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Thus far, we have established what IMO is and how its structure can differ in regard to its carbon bonds. The real question is, “What are the metabolic responses of products that contain these IMOs?” The glycemic index of IMO is very low,[3] however, it has been shown to be nearly completely digested (83 % or more) by enzymes on the small intestinal border.[3] Thus, IMOs should not necessarily be classified as a true fiber but rather as a low glycemic carbohydrate like steel cut oatmeal, at about 3.3 calories per gram.
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.
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.[4] 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.
After I had spent some time thinking about it and reading the labels on every brand of eggnog at Walmart, I decided to try my hand at making my homemade keto eggnog. I won’t lie, I am an eggnog snob, and I have tasted lots of different brands and homemade versions over the year. My favorite brand is Southern Comfort Eggnog, and I have never tasted homemade eggnog that I enjoyed. That’s why I decided not to get excited about this little experiment. I plan to make five different eggnog recipes, and this was my first attempt. I tasted this recipe immediately after making it, and I wasn’t very impressed. Like many eggnogs, I have tried in the past it was bland and didn’t taste like my favorite brand.
Whisk 1 cup of the warmed nut milk into the yolk mixture. Then add back into the remaining nut milk in the saucepan. Stir until combined. Continue cooking over low heat until the mixture has thickened and reach about 165 degrees and will coat the back of a spoon. Don’t boil or overcook or else your eggs will curdle. If the eggs do curdle, you can strain the mixture to get rid of the curdled chunks.
One thing you can do for yourself, if you’re on vacation is pack your own food. This may not work if you’re flying overseas, but if you’re sticking to the USA; you should be able to pack your own food without a problem. Of course, sticking to the basics of the Keto diet is one of the smartest things you can do. Protein, high fat, and low carbs! Stick to foods you know are acceptable on the Keto diet.