Mya Care Blogger 27 Dec 2023

Since it is produced so extensively, sugar is one of the substances that is popularly consumed worldwide. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the most devastating ingredients from a health perspective. Natural sugars are hardly ever found in a concentrated or pure form without other compounds that regulate their effects. Excess sugar intake can contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay, among other problems. Many people are searching for sugar substitutes that can satiate their sweet cravings without endangering their health.

One of the latest and most promising sugar substitutes to join the market is allulose. Allulose is a natural low-calorie sweetener that tastes and behaves like sugar while sporting a minimal impact on blood glucose and insulin levels. In this blog post, we will explore what allulose is, how it is made, what its benefits and risks are, and how it compares to other popular sugar substitutes.

What is Allulose?

Allulose is a rare sugar that naturally occurs in some fruits, such as figs, raisins, jackfruit, and kiwi. Also known as D-psicose, it has the same chemical formula as fructose but has a slightly different structure. This difference makes allulose unable to be metabolized by the body, so it passes through the digestive system without being absorbed or used as fuel.

With only 10% of the calories of table sugar, allulose is around 70% sweeter.[1]. One gram of allulose provides about 0.4 calories, compared to 4 calories in one gram of sugar.[2] Allulose also has a glycemic index of zero, meaning it does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels. This makes it a great option for people with diabetes, prediabetes, or metabolic syndrome, as well as those who follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

Allulose is not an artificial sweetener like sucralose or aspartame, nor is it a sugar alcohol like erythritol or xylitol. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized this natural sugar for use as a food additive. Since then, allulose has been used in various products, such as baked goods, beverages, dairy, ice cream, and candy.

What is Allulose Made From, and How is it Made?

Allulose is found in very small amounts in nature, so it is not feasible to extract it from fruits or plants. Instead, most of the allulose available in the market is produced by enzymatic conversion of fructose, which is derived from corn starch. The process involves using enzymes to change the molecular structure of fructose, resulting in allulose.

Allulose has been approved by the FDA as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), which indicates that consumption of the amount found in food products is safe. However, the FDA also requires that allulose be labeled as sugar and included in the total and added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label. This is because allulose is chemically a sugar, even though it does not behave like one in the body. The FDA also allows manufacturers to state the calories from allulose separately on the label to avoid confusion.

What Are the Benefits of Allulose?

Allulose has several potential benefits for health and wellness, such as:

  • Weight Loss: Allulose can help reduce the total calorie intake and support weight management, as it provides almost no calories compared to sugar. In a 12-week study, obese Korean individuals supplemented either 4g or 7g allulose twice a day, experiencing great reductions in total weight and subcutaneous fat (under the skin).[3]
  • Low-glycemic: Allulose can help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels and prevent spikes and crashes that can affect energy, mood, and appetite. This has been proven in both diabetics and in healthy people. It also appears to enhance fatty acid metabolism.[4]
  • Anti-inflammatory: Allulose may possess anti-inflammatory qualities, as it lowers oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, both of which are connected to chronic illnesses.
  • Prebiotic: Allulose may act as a prebiotic and feed some of the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can improve digestion, immunity, and overall health.[5] However, some sources explain that a large amount of allulose is still excreted largely untouched by gut bacteria, which may cause indigestion in sensitive individuals.
  • Dental: Allulose does not promote tooth decay, unlike sugar, and may even inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Is Allulose Ketogenic or Keto-Friendly?

Yes, allulose is keto-friendly as it does not promote glucose metabolism and merely imparts sweetness to foods and beverages. It may even enhance the way in which fats are handled by the liver. Some research is beginning to show that allulose prevents the liver from storing excess dietary fats while lowering oxidation associated with fat burning.

Is Allulose Good for Diabetics?

So far, allulose is known to be safe and even beneficial for diabetics. Studies have shown that diabetics using 8.5g allulose per serving benefited immensely from its blood glucose lowering effects, especially when this was included in a meal. This benefit may be pronounced after consuming 5g or more, with a consumption of up to 27g per day having proven safe (0.5g per kg body weight).[6]

Is Allulose Safe? Allulose Dangers and Side Effects

Allulose is generally considered safe and well-tolerated by the FDA, yet there are some possible risks and side effects to be aware of, such as:

  • Digestive Complaints: Allulose can cause digestive discomfort, such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, or nausea, especially if consumed in large amounts or by sensitive individuals. This is because allulose is not absorbed by the body and is not fermented by many types of gut bacteria. To avoid or minimize these symptoms, it is recommended to start with small doses of allulose and gradually increase the intake as tolerated.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allulose can cause allergic reactions in some people, especially those who are allergic to corn or other sources of fructose. Symptoms may include hives, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these signs, stop using allulose and seek medical attention immediately.

More research is required to confirm the long-term safety of allulose, which is one reason that its approval for use in Europe is anticipated to happen in 2024.

Some studies have already suggested some potential issues from using allulose similar to those seen for other sugar substitutes, including being a viable food source for pathogenic bacteria Klebsiella pneumonia[7]. With more time and research, all the risks of using allulose will become clear. However, as of now, there is far more research denoting its protective health benefits.

Is Allulose Safe During Pregnancy?

There are no current studies available that have assessed the safety of allulose in pregnancy. In pregnant rat studies, consuming exceedingly high amounts of allulose (5g per kg body weight) did not lead to complications or deformities in the offspring[8]. However, it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers avoid anything that has not yet been extensively tested in humans.

