Allulose: Why You Need to Know About This New Low-Carb Sweetener
If you’ve heard all the buzz about allulose, it turns out this new low-carb sweetener truly does show little to no impact on blood sugar levels.
Allulose, also known as “d-psicose” in the science world, can be derived from a few different fruits or veggies (raisins, figs, and jackfruit), but its primary source is corn.
While it contains about 70% of the sweetness of white sugar, it only brings with it .3% of the calories, according to Mark Sisson.
Tastes Like Sugar but Doesn’t Raise My Blood Sugar?
“Gram for gram, allulose has approximately 90% fewer calories than sucrose,” explains Food Insights.
In fact, it’s not metabolized by your body at all like regular sugar. Instead, Food Insights explains, it’s absorbed into your small intestine and excreted through urine, which is why it doesn’t raise your blood sugar.
(Now, if only pizza and chocolate cake with buttercream frosting worked that way.)
Unlike “all natural” low-carb sweeteners like “sugar alcohols,” allulose doesn’t have that not-so-pleasant side-effect of gas and bloating because 70 percent of it is actually excreted through your urine, according to a study from Japan’s Matsutani Chemical Industry.
They also found that it doesn’t ferment in the gut like sugar alcohols, which is what also contributes to the gas and bloating you get from a box of “sugar-free” Russell Stover chocolates.
Studies on Allulose: Show Me the Proof!
While its nearly zero impact on blood sugar levels is well understood, there are only a handful of controlled studies documenting the impact Allulose has on mice, let alone humans.
Here are a few:
- A double-blind study on allulose in patients with type 2 diabetes showed that “small doses of fructose or allulose did not show a significant effect on plasma glucose.”
- A study from Tate & Lyle showed that allulose does not cause any tooth-decay and thus should not be counted as sugar on nutrition labels.
The FDA is Reviewing How It Should Be Listed on Nutrition Labels
If you look at a product containing allulose, you’ll see that while the product claims to be low-carb, it will have a significant number of “added sugars” in its carbohydrate quantity.
The FDA is reviewing how allulose is listed on nutrition labels because of its unique lack of impact on blood sugar levels:
“And we reviewed allulose, a sugar that is not well metabolized and thus is lower in calories, as a substitute for sugar or fructose, first through the GRAS notification process, and now we are in the midst of reviewing it for the purposes of labeling in light of the new added sugars declaration on the Nutrition Facts label.”
Companies selling products containing allulose want it to be very clear that the grams of “carbohydrate” from allulose should be subtracted from the total carbohydrate count (just like dietary fiber) in order to calculate the “total net carbohydrates” in a product.
It’s Popping Up Everywhere!
Prepare yourself, because over the course of the next few months, you’re going to see everybody talking about their Allulose-sweetened products. A few deliciously-reviewed products that contain less than 5 grams of net carbohydrates, after subtracting allulose and dietary fiber include:
Zeno Bars: This “ultra low-carb bar” contains 2 to 4 grams of net carbs depending on the flavor (almond, cocoa, strawberry) -- and was designed by two people who live with diabetes!*
KNOW Better Cookies: These cookies contain 3 to 6 grams of net carbs depending on the flavor.
- Quest Hero Bars: These bars contain 4 grams of net carbs, but keep in mind that their ingredients are a little more complicated. They do also contain erythritol in addition to allulose, which can bother your stomach a bit.
You can also buy pure allulose for your baking needs or your coffee. But be sure to read the ingredients of any allulose product carefully to be sure you’re aware of other sweeteners or fillers they may have added to it.
*Full disclosure: Ginger has worked as a paid consultant for ZenoBars but was not paid by ZenoBars to write this article.