Allulose vs Monk Fruit: Which Sweetener is Healthier?

Last Updated: April 19, 2024

Allulose vs monk fruit- which one is better? As a dietitian, I often get asked this question. 

Allulose and monk fruit, two naturally derived sweeteners, provide the sweetness many of us crave without the added calories and sugar. But what really sets them apart, and how do you choose the right one for your health goals?

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between allulose and monk fruit, covering everything from their origins and health benefits to their side effects and best uses in your diet.

Whether you’re trying to manage diabetes, lose weight, or just cut down on added sugar, this post will give you all the information you need to help you make a decision on which is best for you. 

This post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase. It’s an easy way to support my blog at no cost to you.

What is Allulose?

Allulose, a low calorie sweetener, occurs naturally in small amounts in foods like wheat and dried fruits such as figs and raisins, making it a rare sugar.

Allulose is very similar to the sugar fructose, but what makes it stand out is the way it’s metabolized. Unlike regular sugar, the body doesn’t fully metabolize allulose, so it excretes most of it.

On the nutrition facts label, you’ll find allulose listed in the ingredient list and also under “Total Carbohydrate” (1). 

Manufacturers produce most store-bought allulose from corn.

Calorie Content

Allulose sweetener provides only about 0.4 calories per gram, compared to the 4 calories per gram of sugar (2). This makes it a great option if you’re looking for a lower calorie sweetener. 

Sweetness Level

Allulose is about 70% as sweet as table sugar (3), so it provides a decent amount of sweetness with only a fraction of calories. Because it’s not as sweet as sugar, you may need to use more of it or combine it with other sweeteners to achieve the desired sweetness level.

Impact on Blood Sugar

Studies have shown that allulose does not raise blood sugar levels in people with (4) and without (5) diabetes.

This makes it a great option if you want to enjoy something sweet while keeping your blood sugar levels in check. 

Safety

The FDA has placed allulose on the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) list, so it’s considered safe to consume and use in foods and beverages.

What is Monk Fruit?

Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a small fruit native to Southeast Asia. It’s been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, and it’s now gaining popularity as a natural sweetener.

Monk fruit is very sweet; up to 300 times sweeter than sugar (6). It contributes zero calories, making it an effective sugar substitute.

It usually comes in the form of powder or as a liquid extract. Many monk fruit products are blended with other sweeteners, such as erythritol, to balance its sweetness and lower the cost.

Calorie Content

Monk fruit sweetener is calorie-free, so it’s a great choice if your goal is weight loss or you’re just trying to cut down on sugar.

Sweetness Level

Given the intensity of sweetness, monk fruit is often used in very small amounts. The amount you use will depend on the product you buy- whether it’s powder or liquid, and what it’s being used for. 

Impact on Blood Sugar

One small study in healthy individuals showed that monk fruit does not raise blood sugar levels after a meal (7). While no studies have been done specifically on people with diabetes, it’s a good alternative to sugar for people trying to reduce their sugar intake.  

Is Monk Fruit Safe?

Like allulose, the FDA has recognized monk fruit sweeteners as safe for the general population. 

Allulose vs Monk Fruit Side Effects

While allulose and monk fruit offer many benefits as sugar substitutes, they’re not without their potential side effects. Here’s what to consider before incorporating them into your diet:

Digestive Issues

Although generally well-tolerated, some people might experience digestive discomfort such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea after consuming allulose, especially if in high amounts. 

This is due to the fact that allulose is not completely absorbed by the body and can ferment in the gut.

If you have sensitive digestion or a condition like IBS, start with small amounts of allulose to see how your body reacts. 

Monk fruit doesn’t have the same effect, but most commercially available monk fruit products are mixed with erythritol. High amounts of erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol, can also cause digestive discomfort in a similar way to allulose. 

Aftertaste 

Monk fruit has a slightly bitter aftertaste that some people may be sensitive to and find unpleasant. If that’s the case for you, you may not want to use it in your recipes. 

Availability and Cost

Being newer on the market, allulose and monk fruit can be harder to find and more expensive than traditional sweeteners and some other sugar alternatives.

Limited Research

Because they are relatively new sugar substitutes, allulose and monk fruit are lacking long-term research compared to more established sweeteners. 

While current studies support their safety and benefits, ongoing research is needed to fully understand their health effects over time. 

Allulose vs Monk Fruit Health Benefits 

Allulose and monk fruit are simply sugar alternatives, meaning their purpose is to sweeten but not to provide much nutrition (like sugar). And that’s okay- not everything we eat is for the purpose of nutrition. 

But they can definitely have health benefits depending on what your health goals are. 

For example, if you’re managing diabetes, both allulose and monk fruit are great options as they do not increase blood sugar levels. By eating less added sugar and having more controlled blood sugar levels, this provides health benefits for diabetes management. 

The complete absence of calories and carbs in monk fruit might give it a slight advantage over allulose for blood sugar management. 

If you’re looking to lose weight by reducing your caloric intake, both can be good options when compared to regular sugar and other natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. 

Side note: many unrefined sweeteners like honey and maple syrup have been getting lots of attention because they’re less processed and are thought to be better for you. Read this post to learn more about if this is true. 

How to Use Them in Recipes

Both allulose and monk fruit are versatile sweeteners that can be used in baked goods, cooking, and beverages.

Because allulose is slightly less sweet than traditional sugar, you may need to adjust the amount, or combine it with another sweetener to make your recipe sweeter. 

Allulose is popular for baking since it browns similar to sugar. It’s also used in frozen desserts like ice cream. 

On the other hand, since monk fruit is so sweet, you only need a small amount. I find that it’s perfect for sweetening beverages like tea (iced or hot) and oatmeal without adding calories. Check out this overnight oats recipe using monk fruit as the sweetener.

Because it’s used in small amounts, when baking, the other ingredients in the recipe likely need to be adjusted to make up for the lack of volume you would get from regular sugar.

Because of their differences, monk fruit can’t be used instead of allulose in baking and vice versa, unless the other ingredients are modified.

Final Thoughts

Both allulose and monk fruit are safe, effective, and versatile sugar substitutes, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. 

They allow you to enjoy sweets without sabotaging your health goals, whether you’re managing diabetes, trying to lose weight, or just aiming for a healthier lifestyle.

But remember that choosing the right sweetener isn’t just about swapping sugar for a lower calorie option; it’s about improving your overall diet without compromising on taste or satisfaction. Because at the end of the day, those things are important too. 

Whether you choose allulose, monk fruit, or a combination of both, make sure you’re enjoying them in moderation. Because like anything else, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. 

Have you tried using allulose or monk fruit in your recipes? Share your experiences below!

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