Animal research have shown that low calorie natural sugars like allulose could help regulate glucose levels. Researchers are now trying to find out how it works, and their findings are reported in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Sucrose is the natural sweetener what everyone refer to when sugar is on the ingredient list. Allulose, which is 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, and other rare sugars also can be found in fruits and vegetables in very small amounts. Recently researchers discovered an industrial way to produce allulose in large quantities from high-fructose corn syrup. Past studies have suggested that allulose can help control weight gain and control glucose levels. Tomoya Shintani and colleagues wanted to confirm these results and understand how it works.
To find out researchers gave three groups of rats plain water, water with high-fructose corn syrup and water with rare-sugar syrup containing glucose, fructose, allulose and other rare sugars for 10 weeks. The rats drinking rare-sugar syrup infused water gained less weight, had less abdominal fat, and had lower blood glucose and insulin levels compared to the high-fructose corn syrup group. The research showed that rats fed with rare-sugar syrup infused water had increased levels of glucokinase in liver cells. Glucokinase is an enzyme that reduces blood-sugar levels by helping convert glucose to its stored form, glycogen.
Although more research is needed, the scientists say, the findings suggest that rare sugars could be a good alternative sweetener.
Citation: Shintani, Tomoya, Takako Yamada, Noriko Hayashi, Tetsuo Iida, Yasuo Nagata, Nobuaki Ozaki, and Yukiyasu Toyoda. “Rare Sugar Syrup Containing d-Allulose but Not High-Fructose Corn Syrup Maintains Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Sensitivity Partly via Hepatic Glucokinase Translocation in Wistar Rats.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2017. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.6b05627.
Adapted from press release by American Chemical Society.