fruits with allulose

What is Allulose?

Alternative sweeteners have been around for decades. But they often come with drawbacks including bitter aftertaste, poor cooking qualities, or being highly processed. Allulose has recently gained popularity as an alternative sweetener for addressing some of these weaknesses.

Is it everything they say it is? Let’s take a look at what allulose is, its benefits, and drawbacks.


What is allulose?

Allulose is what is known as a rare sugar because it is naturally present in only a few foods like figs, dates, raisins, grapes, and maple syrup. However, commercial allulose is made by converting fructose, which is found in corn and other plants, to allulose.

It’s popular as an alternative sweetener since it’s around 70% percent as sweet as sugar with only 10 percent of the calories. On a chemical level, it is the same as fructose but with a different arrangement that results in the body metabolizing it differently. For example, regular sugar is metabolized and converted to energy or stored as fat. Allulose, on the other hand, mostly leaves the body through urine unchanged.


Is Allulose Safe?

Allulose has been generally found to be safe. It’s shown positive to mixed results in animal studies. A 12-week study in dogs found no negative health effects and a 48-week study of 90 people didn’t find any negative effects either. However, a test-tube study on mice tissue found it might lead to muscle cell injury under simulated exercise.

Generally, things are looking promising for allulose, but as a new sweetener, there is more research needed to understand and confirm its long-term health effects.


The Benefits of Allulose

From what we know so far, allulose has several major benefits.


Allulose Bakes like Regular Sugar

Banana bread made with allulose

There are a few other alternative sweeteners that may taste like sugar. But allulose sets itself apart in that it bakes and browns like sugar. This is important because baked goods made with other alternative sweeteners are known for not being able to achieve the same taste and texture. These goods also suffer from dryness and going stale quickly.

As a result, you can still get golden browning on your baked goods, chewy dessert bars, and sauces without graininess. Find out more about cooking with allulose here.


Tastes like Regular Sugar

Artificial sweeteners have a reputation for weird aftertastes and products that just taste off somehow. Allulose, in contrast, reportedly tastes pretty much like regular sugar and in a study of 16 sweeteners was rated as one of sugar’s most viable replacements. It’s not quite 1:1 though, allulose is only about 70% as sweet as regular sugar.


Low in Calories

Bathroom scale

Allulose mostly doesn’t get metabolized in the body, but it’s not exactly zero-calorie or non-nutritive. It provides approximately 10 percent of the calories of sugar at 0.2–0.4 calories per gram.


Blood-Glucose Levels

Another benefit of the fact that allulose doesn’t metabolize is that it won’t spike insulin levels. Unexpectedly, it’s actually been found to improve blood glucose levels in those who don’t have diabetes.

Because of this and its cooking properties, it might be a suitable sweetener for keto-friendly desserts and other foods. Keep in mind that flour and other ingredients have their own carbs.


Allulose Doesn’t Cause Tooth Decay

Bacteria and plaque metabolize sugar and release acids that damage tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. Allulose doesn’t get metabolized this way and is better for your teeth as a result.


The Downsides of Allulose



Allulose is expensive to produce and there isn’t much of it that occurs naturally so it’s not as affordable or cost-effective as many other alternative sweeteners.



Most people won’t experience problems within the recommended consumption guidelines (0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight) but some individuals with specific sensitivities and those who consume more than the recommended amount will experience digestive upset.


Other Frequently Asked Questions about Allulose


Is Allulose the Same as Stevia?

Allulose and stevia are both low-calorie sweeteners, but they’re not the same. Allulose is a sugar that occurs naturally in some foods, including figs and wheat. Stevia sweetener is an extract from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, the sweetness of which comes from stevioside and rebaudioside A and C.

Is Allulose FDA-Approved?

Allulose is generally recognized as safe by the FDA and has been approved for use as a sugar substitute in baked goods, chewing gum, hard candy, frozen dairy desserts, yogurt, cereals, and carbonated and non-carbonated diet drinks.

Who Shouldn’t Eat Allulose?

