If you are looking for a natural and low-calorie alternative to sugar, you may have heard of allulose, a rare sugar that is found in small amounts in fruits like figs and raisins. Allulose is also available as a sweetener that is made from fructose, the sugar found in fruits. But is allulose really good for weight loss? And what are the benefits and risks of using it? Here is what you need to know.
What is Allulose?
Allulose is a monosaccharide, which means it is a single sugar molecule that is similar to fructose. However, unlike fructose, allulose is not absorbed by the body and does not contribute to calories or blood sugar levels. In fact, about 99% of allulose is excreted after it passes through the digestive tract. This makes allulose a low-glycemic sweetener that does not spike insulin or glucose levels.
Allulose is also about 70% as sweet as sugar, so it tastes very similar and has no bitter or chemical aftertaste. It can also caramelize and brown like sugar, making it suitable for baking and cooking. Allulose is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), and is also approved in some other countries like Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and South Korea.
How Can Allulose Help with Weight Loss?
Allulose may have several benefits for weight loss, according to some studies. Here are some of the ways that allulose can help you shed some pounds:
- It reduces calorie intake. Since allulose has no calories, replacing sugar with allulose can help you reduce your calorie intake without sacrificing sweetness. For example, if you use one teaspoon of allulose instead of sugar, you can save 16 calories. If you do this four times a day, you can save 64 calories, which can add up to about 7 pounds of weight loss in a year.
- It increases fat burning. Allulose may also help you burn more fat by increasing the activity of enzymes that break down fat in the body. A study in rats found that allulose increased the expression of genes that regulate fat metabolism and reduced the accumulation of body fat on a high-sugar diet. Another study in humans found that allulose increased fat oxidation by 18.9% compared to a placebo.
- It enhances satiety. Allulose may also help you feel fuller and eat less by stimulating the release of a hormone called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). GLP-1 is a hormone that signals to the brain that you are full and reduces appetite. A study in healthy adults found that allulose increased GLP-1 levels by 76% compared to a placebo, and reduced food intake by 7.5% at a subsequent meal.
What are the Risks of Allulose?
Allulose is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, but it may have some side effects and drawbacks. Here are some of the potential risks of allulose:
- It may cause digestive issues. Allulose may cause some gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort, especially if consumed in large amounts. This is because allulose is not digested and may draw water into the intestines, causing osmotic diarrhea. The FDA recommends limiting the intake of allulose to 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, which is about 60 grams for a 150-pound person.
- It may interact with some medications. Allulose may affect the absorption of some medications, such as antibiotics, antifungals, and anti-diabetic drugs, by altering the pH of the stomach and intestines. If you are taking any medications, consult your doctor before using allulose.
- It may not be widely available or affordable. Allulose is not as widely available as other sweeteners, and it may be more expensive than sugar or other alternatives. Allulose is also not approved in some countries, such as Canada and Europe, where it is considered a novel food that requires more testing and regulation.
Allulose is a natural and low-calorie sweetener that may have some benefits for weight loss, such as reducing calorie intake, increasing fat burning, and enhancing satiety. However, allulose may also have some side effects and drawbacks, such as causing digestive issues, interacting with some medications, and being less available or affordable than other sweeteners. If you want to try allulose, start with small amounts and see how your body reacts. You may also want to consult your doctor before using allulose, especially if you have any medical conditions or take any medications.