Food companies have recently taken advantage of the growing popularity of the keto diet by creating innovative, keto-friendly foods and snacks.
To make these items keto-friendly, many manufacturers use a sugar substitute called allulose.
However, you may be wondering if allulose can help you maintain ketosis, the process by which your body burns primarily fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates. You may also want to know if it is safe.
This article takes a closer look at allulose to see if it is really keto friendly.
Allulose is a type of sweetener found naturally in some fruits.
Allulose is commonly known as “rare sugar” because it is naturally present in small amounts in just a few foods, such as jackfruit, figs, and raisins.
It shares the same chemical formula as fructose, a simple sugar, but its molecules are arranged differently. As such, your body metabolizes allulose differently from fructose and other sugars.
Instead of being absorbed and metabolized like other sugars, it causes an increase in blood sugar and provides energy (calories), passes through the body and is eventually excreted in the urine and feces.
Gram per gram, allulose contains about 90% fewer calories than sucrose, or table sugar, and is about 70% as sweet.
These qualities make allulose an excellent low-calorie alternative to sugar.
Its sweetness level and calorie content (0.2-0.4 calories per gram) are similar to many sugar alcohols, including erythritol, sorbitol, and mannitol.
Today, most allulose is mass-produced by an enzymatic process to convert fructose from corn, beets, and other vegetables into allulose.
Allulose, a sugar found naturally in just a few foods, contains only a fraction of the calories in sugar, but is almost as sweet.
Because allulose passes through the body largely unmetabolized, it does not increase blood sugar or insulin levels.
In fact, allulose has been shown to moderately improve the regulation of blood sugar and insulin in people with and without diabetes.
As such, it is perfectly suitable for the keto diet, as well as for those looking to control diabetes or lose weight. Food manufacturers favor allulose as a sugar substitute for making keto-friendly products ranging from protein bars to frozen dairy desserts and syrups.
You can also buy allulose in bulk. It acts like sugar in many recipes and can be added to beverages such as coffee or tea.
When you replace allulose with sugar, you’ll need about 30% more allulose than the sugar in the recipe. In other words, every 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of sugar should be replaced by 1 1/3 teaspoon (5.5 grams) of allulose.
However, allulose is quite expensive, costing 5 to 7 times more per ounce than sugar.
To reduce costs, many food manufacturers combine allulose with other natural, low-calorie, ketogen-compatible sugar substitutes, such as monk fruit and stevia, as well as artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame.
Because monk fruit and stevia are 100-400 times sweeter than sugar, much less allulose is needed to achieve the desired level of sweetness when these sweeteners are also used.
Allulose does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels, making it a keto-friendly alternative to sugar. It is easy to use in cooking and making food, as it behaves like sugar.
With the safety of sweeteners, both natural and artificial, under constant scrutiny, you may be wondering if allulose has side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers this additive to be safe for use in food.
Human studies have used doses of up to 10 grams of allulose without directly binding it to any negative side effects.
However, one study associated a single dose of 0.23 grams per pound (0.5 grams per kg) of body weight with a daily intake of 0.45 grams per pound (1 gram per kg) of body weight may cause diarrhea, bloating, nausea, headaches, and stomach ache.
To avoid these effects, researchers suggest a maximum single dose of 0.18 grams per pound (0.4 grams per kg) of body weight and a maximum daily intake of 0.41 grams per pound (0.9 grams per kg) of body weight.
For a 150-pound (68 kg) person, this equates to a single maximum dose of 27 grams or a total daily dose of 61 grams, or about 2 and 5 tablespoons, respectively.
Consuming too much allulose can cause stomach pain, diarrhea and bloating, among other uncomfortable side effects.
Allulose is a natural sugar that shares the same molecular formula as fructose.
However, unlike fructose and other sugars, allulose does not increase blood sugar or insulin levels, making it keto-friendly.
Although allulose is generally well tolerated, it can cause stomach problems if consumed in large quantities.