A very small group of people are allergic to alternative sweeteners. These individuals should avoid allulose.


Bottom Line

Allulose is an FDA-approved sweetener that occurs naturally in small amounts. It has many promising health benefits without many of the drawbacks that other alternative sweeteners have. As a result, it could be an aid in weight loss and blood sugar management.*

However, it’s not right for everyone. Those who have allergy problems with alternative sweeteners should still avoid allulose.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. If you have immediate concerns about your health, please seek the help of your physician. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.


Bowl of erythritol sweetener

What is Erythritol and Is It Safe?

With sugar and its negative health effects increasingly coming into focus, alternative sweeteners are more popular than ever.

As such, you may have now heard of the sweetener erythritol and have questions about whether it’s safe, if it’s healthy, and more. Although it seems new, it’s actually been around for some time. In fact, it occurs naturally in some foods and has been in use as a sweetener since 1990.

What is erythritol?

Erythritol is what’s known as a sugar alcohol. These are compounds that chemically resemble sugar and alcohol (it’s worth noting they don’t contain any actual alcohol). They occur naturally in certain foods and come from plant products such as fruits and berries.

Sugar alcohols have a sweet taste and are lower in calories than regular sugar and as a result, are a popular ingredient in low-calorie and low-sugar foods. Other sugar alcohols you see on food labels include isomalt, xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol.

Erythritol sets itself apart from other sugar alcohols due to its much lower calorie content. For example, erythritol contains only 0.24 calories per gram vs 2.4 calories per gram in xylitol, 2.6 calories per gram for sorbitol, and 4 calories per gram for sugar. Even with its tremendously lower calorie content, erythritol is nearly as sweet as sugar (around 70%) so it’s easy to understand its increasing popularity.

Is Erythritol Safe?

Generally, erythritol has been found to be safe to consume. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as it naturally occurs in foods like fruits and vegetables though in small amounts.

Although erythritol is safe to consume, certain populations will want to know exactly how it will interact with their bodies in a few key areas.

Erythritol and Gut Health

Erythritol is well-tolerated by healthy people with no existing digestive issues. However, those with IBS, SIBO, or who have had bad reactions may want to avoid erythritol as it can make symptoms worse.

Most sugar alcohols remain undigested until reaching the colon where they are fermented and release gases that cause bloating and discomfort. Unlike other sugar alcohols, erythritol doesn’t seem to have this effect. Instead, it mostly gets absorbed into the bloodstream before reaching the colon. After that, it mostly passes through the urine unchanged.

How Erythritol Metabolizes

When erythritol is consumed, around 90% enters the bloodstream and 10% makes its way to the intestines where some is excreted unchanged and some is digested by intestinal bacteria at the lower part of the large intestine, thereby generating short-chain fatty acids and other organic acids.

Erythritol and Blood-Glucose Levels

Erythritol has not been found to spike blood-glucose levels in healthy individuals or those with diabetes. Extremely small-scale studies found no negative effect in diabetic patients after ingesting erythritol one time in one study and consuming it regularly over the course of two weeks in a separate study.

Many sugar-free foods contain calories and carbohydrates from other sources so erythritol-sweetened foods should still be eaten with care.

Erythritol and Heart Health

small pilot study suggests erythritol might improve circulation by way of improving small-vessel endothelial function, especially for those with diabetes. The data also points to an ability to improve circulation by way of reducing arterial stiffness.

With these findings, erythritol might have a slightly positive effect on heart health.

*The linked study did not have a control group and further studies are needed to say whether this benefit is conclusive and not a result of outside factors like participants exercising more or eating better.

Erythritol and Dental Health

Erythritol, unlike sugar, doesn’t have any damaging effects on teeth and may even have a positive impact on dental health.

The reason this happens is that when sugar is consumed, the bacteria in the mouth feeds on it and release acids that damage tooth enamel. Studies have indicated that erythritol, on the other hand, may even suppress the growth of these bacteria directly. Studies have yet to show any definitive link between erythritol use and a decrease in tooth cavities though.

