Is Jello sugar free pudding really sugar-free?

Jell-O sugar free pudding is a popular low calorie dessert marketed as having no sugar. But is it really sugar free? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and nutrition facts.

What are the ingredients in Jell-O sugar free pudding?

The main ingredients in Jell-O sugar free pudding are:

  • Water
  • Modified food starch (cornstarch)
  • Contains less than 2% of the following: Cellulose gel, cellulose gum, sodium stearoyl lactylate, salt, natural and artificial flavors, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, yellow 5, red 40.

So while sugar is not listed as a main ingredient, there are artificial sweeteners including acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) and sucralose. These provide the sweet taste but with fewer calories than sugar.

Nutrition Facts

Here are the nutrition facts for a 1/2 cup serving of Jell-O sugar free vanilla pudding:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 60
Total Fat 0.5g
Sodium 270mg
Potassium 38mg
Total Carbohydrates 13g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 1g

As you can see, the nutrition label lists 0g sugar per serving. So in that sense, it is sugar free. However, let’s take a closer look at those ingredients.

Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) is an artificial sweetener that provides sweetness without calories or carbohydrates. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. While it contains no calories, the FDA requires it to be listed under total carbohydrates on nutrition labels.

Some people have concerns over potential cancer risks with Ace-K, but the FDA has approved its use and found no evidence that it is carcinogenic in humans at current levels of consumption. It has been used since 1988 with no known health issues.


Sucralose is another extremely popular artificial sweetener. The yellow packets of Splenda contain sucralose. It is made from sugar but with three hydrogen-oxygen groups replaced with chlorine atoms.

This chemical structure makes sucralose 600 times sweeter than sugar. It passes through the body undigested, so it provides no calories or carbohydrates. Numerous studies have shown sucralose to be safe even at high doses.

Sugar Alcohols

In addition to Ace-K and sucralose, some sugar free puddings use sugar alcohols as sweeteners. These include:

  • Sorbitol
  • Maltitol
  • Xylitol
  • Erythritol

Sugar alcohols provide about half the sweetness of regular sugar with fewer calories and carbs. They also do not spike blood sugar levels as much as regular sugar. However, one downside is that large amounts can cause digestive issues like gas and bloating.

Is Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding Keto Friendly?

The keto diet involves restricting carb intake to achieve ketosis for fat burning. Generally, this means limiting net carbs to 20-50 grams per day.

With 13g total carbs and 0g fiber per serving, Jell-O sugar free pudding is not keto friendly if you’re strictly tracking carbs and ketosis. However, it can potentially fit into some more moderate low carb diets.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) measures how much a food spikes your blood sugar on a scale of 1-100. Pure glucose has a GI of 100.

Since Jell-O sugar free pudding contains no actual sugar, it has a negligible effect on blood sugar. One study found the GI of Jell-O sugar free pudding to be 27, which is considered low. This makes it a good choice for diabetics and pre-diabetics.

Is Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding Dairy Free?

Regular Jell-O pudding contains milk ingredients like nonfat dry milk. However, Jell-O does offer dairy free sugar free pudding options:

  • Jell-O Sugar Free Chocolate Dairy Free Pudding
  • Jell-O Sugar Free Vanilla Dairy Free Pudding

The dairy free versions replace milk with soy milk, making them safe for people with dairy allergies or vegans. They have identical nutrition facts and ingredients as regular Jell-O pudding, just without the milk.

Benefits of Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding

Some benefits of Jell-O sugar free pudding include:

  • Low calorie – Only 60 calories per serving
  • Sugar free – Does not affect blood sugar
  • Low fat – Only 0.5g fat per serving
  • High protein – Provides 1g protein per serving
  • Gluten free – Does not contain gluten
  • Kosher – Certified kosher
  • No artificial colors or flavors – Uses natural flavors
  • Portable – Easy to pack for lunches or snacks
  • Dairy free options – For people with dairy issues

The sugar free pudding provides a sweet treat with minimal effect on calories, carbs, and blood sugar for the amount consumed. It can be a tasty dessert or snack that fits into many diets like:

  • Low calorie
  • Diabetic and pre-diabetic
  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • Kosher

Just keep in mind that most sugar free puddings provide about 13g carbs per serving, so they may not work for very low carb or ketogenic diets.

