The world has had a paradigm shift towards health awareness. With obesity prevailing in the younger generation, healthy alternatives to sugar and other carbohydrates are spiking in their popularity. Allulose is one such healthy alternative. It is said to have the taste and texture of regular table sugar with a reduction in calorie content.
Many early studies suggest that it may have health benefits. However, there may be health and safety concerns to look into before making allulose an integral part of your diet. To help you learn everything there is to know about allulose, we have poured our research into this article. Read on to find what allulose is, its health benefits and safety concerns, and how it compares to other sugar alternatives.
Another great discovery for health freaks is blue ternate tea and how to make hibiscus tea. Do read up on those!
What is Allulose?
Allulose is a monosaccharide sugar which is also called D-psicose. It is known as ‘rare sugar’ because it is scarce in nature. Wheat, figs, and raisins contain it. Monosaccharide sugars, like allulose, are all simple sugars that taste sweet and are soluble in water. On the other hand, table sugar is a disaccharide, which means that two monosaccharides join chemically to form it. It is also known as d-allulose, psicose, and pseudo-fructose.
Allulose highly resembles fructose, another monosaccharide. The formula for both sugars is identical, the only difference occurring in the arrangement of atoms. It has about 70% the sweetness of regular sugar. Surprisingly, it contains about 0.4 calories per gram, opposed to 4 calories per gram of table sugar. Moreover, the body does not metabolize allulose and hence, is virtually calorie-free. 70-84% allulose does enter the bloodstream from the intestines on digestion. Moreover, nearly all of this is removed from the body through urine.
Health benefits of Allulose
What makes allulose a desirable choice is that recent studies have shown numerous health benefits associated with its use. Below we have listed some of the reasons why you should incorporate it into your diet
Helps Control Blood Sugar levels
Everyone with diabetes, listen up! Allulose may be your best friend in controlling blood sugar levels. Just because one fears rising blood sugar levels does not mean you have to give up on sweet foods completely. Recent research using animals has shown that allulose may lower blood sugar levels, heighten insulin sensitivity in the cells, and protects against type 2 diabetes. It does the last one by protecting beta cells in the pancreas, responsible for insulin production.
A study used obese rats and treated them with either allulose, water, or glucose. Surprisingly, the rats using allulose performed even better than those using plain water! They had improved blood glucose levels, beta cells working, and minimal belly fat gain. Such researches pave the way to believe that it may be beneficial for blood sugar control in humans.
A second study showed the results of allulose when incorporated in the diet with other sugars. Twenty healthy young adults were given 5-7.5 mg of allulose with 75mg of another sugar. Another group was given that sugar alone. The results were promising! The adults that took allulose had significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels. This all points towards it being very beneficial for diabetics
Another study researched the effects of allulose when taken with a meal both on healthy and prediabetic adults. Their blood sugar was checked every 30 minutes for the next 120 minutes. The people having consumed allulose had significantly lower blood sugar levels, both in prediabetic and healthy adults.
Although the data is not conclusive yet, the benefits of allulose for diabetes and controlling blood sugar levels are promising. Still, more research is needed to make big claims. Despite this, if you want to control your blood sugar levels, giving allulose a try is worth a shot! Do discuss it with your doctor beforehand, though.
Helps Weight Loss
Allulose is thought to help weight loss significantly. It does so in numerous ways. It generally has a low caloric content, due to which calorie consumption is reduced, especially from foods like desserts and beverages with high sugar content. Secondly, it is found to improve metabolism. What is far more important than its other impacts is its reduction of fat. It is known to reduce belly fat the most. This fat is associated with health problems and heart diseases.
The proof of these claims is usually through researches done with animals, primarily rats. In one study, obese rats were fed diets containing allulose, Erythritol, or sucrose. Despite both allulose and Erythritol not being metabolized and giving no caloric amount, allulose-fed rats showed far more benefits. They gained less overall fat and especially that around the bell.
Another research incorporated 5% cellulose or allulose into high sugar diets of some rats. The rats given allulose burned significantly more calories than the ones given cellulose. Moreover, they had a lower overall fat gain.
Despite these studies, we can’t entirely be sure of allulose and its effects on humans. This is because much more research on humans is required before we can say anything for certain. Despite this, the lowered blood sugar and insulin levels and fat-reductive properties make us hopeful about allulose’s positive impacts on weight loss.
Hibiscus Tea also helps with weight loss. Find out How to make Hibiscus Tea
Reduces Fat Storage in the Liver
We have already discussed that allulose reduces the overall fat content in the body. How it does so isn’t entirely clear. But one thing for sure, it not only helps reduce belly fat, but it also reduces fat content in the liver and prevents fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver, also known as Hepatic steatosis, is a common condition caused by too much fat accumulating on the liver. Having some fat on your liver is normal. It is considered a disease when the fat becomes 5 to 10% of the liver’s weight. This disease may cause inflammation, damage your liver, or in severe scenarios, lead to liver failure. This disease is prevalent among people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
In one research, rats were fed either allulose, glucose, fructose, or no sugar. One would naturally expect the rats taking no sugar to be the healthiest. To our surprise, liver fat in mice given allulose decreased by 38% compared to those given no sugar. The group given allulose also experienced a significant reduction in the weight gain anticipated and had lower blood sugar levels.
