Slow release carbohydrates are of interest as a preferred source of carbohydrate energy in human nutrition. Their steady glucose release, yet full contribution of energy from carbohydrate, has several benefits: They allow for a sustained energy supply, with less effect on blood sugar levels, and create an improved metabolic profile with higher rates of fat burning. As a means to lower glycaemia, slow release carbohydrates can contribute to a healthy diet and support efforts in the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, CVD and obesity. And they support energy management and the use of fuel resources for prolonged physical or cognitive performance.
Slow release carbohydrates are scarce
The availability of fully digestible slow release carbohydrates is limited, though. Digestibility by intestinal enzymes, absorption of the monosaccharides, place of absorption along the small intestine, influence on gut hormones and finally subsequent metabolic pathways play a role.
Most carbohydrates in foods and drinks, and particularly in sports nutrition, are readily digested and absorbed, supplying the body with fast energy, like highly processed starch, maltodextrins or common sugars. In the case of polyols or dietary fibers, they partially or fully escape digestion and absorption, and therefore supply significantly less glucose and calories. Isomaltulose is a fully digestible “slow release” carbohydrate, suitable to supply the body with carbohydrate energy in a steady and sustained way.
Steady and sustained energy supply with isomaltulose
As result of its stronger linkage, isomaltulose is digested more slowly by the enzymes in the small intestine than sucrose or other easily digested carbohydrates. And its enzymatic cleavage and subsequent absorption occurs along the entire small intestine including also more distal parts. Nevertheless, isomaltulose is a fully digestible carbohydrate, and as such it provides the full carbohydrate energy (4 kcal/g) to the body.
The slow and sustained release of carbohydrate energy from isomaltulose is reflected in the blood glucose response and subsequent metabolic processes: Isomaltulose allows for a more balanced and sustained glucose supply, and sustained utilization of carbohydrate in energy metabolism.
Benefits from sustained energy with isomaltulose
With its slow release properties, isomaltulose offers enhanced energy supply and fuel management, as well as higher fat burning in energy metabolism. Its steady and sustained energy supply supports a healthy lifestyle and allows for more balanced energy levels, with positive implications in many ways:
- Health and fitness: Carbohydrate energy supply from isomaltulose has more gentle effects on energy metabolism and allows for higher fat burning rates. Keeping blood sugar levels in balance and steering the metabolism towards fat burning supports metabolic fitness and health.
- Energy management during busy work days: Balanced and sustained energy supply from isomaltulose can be particularly helpful in reducing blood sugar spikes and maintaining energy levels during the work day for optimal performance. Along with fuelling cognitive performance, sustained energy levels with isomaltulose have been linked with sustained memory performance and mood in both, adults of advanced age and school-age children.
- Physical activity and endurance sports: When taken before or during sports, isomaltulose supports ongoing energy supply and fuel management. It allows for a higher fat-burning rate, a benefit known to athletes for its potential to spare glycogen sources, i.e. the body’s own carb resources, for endurance. Isomaltulose also offers more steady energy supply for gym-goers who want to consume a sports drink but also don’t want to sabotage fat-burning efforts, or for active people who just aim for sustained energy carb fuel.
- Body fat and body weight: Where people seek to stay in good physical shape and keep body fat low, it is particularly important to aim for low blood sugar and insulin levels. As a storage hormone, insulin promotes the use of carb fuel and the storage of fat. Supplying carb energy in a steady and sustained way with isomaltulose leads to lower insulin levels and a higher fat burning rate, which over time can help in weight management and reducing body fat.
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