Isomaltulose (marketed by BENEO under the trade name PalatinoseT) is a sugar that occurs naturally in honey and sugarcane molasses. Since its introduction as a food ingredient in 2005, isomaltulose has become increasingly popular as a functional constituent in beverage products. Isomaltulose exhibits great potential for further use in innovative sports and energy drinks as well as alcohol-reduced and alcohol-free malt based beverages. This latter potential includes key processing advantages as well as increased resistance to spoilage; improved taste, body and mouthfeel; and balanced, sustained energy release.
Usefulness in Brewing
Scientific evaluations of isomaltulose undertaken to determine its suitability in the production of beer and beer specialties have yielded promising results. Extensive screening tests demonstrated that many common brewing yeasts are unable to ferment isomaltulose, an effect which exerts a positive influence on the palatefulness (body) and mouthfeel of alcohol-reduced and alcohol-free beers that otherwise typically lack body.
In specialty products such as shandy-type beers it was found that isomaltulose cannot be fermented by a wide range of beer contaminants including Lactobacillus brevis and Saccaromyces diastaticus. Using isomaltulose resulted in an increase in microbiological stability in the variety of shandy products tested. Looking at various other quality parameters that are important to beer, results showed that isomaltulose imparted no discernable adverse effects.
As a Slow-Burning Carbohydrate
Isomaltulose is digested by the same enzymatic complex that hydrolyzes starch, called sucrase-isomaltase. Enzyme kinetic studies have shown that the functional carbohydrate isomaltulose is broken down four to five times slower than sucrose; nevertheless, its digestion and absorption are complete at the end of the small intestine. Consequently, isomaltulose supplies the body with full energy (4 kcal/g), but it does so over a longer period of time.
This special slow-release property in the small intestine is reflected in a more balanced supply of glucose. Thus, isomaltulose displays a lower increase in blood sugar with a longer-lasting effect and without the significant drop below the baseline level experienced with conventional sugars. For our muscles and brains, this means a continuous supply of prolonged energy in the form of glucose. The low glycemic index of isomaltulose (GI:32) results in less release of insulin and facilitates a higher proportion of fat burning to fuel activity.
Most importantly of all, these trials were accompanied by taste tests which revealed that the shandy made with lemonade sweetened with isomaltulose showed a higher sensorial acceptance than the shandy made with lemonade sweetened with high-intensity sweeteners. The taste tests also showed that isomaltulose as a sweetener performed at the same quality levels as sucrose.
Overall, the research demonstrated that as a replacement for malt, sucrose or glucose syrup in alcohol-reduced or alcohol-free malt beer beverages, isomaltulose contributes to an optimized nutritive functionality with health benefits like "prolonged" or "balanced" energy. So the use of isomaltulose in alcohol-reduced and alcohol-free beer and beer specialties can result in an improvement of the sensorial profile and taste as well as product stability and nutritive quality.
The BENEO product portfolio consists of functional ingredients with nutritional and technical advantages, derived from chicory roots, beet sugar and rice. BENEO is the ideal partner to help improve the health (weight management, energy for mental & physical performance, digestive, bone and dental health), taste, texture and nutritional value (fat and sugar replacement/fibre enrichment) of a product. Through a unique chain of expertise, including the BENEO-Institute, BENEO actively supports (industry partners in) the development of more balanced and healthy food products.
BENEO is a division of the Südzucker Group, employs almost 900 people and has production units in Belgium, Chile, Germany and Italy.