This natural sweetener hence seems promising when it comes to loss of fat. However, one may wonder about its effect on the loss of muscle. The good news is that allulose not only reduces fat but prevents muscle loss. In a study that lasted 15 weeks, severely obese mice were given allulose. They not only showed reduced belly and liver fat, but their muscle mass remained intact. These results on rats provide firm hopes. However, no studies on humans have yet been carried out to prove our speculations for good.
How safe is allulose?
Allulose appears to be s utterly safe alternative for sugar. It has been approved by the FDA in the list of foods generally considered safe. Despite this, it is not allowed to be sold in Europe yet.
We have quite some evidence to prove that it is safe and non-toxic. In numerous studies in rats that ranged in duration from 3 to 18 months, no rats showed any health complications or toxicity related to it. In one particular study, rats were fed allulose for 18 months and monitored. The rats did not show any health issues. Some slight health problems were common in the rats fed allulose and the control group who were not. This indicated that allulose is not to blame. This study is also promising because it gave a massive dose to these rats, 0.5 grams per pound. This is almost like giving one-third of a cup to a human weighing 150 pounds.
Some human studies were also conducted. The humans were administered a regular dose of about 1 to 3 teaspoons a day. These adults also faced no health issues or signs of toxicity. It is hence considered safe and is unlikely to cause any significant side effects. However, individual allergies are always a possibility to consider, which does not have conclusive data yet. Moreover, according to the FDA, some people may experience abdominal discomfort and cramps when allulose is consumed in large quantities. But, this is non-toxic and only temporary.
Who should use Allulose?
Allulose appears to be highly beneficial for the human body. It provides a taste and texture like sugar without the risk of gaining weight. The FDA has approved allulose, and studies on rats and some humans suggest that it is safe when consumed in moderation.
However, no extensive human studies have been performed to eliminate all risks associated with it. Moreover, it is more expensive and scarcely available as compared to other sweeteners. Allulose can be consumed in moderation by everyone. But, its permanent use should be delayed until human studies are published that confirm its complete safety.
How to use Allulose?
Cellulose is only about 70% as sweet as sugar. It has a texture very similar to sugar and is soluble in water, too. You may need to add a much more significant amount of allulose to achieve the same level of sweetness. The FDA has approved the usage in the following:
- some confectionery products, such as rolls, cakes, and brownies
- alcohol-free drinks
- frozen dairy products (ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, etc.)
- yogurt (both regular and frozen)
- salad dressings
- jams and jellies
- medical products
Allulose vs. Alternative Sweeteners
Allulose Vs. Erythritol
Allulose and Erythritol are perhaps the most popular sweeteners on the market. They are both keto-friendly, do not raise blood sugar, have almost no calories, and are natural. Both of them are also nearly identical in taste and do not have an aftertaste. They are also granulated and have many of the same physical properties as table sugar, aiding ease of usage.
Despite their similarities, they have some fundamental differences as well. Allulose is a monosaccharide similar to fructose, while Erythritol is a sugar alcohol which means that its molecule is somewhere between a sugar molecule and an alcohol molecule. Both of these molecules are not metabolized by the body for energy
Advantages of Erythritol
- Allulose usually resists fermentation by the bacteria present in the intestines, which prevent gas and bloating. On the other hand, Erythritol completely resists this fermentation and does not cause even a little gas.
- Erythritol is known for its benefits for the teeth.
- A teaspoon of allulose contains two calories, while that of Erythritol contains one calorie.
Advantages of Allulose
- Allulose is known to prevent inflammation and help with fat burning wile
- Allulose may have more health benefits (more research needed)
- It causes more fat reduction in the belly
Both the sweeteners have their own merits and are excellent choices. Which one to use comes down to personal preferences. You should definitely try both and see which one you prefer!
Allulose Vs. Stevia
Stevia is another very popular natural sweetener. It is extracted from the leaves of a South American plant called stevia rebaudiana. These sweeteners do not cause a rise in blood sugar and are known to help people with diabetes. They also have anti-inflammatory properties despite both allulose and Stevia being natural sweeteners. Their fundamental differences may make people prefer one over the other. See for yourself:
Advantages of Stevia:
- Stevia is almost 300 times sweeter than regular sugar, while allulose is only 0.7 times as sweet. you will have to use a much lower amount of Stevia than allulose
- Stevia has 0 calories and 0 carbohydrates, while allulose has two calories per teaspoon and 4g of carbohydrates (which do not get metabolized)
- More research has been made for stevia tan allulose, proving it to be safer.
Advantages of Allulose:
- It tastes much more like sugar than Stevia.
- It has a better digestibility than Stevia. Many people tolerate Stevia well, but some may develop diarrhea.
