Allulose (also known as D-allulose or D-psicose, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine) is an extremely low-calorie sweetener that occurs naturally in small amounts in wheat, raisins, dried figs, brown sugar, and molasses, according to the FDA. Marketed under the brand name Dolcia Prima (which Tate & Lyle, Splenda’s manufacturer, makes), it has 90 percent fewer calories than sucrose, while being 70 percent as sweet.
You can find Dolcia Prima in Magic Spoon Cereal, which is sold online; and expect to see it soon in beverages, desserts, candy, yogurt, and other treats. That’s because allulose got a big boost from the FDA in April 2019, when the agency declared it can be excluded from the total and added sugars listed on nutrition labels going forward.
“The latest data suggests that allulose is different from other sugars in that it is not metabolized by the human body in the same way as table sugar,” says Susan Mayne, PhD, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “It has fewer calories, produces only negligible increases in blood glucose or insulin levels, and does not promote dental decay.”
Under the revised guidance, manufacturers can use a caloric value of 0.4 calories per gram to calculate the total number of calories per serving of allulose, instead of the previous 4 calories per gram. The sweetener still must be included in the total carbohydrates listed, though. While allulose isn’t on the list of FDA-approved sweeteners, the agency hasn’t questioned notices submitted by manufacturers that the sweetener is “generally recognized as safe.”
But the European Union has yet to approve allulose, according to an article published in April 2019 in Food Manufacture, nor has Canada added it to their list of permitted sweeteners. Furthermore, research into its effectiveness for controlling blood sugar is limited to small studies, such as a small randomized, double-blinded trial published in June 2018 in the journal Nutrients, which was funded by Tate & Lyle. The authors observed that small doses of allulose (5 or 10 g) did not have a significant effect on blood glucose levels when taken with a standard glucose tolerance test, but they recommended larger sample sizes for future studies.
One Last Thing About Using Sugar Substitutes When Managing Type 2 Diabetes
As you can see, there are many artificial sweeteners to help you reach your blood sugar goals. Just remember that maintaining them will be easier if you practice moderation and don’t allow sweet-tasting food and beverages to lead you to overconsume them. “A major goal should be to reduce all types of sweeteners in your diet, including sugar substitutes, so that you become accustomed to the naturally sweet taste of food,” says Grieger. Then trust your body to tell you when enough is enough.
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