How Allulose Compares to Other Sugar Substitutes

There are many other sugar substitutes available on the market, with each one ranking 0 on the glycemic index and having next to no calories, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a brief comparison of allulose with some of the most common sugar substitutes, giving their advantages and disadvantages:

Allulose vs Stevia

A natural sweetener called stevia is made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is considered safe and beneficial for health, as it may lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation.

However, some people may not like the taste of stevia, as it can have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste. There have also been recent concerns about stevia in terms of microbiome disturbance and possible reproductive issues, as seen in animals that ingest unnaturally large quantities. Stevia may also not work well in some recipes, as it does not provide bulk, texture, or browning like sugar or allulose.

Allulose vs Erythritol

Some fruits and fermented foods naturally contain erythritol, a sugar alcohol. It is about 60-80% as sweet as sugar. It is thought to be safe and healthy since it has no impact on blood sugar levels or insulin and may prevent tooth decay and plaque formation.

Certain individuals may encounter digestive problems, like gas, bloating, or diarrhea, particularly when ingesting excessive quantities of erythritol. Erythritol may also have a cooling effect in the mouth, which can be unpleasant depending on who consumes it. As it does not brown or caramelize like sugar or allulose, erythritol may not be suitable for some baking applications.

Allulose vs Monk fruit

Native to Southeast Asia, monk fruit is a naturally occurring sweetener made from the fruit of the monk fruit plant. It is 100-250 times sweeter than sugar. Monk fruit is considered safe and beneficial for health, as it contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and may reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

The fruity or caramel-like flavor may not be palatable to some. Monk fruit may also be expensive and hard to find, as it is not widely cultivated or available. It does not provide bulk, texture, or browning like sugar or allulose, so it may not work well in some recipes.

Allulose vs Sucralose

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is made by modifying the structure of sugar molecules. It is 600 times sweeter than sugar. According to the FDA, sucrose is safe and has no effect on blood sugar levels or insulin.

However, some studies have raised concerns about the potential health risks of sucralose, such as altering the gut microbiome[9] and increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes. Sucralose may also have a bitter or metallic aftertaste and may not be suitable for high-temperature cooking or baking, as it can degrade and form harmful compounds.

Allulose vs Xylitol

Some fruits and vegetables naturally contain the sugar alcohol xylitol. It is as sweet as sugar, has about 2.4 calories per gram, and registers 7 on the glycemic index. Xylitol is considered safe and beneficial for health since it has no effect on insulin or blood sugar levels and may prevent tooth decay and ear infections.

It may promote digestive issues in some people, such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea, especially when consumed in large amounts. It may also raise blood glucose levels in some and could negatively affect the gut microbiome.[10] Xylitol is also toxic to dogs, so it should be kept away from pets. It does not brown or caramelize like sugar or allulose, so it may not be ideal for use in all baked goods.

Allulose vs Aspartame

Two amino acids, aspartic acid, and phenylalanine, are combined to create aspartame, an artificial sweetener. It has 200 times the sweetness of sugar. According to the FDA, aspartame is harmless and has no effect on insulin or blood sugar levels.

Despite its safety status, plenty of studies over the years have suggested that aspartame may have detrimental effects on health, such as causing headaches, mood disorders, weight gain, and cancer[11]. Aspartame may also have a bitter or chemical aftertaste and may not be suitable for high-temperature cooking or baking, as it can lose its sweetness and form harmful compounds.

How Allulose Compares

So far, allulose is looking like one of the better sugar substitutes due to its high palatability and similarity to sugar in cooking applications. Many of the negative health effects associated with other sweeteners do not apply to allulose, and the list of benefits is either greater or comparable to the healthier sugar alternatives.

Tips for How to Use Allulose in the Diet and in Baking

Allulose is a versatile sugar substitute that can be used in various ways, such as:

  • Use allulose to make drinks sweet, like coffee, tea, smoothies, or lemonade.
  • Sprinkle allulose on food, like cereal, fruit, yogurt, or oatmeal.
  • Mix allulose with other sweeteners, like stevia or monk fruit, for more flavor and sweetness.
  • Use allulose to bake cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, or bread as you would sugar, in a 1:1 ratio or less, to reach the desired sweetness.
  • Lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and reduce the baking time, checking as needed, as allulose caramelizes faster than sugar and may burn.
  • Allulose may make baked goods more moist, softer, and chewier, so adding more flour, eggs, or baking powder may help.
  • Keep allulose in a cool and dry place.

As part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, allulose can help reduce calorie and sugar intake, as well as support blood sugar and weight management. It is known to be safe for people with diabetes, prediabetes, or metabolic syndrome, as it does not impact insulin or blood sugar levels, and may even protect the pancreas. Allulose can also be consumed by people who follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet, as it does not count as net carbs or affect ketosis.


Allulose is a promising sugar substitute that tastes and behaves like sugar yet has minimal impact on blood glucose and insulin levels. It has several potential benefits for health and wellness, such as lowering inflammation, improving gut health, and preventing tooth decay. Allulose is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, with minimal risks and side effects such as digestive discomfort and allergic reactions. Compared to other sugar substitutes, allulose may be a better choice for some people. It can be used just like sugar can to sweeten beverages, bake cakes, or follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet. However, it is recommended you speak to a healthcare provider before taking allulose as a sugar substitute or if you have any health concerns after switching to allulose.

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