Chocolate cake

Allulose: The New Sugar Hiding in Your Food

Allulose is a sweetener that’s been on the market since 2015 and is gaining popularity because of its low calorie count. It has 90 percent fewer calories than table sugar, according to the Calorie Control Council. The sugar occurs naturally in a handful of foods and may be an ingredient showing up in many more packaged goods in the future—including beverages, pastries, yogurts, ice creams, salad dressings, chewing gum, and more. What do you need to know about this seemingly miracle ingredient? We tapped the experts to find out.

What is allulose?

Allulose is a simple sugar found naturally in small amounts in certain foods such as wheat, jackfruit, figs, raisins, brown sugar, maple syrup, and caramel sauce. While your body absorbs allulose, it does not metabolize it—which makes it extremely low in calories.

What do the new FDA guidelines regarding allulose mean?

In April 2019, the FDA issued guidelines that allulose will still count toward a food’s total calories, but the agency will allow manufacturers to “exercise enforcement discretion to allow the use of a revised, lower calorie count.” This means manufacturers are now allowed to use 0.4 calories per gram of allulose when determining the number of calories that come from allulose in a serving of a food or beverage.

Where will you see allulose?

“Science has recently discovered ways to produce allulose on a larger scale through a process using corn,” says Marjoram. “This discovery is what has made it available as a food ingredient. In addition to tasting like sugar, allulose functions very similarly to sugar—making it a very versatile ingredient. It can be used in baked, frozen, or liquid items for sweetness.”

Why would you want to eat foods with allulose?

Allulose is a great alternative for individuals who are trying to lose weight and eat healthier,” notes Ambrose. “The calories quickly add up if you use normal table sugar, which means you can cut your calories significantly by replacing table sugar with allulose. Allulose does not cause dental decay, which is another problem seen with heavy sugar consumption in children and adults. This means fewer dentist appointments for cavities.”

Are there any reasons to be concerned about allulose in your food?

Allulose is on the FDA’s list of foods that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS). This means the ingredient is safe under the conditions of its intended use—but, experts say, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain cautious.