Subscribe to our Newsletter:
Healthy Diet Plans >>  Sweeteners >>  Artificial Sugar Substitutes >>  Isomalt


Isomalt is a type of sugar alcohol having sugar like properties and provides half the calories of that of sugar. Isomalt was discovered in 1960s, it is a white, odorless, and crystalline sweetener made from sucrose and has a physical appearance similar to sucrose. Isomalt is made in a two-step process from sucrose. The first step involves enzymatic rearrangement between the links of glucose and fructose in sucrose. The second step involves addition of two hydrogen atoms to the oxygen atom in fructose portion of sucrose.
In this way half of the fructose is converted to mannitol and half of it is converted to sorbitol resulting in two different disaccharide alcohols that is gluco -mannitol and gluco-sorbitol. These molecular changes are responsible for making isomalt more chemically and enzymatically stable than sucrose.

Isomalt stability is used effectively in more than 70 countries worldwide in various foods and beverages like toffees, chocolates, chewing gums, hard and soft candies, nutritional supplements, baked foods, cough drops and lozenges in place of sugar. Isomalt is heat stable and thus can be used in the products that require cooking methods like baking or boiling. In fact DiabetiSweet is a product available in the market containing isomalt in combination with acesulfame K which is sold for baking purpose.  It also helps to increase the shelf life of the product and is not involved in the process of browning or caramelizing, it is non hygroscopic and thus can not absorb water nor make a product sticky. Isomalt is used as a flavor enhancer and dissolves gradually in mouth with no significant after taste. Isomalt is often used with other high intensity sweetener to give a synergistic flavor and a sugar like taste.

Products where isomalt is used as a sweetener provides low calorie and are ideal for people following a weight loss diet or a low carbohydrate diet. Like other polyols it is partially digested in the gut, thus have a minimal impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. It provides only 2 calories per gram this is because of the fact that it has a stable structure which is not easily hydrolyzed by the intestinal enzymes. It can be safely used as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes. It is also non carriogenic and is tooth-friendly as it is not associated with dental plaques or dental carries; in fact it helps to repair dental carries lesions. Food and Drug Administration has allowed the manufacturers to mention ‘Does not promote dental carries’ on sugar free isomalt containing products. However like other sugar alcohols, isomalt when taken in high concentrations can cause mild gastric problems like flatulence or gas and mild diarrhea.
Submitted on January 16, 2014