Last Update: November 2, 2023
Trying to cut back on sugar, but not ready to give up sweets entirely? There are lots of alternative sweeteners on the market, from stevia and monk fruit to honey and agave. Each comes with their own set of pros and cons.
If you’ve tried them all and have yet to find your favorite, you may want to get to know allulose, an alternative sweetener that’s been gaining popularity.
Allulose, also known as D-psicose, is a non-nutritive sweetener found naturally in foods like raisins, figs, molasses, and maple syrup. It was first identified in 1940; in 1994, the discovery of an enzyme that could convert fructose (a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, found in fruit) into allulose made it possible to produce the sweetener commercially. Allulose was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2019.
Technically, allulose isn’t an artificial sweetener; it’s actually considered a “rare sugar” because it occurs naturally in very small amounts. With a flavor that’s about 70% as sweet as regular sugar and a similar texture, allulose is an increasingly popular alternative for those avoiding sugar for health reasons.
Allulose is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration.
It’s considered a non-nutritive sweetener because it’s very low in calories—so low, in fact, that the body doesn’t absorb or metabolize them. (Technically, allulose has about .2 to .4 calories per gram, which is 1/10 the calories of sugar.) Because it’s essentially calorie-free and doesn’t have the same adverse health effects as regular sugar, such as spiking insulin levels or causing tooth decay, it may be considered a healthy alternative.
While sugar is blamed for many health woes, artificial sweeteners don’t have the greatest reputation either. Oft-criticized artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame K are chemically altered to be indigestible, a process that also makes them taste extra-sweet. Some research suggests that, by desensitizing the taste buds to sweetness, these alternative sweeteners—which many people consume in order to cut calories and lose weight—may actually contribute to weight gain in the long term. There are also some small studies linking artificial sweeteners to various health issues, but more research is needed.
Because allulose is a digestible sugar that occurs naturally in foods and is actually slightly less sweet tasting than regular sugar, it doesn’t raise the same alarm bells as other artificial sweeteners. Some studies point to potential positive effects on blood sugar and weight, though more research is needed on those as well.
In addition to being calorie-free, zero-net-carb, keto-friendly, and comparable to table sugar in taste and texture, allulose may offer some additional health benefits:
Good news—allulose is keto friendly. As a non-nutritive sweetener, allulose has zero net carbohydrates. Those following a keto diet can use allulose and products that contain it to satiate their sweet tooth while remaining within their daily allotment of carbohydrates.
Allulose occurs naturally in plant-based foods, so it is appropriate for those who follow a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diet.
Unfortunately, allulose is not Paleo. According to The Paleo Foundation, “Because the Paleo Diet excludes corn-derived ingredients, allulose can only be consumed on the Paleo Diet if it comes from natural, unprocessed sources, such as dried fruits, brown sugar, jackfruit, figs, etc.”
Allulose is non-glycemic, meaning it has no impact on blood sugar or insulin levels.
Some people find that they are sensitive to artificial or alternative sweeteners. In particular, sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol can sometimes cause digestive issues. Allulose is less likely to lead to these kinds of side effects because of the way the body processes it. However, consuming large quantities of allulose may lead to:
If you’ve ever thought that stevia was too sweet or found that it left an unpleasant aftertaste, you might want to give allulose a try. According to some allulose fans, this sweetener has a milder flavor than stevia without the noticeable aftertaste.Thrive Market member Wendy from Idaho says, “I really like the taste…there’s no bitterness or aftertaste.”
Monk fruit is another artificial sweetener that many people avoid for its aftertaste. It’s also much sweeter than sugar (even more so than stevia), and often made with filler ingredients like erythritol to balance out the flavor. Some people find that allulose has a less sweet taste than monk fruit, which may be preferable.
GoodSam is known for their chocolate bars and baking mixes made from regeneratively grown, ethically sourced cacao. “Many people are looking for ways to personalize their nutrition or curb sugar consumption,” GoodSam co-founder Heather Terry told us. “We wanted to provide a solution.” Terry adds that trends like the increase in clinical obesity among American adults inspired her to seek out an alternative.
The challenge was finding a sweetener that fit the bill. “I always found [other alternative sweeteners] really cloying and super artificial tasting,” Terry recalls. “What I loved about [allulose] from a culinary perspective was that it created a flavor that didn’t leave a weird aftertaste and still gave our products a phenomenal mouthfeel.”
Add one of GoodSam’s allulose-sweetened chocolate bars to your snack stash, or even bake up a batch of keto-friendly brownies.
Sweet meets crunchy in every bag of these sugar-free, candy-coated nuts that are ethically sourced from around the globe. Choose from almonds, cashews, or peanuts, and enjoy by the handful or toss into a DIY trail mix.
Pro tip: keep a boxed baking mix on hand at all times and you’ll be ready whenever the occasion to celebrate arises. With GoodSam’s sugar-free mixes you’re always moments away from a rich chocolate cake, a tray of fudgy brownies, or a decadent stack of cacao pancakes. Don’t forget the chocolate chips!
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before changing your diet or healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Download the app for easy shopping on the go
By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive marketing text messages from Thrive Market. Consent not a condition to purchase. Msg & data rates apply. Msg frequency varies. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel.