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Rare sugars may help control blood glucose, study says

Scientists discover a rare sugar may be effective at regulating blood glucose and could be a good alternative to low-calorie sweeteners.

By Amy Wallace
Rare sugars may help control blood glucose, study says
New research suggests the rare sugar allulose, among others, can regulate blood glucose levels more effectively than sucrose. Photo by jackmac34/PixaBay

March 8 (UPI) -- Researchers found in animal studies that the natural rare sugar allulose can help regulate blood glucose levels leading to less weight gain and abdominal fat.

The use of high-fructose corn syrup to sweeten food products has been linked to risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity, driving the search for other sweeteners without the health risks corn syrup and sucrose pose.

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Sucrose, a natural sweetener, is commonly used in food products in the United States because it is abundantly available and easy to extract from sugar cane. Allulose, on the other hand, is a natural sugar that is 70 percent as sweet as sucrose and is found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables.

Researchers, however, developed a way to produce allulose in large quantities from high-fructose corn syrup and they are now investigating how allulose and other rare sugars may regulate blood glucose more effectively than sucrose.

The researchers gave three groups of rats plain water, water with high-fructose corn syrup and water with rare-sugar syrup, or RSS, which contained glucose, fructose, allulose and other rare sugars for a 10-week period.

The rats given the RSS-infused water gained less weight, had less abdominal fat, lower blood glucose and lower insulin levels compared to rats that drank the high-fructose corn syrup water. The study also found that the liver cells' nuclei in rats given the RSS mixture exported higher amounts of an enzyme that reduces blood-sugar levels by converting glucose to glycogen.

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The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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