IMOs can be made in several ways, but they are primarily derived from a sugar called maltose. IMO is promoted as a prebiotic fiber with a light sweetness profile. Its functional properties (i.e., moisture retention, low viscosity) make it well-suited for nutrition bars, cookies, candies, and the like. In order to fully understand IMOs and how the body processes them, we first need to understand how starches are digested in the body. Starches, also known as polysaccharides, are long and sometimes branched chains of glucose molecules. Initially, starch digestion begins in the small intestine with an enzyme called α-amylase. A-amylase breaks these long glucose chains into much shorter chains, called oligosaccharides, which are composed of anywhere from two to approximately 10 glucose units. Following this, specific enzymes on the brush border of the small intestine break down these oligosaccharides even further, into individual glucose units (monosaccharides) which are then absorbed.
In most cases, if you grab a low-carb snack at random from the grocery store shelf and look at the label, a common nutrient profile contains around 20 grams of carbohydrates, yet maybe 15 of those grams are from “fiber.” The result is five grams of net carbs, right? Not so fast. . . if a Type I diabetic were to consume that bar, cookie, or brownie with the five grams of net carbs, there should not be a need for insulin since, theoretically, there is minimal glucose (blood sugar) entering the system from those five net carbs, which shouldn’t require an insulin response. Unfortunately, theory and outcome do not always match.
This recipe has been highly requested as of late, so we figured we should have our go at it so you can enjoy the holidays to their full extent this year! Our Keto Eggnog is not only easy to make, but replicates the eggnog you use to drink pre-keto to a tee. I’ll be honest, I’ve never had eggnog, but Matt used to drink it every year and couldn’t stop raving about how exact our keto version tastes. Matt isn’t quick to give a compliment so I think it’s safe to assume we have a winner with this recipe!
A close relative of maltose is a molecule known as isomaltose (typically found in items such as beer and honey). The biggest difference between maltose and isomaltose is that isomaltose is joined together by an α-1,6 chemical bond, rather than an α-1,4 chemical bond. Scientists suspected that by adding a certain enzyme (transglucosidase) to high maltose syrup, they could change the bonds from α-1,4 to α-1,6, thereby making it more resistant to being broken down by the enzymes, as described above, when compared to maltose. Again, while this sounds excellent in theory, it is not necessarily what happens in our bodies. In fact, isomaltose (and thus, IMO syrups used in some of these products) is broken down by certain enzymes on the brush border of the small intestine. Though the α-1,6 bond breaks down slower compared to the α-1,4 bond, these IMO syrups, which often use a blend of di-and oligosaccharides, ultimately metabolize into small amounts of glucose and maltose and thus should be viewed as a slow digesting carbohydrate rather than a true fiber.
Dietary fiber refers to nutrients that are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes. While true fibers are digested, they are not digested in the small intestine like normal carbohydrates, but rather are digested (fermented) by bacteria in the large intestine. True fibers should only be digested by the bacteria in the large intestine. Referring back to the previous example regarding the fitness expos, you can certainly “smell,” and often experience which high fiber bars have some “true” fiber based on the fermentation and digestion.
Low in carbs and high in fiber, lupini beans (aka lupin beans) are perfect for those on keto who are looking for a high-protein, high-fiber snack. Never heard of them? This yellow legume is hot on the heels of the edamame and fava bean as an on-trend nibble for the health-conscious consumer. One cup of cooked lupini beans contains 4.6 grams of fiber—about 19% of the recommended daily value. However, ready-to-eat branded lupini bean snacks often contain even more. “I've noticed that the amount of carbs/fiber can vary greatly between lupini bean brands,” says Yule. “To make sure that you are choosing a food that is keto-friendly, be sure to check the label.”
Lastly, one of the advertised benefits of IMO is possible prebiotic activity. Prebiotics are critical, as they feed the beneficial bacteria in our digestive system, specifically in the large intestine. These bacteria have several amazing functions, such as lowering body fat, improving insulin sensitivity, and lowering depression. Two “gold standard” prebiotics in the industry are inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Inulin and FOS are non-digestible carbohydrates that robustly increase beneficial bacteria. The challenge, however, is that both inulin and FOS, due to their rapid digestibility by intestinal bacteria, result in low gastric tolerance, and, ultimately, gastric distress. Additionally, inulin and FOS, when added to protein bars or other goods, may degrade over time into individual sugar units. Regardless, one study comparing inulin to IMOs, found that the prebiotic activity in inulin is 14 times greater than that of IMOs. This is logical because, as you recall from above, approximately 70% to 90% of IMOs are digested. As such, only a small portion of these prebiotic fibers make it to the large intestine, in which two out of three studies have demonstrated that this small portion may indeed have some prebiotic effects.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary, and testimonials are not claimed to represent typical results. All testimonials are by real people, and may not reflect the typical purchaser’s experience, and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.
Alex is editor in chief of Bodyketosis, an author, low-carb enthusiast and a recovering chubby guy who reclaimed his health using the ketogenic lifestyle. The need for the keto life began after his aunt and cousin were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and he was next in line. Through personal experience and extensive scientific research, Alex offers insightful tips for everything keto.
Important Disclaimer: The information contained on Bodyketosis is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Any statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA and any information or products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet or taking supplements that may interfere with medications.
If you are aware of what you’re eating throughout the day, you can better plan for indulgences. When traveling to a place that is known for their cuisine, enjoy eating while remaining balanced about your diet. Instead of getting a sweet all to yourself, maybe share it with whoever you are going. By sampling small portions of food, instead of overeating till you feel sick, you can enjoy your vacation food while still keeping your Keto Diet in mind. Alternatively, be sure to get as much exercise as possible (walk to destinations instead of taking a bus or driving), and the extra exertion will help use up any extra calories (or carbs) that you may eat.