How Much Erythritol is Okay to Consume?

There are no official guidelines but people can generally tolerate 1 gram of erythritol per 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight.

This means the average American man, weighing 90 kilograms (199 pounds) could safely tolerate 90 grams of erythritol per day while the average American woman weighing 77 kilograms (170 pounds) could tolerate 77 grams of erythritol.

How to Use Erythritol

You can generally use erythritol the same way you would use sugar; add it to your coffee or try using it in place of sugar in your baking. Keep in mind that erythritol is only about 70% as sweet as sugar. Recipes might need some adjustment and you may find the textures to be slightly different.

Bottom Line

Erythritol is an increasingly popular alternative sweetener that falls into the category of sugar alcohols. Its key benefits are that it’s been found to be safe for those with diabetes, is low in calories, and may even help with dental health. Those who already have gut health conditions like IBD, IBS or Crohn’s may still want to use it with caution.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. If you have immediate concerns about your health, please seek the help of your physician. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Chicken and Vegetables

9 Foods for Strong Bones and Muscles

As we age, quality of life comes into focus. What does it mean? Well, one of the biggest aspects is mobility. Staying mobile relies on strong bones and muscles both of which weaken as we age. Fortunately, with the right nutrients along and regular activity, we can preserve their strength as we age.


What Nutrients are Needed for Strong Bones and Muscles?

The two most obvious and important are protein and calcium. Additionally, you should aim to get enough vitamin D, collagen, magnesium, and zinc.


Protein is something that most people don’t have trouble getting enough of but the baseline recommendation is about 56 grams of protein per day for men, and about 46 grams per day for women. Those who are physically active may need more protein.

Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption and you should aim for 600 IU daily.

Collagen is known for making skin supple but there are several types. Overall, ⅓ of our bones and 30% of all protein in the body is made of collagen.

Magnesium contributes to bone stabilization and to bone growth and mineralization.  Men should aim for 400-420 mg and women should aim for 310-320 mg daily.

Zinc Zinc is another mineral required for normal skeletal growth and bone homeostasis. The recommended intake is 11 mg a day for men and 8 mg for women


Now that we know what we need, here are some foods that are excellent sources.



Normally discussed for digestive benefits, yogurt also has a lot to offer for building strong bones and muscles.

The average 8 oz cup of yogurt contains around 30% of your recommended calcium intake (around 448 mg) and 12 grams of protein. Some brands are fortified with vitamin D but not always so take a look at the nutrition facts. Also, Greek yogurt’s nutrition profile is a little different with slightly more protein (20 grams) and less calcium (around 18% of your recommended daily intake).



Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, should be on your menu at least 1-2 times per week. Salmon is an excellent source of protein, omega-3, and vitamin D. Omega-3 has been known to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels but recent studies show that it also helps to preserve bone density as we age. If you don’t like salmon, other alternatives are anchovies, herring, mackerel, and black cod.

Try having your fish with the skin on for added collagen.


Bowl of tofu

A half-cup (about half of a block) of Tofu offers 860 milligrams of calcium, 17 grams of protein and around 14% of your daily value of magnesium and zinc.  As an added bonus, tofu is plant-based and thus free of fat and cholesterol.

Tofu’s naturally mild flavor makes it an extremely versatile meat substitute that can be used in dozens of ways.



Flax Seeds

Seeds are another excellent plant-based source of protein and calcium. They’re also rich in dietary fiber, healthy fats, phosphorus, iron, and potassium. You can eat seeds on their own, blend them into a smoothie or sprinkle on top of other foods for added nutritional value.


Almond Butter

Protein Packed Almond Butter

Most nut butters are packed with protein and come with a rich creamy texture that has made them a staple in every cupboard. But before you reach for the peanut butter again, try out almond butter. Almond butter has more calcium (55 mg vs 8 mg) and more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Overall, almond butter is a bone and muscle superfood.


Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens are excellent sources of calcium, magnesium, vitamin c, and vitamin k. We need calcium to build strong bones but we need vitamin K to retain them. Studies have shown that not having enough vitamin K raises the risk of developing osteoporosis as we age.



Beans are one of the superstars of this list since they’re inexpensive, extremely versatile, and provide nutrients for strong bones and muscles. Whether you choose black, pinto, white, or kidney beans, you’ll have a calcium-rich and protein-packed meal with zinc to boot.

Quick tip: If you’re preparing dry beans, make sure to soak them in water for several hours to rid them of phytates. These substances interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the calcium in beans.



Carton of eggs

Eggs used to raise alarm bells about cholesterol. But more recent research has shown they don’t contribute to higher blood cholesterol levels. This is great news because eggs are a bone and muscle powerhouse. Each chicken egg contains 25 mg of calcium, 6 grams of protein, and a small amount of vitamin D.


Fortified Foods

Those who don’t eat much dairy or have lactose intolerance may have trouble getting enough calcium and key minerals. Fortified foods can help fill in the gaps. These foods are supplemented with additional vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin D.  Common fortified foods include cereal, nut milk like almond, oat, and soy milk, and orange juice.


Bottom Line

As the years go on, you appreciate your mobility more and more. Add these foods to your diet to maintain strong bones and muscles in addition to exercise, and proper sleep.

Stevia vs Sugar

As people recognize some of the downsides of sugar, certain alternative sweeteners are gaining popularity and recognition. Because of this, you’re probably seeing Stevia everywhere, and with good reason. It’s plant-based, free of calories, and doesn’t seem to negatively affect digestion or blood sugar.

So let’s take a deeper look at Stevia and how it compares to sugar.


What is Stevia?

Stevia sweeteners simply referred to as Stevia, are derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Stevia is typically 250-300 times sweeter than sugar. Although you may have only recently heard of stevia, the plants have been enjoyed for their sweetness and medicinal properties for hundreds of years.


How is Stevia Made

Stevia sweeteners are made by extracting steviol glycosides from the leaves of the stevia plant and purifying them to remove their bitter aftertaste.

The process of extracting steviol glycosides from leaves normally follows four steps.


1. Stevia leaves are picked and dried.

2. Then, the leaves are steeped in hot water.

3. Leaf particles and solids are filtered out of the liquid.

4. The resulting liquid goes through several further stages of filtering and centrifuging.


The resulting product must then be 95% steviol glycosides to be considered food-grade stevia. Manufacturers then choose how to package the stevia by form and usage. Pure stevia extract is so much sweeter than sugar (250-300 times) that using it can be somewhat difficult so additives like maltodextrin, dextrose, inulin, or erythritol are often added to provide volume.


How is Sugar Made

Sugar, like stevia, is also extracted from plants specifically sugar cane and sometimes sugar beets both of which are mostly grown in tropical climates. Most plants also contain sugar in their tissues but not in the amounts which would be practical or economical to extract. The manufacturing process starts with crushing sugar cane, then heating the resulting juice, filtering, and a series of crystallization steps to create crystals of raw sugar. Then several other processes take place that creates molasses and white sugar crystals.


The Benefits of Stevia

As a newer alternative sweetener, the studies on stevia are smaller in scale but there are promising signs that stevia can provide the following benefits.


Weight Management

Stevia’s lack of calories means that if one partially or fully replaces sugar with stevia, then weight loss is possible. There’s always the concern that one can overestimate the benefits and overcompensate with other calories or even experience increased cravings. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case with stevia.

In a small-scale study of 31 adults, those who ate a 290-calorie snack made with stevia ate the same amount of food at the next meal as those who ate a 500-calorie snack made with sugar. The stevia group also reported similar levels of fullness meaning they felt just as full while eating fewer calories. More data is needed but this is a promising indication of how stevia can be used for weight maintenance.


Blood Glucose Levels

Stevia doesn’t raise blood sugar levels and may even positively contribute to the health of the pancreas. In a small-scale controlled study of 34 patients with type 2 diabetes, the group who had stevia-sweetened tea for 8 weeks didn’t see any difference in fasting blood sugar vs the control group nor did they have any differences in insulin, glycosylated hemoglobin or lipid levels.


