Ask almost anyone and they will say that “sugar” is a dirtier word than “fat.” Eating a diet low in sugar has become the new norm, with eating lifestyles such as keto and paleo leading the list of programs that cut sugar completely. While there is nothing magical about artificial sweeteners, their use in the place of sucrose, or table sugar, can help reduce added sugars in the diet, lowering the number of overall calories consumed.
Reducing calories leads to healthier body weight, which lowers the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. But using artificial sweeteners can be controversial, and some people feel that stevia, a natural sweetener, is too bitter. So what is the alternative if you are trying to cut sugar but still crave the sweet stuff?
Introducing allulose, also called by its chemical name, d-psicose! Allulose is the latest and greatest (allegedly) sugar alternative to hit the market. This new sugar is said to look, taste, and feel just like table sugar. Not an artificial sugar, allulose is called a “rare” sugar since it exists naturally in some foods, such as jackfruit, figs, and raisins. It is a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, made up of one molecule.
The interesting fact about allulose is that it is not metabolized by the body. Once digested, it is absorbed into the bloodstream, but not converted for use as energy, meaning it is not converted into glucose. This gives it the added benefit of being nearly calorie-free, and it does not raise glucose or trigger insulin release.
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels require “added sugar” to be listed when it is used as an ingredient, an important distinction for people suffering from food intolerances, such as Sucrose Intolerance caused by Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), or diabetes.
Interestingly enough, the FDA cites data that points to the fact that allulose is different from other sugars. Since it isn’t metabolized by the body, has fewer calories, produces only negligible increases in blood glucose or insulin levels, and does not promote dental decay, the FDA will allow allulose to be excluded from the total and added sugars counts on the new labels when allulose is used as an ingredient. It will still count as a carbohydrate, but not as a sugar.
The required changes on the new nutrition label arm you with important health information, enabling you to make better decisions about the products you buy and whether they are safe and healthy for you to eat. Although this may not be the greatest change for the manufacturer, it may possibly lead to less added sugar in foods.
In addition to the positive health news, allulose is said to be 70% as sweet as table sugar, and mimic the look and texture of it as well. It is also said the lack the bitterness that some of the artificial sugars have. And it’s natural. Additionally, allulose appears to be able to mimic sugar in processed and baked goods, making it a good alternative for commercial use.
As its use gains momentum, you can expect to see allulose as a sugar replacement in ice cream and baked goods. Although more human testing on its safety is on the way, allulose appears to be not only safe to use, but healthy as well. In the meantime, use allulose occasionally and monitor your response to the sweetener. Allulose can be purchased in granulated form online and in some grocery stores.
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