Health Conscious Eaters

Nutrition and sports go hand in hand
A healthy diet and physical activity go hand in hand, keeping the body fit and active. Carbohydrates fuel the active body with the desired energy, while sports and physical activity train the body’s fitness and shape, help to perform well and support overall health. Along with increasing energy expenditure, exercise supports weight management and helps improve fat metabolism. While only about every second person in the US succeeds to achieve the recommended 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, every step counts (Physical Activity Guidelines Committee 2018). Already small activities, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking the bike instead of the car or playing football with the kids outside help to stay fit, train the body and burn calories.

An active life needs carbohydrate energy

Figure 1: Dietary recommendations by WHO (2003) in % energy intake.

Carbohydrates play a major part in a healthy diet, supplying the body with glucose, the main fuel for an active lifestyle. Glucose allows for fast and most efficient energy supply, while fat (~30% of energy intake) is an effective energy storage form, and protein (~20% of daily energy intake) has primarily other functions than energy supply.
Dietary recommendations for the general population postulate to follow a carbohydrate-based diet, respectively (WHO 2003), while sports nutrition guidelines emphasize even more the need of energy supply from carbohydrate intake (Thomas et al 2016). For instance, an athlete of 70 kg body weight shall consume about 350 g or 1400 kcal from carbohydrate on days with light skill-based activities or a 1 hour light exercise program (about 5 g carbs per kg body weight and day, next to protein and fat), while this amount doubles to about 700 g or 2800 kcal from carbs on days with e.g. over 4 to 5 hours moderate to intense exercise (about 10 g carbs per kg body weight, next to protein and fat).

Carbohydrates determine fuel use
The active body strives for an effective use of its fuel resources, and hence the contribution of carbohydrate and fat in energy metabolism varies with the body’s activity, its metabolic state and fuel availability. Carbohydrate availability in form of glucose drives the energy metabolism as primary fuel. Their glucose supply not only affects blood sugar levels and insulin release, but also the contribution of carb and fat burning. Consuming carbohydrates that are quickly digested and absorbed, like common sugars and maltodextrin, provide fast energy from glucose. In these cases, the burning of fat is largely suppressed and fat storage promoted to greater extent instead. Choosing carbohydrates wisely for low blood sugar levels and insulin helps to steer the metabolism and, like physical activity, improve fat metabolism and support body weight, body shape and fitness.

Figure 2: Carbohydrates drive the energy metabolism: Benefits of the slow release carbohydrate isomaltulose.

Fueling an active life with isomaltulose

Isomaltulose supplies the full carbohydrate energy, while it breaks down more slowly, and steadily releases its energy. This allows the body to use more body fat as fuel alongside.

Steady energy supply and higher fat burning rates with isomaltulose have been seen among mostly sedentary people and with physically active people and trained athletes.
For instance, König and co-workers (2012) designed a 2-meal study with overweight people on a sedentary lifestyle, where a 2-hour resting period after breakfast was followed by a 30 minutes moderate physical activity between breakfast and subsequent lunch. Sugar replacement for the slow release carbohydrate isomaltulose at breakfast and lunch lowered the blood glucose response to those meals. And as result of this, higher fat burning rates were seen with isomaltulose both, after meal intake as well as during the physical activity. An overall 18% higher fat burning was seen with isomaltulose over the 7-hour study period, which meant that the participants in this study burned an extra 8 g fat or 72 fat calories. Also Henry an co-workers (2017) demonstrated in their day-long study in healthy adults that the lower blood sugar day profile from a low-glycemic diet with isomaltulose-containing foods allowed for higher fat burning rates, in comparison with a high glycaemic diet with sucrose-sweetened foods.

How changes in physical activity, together with the choice of a sport drink, can affect metabolic health and fitness has been illustrated by Kahlhöfer et al (2016). Among the 14 healthy physically active man participating in this study, insulin sensitivity already reduced during one week of physical inactivity, yet still remained significantly higher when the men consumed isomaltulose drinks instead of sucrose drinks during this time. Apart from lower blood glucose levels and less insulin secretion, the isomatulose drink was associated with longer arterial relaxation after the meal in comparison with the sucrose drink (Keller et al 2017).

Such research with isomaltulose illustrates that the mode of energy supply from carbohydrates can make a difference, beyond counting calories. Over time, its steady energy supply and more favorable metabolic profile can have implications for blood sugar management, metabolic health and fitness, as well as body weight and body fat. Keeping blood sugar levels low and steering the metabolism towards fat burning with a carbohydrate choice like isomaltulose can complement a healthy lifestyle and support attempts to stay fit, lean and in shape over time.


WHO/FAO (2003) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. WHO Technical Report      Series 916. WHO/FAO, Geneva

Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM (2016) American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 48(3):543-68. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000852

Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee (2018) 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report. Washington, DC: U.S: Department of Health and Human Services. Link: (retrieved June 2019)

Koenig D, Theis S, Kozianowski G, Berg A (2012) Postprandial substrate use in overweight subjects with the metabolic syndrome after isomaltulose (Palatinose™) ingestion. Nutrition 28(6):651–656.

Henry CJ, Kaur B, Quek RYC, Camps SG (2017) A Low Glycaemic Index Diet Incorporating Isomaltulose Is Associated with Lower Glycaemic Response and Variability, and Promotes Fat Oxidation in Asians. Nutrients 9(5).

Kahlhöfer J, Karschin J, Silberhorn-Bühler H, Breusing N, Bosy-Westphal A, Kahlhofer J, Silberhorn-Buhler H (2016) Effect of low glycemic-sugar-sweetened beverages on glucose metabolism and macronutrient oxidation in healthy men. Int J Obes (Lond) 40(6):990–997.

Keller J, Kahlhöfer J, Peter A, Bosy-Westphal A (2016) Effects of Low versus High Glycemic Index Sugar-Sweetened Beverages on Postprandial Vasodilatation and Inactivity-Induced Impairment of Glucose Metabolism in Healthy Men. Nutrients 8(12):802.