Reducing your intake of refined sugar can be tough, but given how incredibly harmful sugar can be, it’s definitely worth the effort.
Fortunately, quite a few sweeteners found in nature are actually healthy.
They’re low in calories, low in fructose, and taste very sweet.
Here are 5 natural sweeteners that could be healthier alternatives to refined sugar.
- Yacon syrup
- Monk fruit sweetener
Allulose is also known as D-psicose. It is classified as a “rare sugar” because it is naturally present in only a few foods. Wheat, figs and raisins all contain it.
Like glucose and fructose, allulose is a monosaccharide, or single sugar. In contrast, table sugar, also known as sucrose, is a disaccharide made of glucose and fructose joined together.
In fact, allulose has the same chemical formula as fructose, but is arranged differently. This difference in structure prevents your body from processing allulose the way it processes fructose.
It’s been shown to resist fermentation by your gut bacteria, minimizing the likelihood of bloating, gas or other digestive problems (2Trusted Source).
And here’s some good news for people who have diabetes or are watching their blood sugar — it does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels.
Allulose also provides only 0.2–0.4 calories per gram, or about 1/10 the calories of table sugar.
In addition, early research suggests that allulose has anti-inflammatory properties, and may help prevent obesity and reduce the risk of chronic disease (3Trusted Source).
Although small amounts of this rare sugar are found in some foods, in recent years, manufacturers have used enzymes to convert fructose from corn and other plants into allulose (4Trusted Source).
The taste and texture have been described as identical to table sugar. It is about 70% as sweet as sugar, which is similar to the sweetness of erythritol, another popular sweetener.