Allulose: the hottest sweetener on the block?

    A primer on this popular ingredient.

    What is allulose and why is it used?

    There are a ton of “natural” zero-calorie sweeteners available today compared to decades past. Allulose, which is about 70% as sweet as table sugar per gram, may be the fastest-rising in popularity out of all of them.

    That’s probably because allulose tastes and acts more like sugar than other sweeteners do. For example, it caramelizes, has a similar mouthfeel as sugar, and doesn’t have a funky aftertaste.

    As always, though, individual perceptions vary. Many people like the taste of allulose, but others hate it.

    Allulose is technically a “rare sugar”, meaning it’s found in teeny tiny quantities in certain plants. In order to make tons and tons of allulose, scientists first had to find a way to enzymatically convert fructose into it, so it was only made available in the U.S. a few years ago. That’s why you may not have heard much about it until now.

    Wait just a second … is Examine funded by the allulose industry?

    Unless you’re new to Examine, you probably know that we have zero ties to any outside company (including allulose manufacturers). That means no ads, sponsorships, or partnerships. All of our revenue comes from sales of the Examine+ membership.

    That’s why we’re still a relatively tiny company. We don’t accept money or even free samples from any company or organization (and they make us offers pretty frequently!).

    I personally don’t use allulose, because it doesn’t agree with my tummy. Keep reading to see the mechanism behind that.

    How do I count allulose if I’m counting carbs?

    Allulose isn’t truly zero-calorie. It provides about 0.2 to 0.4 calories per gram. That’s different from other sweeteners, like monkfruit extract, which don’t provide any calories. In the grand scheme of things, this many calories shouldn’t matter very much, because hopefully you’re not eating tons of allulose every single day.

    Although allulose doesn’t count toward your net carbs, it’s counted as a carbohydrate on nutrition labels in the U.S. Confusing! So if you’re counting carbs, go by the net carbs noted on the product.

    Does allulose have any downsides?

    If you read our acarbose email from two weeks ago, you know that nearly every food substitute and blocker has potential downsides.

    Allulose is both a substitute and a blocker: it substitutes for sugar, and it can partially block digestion of other carbohydrates, causing them to ferment in the colon.

    Some people end up with an upset tummy after ingesting allulose. This effect is dependent on how much you eat, what you eat it with, and how your individual gut responds.

    At typical human doses, the risk of serious long-term harm doesn’t seem high. However, there are unknowns. For example, allulose might favor the growth of some undesirable bacteria in our guts, such as Klebsiella pneumonia, and the long-term consequences of feeding those bacteria in susceptible populations aren’t known. Again, these consequences would be highly dependent on how much allulose is consumed.

    If I don’t use sweeteners at all and am against the very idea, should I send Examine an angry email for providing information on them?

    No. 🙂


    Kamal Patel
    Co-founder, Examine