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Allulose: A Sugar Alternative for Keto and More (With Recipes!)

By Fitoru | 04 October 2019
white sugar on a wooden spoon and sugar cubes on the side

Sugar alternatives like sucralose, stevia, and erythritol are vital for some people who want sweetness in their life, but for dietary or health reasons can’t have sugar. Allulose is another sugar substitute stealing the limelight, and we have the details on what makes this sugar sweetener so unique.

What’s So Bad About Refined Sugar?

Many people know that eating too many sugary snacks and food products isn’t good for them, but the extent to which sugar can harm us often comes as a surprise. Not only can refined sugar lead to spikes in our blood sugar levels that can cause type 2 diabetes, but sugar is also addictive, triggering the same addiction centers of the brain that cocaine does. 

Sugar increases the risk factors for metabolic disorders, including obesity and heart disease. It can lead to a deficiency in chromium, a trace mineral that regulates blood sugar levels. Sugar uses also causes tooth decay and can accelerate aging, all health dangers that can be completely avoided by simply removing refined sugar from your diet. 

What Is Allulose?

Allulose is a simple sugar (monosaccharide) that is around 70% as sweet as table sugar but with around 95% fewer calories. It’s a natural yet rare sugar found in small quantities in a few foods like jackfruit, raisins, and figs. As a low-calorie sweetener, it has because a favorite among keto dieters.

Allulose also goes by the names psicose, d-psicose, and d-allulose and is almost the exact same molecule as fructose except that its hydroxyl group (OH) is flipped. The key difference that makes for you is that allulose doesn’t take your blood sugar levels for a roller coaster ride, which is the danger of fructose. In fact, allulose doesn’t behave at all like sugar in your body!

Even so, it does work to sweeten food items like sugar-free maple syrups, ice creams, and candies. Let’s find out how!

Allulose Health Benefits

How Does Allulose Work? Allulose Health Benefits

Allulose is a real sugar, unlike other natural sweeteners like monk fruit, stevia, and erythritol. And yet, it doesn’t have to appear on nutrition facts labels under total added sugars. Why is that? Well, because allulose can sweeten your food without raising your blood sugar. While fructose (fruit sugar) is metabolized in your liver, allulose doesn’t get metabolized at all, which leads to some important health benefits.

1. Blood Sugar Control and Diabetes Management

Multiple studies have found that allulose helps improve insulin sensitivity and safely manage blood sugar levels in both diabetic and non-diabetic users. This 2008 study found that consuming allulose before drinking a sugary beverage helped people maintain lower insulin levels and blood sugar levels.

Another study from 2010 showed that consuming allulose with meals led to lower blood glucose levels in a mixed group of participants (both diabetics and non-diabetics), and researchers concluded that allulose was safe and without adverse side effects. This research has also been confirmed in animal studies, where even more intriguing information was collected: allulose may have protective abilities for the pancreas, the organ that makes insulin. Protecting the pancreas from damage may help slow or prevent diabetes progression, which means allulose may just help save your life.

2. Weight Loss

This low-calorie sugar also lends a hand to weight-loss efforts, particularly for low-carb dieters. 

Ketogenic dieters deny their bodies access to the fast-acting sugars in carbohydrates and instead burn fat for energy from ketones. Not only does allulose help by replacing sugar’s sweet taste, but it also boosts the body’s fat oxidation rate. 

A 2017 study published in the journal Nutrition showed that women and men who consumed 5 grams of allulose before meals had a 10% increase in fat burning compared to the control group, plus lower glucose levels and higher fatty acid levels: a perfect condition for remaining in a state of ketosis. 

Another study found that allulose was able to help prevent further weight gain in overweight participants, reduce their waist sizes, and promote weight loss, and those results have since been replicated in an entirely separate group of people.

As impressive as those results are, that’s not even the last of what allulose can do for weight loss. It also helps reduce appetite! By promoting the release of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), allulose helps improve insulin sensitivity (again) and reduce feelings of hunger. All of these benefits in one substance make allulose a powerful tool in reversing and preventing obesity, which, of course, leads to better overall health. 

3. Liver Protection

Another benefit allulose brings is an increase in antioxidant levels, which correlates with lower inflammation as the antioxidants protect against free radical damage. By preventing liver inflammation and reducing the fat buildup in the liver that often accompanies cases of obesity, allulose helps protect your largest vital organ. Moreover, allulose has been shown to reduce fatty storage enzymes and increase the liver’s sensitivity to insulin, all of which leads to better liver health.

Allulose: Safety and Side Effects

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has listed allulose as “generally recognized as safe” as a food ingredient, though in Europe it is not yet permitted for use in foods. Allulose is a natural alternative sweetener that is nearly identical in texture and taste to table sugar, and therefore it manages to avoid some of the side effects associated with artificial sweeteners like Splenda (d-glucose and maltodextrin), such as bloating, intestinal discomfort, and sometimes a mild laxative effect. 

Allulose isn’t metabolized, remember? That means it resists fermentation in your digestive tract and is unlikely to cause uncomfortable gas like other types of sugar alternatives. It can still cause diarrhea, but only in large doses of about 27 grams in one sitting for a person who weighs about 150 pounds (to calculate your own limit, it’s 0.4 grams of allulose for every kilogram of body weight).

Study after study has shown that allulose both improves health and causes no harm when consumed as directed. When starting any new food or diet, just be sure to listen to your body—if you don’t feel well, try a smaller dose of allulose, or choose from one of the many other natural sugar substitutes on the market.

Allulose Keto Recipes

Allulose is keto friendly and so difficult to absorb during digestion that it’s almost calorie neutral. That means that a world of sweets is open to you even on a low-carb, low-sugar diet: it’s like walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and knowing you can eat anything without damaging your health! Here are five quick dessert recipes you may want to try.

Allulose Keto Recipes
  • Extra Fluffy Marshmallows: Paleo, keto, and gluten-free, this recipe from Paola at Gnom-Gnom combines grass-fed gelatin and vanilla extract to give you springy, pillowy marshmallows.
  • Keto CheesecakeThe Simplicity of Wellness has a cheesecake recipe made with full-fat ricotta cheese, allulose sweetener, and arrowroot powder to prevent caking. We also have a keto cheesecake option with our Vanilla Cheesecake Fat Bombs in case you’re low on healthy fat macros (or just love cheesecake very much).
  • Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup: From the blog All Day I Dream About Food, this combo of allulose, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract has you eating chocolate syrup on your ice cream again and enjoying chocolate milk in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Keto Caramel Pudding with Toasted Coconut: Combining allulose and stevia with butter, heavy cream, milk, and gelatin, this rich recipe from Jennifer at The Fit Fork is a perfect sweet treat.
  • Keto Snickerdoodles: If you want a keto cookie to dunk in your pudding, look no further than this snickerdoodle recipe from A Sweet Potato Pie made with cinnamon and coconut flour.

All for Allulose

With so many natural sugar alternatives on the market, you don’t need to miss regular sugar on keto. In fact, once you quit sugar and become accustomed to eating non-refined sweets, you may find that regular sugar starts to burn your tongue whenever you come across it unexpectedly. Good for your health, your waistline, and your vital organs, allulose may be the only sugar you need from now on.

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