Palatinose: The game-changing slow-releasing carbohydrate

Carbohydrates play an important role in the diet as the key macronutrient that supplies the body with energy. However, not all carbohydrates are metabolised the same way and interest is growing in the characteristics of various carbohydrates.

Palatinose (isomaltulose) – A slow-release carbohydrate derived from nature for improved metabolism and health. Palatinose (generic name isomaltulose) is the only fully digested and slow-release carbohydrate. This glucose-fructose disaccharide isomaltulose, discovered in Germany in 1957 and marketed under the brand Palatinose, occurs naturally in small amounts in honey and sugar cane juice.[1] Palatinose is made from sugar beet by strengthening the glucose-fructose linkage with the help of natural enzymes.

Image: Shutterstock

This enzymatic conversion rearranges the α-1,2-glycosidic linkage in sucrose into a stronger, more stable α-1,6-glycosidic bond that is broken down more slowly by enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract, which is the key to the unique physiological properties of Palatinose. This paper introduces Palatinose (isomaltulose), a slowly digested carbohydrate that can positively impact metabolism and everyday health.

Health benefits linked to Palatinose

Slow-release property provides sustained energy: Palatinose is different from readily available carbohydrates such as sucrose or corn syrup as its digestion and absorption is much slower resulting in less insulin release. Digestive enzymes hydrolyse Palatinose four to five times more slowly than sucrose because of the strong glucose-fructose bond, resulting in a slower release of glucose, slower intestinal absorption, and a longer-lasting fuel supply to the body and brain. This means a constant stream of energy over a longer period compared to quickly absorbed carbohydrates.

Palatinose is also different from other non-available carbohydrates in that it is slowly but fully digested and absorbed in the small intestine – which means there is no risk of gastrointestinal distress, even at high intakes. Palatinose provides the same 4 kcal/g as other available carbohydrates, yet these calories provide energy in a more balanced way – giving the body high quality calories for steady energy release. The slow digestion and absorption of Palatinose is reflected in the incretin response. Incretins (GIP (gastric inhibitory polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1)) are gut hormones that stimulate glucose-dependent insulin secretion. Monosaccharides such, as glucose, trigger GIP release in the upper part of the small intestine; longer chain carbohydrates stimulate GLP-1 secretion[1] in the lower part of the small intestine. Research shows that Palatinose suppresses GIP release and stimulates GLP-1 secretion,3 – 5 demonstrating that digestion and absorption of Palatinose occur along the entire small intestine.

Shutterstock

Low blood glucose response and smart glucose management health benefit

Obesity and diabetes mellitus are on the rise worldwide and are serious health problems. In 2020, 38% of the world population was overweight or obese.[1] In some regions the numbers are even more alarming. The prevalence of obesity among American adults has risen to[2][GA1]  Worldwide, 537 million people were affected by diabetes in 2021 – one in ten. In addition, 10.6% of the world population had pre-diabetes.8 In 2018, 34.1 million American adults or 13.0% of all US adults, were diagnosed with diabetes[3] mellitus.

Managing blood glucose levels and reducing blood glucose fluctuations are thought to benefit health.

In addition to the impact on non-communicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus or cardiovascular disease, high blood sugar levels can significantly alter the innate immune response to infections.[1] Viral pandemics have shown that diabetes worsened the progress of the viral infection.[2] With Covid-19, more and more data around the globe became available confirming that the severity of the infection intensifies with elevated blood sugar.

levels, independent of having diabetes.[1] Therefore a healthy blood sugar plays a crucial role in the maintenance of immune health. The slower yet complete digestion and absorption [2]of Palatinose is characterised by a slower, longer lasting, and steadier blood glucose response, without the significant drops in blood glucose associated with conventional higher glycaemic sugars. The lower and more balanced blood glucose response results in less insulin release and an improved metabolic profile.

The totality of data from over 30 blood glucose response trials consistently finds a lower blood glucose response to low GI Palatinose as compared to sucrose, maltodextrin or other reference carbohydrates.The lower rise in blood glucose levels is associated with lower insulin levels. A claim for a lower rise in blood sugar levels has been laid down in EU legislation following the publication of a positive EFSA opinion.

Palatinose is a tool to help manage blood glucose response. It has been shown to provide a lower and sustained blood glucose response in healthy adults in those who are overweight or obesity or have impaired glucose tolerance, as well as in individuals with type 131,32 and non-insulin dependent type 2 diabetes.The positive effect on blood glucose management was even confirmed in a ‘citizen science’ study that involved people in everyday surroundings, following their normal dietary lifestyle.

Where can I find Palatinose (isomaltulose)?

Globally, Palatinose is used as an ingredient in a growing number of foods and drinks, including sports and fitness supplements, sports nutrition, instant beverages, functional dairy drinks, tea, cereal and energy bars, baked goods, meal replacement drinks, and specialised clinical nutrition products. It is half as sweet as sugar, has a natural sweet taste without any aftertaste, and does not contribute to dental caries.[1] Palatinose is listed as its generic name ‘isomaltulose’ on the ingredient list. Palatinose is a unique alternative for high glycaemic carbohydrates, with all the nutritional and physiological advantages of a fully digestible slow-release carbohydrate. It provides carbohydrate energy in a balanced

way, with less blood glucose fluctuation and steadier insulin release, resulting in improved metabolism. In addition, it supports an active lifestyle as a valuable carbohydrate source in sports nutrition. Over time, the use of Palatinose may help promote health and prevent common metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

*References available on request

Savannah

Beneo

Digital issue View Archive

Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za