Might be Beneficial for Heart Health

Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels are something to watch out for as they can be precursors to heart disease. Stevia might have minor positive effects on both of these or at least doesn’t seem to have the same damaging effect as sugar.

In one study, women consumed 20 milligrams of stevia extract in a glass of water for one month. At the end of the study, the women experienced lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, decreased triglycerides, and increased HDL (good) cholesterol. The study notes that it’s uncertain whether a smaller amount of stevia consumed more occasionally would yield the same sort of benefit.


Stevia’s Downsides


Stevia extracts might be neutral to your blood sugar but certain brands of stevia sweeteners contain additives that may not be. For example, the popular additive maltodextrin can negatively affect blood sugar levels for some people.

Stevia has an Aftertaste

Stevia, though sweet, has a slightly different taste than sugar and many people report a slightly bitter aftertaste.


How Stevia Metabolizes vs Sugar

Steviol glycosides pass through the upper digestive system largely unchanged before reaching the colon where gut microbes break off the glucose molecules and use them as an energy source. The remaining steviol backbone is then metabolized by the liver and excreted through urine.

Glucose from sugar, on the other hand, causes the pancreas to release insulin which causes cells to take in the glucose returning serum levels to normal. Insulin will turn off fat burning and promote glucose burning as the body’s primary fuel source. Any excess glucose ends up being stored as glycogen in the muscles or as fat in the body’s tissues.

Those explanations may be a bit abstract but the experience of metabolizing stevia vs sugar will be drastically different. While stevia’s non-nutritive properties allow you to not really experience much difference, sugar will cause crashes and subsequent cravings in the near term. Excessive sugar consumption in the long term can result in higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease which are all linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.


Is Stevia Healthier than Sugar?

As a non-nutritive sweetener that doesn’t seem to increase blood glucose levels or cravings, stevia could be a healthy alternative to sugar. However, studies on stevia are sparse and long-term studies on the matter haven’t really been conducted.

The best steps to take for health seem to be reducing overall calorie intake, eating whole foods, and reducing your intake of sweets whether they’re made with sugar or stevia. And, of course, getting adequate sleep and exercise.


How to Use Stevia

You can generally use stevia like you would table sugar; Add a bit to your coffee or cereal for that desired sweetness. Note that if you’re baking, stevia won’t brown the way sugar does and it can also affect the texture of your baked goods. Some have found success by mixing sugar and stevia to dampen the aftertaste while reducing overall sugar content.


Bottom Line

With the recent popularity of stevia, many wonder whether it can be a healthy alternative to sugar, with all early indications and speculation seeming to point to this. Sugar can be destructive to the body in a number of ways so it’s important to look for ways to consume less whether it’s by gradually cutting back or making substitutions with alternatives like stevia.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. If you have immediate concerns about your health, please seek the help of your physician. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Picture of cosmetic products on a plain white table.

Shop Smarter: How to Find Non-Toxic Personal Care Products

We’re constantly shopping Natural, Organic, and Non-GMO when it comes to what we put in our bodies but what about the things we put on our bodies? Shampoos, makeup, moisturizer, nail polish; We’re often just covering ourselves in these without giving the ingredients much thought if any.

Are Toxic Cosmetics Something to Really Be Concerned About?

Put simply, yes. Recently, the independent laboratory, Valisure, analyzed a range of dry shampoo products. Among them, 70% contained benzene, with 11 samples exceeding the FDA allowable limit by 10 times leading to a recall. Benzene is so toxic though that it is dangerous in any amount.

If benzene, a banned substance, is in so many products, it may be time to rethink our personal care products and look for cleaner alternatives.


Top Tips for Avoiding Toxic Cosmetics

1. Use Online Tools to Make Better Buying Choices

Here are a few apps and buying guides to make the process a little easier.

