Slow release carbohydrate

Carbohydrates fuel the body with the energy to live, think and be active. But they are not all alike. Isomatlulose is a ‘slow release’ carbohydrate and a sugar at the same time. It only is a sugar because of its number of two saccharide units[1]. But this says little about its digestion behavior and physiological properties. In fact isomaltulose has received great interest for its slow release properties, and what benefits this can have for energy supply, individual performance and long-term health. What is known so far clearly shows: Isomaltulose is not a typical sugar! Here is a summary of its main benefits:

    • It’s a slow release carbohydrate
      Isomaltulose is consumed to fuel the body with carb energy, like other fully digestible carbohydrates it has 4 calories per gram. When doing so, it takes about 4 to 5 times longer for the enzymes to digest isomaltulose in comparison with sucrose, and it is taken up into the body from the full length of the small intestine. This ‘slow release’ energy supply is more gentle and makes it easier for the body to deal with.


    • Improved incretin hormone response (GIP, GLP-1)[2]
      Isomaltulose triggers a different incretin response, which largely visualizes its slow glucose release: In earlier parts of the small intestine, isomaltulose stimulates only a low GIP release, whereas GLP-1 release in lower parts of the small intestine is much higher with isomaltulose – the contrary of the incretin response to sucrose. GIP promotes the body’s energy storage and plays an important role for the metabolic effects and physiological quality of carbohydrates. Nutrition scientists only start to understand the benefits of a low GIP release with isomaltulose for less body and liver fatness, improved insulin sensitivity and metabolic health.


    • Low effect on blood sugar levels and insulin
      Isomaltulose has a much lower effect on blood sugar levels and insulin than ‘fast’ carbohydrates like for instance sucrose (GI: 68), glucose (GI: 100) or maltodextrins (GI: 80-100). The Glycaemic Index (GI) of isomaltulose was determined at Sydney University in accordance with international standards: With a GI of 32, isomaltulose is a ‘low GI’ carbohydrate.
      Also the ‘slow release’ properties of isomaltulose  become visible in the blood glucose response: It shows a slower, overall lower rise in blood sugar levels over longer time, without the high ups and downs known from ‘fast’ carbohydrates.
      As slow release carbohydrate, isomaltulose can contribute to lower blood sugar levels and insulin release in a high-carb diet. Keeping blood sugar levels low supports a healthy development from early on and lowers the risk to face metabolic diseases like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in later life. And hence isomaltulose can support blood sugar management and metabolic health in those who either want to care for their blood sugar levels, or who need to care, for instance during pregnancy, or for health reasons when facing elevated blood sugar levels or a diabetes diagnosis.



    • Higher fat burning
      While isomaltulose supplies carbohydrate energy in a steady and sustained way, it promotes higher fat burning rates in energy metabolism. And also this can be explained with its slow release properties: ‘Fast’ carbohydrates trigger high insulin levels. When insulin is released to normalize rising blood sugar levels after food intake, it also promotes the burning of carbohydrate (glucose) – rather than fat – in the process to gain energy for the body; while fat is meanwhile stored in liver, muscle and fat tissue. Unlike ‘fast’ carbohydrates, isomaltlulose releases glucose in a more steady and sustained way. This has less effect on insulin release and its metabolic regulation and, therefore, allows for higher fat burning.
      Steering the metabolism towards fat burning with the slow release carbohydrate isomaltulose has implications for metabolic health, body weight and body fat. Those engaged in sports know higher fat burning as a training effect, or as a benefit with potential to spare the body’s own carbohydrate sources for endurance.

Please, feel invited to explore the website and find out more about this slow release carbohydrate, its  physiological benefits and how this differs from traditional sugars and ‘fast’ carbohydrates.


[1] The term “sugars” refers to carbohydrates with one or two saccharide units, i.e. it includes monosaccharides and disaccharides but not carbohydrates with three or more saccharide units. Please note, that the definition of sugars does not consider any physiological aspects of these carbohydrates.
[2] GIP: glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide; GLP-1: glucagon-like peptide