‘Clean’ sports drinks are spotlighting a different kind of carb on their labels.
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New sports drinks
are being made with a slow-releasing carb called Palatinose™, said to provide prolonged energy sans the blood sugar spikes. This could also help athletes burn fat, according to a previous study
Isomaltulose, also known as Palatinose™, is a sweetener derived from beets that is low on the glycemic scale, which measures how quickly foods cause blood sugar increases. The carb is composed of both fructose and glucose, Ryan Maciel, CSCS, a registered dietitian based in Needham, Massachusetts, points out. “It seems to be the unique bond between these two sugars that can benefit athletes since it is broken down much more slowly in the body,” says Maciel. When compared with table sugar, Palatinose™ is 40 to 50 percent as sweet, Maciel adds, though the two are calorically equivalent.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Because of the slower digestibility of Palatinose™, athletes may want to look for the ingredient in sports drinks instead of regular sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. But while the substance might be considered a fat burner, Maciel cautions that at the end of the day, it is sugar
and too much of any kind will negatively affect the body. For performance gains, the focus should be on whole food sources of carbs such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, says Maciel.