Isomalt is a sugar substitute commonly used in the food industry to sweeten foods and drinks. It is a popular alternative to sugar, with a similar taste and texture but fewer calories. Isomalt is generally considered safe for human consumption. Still, like any food additive, it is important to understand the potential health risks and benefits.
Overview of Isomalt Powder
Isomalt is a type of sugar alcohol that is derived from sugar beets. It is a low-calorie sweetener commonly used in sugar-free and reduced-sugar products, such as candies, chocolates, and baked goods. Isomalt has a sweet taste similar to sugar, but it does not cause the same spike in blood sugar levels as sugar. Isomalt is also less likely to cause tooth decay than sugar.
Some common applications of Isomalt powder include:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Union have approved isomalt as a food additive. It has also been approved by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission. According to these organizations, isomalt is generally considered safe (GRAS) for human consumption.
The body does not metabolize isomalt like sugar, which means it has a lower glycemic index. This particular trait of isomalt is beneficial for people with diabetes, as it can help to regulate blood sugar levels.
Isomalt has several benefits that make it a good alternative to sugar. It has a similar taste and texture to sugar but with fewer calories. Isomalt also does not cause the same spike in blood sugar levels as sugar, which benefits people with diabetes. Additionally, isomalt does not promote tooth decay, which is a major benefit for dental health.
Isomalt has also been found to have some prebiotic effects in the gut. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibres that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Studies have found that isomalt can increase the population of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the gut, which can positively impact overall health.
Isomalt has low toxicity and is not considered harmful in moderate doses. However, excessive consumption of isomalt can cause gastrointestinal distress, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. Isomalt is a sugar alcohol, meaning the body does not completely absorb it, and it can ferment in the gut.
It is important to note that the consumption of isomalt, like any food additive, should be within safe limits. According to the European Food Safety Authority, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of isomalt is 50 mg/kg of body weight per day. According to this, a person weighing 70 kg can safely consume up to 3.5 grams of isomalt daily.
Isomalt powder is a safe and effective alternative to sugar commonly used in the food industry. It has several benefits, such as a low glycemic index, a reduced risk of tooth decay, and prebiotic effects in the gut.
However, like any food additive, consuming isomalt in moderation and within safe limits is important.
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- FDA. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.842.
- European Food Safety Authority. “Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Isomalt.” European Food Safety Authority Journal 2, no. 6 (2004): 65. https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2004.65.
- Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. “Evaluation of Certain Food Additives and Contaminants: Sixty-First Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.” WHO Technical Report Series 922 (2004): 1-75. https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/chemical-contaminants/jecfa-60/en/.
- Munro, Ian C., et al. “Erythritol: An Interpretive Summary of Biochemical, Metabolic, Toxicological and Clinical Data.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 36, no. 12 (1998): 1139-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0278-6915(98)00091-X.