This makes it an ideal choice for those seeking to maintain a healthy weight as well as for those with diabetes or on a low-carb or keto diet, while still wanting to enjoy the indulgent experience of sugar.
Where does allulose come from?
Allulose was first identified in the leaves of wheat in the 1940s and has since been found in small quantities in certain fruits including figs and raisins, as well as in maple syrup.
Unlike regular sugar (sucrose), it has no impact on blood glucose or insulin levels, making it an ideal alternative for those with, or at risk of, type 2 diabetes. It is also virtually calorie free, with just 10% of the calories of sugar, making it a great tool for weight management.
What makes allulose a great replacement for sugar (sucrose)?
In addition to the fact that it has only a fraction of the calories of sugar and no impact on blood glucose, what makes allulose such a game-changer are all the similarities it has with sugar.
For example, it has a similar taste and sweetness level to sugar: allulose is 70% as sweet, compared with alternative sweeteners that can be up to 600 times as sweet. This makes allulose a more direct replacement for sugar in recipes.
Importantly, it also behaves in a very similar way to sugar in a recipe. Sugar plays many important roles in food and drink besides just adding sweetness and taste. For example, it adds bulk, ensuring the right texture and mouthfeel. It also gives the nice caramel colour we expect from baked goods like cakes and cookies. Allulose can replicate both of these functions, and it also freezes like sugar, all of which makes it a more direct and straightforward replacement for sugar.
What’s the difference between allulose and other low-calorie sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit?
Allulose is unique in that it not only provides a similar sweet taste as sugar but also replicates several of its functionalities. Other types of sweeteners – including “high-intensity” sweeteners such as stevia – can be many times sweeter than sugar. They therefore have to be used in much lower quantities, which in turn means that food and drink manufacturers need to include additional ingredients (e.g. other sweeteners, fibre or texturisers) to build back the bulk and provide the expected colour and texture.
Is allulose safe?
Allulose is a naturally occurring sweetener that is perfectly safe for human consumption.
It is “Generally Recognized As Safe” by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the body responsible for food safety in the US. The relevant authorities in Singapore, the Philippines and several Latin American countries have also approved the ingredient. Its approval is supported by a significant body of safety data and human clinical trials.
Moreover, allulose is free from some of the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption. It is non-cariogenic, i.e. it doesn’t lower the pH in your mouth so doesn’t increase the risk of dental caries. The body absorbs allulose but does not metabolise it, which is why it has a close to zero calorie content and can therefore support weight loss. It also has the benefit of not raising blood glucose or insulin levels.
Why is allulose only available in certain countries?
Allulose only came to market in 2015 and has been approved for use in the US, Singapore, the Philippines and several Latin America countries, including Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. Different countries follow different processes for approving a new food ingredient, so the time it takes to obtain approvals varies. It is expected that the approval process will be completed in other countries over the coming years.
Is allulose suitable for those following a low-carb or keto diet?
Yes. Allulose is low carb and keto-friendly, which is particularly useful since other sweeteners like table sugar, honey and maple syrup are off the menu for those following a low-carb diet. Allulose passes through the body without being metabolised, which means it has very few calories.
In the US, allulose is not counted towards “total sugars” or “added sugars”, in line with FDA guidance.
What kind of products contain allulose?
For all of the above reasons, allulose is becoming increasingly popular as a sweetening ingredient in the US and beyond and we are seeing strong growth in product launches containing allulose. It is being used in particular in snack bars, ice cream and cereals.