By: Carolyn Reynaud, MS, RD, LD
What is Allulose?
Worldwide obesity has been climbing at an alarming rate, creating a need to develop a strategy to turn this trend around. One issue of concern that has stood out in recent years is the excessive intake of sugar by consumers. From a dietician’s perspective, it can be tricky to promote amongst clients a reduction in calorie intake while complimenting personal food preferences.
One solution, allulose (also called psicose), is a low calorie sugar that is very similar to actual sugar in taste, texture and utility. It’s a rare sugar found in small quantities in wheat and certain fruits (like jack fruit, figs, raisins) and also found to occur naturally in sweetened foods like maple syrup and brown sugar. It is a monosaccharide that, while absorbed into the small intestine, is not metabolized, making it virtually negligible in calories. Allulose is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA.
Allulose is a Versatile Sweetener
A major benefit of allulose is that, because it performs like sugar, there are very few limitations on what foods and beverages in which it can be used. In baking, it provides browning similar to full calorie sugar. It is easily distributed in batter and dough without the need to mix in water first. Allulose’s freezing point depression allows it to be used in ice cream and other frozen products.
The Taste of Allulose Is Similar to Sugar
Sweeteners, while all providing the taste of sweetness, all have a different palatability. Choice of sweetener often comes down to taste preference of the consumer. One of the most prominent selling points of allulose is that it provides a taste and texture similar to sugar.
The Impact of Allulose on Glycemic Index
Studies conducted on allulose have found that there is no impact on blood glucose. When tested as a single ingredient, it was found to be non-glycemic. Furthermore, when tested with other carbohydrate foods within a meal, it was actually found to suppress their glycemic response. This has the potential to have major implications for improving the palpability of diabetic foods and oral medications with a focus on blood sugar management.
Allulose and Gastrointestinal Tolerance
Research has found that allulose does not generally cause gastrointestinal issues. It may also be more appealing for consumers to look for reduced-sugar candies made with allulose if they are concerned about possible gastrointestinal side effects.
Allulose Occurs Naturally
We are certainly seeing a demand for more natural foods among consumers. As mentioned earlier, we do find that allulose occurs naturally in small amounts in certain foods and fruits. Allulose, a sugar, will be accounted for in sugar and carbohydrates on the food label.
The landscape of nutrition is continually changing and is driven by new research and consumer demand. Allulose shows a lot of potential as a tool to for consumers to reduce excess calories and sugar in sweetened food and beverages. This product addresses many of the concerns and shortfalls in other sweetener alternatives. It will be interesting to see the impact as we see its use grow in different foods and beverages.
Carolyn Reynaud, MS, RD, LD is a licensed registered dietitian and a paid contributor to Allulose.org. She received her BS in nutrition from Michigan State University and her Masters and Certificate in Public Health from Georgia State University. She has experience working in several avenues of health care including corporate wellness, clinical disease management, research, and health promotion. She has been working as a health coach specialist for close to 6 years, where she counsels patients on preventative healthcare and helps them meet their health goals. Follow her on Twitter @ReynaudCari.