Knowing the right sugar substitutes when following the keto diet is essential. Eat the wrong sugar substitute, and you may as well just continue eating carbs.
You may have heard of the sugar substitute allulose, and are wondering, is allulose keto friendly?
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Allulose?
Allulose is a rare sugar, more specifically allulose is a monosaccharide which is also known as psicose.
It is found naturally in dehydrated fruits like figs, raisins, and jackfruit, but only in very small quantities which makes it difficult to extract from its original source.
Allulose is also naturally present in small quantities in a variety of sweet foods like maple syrup, caramel sauce, and brown sugar.
Is Allulose Keto Friendly?
Yes, allulose is keto friendly. Allulose is not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate and is not metabolized as energy, but it is instead absorbed by the small intestine and excreted in the urine.
It provides only 0.2–0.4 calories per gram of allulose, or about 1/10 the calories of table sugar, and because of this, it has no effect on blood glucose and insulin levels.
As mentioned earlier, allulose has approximately 90% fewer calories than sucrose (table sugar) and has no effect on blood glucose and insulin which is the main reason it’s safe to consume while on Keto.
It is very similar to erythritol, another popular sweetener for keto, in that they are both about 70% as sweet as sugar.
Even if you don’t always follow the ketogenic diet, allulose can still be a great implementation in your diet.
If you are looking to cut your calorie intake for health reasons, or simply for weight management, allulose’s good taste will help you stick to a healthy diet.
Before allulose, only high-caloric sugars could provide the same sweet taste and classic sugary-texture. Allulose offers the taste and texture of sugar without all the troublesome calories.
Is Allulose Healthy?
We’ve done some research on Allulose. Here’s what the evidence shows:
Allulose May Help Boost Fat Loss
In a study published in the journal Nutrition in 2017, researchers examined the effects of a single ingestion of allulose on post-meal energy metabolism in 13 healthy individuals.
The researchers had the subjects consume an aqueous solution of either 5 grams of d-allulose or 10 milligrams of an aspartame control following an overnight fast period.
Using a breath-by-breath method, subjects went through blood sampling for relevant biomarkers and energy metabolism evaluation 30 minutes after consuming the solution.
The results of the study clearly showed that the subjects in the d-allulose group oxidized more fat for energy than the subjects in the control group, whereas control subjects oxidized more carbohydrates.
In the d-allulose group (compared to the control group), plasma glucose levels were significantly lower, and free fatty acid levels were significantly higher – which indicated boosted fat metabolism.
The study concluded that d-Allulose enhances post-meal fat oxidation in healthy humans, indicating that it could be a novel sweetener to control and maintain healthy body weight, probably through enhanced energy metabolism.
Allulose May Help Control Blood Glucose Levels
Allulose is also suitable for diabetics, as well as use on the keto diet.
In multiple human and animal studies, researchers found that consuming allulose lowered blood sugar levels, increased insulin sensitivity and helped protect the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells (1, 2, 3, 4).
In one study, obese rats were given allulose. Compared to the rats given water and another group given glucose, the allulose group had a better blood glucose response, improved beta cell function and less belly fat gain than the other group.
Two other studies suggest that allulose may have beneficial effects on blood sugar regulation in humans.
On the first one, 20 healthy young adults were given either 5-7.5 grams of allulose with 75 grams of maltodextrin or just maltodextrin on its own. The study concluded that the group that took the allulose experienced significantly lower blood glucose and insulin levels compared to the group that took maltodextrin alone.
The second study, investigated the effect of allulose on blood glucose levels when taken with a meal. 26 adults consumed a meal alone or together with 5 grams of allulose. Some of the subjects were healthy while others had prediabetes.
Blood glucose levels were tested and compared at the fasting state, and 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and 120 minutes after the meal.
The researchers found that the group that took allulose with their meal, had significantly lower blood glucose levels at the 30 and 60-minute marks compared to the group that had consumed the meal by itself.
And while these studies are relatively new and are not very broad in terms of the number of subjects tested, the data is extremely promising. We expect to see a lot more research on allulose in the future.
Allulose Tastes Very Similar to Table Sugar
Every sweetener out there has different taste, texture and feel to it. Allulose has a very similar texture and taste to table sugar.
Allulose is approximately 70% as sweet as sugar, so to get a 1:1 ratio on taste, you may need to use slightly more than you would table sugar.
Having said that, many people find it slightly more sweet than sugar and this is where trial and error will come in to adjust the sweetness to your own personal preferences.
Allulose is a Very Versatile Sweetener
Another great thing with allulose is that, because it performs like sugar, there are virtually no limitations on what foods and beverages in which it can be used.
In baking, it provides browning similar to regular full-calorie table sugar.
Also, because of its texture, it is easily distributed in dough and batter without the need to mix in water first.
The freezing point of allulose allows it to be easily used in ice cream and other frozen products.
Is Allulose Safe?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allulose is considered to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).
At the time of writing, studies researched had not reported any adverse side-effects other than the usual responses to excessive doses, such as abdominal pain, bloating and possibly diarrhea.
Another study, this time where adult men and women were the subjects of the testing, confirmed that long-term (12 weeks) consumption of allulose caused no abnormal effects whatsoever.
Some people have reported diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming a lot of allulose on a daily basis, so that could be one thing to look out for. Just use it in moderation and you will be fine!
