GERMANY- Leading functional ingredients manufacturer Beneo recently initiated a new series of in-vitro and in-vivo studies to evaluate the digestion of isomaltulose, and its glycaemic and insulinemia effects in dogs, compared to other relevant carbohydrate sources. 

The study, conducted by Corbee et al., demonstrates that isomaltulose is a suitable low glycaemic ingredient for use in dog food, triggering a lower blood glucose rise after consumption, making it a particularly interesting solution with the potential to support metabolic health and weight management.

According to Beneo, the number of overweight and obese dogs has steadily increased over the last few decades and exceeded 50% in Western countries.

Additionally, excessive weight is linked to metabolic and skeletal-associated disorders and impacts the quality of life of both dog and the owner. 

According to the study, overweight or obese pets are at risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance but low glycaemic diets can support weight loss and improve metabolic health in both humans and dogs.

Therefore, finding suitable low glycaemic ingredients for dog food is key such as the isomaltulose that Beneo derives from sugar beet at its production plant for functional carbohydrates in Germany.

Isomaltulose is a disaccharide that occurs naturally in honey, is composed of glucose and fructose, and is characterized by a stronger glycosidic bond than usual sugar. 

It is a direct source of energy that generates a more balanced blood glucose response, distinguishing it from high glycaemic energy sources, such as heat-treated cereals and conventional sugars. 

Research takes part in three stages 

In total, three studies were carried out by teams from universities in Utrecht and Wageningen. 

The first, an in-vitro study of small intestinal tissue samples from three dogs, evaluated the small intestinal hydrolysis of isomaltulose compared to sucrose, maltose, maltodextrin, lactose, and ɑ-trehalose to confirm if dogs have the ability to digest isomaltulose. 

The findings showed that it can be digested by canine intestinal enzymes, with a lower enzyme activity compared to high glycaemic carbohydrates, indicating a slower rate of hydrolysis.

The second and third studies compared the effects of isomaltulose, sucrose, and maltodextrin in an in-vivo setup and the results showed that isomaltulose significantly lowered the dogs’ blood glucose and insulin responses, compared to maltodextrin or sucrose.

The goal of the final study was to assess the glycaemic properties of isomaltulose in dogs, after continuous intake, based on the assumption that the ability to digest isomaltulose might evolve through adaptation so that its impact on blood glucose levels would get closer to the other carbohydrates. 

Even after continuous intake over two weeks, the low glycaemic and insulinemic properties of isomaltulose were confirmed.

This research is of great importance as it offers the first comprehensive characterization of isomaltulose with respect to its digestibility and metabolic effects in dogs. The low glycaemic properties of isomaltulose already shown in other species, including humans, pigs, and rodents, have now been confirmed in dogs.” Dr. Maygane Ronsmans, Product Manager of Animal Nutrition at BENEO commented on the findings. 

The combined results of this study suggest that isomaltulose would be a suitable energy source in dog food, which contributes to a more stable blood glucose response, and may improve the dog’s metabolic profile and overall health,” Dr. Maygane added.  

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