- Stevia has a metallic and bitter aftertaste, while allulose has no aftertaste.
- Stevia is usually combined with other sweeteners, which may have calories, to reduce its sweetness, while allulose is usually pure.
Allulose vs. Monk fruit
Monk fruit is a natural sweetener that is derived from the vines of a southeast Asian plant, siraitia Grosvenor. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine and also as a low-calorie sugar alternative. It is derived from the pulp and juice of the fruit. Although the juice naturally does contain fructose and glucose, processing removes them and creates a concentrated dry powder. Both monk fruit and allulose do not elevate blood sugar levels and are great for people with diabetes. Moreover, both of these are easily digested on their own
Advantages of Monk fruit over Allulose:
- Monk fruit is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so a lesser quantity of it is required.
- It has a fruity taste which some people may prefer over allulose’s taste.
- Monk fruit has 0 calories and 0 sugars, while allulose contains a small amount.
- This sweetener has been found to increase HDL, which is the good cholesterol in the body.
Advantages of Allulose over Monk fruit:
- It aftertaste while allulose has none.
- Allulose is usually used alone, while monk fruit may be added in other sweeteners that have a caloric content to reduce its sweetness.
- The additive sweeteners in monk fruit can cause digestive distress
Allulose vs. Swerve
Swerve is a modification of Erythritol. It has additives to make it match the sweetness of table sugar. Typically, Erythritol is 70% as sweet as sugar. Swerve just has oligosaccharides, prebiotic plant fibers added into it. When compared to Erythritol, swerve is better to use in baking, where a 1:1 ratio to table sugar would help with measurements. The advantages and disadvantages of swerve with allulose are the same as Erythritol.
Allulose vs Sucralose
Sucralose is another popular sweetener. With sucralose, we will just say two words, Skip it!
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener as opposed to allulose, which is natural. Some of its ingredients may cause a spike in blood sugar level. In its purest form, it does not affect blood sugar. It had 0 calories and hence, will not cause weight gain. It is almost 600 times sweeter than regular sugar, making it essential to add other ingredients to neutralize its sweetness.
All of this is acceptable; why we suggest skipping this sweetener is because it has recently been discovered that sucralose molecules may become chemically unstable when heated. When they break down, they release some carcinogens and other toxic compounds. If you want to use sucralose, you won’t want to cook or bake with it.
Allulose, on the other hand, is entirely safe, natural, and a much better option!
Allulose for a Keto diet
Keto diets benefit greatly from allulose. It does not have a glycemic index as this substance is excreted from the body without being metabolized. This ensures that it does not elevate blood sugar levels.
As we have discussed before, allulose lowers blood sugar levels and protects against many diseases. Moreover, it provides fat-burning properties which aid the whole purpose of a diet. It is hence very beneficial on a keto diet. Some of its benefits include:
- It contains only 10% of the calories of regular sugar
- Very close to the taste of regular sugar
- Has fat reducing, blood sugar lowering, and antioxidant properties
- Relatively stable while cooking and baking
The only concern while using allulose is that some more studies are needed to prove its long-term safety when consumed in large amounts conclusively. You can safely use it in moderation. Another thing is that it is expensive when compared to other sweeteners.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is allulose keto?
It is a version of the keto diet where you can consume allulose as a sweetener. The body does not perceive allulose as carbohydrates and does not metabolize it. It will hence not affect your keto diet at all!
Does it have carbs?
It does contain carbohydrates but our body does not perceive its carbs. The body does not digest them and excretes them as-is. Therefore, you don’t have to keep its carbohydrate content in mind
Where does allulose come from?
It is derived from figs, wheat, or raisins. however, it is difficult to extract them from here, so a manmade enzymatic reaction may make it out of fructose
Is it a sugar alcohol
No, it is not sugar alcohol. It is a monosaccharide
Is allulose keto-friendly
Yes, it is 100% keto-friendly because the body does not use its carbohydrates
What is the allulose to sugar ratio?
The allulose to sugar ratio is 7:10. This means that allulose is 0.7 times as sweet as sugar
Is allulose gluten-free
Yes. It is naturally gluten-free
Is it safe for dogs
Research suggests that a single dose of it will not harm your dog except for some digestive distress in some sogs. The effect of long-term usage of allulose on dogs is still unknown. We would suggest you not feed it to your dogs yet.
Is it safe for diabetics?
Absolutely! Not only is it safe, but it is actually beneficial as it may control blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
How to convert allulose to sugar needed?
They have a ratio of 7:10. Just divide the grams of sugar needed with 0.7, and you will get the amount of allulose to substitute.
Allulose is a pretty new sweetener, and we understand why people may be hesitant to use it. Therefore, we listed everything you needed to know about allulose in this article. Whether you are on a keto diet, generally trying to lose weight, diabetic, or health-conscious, allulose may be your best friend!
Recent advances in D-allulose: physiological functionalities, applications, and biological production
Rare sugar D-allulose: Potential role and therapeutic monitoring in maintaining obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus