Maltodextrin or isomaltulose? Feed Smart Food and Huel

Hi Huelers.

Just came across Feed ( a french version of Huel. I wanted to compare it to Huel and, overall, it seems to be inferior (less protein, more fat, and less fibre per 100g). Feed has 19.9g of sugar per 100g, while Huel has 0.9g. What intrigued me was the following:

Why the presence of sugar is a proof of quality in Feed. ?

Unlike the isomaltulose, maltodextrin is not legally considered as a sugar.

Thus, due to the common perception around sugars, a lot of companies use maltodextrin instead of isomaltulose to avoid putting customers off by the high sugar content.

In Feed, we use the isomaltulose, to ensure a low glycemic index, and thus a better satiety. So, do not be frightened by a high sugar content. (Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of the isomaltulose.)

The law surrounding sugar labelling needs to change in order to fix this.

To go further:

The ‘sugar’ definition breaks down when it comes specifically to maltodextrin and isomaltulose.

Sugars are either monosaccharides or disaccharides. A saccharide is simply a carbohydrate component that is common to all carbs. Consider saccharides ‘sugar units’ for simplicity.

Monosaccharides contain one sugar unit, and disaccharides contain two. These are both generally classes as sugars, because they are simple, and sugars are simply defined as simple carbs for the purposes of labelling. The problem is this makes no reference to GI.

Isomaltulose is a simple carb - as it is a disaccharide carbohydrate composed of glucose and fructose linked by an alpha-1,6-glycosidic bond - and hence is labelled as a sugar, despite the body taking far longer to break it down (due to it having a GI of ~32).

Maltodextrin, on the other hand, is a complex carb - it is a polysaccharide, composed of multiple glucose units connected in chains of various length. As it is complex, it does not have to be labelled as a sugar. However, due to the ease with which the body can break it down into the individual glucose units, it has a GI of ~85-105, and sometimes higher.

The isomaltulose, despite its obvious nutritional superiority, impacted the nutrition declaration, and could give a negative image, while it is quite the opposite…

So be reassured all Feed products are developed by nutritionists. There is no ingredient that is not essential or with a specific purpose.

Looking forward to your feedback Huelers.

Bruno Barbirato

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Whilst isomaltulose is a very good ingredient, and Feed. containing a higher content of fat is not actually a bad thing, Huel doesn’t use maltodextrin (other than in very small amounts as a vitamin carrier), so the comparison doesn’t need to be made. If Huel did use maltodextrin as a primary component, like Queal, Jimmy Joy, Soylent and many others, then Feed. would be a lot better.

As is though, at least for now, Huel remains the one to beat in terms of nutrition in my opinion.

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