Isomalt Sugar – Home Bakers’ Secret
Today we are taking on “healthy” products – along with stevia and “clean eating“, it is the turn of isomalt sugar.
You may probably know that in the modern world, food technology has two sides. The first one is mercilessly demonized, and those who want to improve their health jump away from it like from fire (GMOs, rapeseed oil, all kinds of E-additives). The other side, the “bright” one, is captured by no less mysterious components used in “healthy” nutrition.
Myths about both the first and the second are mercilessly debunked just below.
What is Isomalt Sugar?
Isomalt, aka isomalt sugar, aka E953, is loved by confectioners and mere mortals. And for a good reason. It has a relatively low calorie content of ~ 233 kcal. And also, it does not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, which, in the first place, is important for those suffering from diabetes.
The glycemic index (GI) of isomalt is 9. For comparison, sugar has a GI of 70. At the same time, the insulin index of isomalt is 6, and sugar is 43.
Isomalt is a mixture of two disaccharides, each made up of two simple sugars. As a chemist, I understand that many are sick of such words. And I do not demand to go crazy from the beauty of the name like “epigallocatechin gallate”.
It is enough to know that when fully decomposed, isomalt will turn into 50% glucose, 25% sorbitol, and 25% mannitol.
It is such a sweet, sugar-like thing that is slow to digest and partially not absorbed. It is not dietary fiber, but it works in a similar way and can make you want to sit on a white friend longer if consumed too much.
Adults can eat 50 g per day without consequences, and children 25 g. However, isomalt is not a product of the hands of terrible chemists, but a natural thing found in sugar cane, beets, and honey.
Isomalt is half as sweet as sugar (aka sucrose, aka refined sugar in your kitchen). Diabetic associations around the world consider isomalt sugar to be suitable for diabetic products (up to 30 g per day). Plus, it is safe for teeth.
Isomalt is a nice guy on all fronts. What is more, I did not find a single loud horror story about isomalt, although the myths about sugar substitutes are everywhere.
Naturally, it easily got approval from WHO, JECFA (this is the same committee on nutritional supplements, thanks to which we have E-additives) and other reputable comrades.
Cooking with Isomalt
Isomalt is often found in sweets, sports bars, caramel, chocolate, gum, and other foods. It’s not for me to explain to you that this is not terrible chemistry, but a cool component that you can only be glad about.
Many of those who tried to cook “healthy sweets” according to recipes from the Internet know how difficult it is to cook without sugar. Isomalt can help to reduce calorie content and glycemic index of a dish “smartly”!
What is the magic of isomalt for pastry chefs and anyone who wants to indulge?
- It is plastic, melts at times, easily stains and does not crack, withstands temperature changes with dignity.
- Isomalt caramel tastes difficult to distinguish from plebeian sugar caramel,
- You can make intricate and beautiful designs of it. It is comparable to drawing 3D shapes with a 3D pen. But with the difference that these figures can then be devoured.
Like any substance, if consumed excessively chaotic, it can be harmful. An upset gastrointestinal tract will not please anyone, of course. But having met the mysterious E953 on the packaging, you will no longer put the product aside, but smile at your old friend. In skillful hands (and in inept), isomalt creates real sweet magic.
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