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Q1: Where can isomaltulose information be found on product labels?
On the product label of a food, you can find it in the ingredient list with its common name isomaltulose. Ingredients are listed there in decreasing order of their amount in the recipe. Hence, the place of isomaltulose in the ingredient list – be it right up front or further down the list – gives you a rough idea about its share in the product.
In the nutrition facts, isomaltulose adds to the caloric value with 4 calories per gram, and it counts to the total carbohydrates. As a disaccharide carbohydrate, it also counts to the sugars in the nutrition facts, even though it does not behave like a typical sugar in the body. Some product labels point this out with additional statements and claims about its physiological properties. Figures illustrating its lower blood sugar rise or its sustained energy supply can be found as well.
Q2: How many calories does isomaltulose have?
Isomaltulose supplies 4 calories per gram. This is the same caloric value that also other fully available carbohydrates like starch, maltodextrins and sugars have. The body can fully digest isomaltulose, take it up and use it as source of energy. What makes isomaltulose different, is the slow release aspect. It means that isomaltulose supplies its energy in a more steady and sustained way, with low effect on blood sugar levels and higher fat burning. Isomaltulose shows that not only calories count. How it is supplied can make a difference. Feel invited to explore this website and find out more about the properties of isomaltulose.
Q3: Is isomaltulose well tolerated?
Yes, it is. Isomaltulose can be consumed in the same way as other fully available carbohydrate like starches, maltodextrins or sugars. They all are known for their good tolerance. And this can easily be explained: Gastrointestinal tolerance becomes relevant when carbohydrate escape digestion and absorption to a significant extent and reach the colon. The perception of GI distress refers to normal physiological processes in the colon and is known from high intake of dietary fibers and low digestible carbohydrates like e.g. polyols or allulose. This does not apply to isomaltulose, since isomaltulose is a fully available carbohydrate. Isomaltulose is tolerated well, comparable to maltodextrins or sucrose.
Q4: What is the taste of isomaltulose? Do I use more to adjust for its lower sweetness?
Isomaltulose has a natural sweet taste. Its taste profile is very similar to that of sugar, while it has a milder sweetness level with about half the sweetness of sucrose. Its mild sweetness is no reason to consume more of it, though. In foods and drinks, isomaltulose is used as alternative to sucrose or other carbs. It is present in the same quantity, replacing those carbs spoon by spoon. The lower sweetness level of isomaltulose fits well with the current trend to reduce the sweetness of foods, and gives more room to the food’s flavors.
It is the same when using isomaltulose in home cooking or for sports drinks. A cake recipe for instance does not allow to double the amount of sugar for isomaltulose, because it will change the dough’s baking quality. Or when a sports person prepares a sports drink with isomaltulose for the next session, he will define the carb quantity first according to his needs and chose the type of carbs thereafter. There are many more examples like this.
Q5: Where can I find isomaltulose in the grocery stores?
You can find isomaltulose in foods and drinks like breakfast cereals and cereal bars, bagels, cookies and other baked goods, dairy drinks, fruit juice and water-based drinks, as well as sports nutrition or meal replacement products. See also here for product categories in which isomaltulose is used. You can check the ingredient list for isomaltulose to find products in which it is used. Most often it replaces sugars or maltodextrins for its sustained energy supply or low blood sugar effect. Some of these products also use figures or claims to highlight isomaltulose.
Q6: If I have a fructose intolerance, can I use isomaltulose?
There are different causes for a fructose intolerance. And therefore you should check this question with your medical doctor or dietician. In general terms, isomaltulose can be regarded like sucrose in this respect, since both are dietary sources of glucose and fructose. If you can tolerate sucrose, you are likely to tolerate isomaltulose as well and vice versa: If you need to avoid sucrose as a source of fructose, you also need to avoid isomaltulose for the same reason.
Fructose malabsorption is the more commonly occurring form. Because intestinal fructose uptake is limited, the consumption of fruits, fruit juices and other fructose-containing foods can lead to flatulence and watery stools from non-absorbed fructose. Fructose malabsorption is primarily linked with ‘free’ fructose, while the consumption of glucose alongside, as such or with glucose-containing carbohydrates, can enhance fructose uptake. Because of this, fructose malabsorbers can tolerate sucrose much better than fructose alone. Like sucrose, also isomaltulose contains fructose in combination with glucose.
The hereditary fructose intolerance describes a seldom occurring form of a fructose intolerance. Individuals suffering from a hereditary fructose intolerance are not able to metabolize fructose in the liver, due to an inborn enzyme deficiency. They strictly need to avoid fructose as such and any other source of fructose in their diet, including sorbitol (being converted to fructose in liver metabolism) or fructose intake with sucrose or isomaltulose. People affected by a hereditary fructose intolerance know about the enzyme deficiency from early life and commonly receive medical counselling and dietary advice.