Obesity and type 2 diabetes are major health problems affecting hundreds of millions of people. Caloric overfeeding with calorie-dense food ingredients like sugars may contribute to these chronic diseases. Sugar research has also identified mechanisms via which conventional sugars like sucrose and fructose can adversely influence metabolic health. To replace these sugars, numerous sugar replacers including artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols have been developed. Rare sugars became new candidates to replace conventional sugars and their health effects are already reported in individual studies, but overviews and critical appraisals of their health effects are missing. This is the first paper to provide a detailed review of the metabolic health effects of rare sugars as a group. Especially allulose has a wide range of health effects. Tagatose and isomaltulose have several health effects as well, while other rare sugars mainly provide health benefits in mechanistic studies. Hardly any health claims have been approved for rare sugars due to a lack of evidence from human trials. Human trials with direct measures for disease risk factors are needed to allow a final appraisal of promising rare sugars. Mechanistic cell culture studies and animal models are required to enlarge our knowledge on understudied rare sugars.