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There’s no doubt that sugar is delicious. Especially if you have a sweet tooth, you know how much flavor a little sugar can bring to drinks, desserts, and everyday dishes. But you also likely know that while enjoying sugar in moderation is A-OK, overindulging in the sweet stuff can be damaging.
Thankfully, there are tons of sugar alternatives (aka nonnutritive sweeteners) that offer sweetness without the extra calories or that dreaded sugar crash. While many of us are used to leaning on choices like erythritol, sucralose, and stevia, there’s a new kid on the sugar-alternative block that can be a game changer, especially if your palette or stomach isn’t a fan of the old standbys that have been available for years. Here’s what you need to know about allulose.
What Is Allulose, and How Is It Made?
If you’ve eaten a no-added-sugar protein bar or cereal recently, you may have already tried allulose. Many food manufacturers have started using it in their recipes because of its similarity in taste and mouthfeel to table sugar. So what is this allulose that’s popping up on grocery shelves?
Allulose is a rare sugar, or a sugar that is naturally found in foods like raisins, figs, and corn. To produce allulose commercially, manufacturers break down the sugar through a series of enzymatic processes, resulting in a change in the structure of the rare sugar. This change doesn’t affect the sweet taste it offers, but it does change the way it’s digested in the body. More specifically, the resulting sugar is not recognized by the body as sugar, and is therefore not absorbed. This means that it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar.
One of the reasons allulose is so unique is because it has the same chemical structure as table sugar, unlike many other alternatives that are not derived from a real sugar source. Because it is chemically so similar to sugar, allulose works extremely well as a sugar replacement in many baking recipes.
And when it comes to calories, allulose only contains 0.4 calories per gram — much less than the four calories per gram found in table sugar. Because of this, allulose is not considered an “added sugar” when included in recipes and dishes.
Does Allulose Have Any Side Effects?
While some nonnutritive sweeteners can cause some stomach discomfort — if you’ve ever experienced this, you know what I am talking about — research suggests that around 30 grams of allulose is well-tolerated. Meaning, in moderation, you won’t have to worry about allulose causing symptoms like diarrhea or bloating.
How to Use Allulose as a Substitute For Sugar
If you want to hop on the allulose train to get that satisfying sweet taste without the added calories or effects on your blood sugar, it’s as simple as making a 1:1 swap in your favorite recipes. Allulose is 70 percent as sweet as sugar, so depending on how sweet you want your recipe to be, you can swap up to 1 1/3 cup of allulose for 1 cup of sugar for more of that sweet flavor. Allulose will brown the same way table sugar does, so you don’t need to worry about modifying the temperature or baking time. If you’re not much of a baker, allulose can also be added to coffee, tea, and basically any food or drink that might otherwise use table sugar.
Where to Buy Allulose
You can easily snag a bag of allulose at your local grocery store or on Amazon Prime — try Splenda Allulose ($6, originally $10) — and keep it on hand for a healthy substitute anytime.