The slow digestible disaccharide isomaltulose (iso; Palatinose™) is available as novel functional carbohydrate ingredient for manufacturing of low glycaemic foods and beverages. Although basically characterised, various information on physiological effects of iso are still lacking. Thus, the objective of the present study was to expand scientific knowledge of physiological characteristics of iso by a set of three human intervention trials. Using an ileostomy model, iso was found to be essentially absorbed, irrespective of the nature of food (beverage and solid food). Apparent digestibility of 50 g iso from two different meals was 95·5 and 98·8 %; apparent absorption was 93·6 and 96·1 %, respectively. In healthy volunteers, a single dose intake of iso resulted in lower postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses than did sucrose (suc), while showing prolonged blood glucose delivery over 3 h test. In a 4-week trial with hyperlipidaemic individuals, regular consumption of 50 g/d iso within a Western-type diet was well tolerated and did not affect blood lipids. Fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance were lower after the 4-week iso intervention compared with baseline. This would be consistent with possible beneficial metabolic effects as a consequence of the lower and prolonged glycaemic response and lower insulinaemic burden. However, there was no significant difference at 4 weeks after iso compared with suc. In conclusion, the study shows that iso is completely available from the small intestine, irrespective of food matrix, leading to a prolonged delivery of blood glucose. Regular iso consumption is well tolerated also in subjects with increased risk for vascular diseases.
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