow sprinkles. Even small amounts could easily knock you out of ketosis without you realizing. Save them for once you are fat-adapted.

What are rainbow sprinkles made of?

The main ingredients are sugar, corn starch, palm oil or confectioner’s glaze, artificial colors, and natural and artificial flavors. Some brands add dextrose or invert sugar.

Are rainbow sprinkles vegan?

Most major brands of rainbow sprinkles are vegan. However, some use confectioner’s glaze, which contains shellac from beetle secretions. Check labels for non-vegan ingredients if following a vegan diet.

The Bottom Line

Rainbow sprinkles can be enjoyed in moderation on keto if you don’t mind the extra carbs and watch your portions. Look for low-carb sprinkle alternatives, make your own versions, or use just a teaspoon at a time for occasional treats. But most keto followers are best avoiding rainbow sprinkles on a regular basis. With some creativity and care taking carb counts into account, you may be able to incorporate small sprinkles into a keto lifestyle once in a while.

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