Amid concerning safety reports about sugar substitutes like aspartame and erythritol, here’s some sweet news: New research on allulose sweetener suggests that this form of sugar — which is found naturally in everyday foods like raisins and maple syrup — is not only safe but may actually trigger shifts inside our bodies that can speed weight loss. And it doesn’t cost a bundle: You can get the benefits for about 40 cents a day.
Women like Danica Thomas, who lost 220 pounds, swear by the stuff, saying it caramelizes like sugar when cooked or baked and has no aftertaste. Danica tells Woman’s World that allulose played a huge role in taming her sweet tooth, allowing her to slim to her happy weight. Read on to discover how using allulose in place of your current sweetener could help transform your health.
What is allulose sweetener?
“Allulose is a natural sugar found in small amounts in foods like figs and raisins,” explains keto diet expert and A-List Diet author Fred Pescatore, MD, one of many top experts spreading the word about allulose. Scientists call it a “rare” sugar because it’s so much less abundant that other sugars like sucrose and fructose. Since nature makes allulose in such tiny amounts, the allulose we buy in stores isn’t extracted from food but rather is synthesized in a lab, notes Dr. Pescatore.
What makes allulose better for weight loss than other sweeteners?
Unlike sucrose and fructose, allulose is a monosaccharide — a lone sugar molecule — that’s already as small as sugar can get. So the body doesn’t treat it in the same way as other sugars. “Allulose isn’t broken down by the body, so it tastes sweet but has no carbs or calories,” Dr. Pesctore explains. In fact, about 99% of allulose is simply excreted after it moves through the GI tract. Studies also confirm allulose has a negligible impact on blood sugar and insulin levels and may even lower blood sugar in people who suffer from prediabeties.
Is allulose sweetener safe?
Though it is less tested than some popular sweeteners, existing research suggests it’s safe. The FDA has given it “generally recognized as safe” status. And even cautious watchdog groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest are on board. Their report on allulose notes that two small studies found gastrointestinal symptoms in healthy adults consuming allulose. Most of these issues were very mild. In one of the studies, the issues occurred in 30% of adults eating 30 grams of allulose a day, which is about three servings.
How allulose can help speed weight loss
Many common sweeteners (natural and artificial) have been shown to elevate blood sugar, which can lead to poor health and rapid weight gain. Allulose may do the opposite, triggering sugar to burn faster. So it’s possible that if you add allulose to a meal, your blood sugar might stay lower than if you skipped the sweetener. (Click through to see how stevia and erythritol stack up.)
There’s also early evidence allulose may improve insulin levels and insulin sensitivity, potentially helping offset damage caused by other sweeteners. “As levels of blood sugar and insulin improve, allulose tells your body to stop storing belly fat and start burning it,” notes Dr. Pesctore. Animal studies hint that allulose feeds specific bacteria in our guts that help burn belly fat and increases level of belly-flattening hormone called adiponectin. In one new study, folks given allulose shrunk their waists significantly faster than those given Splenda. (Click through to see how allulose raises GLP-1 levels naturally to block diabetes and weight gain.)
How allulose can help turn off sugar cravings
Anything that keeps blood sugar steady helps reduce cravings, notes Dr. Pescatore. So allulose has that going for it. And he adds that since allulose is 30% less sweet than regular sugar, it can help our bodies adjust to and eventually prefer a lower level of sweetness.
There’s more: Research shows allulose also improves levels of the anti-hunger hormone leptin — which is crucial for anyone hoping to tame constant cravings.
How to add allulose to your diet + where to find it
You can use allulose to boost results on any eating plan. Aim for 1 to 2 servings per day, using it just like sugar. An option to consider: RxSugar, which is the preferred brand of wellness expert David Perlmutter, MD, author of the bestsellers Grain Brain and Drop Acid. Want to get the best price? Pick up some RxSugar. You can find a 1 pound canister (45 servings) for $8.99 — that’s about 20 cents a serving (Buy from Walmart, $8.99).