Other Alternatives To Allulose
Since we are all different, if for some reason allulose doesn’t agree with the way your body works and gives you some issues like gas, bloating, or diarrhea, there are a few other great keto-friendly alternatives that you can try!
Stevia is an herb, which is an extract called stevia glycosides, is used as a sugar substitute and a sweetener.
It is a natural sweetener, and it’s considered to be non nutritive, which means it contains little to no calories or carbohydrates. Stevia has a glycemic index of 0 and has no impact at all on insulin and blood glucose.
Overall, it’s a very good sweetener but a lot of people don’t like its aftertaste.
If it says on the label that it contains a significant amount of carbs or calories, make sure to check the Ingredients label and see if it is pure stevia.
Some manufacturers brand the product as Stevia, but when you look at the ingredients you can see that the product is made of 90% maltodextrin and only a little bit of stevia.
This is often misleading for consumers. It is important to read the nutrition label when purchasing and always look for pure stevia.
Here is a link to pure stevia extract on Amazon for under $10.
Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo or longevity fruit, is a fruit native to regions of Southeast Asia, including some parts of China and Thailand.
The extracts and compounds of the fruit are called mogrosides, which have antioxidant properties and are actually the part of the fruit that gives the sweetness to the Monk Fruit.
Like stevia, monk fruit is a calorie-free sweetener and has a glycemic index of 0. It has less of an aftertaste than stevia.
Monk fruit is around 150–200 times as sweet as sugar. There are many monk fruit and erythritol blends, which are incredibly popular for the keto diet. The erythritol helps to balance out the slight aftertaste of monk fruit.
Our favorite Monk Fruit Erythritol blend is So Nourished, which you can find here.
Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol which is used as an alternative sweetener on the keto diet. Erythritol has 70% of the sweetness of table sugar.
Like stevia and monk fruit, erythritol has a glycemic index of 0. This means erythritol will not increase your blood sugar or insulin levels.
Erythritol may have a chemical sounding name, which can throw some people off, but don’t worry. Erythritol is a plant fiber and a natural by-product.
Bacteria has a hard time consuming erythritol, which means you are likely to have less digestive upset than with other sugar alternatives such as maltitol.
Some erythritol products also contain a type of soluble fiber called inulin, which can cause bloating and gas. Please be wary of this when purchasing and look for erythritol without any additives.
This is why we like So Nourished products – their erythritol is 100% erythritol, no hidden nasties.
Sucralose is a type of artificial sweetener that is not recognized by the body and is therefore not metabolized. Sucralose passes through your body totally undigested and provides no calories or carbs.
Pure sucralose is 0 on the glycemic index. It is 600 times as sweet as table sugar, so you only need to use a very small amount of it.
As it’s the case with the other sweeteners, make sure to read the product label and beware of sucralose products like Splenda which is 95% maltodextrin and just 5% sucralose.
Don’t by the blends like Splenda – maltodextrin is not keto friendly.
You can find pure sucralose on Amazon here.
Xylitol is another type of sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in the fibers of certain fruits and vegetables. It tastes very similar to table sugar, has 40% fewer calories than sugar and it’s 7 on the glycemic index scale.
It’s GI is pretty low, but it could raise your blood sugar levels a bit if you consume large quantities of it.
With that said, Xylitol is not a favorite among keto dieters, because there are other options that don’t spike blood sugar. If you cannot find or tolerate any other keto friendly sweetener, Xylitol is an okay choice.
Dog owners please note – Xylitol is deadly to dogs in very small amounts. If you keep a dog at home it’s not the best idea to keep xylitol around the house.
Final Thoughts on Allulose
Allulose is a great option if you are looking for a low-carb sweetener that has a great taste and won’t mess with your insulin and blood glucose levels.
Current research and scientific studies suggest that Allulose is safe for Keto and other similar low-carb diets. It doesn’t have any noticeable impact on the glycemic index or insulin response because it’s not metabolized by the body.
Researchers found allulose to be well-tolerated without causing any gastrointestinal issues, but it might cause discomfort to some people if taken in very large amounts.
It’s a relatively new sweetener compared to some others so we can expect to see a lot more research on it in the future.
Does Allulose Count as a Carb?
Even though it is not metabolized by the body and does not contribute any calories, allulose is a form of sugar, so it does count toward the total sugar and carbohydrate grams shown on food labels.
For people counting carbohydrates, an easy way to calculate the real amount of carbs is to subtract the amount of allulose (grams) that the product contains from the total carbohydrates listed on the nutrition facts label.
How Many Net Carbs are in Allulose?
You need to take away the allulose from the net carbs. For example, if a serving has 6 grams of net carbs and 4 grams of allulose the calculation would be:
6 (grams net carbs) – 4 (grams allulose) = 2 grams net carbs.
To get the ‘net’ amount of carbs from a product you always need to take the fiber content into account.
Is Allulose Safe for Dogs?
Yes, in small or standard doses. Research has shown dogs may suffer slight gastrointestinal upset, just like humans may. Unlike Xylitol however, Allulose is not toxic to dogs.
Where to Buy Allulose
Have a look at Wholesome Allulose on Amazon. It is available in a liquid allulose or granulated allulose form, both of which cost less than $10.
Another good choice is Better Foods Pure Allulose on Amazon.