Allulose – A Novel sweetener For Weight Management

Waistline being measured. Allulose (psicose) could be a potential benefit in weight management.
Waist lines could be reduced using a sweetener like d-allulose in food products. Photo by Witthaya Phonsawat. c/o
  • D-allulose is a new sweetener which helps with controlling and maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Claimed to be ‘the new sugar you can eat without guilt.’

Obesity is a major health issue which is steadily rising throughout the developed nations. It is linked to metabolic syndrome, cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease. However, finding ingredients for producing high quality low-fat foods is not always straightforward. New sugars and low-alcohol sugars such as stevia, erythritol, xylitol, tagatose, sorbitol have been developed for nutritional, sports foods and therapeutic management of weight (Yokozawa et al., 2002).

One ingredient, d-Allose (d-allulose) or d-psicose as it used to be known could be the next non-calorie sweetener. It suppresses a rise in blood glucose levels. It has 78 percent of the sweetness of fructose but has only a metabolic calorie value of 0.39 kcal/g. It is an extremely rare sugar!

From the product development point of view, we that inhabit that world are starting to take notice. The sugar has been on the market since 2015 and has roughly 90% fewer calories than ordinary sucrose.


D-allulose is a C-3 epimer of D-fructose and belongs to the group of sugars called aldohexoses. Its other name is D-ribo-2-hexulose.

Commercial Manufacture Of Allose (d-psicose)

The sugar is not very common in nature but has been isolated from figs, wheat and jackfruit. It has been found in one South African shrub, Protea rubropilosa where it occurs as 6-O-cinnamyl glycoside. It is also found in a fresh water algae called Ochromas malhamensis. There may well be other natural sources that remain to be discovered although at the moment it remains an anomaly in the natural world.

Allose (d-psicose) is commercially produced from wheat, Itea plants, processed cane and beet molasses and from conversion of D-fructose by immobilized enzyme systems (Binkley, 1963; Miller and Swain, 1965; Cree & Perlin, 1968). Tate & Lyle developed a process for producing the sweetener from corn as the primary carbohydrate source. It is then enzymatically converted to allulose.

Cooking converts some fructose into d-allulose and is found to some extent in cola and fruit juices.

It has good solubility in water and some solubility in methanol.

Product Development Opportunities

Suppliers include Matsutani Chemical Industry Co. which has marketed Astraea Allulose. Unlike stevia which is currently the front runner in sucrose replacement, allulose does not have that lingering aftertaste or bitterness. Also look out for Dolcia Prima from Tate & Lyle

A number of product developers consider it to have a slightly less prominent sweetness as well as improving the aroma and overall sweetness of products in which it is added. To recover the 30% loss in sweetness means that other non-caloric sweeteners need to be added. Stevia and monk fruit immediately come to mind.

The types of food that it would work really well in are yogurt, ice cream, cereal, chewing gum, soft and hard candies, dressings, frosting, sweet sauces and syrups, jams and jellies, and nonalcoholic beverages.

Other functional properties, include a low water activity similar to fructose. It also acts as a humectant that prevents them from drying out and it can also prevent the formation of large ice crystals during slow freezing. It is an issue in food manufacture that the formation of large ice crystals ruins the quality of frozen foods.

Being a monosaccharide means that it is subject to Maillard browning reactions which implies that it would a worthwhile substitute for sugar in browning and caramelization. It is also a very effective clean label sweetener and could also be an organic one to boot if the verification of source is made.

Nutritional Benefits Of d-Allulose (D-Psicose) As An Anti-Diabetic Food Ingredient

D-psicose (d-allulose) inhibits liver based enzymes associated with generating fat (Matsuo et al., 2001a) in rats. These are collectively described as hepatic lipogenic enzymes.

The sugar has no calorific value (Matsuo et al., 2002a).

The earliest understanding that d-psicose could help with weight management came with an early indication of the sugar influencing energy metabolism. One area of major interest is the management of diabetes and if an ingredient could be sourced which managed insulin levels in the blood then considerable focus should be made of it. The concentration of glucose in the blood is tightly controlled in a very narrow range by coordinating the secretion of glucagon and insulin (Bosch et al., 1998).

The sugar was found to promote insulin secretion (Murao et al., 2004) and also stimulate visceral or abdominal loss of fat (Matsuo and Izumori, 2006a). In a feeding study, 0.2 g/kg of d-allulose decreases absorption of sugar by inhibiting intestinal α-glucosidase in Wistar rats compared with nontreated animals (Matsuo and Izumori, 2006b).

Studies in rats showed that feeding them with d-psicose reduced their diurnal plasma glucose levels and also raised insulin levels (Matsuo and Izumori, 2006a). Human studies then showed that following food consumption, blood glucose and insulin levels could be suppressed by feeding with D-psicose (>5g) (Lida et al., 2008).

Research in Japan has identified allulose (Iwasaki et al., 2018) as a means to suppress food intake and the release of glucagon-like peptides such as GLP-1. This is a gastrointestinal hormone that is released when food is consumed. It enhances insulin secretion from the pancreas (Hira et al., 2020).

Regulations Concerning Allulose

D-Psicose (allulose) has been approved as generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An application for approval as food for specified health uses has been made to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare.