How nurse Danica Thomas used allulose to drop 220 lbs
Danica Thomas found herself in the ER after becoming partially paralyzed following minor surgery for a throat polyp. The doctor told her it was because of her weight — she carried 370 pounds on her 5’4″ frame. But Danica, a nurse for 24 years, knew something else was wrong.
And she was right: When she returned to the ER the next day after her symptoms didn’t resolve, a new doctor diagnosed it as a reaction to anesthesia. Within minutes after a steroid shot, Danica was able to move again. When the doctor told her she’d be back to normal in no time, Danica thanked her. But she definitely didn’t want to go back to normal because it had become “normal” for people to dismiss her because of her weight. Even doctors did it. And she wanted to make sure it never happened again.
Danica’s first steps to lose weight
Though Danica worked in healthcare, the Indiana grandmother had long avoided checkups. She knew her size meant she’d likely get arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes and worse. “I don’t need a lecture,” she’d tell herself. “There’s nothing I can do.” She’d tried and tried to eat less. Yet her cravings, especially for sweets, were just too intense. But her experience in the ER — being misdiagnosed because of her weight — motivated her to change.
So Danica searched the internet. What she found was mostly keto this, keto that. Apparently cutting carbs brings down blood sugar so much, your body has to switch to burning fat as fuel. Plus the articles she read insisted that keto changes your body chemistry and helps kill cravings. Intrigued, she found a free tracking app and calculated her current carb intake. The final number: over 500 grams per day.
Danica did more research and made a decision: She’d cut her carb intake in half each week until she hit a carb level that felt manageable but still helped her drop weight. She started small, trading pretzels for nuts and garlic bread for salad. After a month, she lost 30 pounds and noticed a big difference in the pain from her arthritis.
How Danica discovered allulose sweetener
As Danica worked her way down to about 40 grams of carbs a day, she was happy to find she felt physically full and her cravings were less intense. But she did miss sweets. She’d tried some dessert recipes she found online, but the sweeteners gave her bad GI upset.
Not long after, Danica started reading more and more about allulose sweetener. She decided to give it a try, starting with one treat she really missed: peanut butter cookies. They tasted great, and the sweetener didn’t upset her stomach. So she kept baking and cooking with allulose. Her favorite brand is called Besti.
Danica today: 220 pounds slimmer at age 59
Over the course of two years, Danica shed 220 pounds. She no longer minds going to the doctor because her blood work is the best it’s ever been. Her mobility and joint pain have continued to get better and better. And so have her spirits. “I didn’t realize how depressed I was until my mood started to lift,” she says. “This journey has brought me to such a good place. I eat delicious food and feel satisfied. I hike, bike and play with my granddaughter.” Adds Danica, now 59: “I was hoping to restore my health. I did that. And I restored my joy too!”
3 easy allulose-sweetened treats to try
Inspired by Danica’s success? Try allulose sweetener yourself with these recipes for treats that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth:
1. Vanilla Cheesecake
Beat 32 oz. cream cheese and 1¼ cups Besti powdered allulose or allulose blend until fluffy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time. Add 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 1 tsp. vanilla and pinch of salt. Pour into a parchment-lined 9″ springform pan. Bake at 350ºF until center is almost set, 40–55 minutes. Chill fully in pan before cutting.
2. 3-Ingredient Cookies
Mix 1 cup nut butter, heaping ½ cup allulose and 1 egg. Roll in 15 balls. Press on greased sheet. Bake at 350º for 12-15 minutes.
3. Magic Ice Cream
In jar with lid, shake 1 cup heavy cream, 2 Tbs. allulose, 1 tsp. vanilla and pinch salt for 3 minutes. Freeze 4-6 hours. Love ice cream? Click through for the delicious ‘nice cream’ Glucose Goddess Jessie Inchauspe recommends to lower blood sugar and lose weight.
For more information on other healthy, natural sweeteners, check out our story on 5 Natural Sweeteners That’ll Help Balance Blood Sugar, Reduce Cholesterol, Burn Fat, and More.
For a taste-test between stevia and Purecane done by our sister publication, click through We Taste-Tested Two Artificial Sweeteners: This Is the One We Liked Best.
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This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.