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In a couple of weeks, the first protein bars using Allulose will hit the market. Quest is releasing the Beyond Cereal Protein Bar and it’s unlike anything Quest has ever made. The bars are 110 calories, pack 12g of protein per bar, and have 10 grams of…sugar? Yes, but that sugar is actually Allulose which has 1/10 the calories of regular sugar. So what does this mean for you obsessive label readers out there?
Initially the sight of 10g of sugar should come as a shock. Quest has always kept the sugar content in their Quest Bars low (under 3g) through the use of sweeteners like Erythritol, stevia, and sucralose. However, the 10g of sugar you see on the label of Beyond Cereal Bar isn’t traditional sugar (sucrose). It’s actually a variation on the fructose molecule.
The FDA classifies sweeteners based on their molecular structure, not their metabolic effects on the body. Allulose bears the same chemical composition as fructose (6 carbons, 12 hydrogens and 6 oxygens) – with the only difference being a slight tweak in the placement of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. Because of this, the FDA requires companies to classify Allulose as a sugar even though it doesn’t have the same caloric value. That’s essentially the same as saying because Arnold Schwarzenegger and Phil Heath share 99.8% of the same DNA that they’re the same person.
What the food label doesn’t tell you is that Allulose is digested using the same glut receptors in the small intestine as sugar. The big difference being that Allulose never metabolizes. So you enjoy the same functional properties of sugar (sweetness and texture), but without the caloric content, and, some studies even claim Allulose doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar.
WHAT DOES ALLULOSE DO IN MY BODY?
After food is ingested, chemicals and enzymes in the stomach break the food down before heading to the small intestine.
When the food enters the small intestine, there are receptors that siphon out the molecules your body uses for fuel. Allulose is digested in the small intestine. This is an important step, because if Allulose were to pass through the small intestine to the large intestine, it would ferment and cause Gastrointestinal discomfort.
Since Allulose is absorbed through the small intestine, it’s secreted through urine and non-reactive in the body. Meaning you can eat foods with Allulose and it’s not converted into glucose.
CALORIC CONTENT OF ALLULOSE
The actual caloric content of Allulose depends on who you ask. Some doctors claim it has no caloric content whatsoever, where more conservative estimates state that Allulose contains up to 0.4 cal/g. Compare that to table sugar which has 4 cal/g and you can see the massive difference. Quest is staying on the conservative side, labeling a gram of Allulose as contributing 0.4 cal/g.
There are rumblings of the FDA reclassifying Allulose from a sugar to being labeled as just Allulose (similar to Erythritol), but until that day comes, check the labels. If you see Allulose and high sugar content, you’re in the clear.
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