Allulose has been approved for consumption in at least a dozen countries. These include Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Chile and Israel.

The EU has not yet approved allulose but is in the process of examining this ingredient. A major safety concern was raised which meant that from March 2023, that any requests to approve allulose which meant registration on the EU list were held up pending further investigation by EFSA. To quote EFSA:  

“All NF (Novel Food) dossiers for allulose are currently under clock stop following EFSA’s request to provide additional data. Depending on when applicants will provide the requested information, EFSA will proceed with the safety assessment. Once the additional information will be received, and provided that the safety can be established, then the EC and MSs will have 7 months from the
adoption of the EFSA output to proceed with the authorization decision.”

The latest news is that on July 2023, toxicity studies were submitted relating to applications for allulose as a novel food. These are being investigated.  

Safety Of Allulose

The LD50 value is 16g/kg in rats (Matsuo et al., 2002b) and there is no reported issues with long-term feeding of rate with d-psicose (Yagi and Matsuo, 2009).

The maximum non-effective level of d-psicose is estimated at 0.55 g/kg body weight in the human gastrointestinal system (Lida et al., 2007).

The main reason for lack of full regulatory approval was the recent publication of studies indicating allulose was a substrate for the pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae. We will add further news on the regulatory process when we hear further news.


Binkley, W.W. (1963) The fate of cane juice simple sugars during molasses formation IV. Probable conversion of D-fructose to D-psicose. Int. Sugar J. 65 pp.105–6

Bosch, F., Pujol, A., Valera, A. (1998) Transgenic mice in the analysis of metabolic regulation. Ann. Rev. Nutr. 18 pp. 207–32.

Cree, G.M., Perlin, A.S. (1968) O-Isopropylidene derivatives of D- allulose (D-psicose) and D-erythro-hexopyranose-2, 3-diulose. Can. J. Biochem. 46 pp. 765–70

Iwasaki, Y., Sendo, M., Dezaki, K., Hira, T., Sato, T., Nakata, M., … & Hayakawa, M. (2018). GLP-1 release and vagal afferent activation mediate the beneficial metabolic and chronotherapeutic effects of D-allulose. Nature Communications9(1), pp. 1-17 (Article).

Hira, T., Pinyo, J., & Hara, H. (2020). What Is GLP-1 Really Doing in Obesity?. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 31(2), pp. 71-80 (Article).

Lida, T., Kishimoto, Y., Yoshikawa, Y., Hayashi, N., Okuma, K., Tohi, M., Yagi, K., Matsuo, T., Izumori, K. (2008) Acute D-psicose administration decreases the glycemic responses to an oral maltodextrin tolerance test in normal adults. J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 54(6) pp. 511–4.

Matsuo, T., Baba, Y., Hashiguchi, M., Takeshita, K., Izumori, K., Suzuki, H. (2001a) Dietary D-psicose, a C-3 epimer of D-fructose, suppresses the activity of hepatic lipogenic enzymes in rats. Asia Pac. J. Clin. Nutr. 10(3) pp. 233–7.

Matsuo, T., Izumori, K. (2006a) Effects of dietary D-psicose on diurnal variation in plasma glucose and insulin concentrations of rats. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 70 pp. 2081–5

Matsuo, T. and Izumori, K. (2006b) D-psicose inhibits intestinal α-glucosidase and suppresses glycemic response after carbohydrate ingestion in rats. Tech. Bull. Fac. Agr. Kagawa Univ. 58 pp. 27–32

Matsuo, T., Suzuki, H., Hashiguchi, M., Izumori, K. (2002a) D-psicose is a rare sugar that provides no energy to growing rats. J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 48 pp. 77–80.

Matsuo, T., Tanaka, T., Hashiguchi, M., Izumori, K., Suzuki, H. (2002b) Effects of oral acute administration and subchronic feeding of several levels of D-psicose in rats. J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 48 pp. 512–6

Miller, B.S., Swain, T. (1965) Chromatographic analyses of the free amino acids, organic acids and sugars in wheat plant extracts. J. Sci. Food Agric. 11 pp. 344–8

Murao, K., Cao, W., Imachi, H., Yu, X., Abe, H., Nagao, S., Yoshida, K., Muraoka, T., Kotsuna, N., Ishida T. (2004) Is D-psicose of therapeutic value in decrease such as diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis? Abstract of Rare Sugar Congress in Kagawa, 40

Toyoda, Y., Mori, S., Umemura, N., Nimura, Y., Inoue, H., and Hata, T. (2010) Suppression of blood glucose levels by D-psicose in glucose tolerance test in diabetic rats. Jpn. Pharmacol. Ther. 38 pp. 261–269

Yagi, K., Matsuo, T. (2009) The study on long-term toxicity of D-psicose in rats. J. Clin. Biochem. Nutr. 45 pp. 271–7 (Article).

Yokozawa, T., Kim, H.Y., Cho, E.J. (2002) Erythritol attenuates the diabetic oxidative stress through modulating glucose metabolism and lipid peroxidation in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Agric. Food Chem. 50(19) pp. 5485–9.

Revision 1: 1st August 2023 –  Article amended in the light of new information on safety with a pathogen and changes in EFSA’s regulation. 

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