Are you looking to satisfy your sweet tooth using low-glycemic natural sweeteners as sugar substitutes? In this face-off between allulose vs monk fruit you’ll learn how these low carb sugar alternatives can help you reduce your sugar intake while avoiding artificial sweeteners.
Ready? Let’s take the plunge!
What is Allulose?
Allulose is a natural sugar found in figs, raisins, jackfruit, maple syrup and molasses. Roughly 70 percent as sweet as sugar, allulose looks and tastes like sugar but contains almost no calories and has a low glycemic index.
Allulose is found in small quantities in nature, however most commercially available allulose is produced by converting fructose found in corn starch into allulose. The resulting white crystalline powder looks similar to sugar but is more powdery to the touch.
Allulose sweetener doesn’t raise blood sugar levels or insulin levels like sugar and other caloric sweeteners can. For this reason it’s often used as a sugar replacement in low-calorie or low-sugar baked goods, soft drinks and other beverages, and ice cream.
Health Benefits of Allulose
Low-Calorie: Allulose contains only 0.2-0.4 calories per gram, significantly fewer calories than regular sugar, which contains 4 calories per gram. Allulose may help prevent weight gain by reducing total caloric intake.
Low Glycemic Index: Allulose has a glycemic index of 0, meaning it doesn’t raise blood glucose levels. Thus, it is a great sugar alternative for people with insulin resistance, diabetes,or those who are trying to manage their blood sugar levels.
Does Not Contribute to Tooth Decay: Unlike real sugar, allulose does not promote tooth decay, making it a good option for oral health.
May Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Studies have shown that allulose may lower insulin resistance and improve glucose tolerance and thus may be beneficial for people with diabetes or metabolic disorders.
Taste and Texture: Similar in taste and texture to cane sugar, allulose has no aftertaste or bitterness, making it a great option for baking and cooking.
Potential Weight Loss Benefits: Some studies have suggested that allulose may help with weight loss by reducing calorie intake, increasing fat oxidation, and improving insulin sensitivity.
Considerations When Using Allulose
Allulose is generally considered safe for consumption. Nonetheless,as a relative newcomer, research on allulose is limited and therefore we do not fully understand its long-term effects on health.
Gastrointestinal Issues: Some individuals may experience digestive tract discomfort such as bloating, gas, and/or diarrhea when consuming allulose in large amounts. It’s important to start low and go slow to minimize the risk of these symptoms and determine your tolerance.
Interaction with Medications: Allulose can interact with some medications, particularly those that are metabolized by the liver. If you are taking any medications, or have a health condition that impacts your liver, it’s important to talk to your health care provider before consuming allulose.
Limited Research: Allulose is a relatively new sweetener, and more research is needed to fully understand its benefits and risks.
In general, allulose is considered safe for most individuals when consumed in moderation. However, as a relative newcomer, research on allulose is limited and thus we do not fully understand its long-term effects on health.
Pro-tip: Allulose is derived from different sources, including corn, wheat, and other plants. Thus, some brands may have a slightly different taste or texture compared to others.
Pro-tip: Opt for brands with at least 99% pure allulose to avoid unnecessary fillers.
What is Monk Fruit?
Monk fruit, also called Luo Han Guo, is a small, green fruit that grows in Southeast Asia. Commonly used as a sweetener, monk fruit has played a role in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Monk fruit extract is made by processing the fruit into a concentrated powder or liquid sweetener.
Monk fruit is about 150-200 times sweeter than sugar, so you only need very small amounts to create the same sweetness as sugar. Using too much monk fruit can result in an overly sweet taste and may alter the texture of baked goods or recipes.
Despite its intense sweetness, monk fruit is calorie-free and has a low glycemic index, making it a popular choice for people with diabetes or those following a low-carb diet. It’s often used as a sugar substitute in beverages, baked goods, and other foods. Some people describe monk fruit as having a mildly fruity aftertaste, but it does not have the bitter aftertaste found in some artificial sweeteners.
Health Benefits of Monk Fruit
Low-Calorie: Monk fruit extract contains zero calories, making it a popular option for people wishing to reduce their calorie intake and either lose or maintain body weight.
Low Glycemic Index: Monk fruit sweetener has a glycemic index of zero, meaning it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. This makes it a great option for people who wish to lower their blood sugar levels.
Does Not Promote Tooth Decay: Monk fruit sweetener does not promote tooth decay the way that sugar does.
Antioxidant Properties: Monk fruit is rich in antioxidants called mogrosides, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Enhances Taste and Texture: Monk fruit has a sweet, fruity taste that is similar to sugar, with no bitter aftertaste. This makes it a great option for baking and cooking. It also has a slight cooling effect similar to menthol (though it doesn’t taste like menthol), which can enhance the sweetness of certain foods.
Potential Weight Loss Benefits: Monk fruit may reduce calorie intake, enhance fat oxidation and improve insulin sensitivity. These attributes may support and enhance weight loss.
Considerations When Using Monk Fruit
Allergies: Though rare, some people may have an allergic reaction to monk fruit. If you experience itching, hives, or difficulty breathing after consuming monk fruit, it is best to seek medical attention.
Gastrointestinal Issues: Some people may experience bloating, gas, and diarrhea when consuming large amounts of monk fruit. It’s important to start with very small amounts and gradually increase your intake to minimize the risk of these symptoms.
Interaction with Medications: Monk fruit can interact with some medications, particularly those that are metabolized by the liver. If you are taking any medications, talk to your doctor before consuming monk fruit to avoid any negative effects.
In general, monk fruit is considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, being a relatively new sweetener, here is still limited research on its long-term safety and potential health effects. More research is needed to fully understand its benefits and risks.
Pro-tip: Choose a high-quality monk fruit sweetener that is free from additives and fillers.
Pro-tip: Often the liquid form of monk fruit is the purest. Choose a liquid that contains only water and monk fruit extract without added alcohol.
Allulose vs. Monk Fruit: What’s the Difference?
Both allulose and monk fruit are popular sweeteners marketed as healthier alternatives to sugar. While they are quite similar, they also have their differences.
Taste: Allulose tastes and looks like sugar. Monk fruit has a unique taste that some people describe as fruity or caramel-like.
Calories: Allulose contains 0.2-0.4 calories per gram, while monk fruit is calorie-free.
Heat Stability: Allulose is heat-stable. Thus it can be used in baked goods without losing its sweetening properties. Monk fruit, on the other hand, may break down at high temperatures and lose some of its sweetness.
Availability: Both are available in most grocery stores. However, be sure to check nutrition labels to make sure you are purchasing them in their pure form.
Allulose vs Monk Fruit: Which to Choose?
When it comes to choosing between allulose and monk fruit, it really depends on your personal preference and dietary needs. If you’re looking for a sugar substitute that tastes like sugar and can be used in baking, allulose is the better option. However, if you’re looking for a zero-calorie sweetener with a sweet, mildly fruity taste, monk fruit might be the way to go.
Both allulose and monk fruit are relatively new sweeteners, and more research is needed to fully understand their long-term effects on health. As with any food or supplement, it’s best to consume them in moderation and consult with your healthcare provider if you have any side effects or are taking medications.
In conclusion, both allulose and monk fruit are viable alternatives to sugar. Experiment with both and see which one works best for you!
Want to learn more about alternative sweeteners? Check out our post on erythritol and stevia!
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Pam is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Master’s of Public Health and a Certificate in Integrative and Functional Nutrition. Passionate about the science of health and nutrition, she loves to share her knowledge to help others live healthy, vibrant lives. When not working, Pam can be found hiking, traveling, and enjoying great-tasting, nutritious food.