02/09/2015

Rice Malt Syrup - What a Crock

Part Four
When Rice Malt Syrup popped up on my news feed, I thought I might need my eyes surgically unrolled!


Here we are again, debating another sugar myth, banging our heads against that ever rigid brick wall of ignorance.
It’s not your fault you know. Sugar has a hold on you, you’re just desperately clinging to any hope that there might actually be a healthy version or “substitute” and those marketing masterminds love you for that.

Is Rice Malt Syrup is better for you than Sugar?
The most obvious answer to this question is no, because IT IS sugar. Of course, this doesn't satisfy the question since the word sugar apparently only refers to one type of sugar.... go figure??
So let's rephrase the question:

Is Rice Malt Syrup better for you than Sucrose?
A question that makes far more sense!

Rice Malt Syrup has no fructose.
This has been a big ticket item in the marketing of this syrup, along with the perplexing low GI claim which we will look at shortly.
Fructose is being shouted down almost universally. Since fructose is only metabolised in the liver, the strain that large amounts would put on this single, vital organ is clearly a valid concern. However, the majority of (hmmm, how to word this) ‘people in the know’ will maintain that fruits and vegetables (many of which contain fructose) are perfectly safe EXCEPT when eaten in excess. ← there’s that word again! So, fructose must be perfectly safe as long as it is only small amounts.

Low GI? There is a mysterious number floating around Rice Malt Syrup. Nobody seems to know where it came from (although I could make a guess). R.M.S is rumoured to have a low GI of only 25, a remarkably low GI for something that is essentially 100% glucose (maltose-a double glucose molecule with a GI of 105, maltotriose- a triple glucose molecule GI unknown and dextrin- unspecified glucose). There we are, fooled by the different names again.
The University of Sydney reports R.M.S as having an extremely high GI of 98, this certainly makes more sense and backed by credibility.

Putting this information into perspective, if you are someone who gives potatoes a wide berth due to their high carbohydrate content, concider that rice malt syrup contains almost 4x the total carbohydrates with little to none of the other nutrients.

The lack of information feels too convenient for Rice Malt Syrup producers, some of whom labeled their product as low GI before any testing had even been done!
I Quit Sugar, who readily acknowledge the high GI, have failed to offer me any explanation as to how or why they continue to claim this product is “slow releasing” despite me  requesting the information in various different forms of communication. Do they know? Or are they just another company disregarding the public’s well being for their own monetary gain. (yes, they are definitely on the Pure Harvest payroll) Hopefully they will get back to me on that one eventually. (All other blogs who make this claim have moderation setting and refuse to acknowledge my question at all, the majority also seem to be suspiciously similar in their wording). For now, the only study I have to go on is one conducted to compare the effects of glucose and maltose on the body via intravenous delivery. This study suggests maltose behaves in a very similar way to glucose.
*update: I Quit Sugar did eventually get back to me. However, their response on this matter was to point me back in the direction of the original post I had referred to. They also stated that rice malt syrup was a complex carbohydrate (clearly a typo because even their website declares "CONTAINS complex carbohydrates") and fail to mention that the amount of complex carbohydrates would be less than 30% of the total carbohydrates. At any rate, the complex carbohydrate they refer to is maltotriose, the triple glucose molecule mentioned earlier which is in fact classed as a maltodextrin which the body absorbs as readily and quickly as glucose.
I Quit Sugar has refused further comment.

Further to this information, I have also looked closely at the Pure Harvest Rice Malt Syrup label which only states 55% sugar, how can that be?? Conveniently, maltodextrins like maltotriose and dextrin, derived from cereals containing gluten (like rice) are exempt from labeling. How's that for misdirection!

I am not going to argue the arsenic levels, however I will say this, Organic does not mean arsenic free and it would be wise to carefully consider your brand.  

Finally:
Due to the way the body needs to break down maltose in order to distribute it as glucose, in the same way a person can suffer lactose intolerance anyone who lacks sufficient maltase is likely to be maltose intolerant.  If the body cannot break down maltose, diarrhea and excessive gas can occur.

My advice to you, stop trying to find a healthy sugar outside of whole foods. Accept that you will never be able to enjoy an enormous piece of chocolate cake for breakfast and start enjoying sweetened foods for what they truly are: A TREAT to be enjoyed in moderation.