Everything You Need to Know About Today's Most Popular Sweeteners

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Everything You Need to Know About Today's Most Popular Sweeteners

From molasses to monk fruit, nineteen different ways to sweeten your food.

Whether it's cheat day or you're looking for a quick way to replenish glycogen stores after a crazy-intense workout, finding a smart way to indulge your sweet tooth can get confusing when there are dozens of sugars and sugar alternatives on the market, from agave to monk fruit to stevia to date syrup. Especially with this latest advancement.

“There's a new candidate in the century-old quest for perfect, guiltless sweetness,” NPR reports. “It’s called allulose.”

Tate & Lyle, the British company who introduced the sugar cube in 1875, followed by Splenda in 1999, invented the sugar substitute and presented it at the 2015 Institute of Food Technologists. 

This rare sugar is found in nature and, chemically speaking, is almost identical to ordinary sugar. It has the same formula, only the hydrogen and oxygen atoms are arranged slightly differently from that of fructose and glucose. Because of this, your body won’t turn it into calories. 

Tate & Lyle conducted a study and found two-thirds of their 14-person study group that consumed alluose excreted the compound in their urine without it being significantly metabolized. Basically, the sugar didn't ferment or break down in the body. Is this sweet, sweet news too good to be true? It’s hard to tell yet, but some say yes. 

Once this compound enters your food supply, what does it do to your microbiome—the environment of microbes living in your gut—and what effect does this have on the rest of your body?

Stay tuned as the hunt for the ultimate sugar substitute continues. And in the meantime, take a look at other popular sweeteners circulating in grocery stores near you, and where they fall on the glycemic index. (The lower a food's GI, the less of an effect it has on blood sugar and insulin levels; pure glucose ranks at 100 and sits at the top of the glycemic index.) We've compiled the facts on what you’re putting in your body.

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