How Smart Carbs Aid in Active Nutrition


Research has shown that in staying active, almost half (44 per cent)[1] of Asian consumers use energy-related nutrition products to boost their energy, with energy and sports drinks or gels being particularly popular choices.

With a huge variety of energy-related nutrition products available, consumers today are spoilt for choice. However, most of these products —designed to increase energy — contain ‘fast carbohydrates’ (such as maltodextrin and sucrose). These carbohydrates release glucose into the bloodstream quickly, causing a short boost of energy. However, this also triggers a significant increase in blood sugar and insulin levels, which may result in a sugar crash.

While such short energy boosts may be suitable for those in need of instant energy, they are not ideal for day-to-day activities. Smart-release carbohydrates, on the other hand, deliver energy in a balanced, sustained manner. There is therefore an opportunity for energy-related nutrition products to be formulated with such carbohydrates to enhance consumers’ fuel management and endurance.

Different needs, but with a common goal

A carbohydrate that can help different target groups address their needs to improve energy management is Palatinose™(generic name: Isomaltulose). It is the only low-glycaemic but fully available carbohydrate providing energy in a balanced and sustained manner. This lower and more balanced blood glucose response results in less insulin release and an improved metabolic profile, without the significant drops in blood glucose that are often associated with conventional higher glycaemic sugars. In addition, the lower insulin levels allow for a higher rate of fat burning, instead of carbohydrate burning, for energy supply.

The beneficial effect of Palatinose™ on blood glucose levels and its corresponding insulin response have been demonstrated in various human clinical studies and in all groups of people.[2]

Taste is key

It is clear that active nutrition products have shifted from the realm of professional athletes to regular active consumers — who are looking for nutrition to support their active lifestyles.

While consumers with different fitness goals can all benefit from carbohydrate energy provided in a sustained way, taste and texture remain essential for these products to become a regular feature in their shopping baskets.

For instance, Palatinose™, which is naturally derived from pure beet sugar has a natural, mild sugar-like taste with good solubility. This makes it an excellent alternative to sucrose, fructose, or other carbohydrates, and ideal for use in many kinds of energy-related nutrition products including instant beverages, gels, jellies, and bars without compromising on taste and texture.

Many food manufacturers are already looking to add sports variants to their product ranges to address different needs and respond to the current demand for sports nutrition. Alternative carbohydrates such as Palatinose™ can help them provide consumers with sustained carbohydrate energy, while improving blood sugar management and increasing fat burning potential — without compromising on taste.

[1] BENEO (2020) Health & Nutrition Survey

[2] Maresch CC, Petry SF, Theis S et al. (2017) Low glycemic index prototype isomaltulose – update of clinical trials. Nutrients 9(4): 381. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409720/

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