Nutrition, Health Benefits, and Uses

If you’re eating a low-carb or keto diet, most standard sweeteners — table sugar, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and so on — are off the table. 

However, there are plenty of keto-friendly sweeteners that you can use as sugar substitutes. 

Two of the most popular options are allulose and erythritol. Both are natural sweeteners that have little to no impact on your blood sugar levels, close to zero calories, and no aftertaste. 

This article covers the nutrition and benefits of allulose and erythritol and how to use each one. 

Allulose vs Erythritol Nutrition

Allulose and erythritol are similar in many ways, but they do have a few differences that set them apart from one another. 

Allulose Nutrition

Allulose (also called D-psicose) is considered a “rare sugar.” You can find it naturally in a few different foods, including figs, raisins, and wheat (although allulose is gluten-free). 

Allulose is structurally similar to regular sugar. However, while your body can break down sugar and use it for energy, allulose has a key difference in chemical structure that prevents you from digesting it. 

Studies show that you absorb up to 80% of allulose, but your body doesn’t break it down, and you excrete it without using it for energy[*]. As a result, allulose has almost no calories and won’t impact your blood glucose levels. 

Allulose also resists fermentation by the gut bacteria in your small intestine, which makes it unlikely to cause gas or bloating — a common problem with some alternative sweeteners[*]. 

A teaspoon of allulose contains:

  • 2 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 4g total carbs
  • 0g net carbs
  • 0g protein

Note that allulose may increase the carb count on nutrition labels, but because you don’t digest it, it doesn’t contribute to a food’s net carbs. 

Allulose Health Benefits

Allulose is still fairly new, so there isn’t as much research on its health benefits (although it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, so it’s okay to eat). 

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However, early research suggests that allulose may decrease inflammation, and that it helps with weight loss in people who have obesity or type 2 diabetes[*]. 

Erythritol Nutrition

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol — a type of natural sweetener that is somewhere between a sugar molecule and an alcohol molecule. 

Sugar alcohols are low-carb and you lack the enzymes to digest them, so they don’t affect your blood sugar or insulin levels. There are a number of different sugar alcohols, including erythritol, xylitol, maltitol, and sorbitol. 

Erythritol is almost entirely resistant to fermentation by your gut bacteria[*]. As a result, it doesn’t cause side effects like bloating, nausea, or gas unless you eat it in very high doses[*]. 

A teaspoon of erythritol contains:

  • 1 calorie
  • 0g fat
  • 4g total carbs
  • 0g net carbs
  • 0g protein

Erythritol Health Benefits

In addition to being a healthy low-calorie sweetener, erythritol is good for your teeth. Studies show that erythritol kills Streptococcus mutans, the main bacterium that causes plaque formation, and eating erythritol reduced dental plaque in healthy volunteers[*].

How to Use Allulose and Erythritol in Baking

Allulose and erythritol are especially good substitutes for sugar in baked goods. 

They’re both granulated and have similar melting and water retention properties as table sugar, which makes them easy to use as 1:1 substitutes (for example, subbing one cup of allulose in place of one cup of sugar). 

Allulose and erythritol are also almost identical to sugar in terms of taste. They don’t have the bitter aftertaste of stevia or artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame.

The one thing to note is that both sweeteners create a mild cooling effect when you use them in higher amounts. They may make your baked goods feel slightly cool to your tongue. 

Both allulose and erythritol are about 70% as sweet as sugar, so if you do a 1:1 substitute, your baked goods will be slightly less sweet than if you use normal sugar. You can compensate by adding a little extra allulose or erythritol. 

Which is Best?

Allulose and erythritol are both excellent low-carb sugar substitutes. Allulose is good for inflammation and erythritol improves dental health, and both have properties that are very similar to sugar, which makes them easy substitutes in baking and cooking. 

Which sweetener is best depends on your personal preferences. A small number of people report mild bloating or gastrointestinal distress when eating allulose or erythritol; you may find that one or the other agrees with you more. 

And if you don’t like either one, there are plenty of other keto-friendly sugar replacements, including monk fruit extract (luo han guo), stevia, and Swerve. Try a few and find the ones that work well for you.

Guest post by Spencer Brooks

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