Clearya is a Chrome extension and mobile app for android and ios. As you shop for personal care products on Amazon, Wal-Mart, Sephora, Target or iHerb’s websites, Clearya will alert you about ingredients of concern and help you find safer alternatives.

EWG’s Healthy Living App has been featured in the likes of TIME, Bloomberg, and Goop.  It allows you to scan bar codes and read ratings for more than 120,000 food and personal care products at the time of this writing.

ThinkDirty is an app that also lets you scan the bar code of a product in question to identify and learn more about questionable ingredients. Their website also offers a monthly subscription box of clean beauty products from brands they’ve verified.


Also, check out these buying guides from The Good Face Project


2. Think Simple

Look for products with shorter, more simple ingredient lists. A good sign is that ingredient names are easy to read. Avoid labels with catchall terms like “fragrance” or “parfum” which allow manufacturers to hide ingredients they don’t want to declare.

Remember, many cosmetics were found to have high levels of toxic ingredients that were never supposed to be there at all.


3. Beware of Buzzwords

Many of the terms that are supposed to provide assurance don’t have much substance to back them up. So you’ll want to do some digging and read through the individual ingredients.

Ironically, you can disregard terms like “non-toxic” “simple”  or “eco-friendly.” These are unregulated terms that won’t provide much insight into the actual contents of your cosmetics.

If the label says “Organic,” try to find out if the entire product has been certified organic or only some percentage of the ingredients.


4. Also on the Label

Look for official, third-party-regulated symbols rather than manufacturer symbols that are used for marketing purposes.

Third-party certifications that apply to cosmetics include the following: 



Made Safe Seal

MADE SAFE is a health and ecosystem-focused product certification program. It certifies that products have been screened against a database of toxins and harmful chemicals. They further analyze the ingredients for bioaccumulation, persistence, and aquatic toxicity.



EWG verified badge

EWG Verified is a stringent certification in which cosmetic products must score a “green” rating of 1 or 2 within the Skin Deep database. To achieve this verification, all ingredients including fragrances must be declared.



NPA certified seal

This certification, made specifically for personal care products, requires 95% of ingredients to be of natural origin. Products with this label also cannot contain ingredients with any suspected human health risks. This certification goes further to require no animal testing of products.


5. Consider Making Your Own Personal Care Products

Some personal care products are easy to make yourself with just a few ingredients. Many cultures have made their own for generations. Even though it’s a bit more work, it doesn’t have to be boring and tedious. Just like with canning, jarring and pickling, you can make it into a social event.

Learn how to make your own personal care products from Wellness Mama.


Ingredients to Avoid



Parabens are preservatives used in some cosmetics because they prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi and lengthen a product’s shelf life.

What makes them risky is that they can be absorbed through the skin and disrupt hormones. Further, parabens have been found in nearly all urine samples in studies of US adults. This has downstream environmental impacts because parabens have been detected in surface waters and only a small amount can harm coral and other marine life. Luckily, product makers are coming out with more paraben-free alternatives.



Phthalates are another type of preservative used in cosmetics that also have “plasticizing properties” such as making some nail polish less brittle.

What makes these chemicals particularly concerning is that they’re often not explicitly named on the ingredients list. Instead, they’re covered by the catchall term “fragrances.” Phthalates can possibly cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system.



Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent added to soaps and sanitizers. Its use in these products was banned in 2017 but it can still be found in products like toothpaste, or body wash. In animal studies, the chemical was found to be a hormone disruptor although further studies are needed to know how this would affect humans. Of further concern is how easily triclosan is absorbed into the body. In one study, 60% of human breast milk samples contained the chemical showing how easily absorbed and persistent it is. More information from the FDA on triclosan.


This short list represents some chemicals of concern found in many mainstream products. But there are many other chemicals of concern where the data isn’t as conclusive yet. For those, take a look at The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ List of Chemicals of Concern.


Bottom Line

What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it. The products we choose don’t just matter to us but to the environment because of bioaccumulation and persistence. Fortunately, there are many resources to help you buy better products or even make your own.