Think of all the kinds of sugar: white for cakes, brown for cookies, powdered for frosting, turbinado for single-origin pour-over coffee, simple syrup for brandy old-fashioned cocktails. Despite these different forms and uses, chemically speaking, they’re all the same, made of a molecule called sucrose. Sucrose and its even simpler component parts, fructose and glucose, are packed with energy—but also calories. The ubiquity of sugar is a growing problem for global public health, as obesity has reached epidemic levels in some parts of the world.
…But it is for real. It’s called allulose, and it has the potential to be the best sugar substitute since Splenda, possibly even better. And, backed by a body of scientific evidence showing its safety in animal and human testing, it could soon show up on supermarket shelves in the U.S. It’s poised to succeed where so many other substances like it have come up short.
Allulose couldn’t come to the table at a better time. Sugar, it turns out, is sinister. While it tastes great in the moment, there’s a growing pile of studies showing that it’s making the U.S. overweight and sick. “There’s no question it contributes to the obesity problem in America,” says Kelly Brownell, a food policy expert at Duke University. “It also is a logical place to intervene when one wants to improve the American diet.”