A natural, low calorie, healthy sweetener that you may not have heard of

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Over consumption of added sugar can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity which are becoming more common worldwide. We know that sugar is sweet and delicious, it can be found in processed food, soft drinks, baked goods, actually pretty much everywhere. It also creates addictions for many people which leads then to emotional eating. 

So what about sugar alternatives? There are some good ones such as stevia and monk fruit. However, one specific natural sugar alternative called D-allulose is worth talking about because it is not just an alternative, it actually also acts as a supplement. 

Allulose is a rare sugar naturally found in small quantities in wheat, sugar cane, certain fruits (like figs and raisins), and other foods. Unlike regular sugar, allulose is absorbed by the body but not metabolized, making it virtually calorie free so it has no impact on blood glucose and insulin levels, something that’s very important especially if you are pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes. Allulose contains approximately 0.2 to 0.4 calories per gram, significantly less than the 4 calories per gram found in sucrose (table sugar). In addition, it blocks the GLP-1 pathway which helps reduce your hunger, so can be beneficial if you want to lose weight. It closely mimics the taste and texture of sucrose, making it an ideal sugar substitute in baking and cooking. It can even improve the texture and stability of some foods, especially those containing egg-white protein.

So not only is it a sugar substitute, preliminary research has shown no harmful effects and suggests that allulose may have antioxidant properties and act as a dietary supplement that helps improve insulin resistance, fat metabolism, brain protection, and prevent atherosclerosis and regulate glucolipid metabolism. It is thought to lower systolic blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular disease risk, and support gut health with its prebiotic effects, enhancing digestion. It can also promote satiety, assisting in weight control.

Allulose has been approved by the FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) and GRAS (generally recognized as safe). When consumed, 70% is absorbed in the small intestine, with some being fermented by gut bacteria, and 30% is excreted. It is not metabolized by our body and can be detected in urine. It works by reducing inflammation, affecting certain gene expressions, and improving the composition of gut bacteria, particularly increasing beneficial ones like lactobacillus and coprococcus. A study giving 5 grams of d-allulose per meal over 12 weeks to healthy individuals showed no adverse effects. A study published in the “Nutrition Journal” found that allulose had minimal impact on blood glucose and insulin levels in adults. And another study in the “Journal of Food Science” explored allulose’s antioxidant properties, suggesting it could offer protective benefits beyond its role as a sweetener. The main method for producing d-allulose is through enzymatic synthesis, with ongoing research aimed at finding new enzymes and improving production processes. 

In summary, allulose can be useful in baking or putting in your tea or coffee, as it offers a sugar-like sweetness without the calories, making it a better choice than sugar and artificial sweeteners like Splenda, stevia or erythritol. However, comprehensive human studies are needed to better understand the long-term health implications, and as always, individual differences need to be considered so if you try it out please do so slowly and see if you start to see the same positive effects on yourself. If you do try then just make sure that you are buying a pure form of allulose.

References:

National Library of Medicine. “Research Advances of d-allulose: An Overview of Physiological Functions, Enzymatic Biotransformation Technologies, and Production Processes”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8467252/

Cleveland Clinic. “What You Need To Know About Allulose”. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-allulose

Allulose(dot)org. “What is Allulose?”. https://allulose.org/allulose-info/about-allulose/

UCDavid. “UC Davis, Mars Researchers Discover Scalable Production Technique for Low-Calorie Sugar Substitute”. https://www.ucdavis.edu/food/news/uc-davis-mars-researchers-discover-scalable-production-technique-low-calorie-sugar-substitute

ScienceDirect. “Technological aspects of functional food-related carbohydrates”. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224498000594

US Food & Drug Administration. “FDA In Brief: FDA allows the low-calorie sweetener allulose to be excluded from total and added sugars counts on Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels when used as an ingredient”. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-allows-low-calorie-sweetener-allulose-be-excluded-total-and-added-sugars-counts

National Library of Medicine. “Rare sugars: metabolic impacts and mechanisms of action: a scoping review”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9343225/

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competition history

Ayda competes regularly in fitness competitions and is currently preparing for the 2023 North American championships.

NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
CPA Toronto, 2021

You’ve probably heard so many people say “I love what I do”, BUT in my case I can truly say it from my heart. I’ve competed in sports all my life, but it wasn’t so long ago that I really understood that actually I can only ever compete with myself.

“You are perfect, until compare yourself with someone else”

I started contest prep in 2011, and since then I didn’t stop competing. In some competitions I got first place, in some it went not so well, but every competition that I prepared for taught me something more about myself and helped me take the correct direction, which I believe has shaped my work and my life in such a positive way.

When I competed in my first bikini competition I had just moved from my home country Turkey to Canada, and was getting used to the Canadian lifestyle — and, of course, the language too, which was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do a fitness or bikini competition, but when I was still in Turkey the work and cultural differences made it so hard to do.

So I was in Vancouver BC, working at Steve Nash Fitness Club, and one of my co-workers, who was a competitor herself, asked me “why you are not competing?” I started asking myself and questioning if I could do it? I’d never done anything like it before… Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions right now! Of course I told myself “absolutely, I can’’. And my competition journey began!

Each show that I competed in gave me more knowledge about my body, and how I can improve. Of course, it’s not easy to correctly identify what’s missing with training and nutrition, and this learning process and all of the experiences pushed me to learn more… I’ve been a personal trainer since 1993, but I wanted more and began my nutrition studies. I finished my Comprehensive Nutrition and Sports Nutrition degrees.

And yes, I am still competing! You can see a list of all of the competitions that I’ve competed in further down this page. And right now, AGAIN, I am getting ready for my next show…!

I’ll warn you right now, it wasn’t easy at all. The easiest part was the training, which was already part of my daily life. But posing, dieting, supplementation, getting a bikini, finding a trainer… This was much tougher, not the mention the cost for the registration, jewelry, tanning, hair and make-up, they cost a lot too. 

But I wouldn’t let anything stop me, and right after my first show — WBFF in May, 2011 — I immediately started looking for the next show to compete in. I was hooked!

I am so happy to be able to help other competitors who are willing to work and improve their mind and health at the same time. My goal is to create healthy and happy bikini competitors, who want to challenge themselves and put in the work that needs to be done to reach their goals. There is really no easy way to get there… But there is a smart way.

I look forward to working together and sharing my knowledge with YOU to get you in the best shape of your LIFE!!!!! 

AYDA HAS COMPETED IN

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