Franchi 2021

Because we reject the use of sucrose, fructose in any form, and synthetic sweeteners aspartame, neotame, saccharine, and sucralose, we turn to natural non- or minimally-caloric sweeteners when the need arises. Perhaps you are hosting a birthday party for children or grandchildren and would like to serve a healthy version of birthday cake or cookies, or you’re hosting a holiday dinner and would like to include a healthy cheesecake or cupcakes for your guests. That’s when we turn to our choices among safe non- or minimally-caloric sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit.

Allulose is among the more recent additions to our list. Interestingly, over the last few years a significant amount of science has been performed examining the effects of this sweetener. Most other sweeteners have lots of experimental animal evidence but lack evidence from human clinical trials. Allulose is an exception with plenty of experimental evidence but also an uncommon amount of human clinical trial evidence that have revealed interesting positive effects. So positive, in fact, that I believe that we should regard allulose as our sweetener of choice.

Allulose occurs naturally in fruit such as figs, watermelon, maple syrup, raisins, and kiwi, although in small amounts. It is therefore manufactured for commercial purposes by starting with a sugar source such as sugar cane or corn. It is then metabolized by microbial enzymes to allulose, then purified. While corn protein residues should be negligible, it would be best to choose organic brands to avoid contamination with glyphosate from genetically-modified corn. Allulose is minimally caloric, providing no more than 0.4 calories per gram or 1/10th the calories of table sugar. Despite being a biochemical relative of fructose, a harmful form of sugar, allulose appears to share none of the metabolic derangements caused by its related sugar.

The several human clinical trials with allulose have documented:

This is a sweetener, not a drug, not a probiotic, that makes the magnitude and consistency of benefit all the more extraordinary. “Doses” used varied but effects are generally experienced with 4-10 grams with meals. No other non- or minimally-caloric sweetener has achieved this broad and substantial range of benefits as documented with allulose.

I was betting that allulose’s effects were primarily mediated via the gut microbiome, but I now believe that microbial metabolism is unlikely to be an important factor, as most ingested allulose is cleared into the urine by the kidneys, unchanged, suggesting little or no processing by gut microbes.

Allulose is also among the least troublesome in taste: without the metallic aftertaste that some people experience with stevia, without the menthol cooling effect of erythritol. Although less sweet than sugar, a good rule-of-thumb is to use allulose 1:1 as sugar, e.g., substitute one tablespoon sugar with one tablespoon of allulose. You can always add more to taste, or add another more concentrated sweetene,r such as your preferred form of stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol. Allulose is available as both powder and liquid.