Downsides of Jell-O Sugar Free Pudding

Some potential downsides of Jell-O sugar free pudding include:

  • Contains artificial sweeteners – Although FDA approved, some people prefer to avoid
  • Higher in carbs – Not suitable for keto diets under 50g net carbs
  • High in sodium – 270mg per serving is 11% DV
  • High glycemic index – The carb sources cause blood sugar spikes
  • Low fiber – Provides no dietary fiber
  • Contains additives – Like artificial colors which some people avoid
  • May cause bloating or gas – If sensitive to sugar alcohols like sorbitol

While Jell-O pudding doesn’t contain actual sugar, the artificial sweeteners provide sweetness without nutrients. Some may also react negatively to sugar substitutes or prefer more natural options.

Healthier Sugar Free Pudding Alternatives

Some healthier sugar free pudding options include:

Chia Seed Pudding

Chia pudding provides nutrients like fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, and omega-3s. Simply combine chia seeds with milk of choice, sweeteners like stevia, and flavors like cocoa or vanilla. Let sit to thicken.

Avocado Pudding

Blending avocado with milk and spices makes for a creamy, nutritious pudding. It provides heart healthy fats and fiber. Sweeten if desired with honey, dates, or stevia.

Silken Tofu Pudding

Silken tofu blends into a smooth, pudding-like texture. You can blend it with nut milk and spices like cinnamon and vanilla for a high protein vegan pudding.

Cottage Cheese Pudding

Simply blend cottage cheese with nut milk, vanilla extract, and preferred sweetener for a high protein pudding.

Chocolate Mousse

Make sugar free chocolate mousse by blending avocado, cocoa powder, milk, and sweetener. Fluffy and mouse-like, but packed with nutrition.


Plain nonfat Greek yogurt provides an excellent base for sugar free pudding. Stir in peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, or other flavors to taste.

Ingredients to Make Healthy Sugar Free Pudding

Some healthy ingredients to make nutritious sugar free pudding include:

  • Chia seeds – Fiber, protein, omega-3s
  • Avocado – Healthy fats, fiber
  • Banana – Potassium, fiber
  • Silken tofu – Protein
  • Cottage cheese – Protein, calcium
  • Greek yogurt – Protein, calcium
  • Almond milk – Calcium, vitamin E
  • Cocoa powder – Antioxidants
  • Peanut butter – Healthy fats, protein
  • Vanilla extract – Flavor without carbs or calories

You can then sweeten with stevia, honey, dates, or small amounts of maple syrup. This provides natural sugar free pudding full of nutrition.

Tips for Making Sugar Free Pudding

Here are some tips for making healthy sugar free pudding:

  • Start with thick, creamy ingredients like Greek yogurt, avocado, or banana as the base
  • Add nut milk for creaminess
  • Flavor with spices like vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
  • Sweeten with stevia, honey, dates, or small amounts of maple syrup
  • Refrigerate pudding for at least 2 hours to allow it to fully set
  • Top with nuts, shredded coconut, cacao nibs, chia seeds, or fruit
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for 3-5 days
  • Enjoy as a snack, dessert, or breakfast

The possibilities are endless for ingredient combinations to make delicious and nutritious sugar free puddings at home.

Sugar Free Pudding Recipes

Here are some healthy sugar free pudding recipes to try:

Chia Seed Pudding


  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp honey or maple syrup, optional


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or mason jar
  2. Refrigerate for 2+ hours until thickened
  3. Top with fresh fruit

Coconut Avocado Pudding


  • 1 avocado, ripe
  • 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Scoop avocado flesh into blender
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  3. Chill pudding in fridge at least 2 hours
  4. Top with shredded coconut if desired

Banana Protein Pudding


  • 2 medium bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Blend all ingredients until thick and creamy
  2. Top with granola or nuts


To answer the original question – is Jell-O sugar free pudding really sugar free? The answer is yes, it does not contain any actual sugar. However, it does rely on artificial sweeteners for flavor.

Jell-O sugar free pudding can be a good occasional treat for people limiting sugar, calories, or carbs. But for everyday health, natural sugar free puddings made from whole foods are best. There are endless options to combine ingredients like chia seeds, yogurt, avocado, cottage cheese, nut milks, spices, and natural sweeteners.

Whipping up sugar free pudding at home takes just a few minutes and allows you to control the quality of ingredients. Store-bought pudding might be more convenient, but making your own lets you create nutritious desserts and snacks tailored to your dietary needs.

Leave a Comment