What is Allulose?
By Hailey Crean, MS, RD, CDE, CSOWM
In my practice, I encourage an all-foods-fit approach to nutrition and that includes sugar. And yes, even when managing diabetes. But, while some sugar fits, studies show most of us are eating way too much of it. In fact, the CDC estimates that between 2005 -2010 US adults were consuming as much s 15% of their total daily calories from added sugars(1). According to recommendations from Healthy People 2020 this should be under 10%. Studies show excess sugar consumption can lead to undesirable increases in lipid profile, excess weight gain, fatty liver, and limit intake of essential nutrients (4,7,8).
There is a growing list of options available to reduce sugar intake with one of the newest being Allulose. Allulose, also know as D-psicose, is a sweetener gaining in popularity for its unique effects against hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia. Allulose is a monosaccharide and has a similar sweetness to table sugar or sucrose (about 70% as sweet) with only 0.4 calories per gram (6). Classified as a rare sugar, it is found in nature but only in very small quantities in foods including raisins, figs, wheat, brown sugar, and maple syrup (5).
What are the Health Benefits?
In addition to providing sweetness with only a fraction of the calories, studies in rats using allulose have shown improvements in obesity-induced fatty liver and hyperglycemia without additional exercise or diet restriction (2).
Another study on blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes examined the effect of allulose versus fructose when added to a glucose solution. The researchers then measured postprandial blood sugar rise and found “modest reductions” in blood sugar response in the allulose group, that was not seen in the fructose group (3). This suggests that Allulose may suppress the glycemic response of other sweeteners, in addition to having not impacting blood sugars itself.
Is Allulose Safe?
In terms of safety, Allulose is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. Due to their conclusions on how Allulose is processed in the body, the FDA is also in the process of ruling that it be removed from the total and added sugar counts on the Nutrition Facts label.
Should I Switch to Allulose?
This “rare” sweetener may have benefits on lipid profile and glycemic response in addition to being nearly calorie-free. While I would still recommend use in moderation (as with all sweeteners) it may provide an alternative option for improved blood sugar control and a bit of sweet!
1) Ervin RB, Ogden CL. Consumption of added sugars among U.S. adults, 2005-2010. Nchs Data Brief. 2013 May(122):1-8.
2) Itoh, K., Mizuno, S., Hama, S., Oshima, W., Kawamata, M., Hossain, A., Ishihara, Y. and Tokuda, M. (2015), Beneficial Effects of Supplementation of the Rare Sugar “D‐allulose” Against Hepatic Steatosis and Severe Obesity in Lepob/Lepob Mice. Journal of Food Science, 80: H1619-H1626. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.12908
3)Noronha, JC, Braunstein, CR, Glenn, AJ, et al. The effect of small doses of fructose and allulose on postprandial glucose metabolism in type 2 diabetes: A double‐blind, randomized, controlled, acute feeding, equivalence trial. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2018; 20: 2361– 2370. https://doi.org/10.1111/dom.13374
4) Welsh JA, Sharma A, Abramson JL, Vaccarino V, Gillespie C, Vos MB. Caloric Sweetener Consumption and Dyslipidemia Among US Adults. JAMA. 2010;303(15):1490–1497. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2010.449
5)Zhang, W., Yu, S., Zhang, T., et al. Recent advances in d-allulose: Physiological functionalities, applications, and biological production,
Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2016, 54: 27-137, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2016.06.004.
6) H. Kimoto-Nira, N. Moriya, S. Hayakawa, K. Kuramasu, H. Ohmori, S. Yamasaki, M. Ogawa, Effects of rare sugar D-allulose on acid production and probiotic activities of dairy lactic acid bacteria, Journal of Dairy Science,100, 7,2017, 5936-5944,ISSN 0022 0302, https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2016-12214
7) Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, et al. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Weight Gain, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle-Aged Women. JAMA. 2004;292(8):927–934. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.292.8.927
8) Bray, George A., and Barry M. Popkin. “Dietary Sugar and Body Weight: Have We Reached a Crisis in the Epidemic of Obesity and Diabetes?.” Diabetes Care 37.4 (2014): 950-956. Web. 26 Dec. 2019.
Hailey Crean, MS, RD, CDE, CSOWM is the owner of Hailey Crean Nutrition, LLC, a telenutrition practice that specializes in virtual nutrition coaching for diabetes and conditions of metabolic syndrome. This article originally appeared on her blog at www.haileycrean.com.
Revolutionizing Performance Nutrition
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