WASHINGTON — The US Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 16 requested information about sugars like D-tagatose and isomaltulose that are metabolized differently than sugar. Such information eventually could lead the FDA to change how the sweeteners are labeled on the Nutrition Facts Label in a way that could make sugar reduction less difficult to achieve. The FDA also officially stated allulose does not count as sugar or added sugar on the Nutrition Facts Label.

“The FDA is committed to providing information to manufacturers regarding the new Nutrition Facts Label, which is why today we are also seeking information on certain sugars and sweeteners that are metabolized differently than other traditional sugars,” said Susan Mayne, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “We know that some manufacturers are looking for ways to reformulate their products to reduce the sugar content while still providing products that meet consumer preferences. The use of sugars and sweeteners that provide fewer calories, that are not associated with dental cavities, and that result in a lower glycemic and insulinemic response than other sugars could be one way for industry to make products that help consumers meet dietary recommendations to limit added sugars intake.”

After being consumed, traditional sugar has 4 calories per gram and increases blood glucose and insulin levels, but non-traditional sugars in some cases provide fewer calories, lead to lower blood glucose and insulin levels after meals relative to traditional sugars, and/or may not cause cavities, according to the FDA.

Allulose, a monosaccharide, is a “rare sugar,” meaning it is found in small amounts in natural sources like wheat, fruit and other foods.

The FDA issued draft guidance on allulose in the April 18, 2019, issue of the Federal Register, which may be found here. The FDA at that time said it would exercise enforcement discretion for the exclusion of allulose from the amount of total sugars and added sugars declared on the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts label and that allulose has 0.4 calories per gram. Allulose produces a negligible increase in glycemic and insulinemic responses and is not readily fermented in the large intestine, according to the FDA, which added allulose does not promote dental caries.