What Is Maltose And Should You Be Avoiding It?
By Tyler Woodward
What Is Maltose?:
Maltose is a dietary carbohydrate that is naturally found in many fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. Maltose is a type of disaccharide molecule, meaning it’s made up of 2 connected simple sugar molecules. Maltose is specifically made up of two molecules of glucose. Maltose is most well-known for it’s use in malted drinking, making up their sweet flavoring.
Types Of Sugars:
There are three types of sugars:
- Monosaccharides - Monosaccharides means “one sugar” of which there are three types of simple sugars
- Disaccharides - Disaccharides means “two sugars” and is made up of a combination of two monosaccharides. There are three types of disaccharides
- Maltose - Glucose + Glucose
- Sucrose - Glucose + Fructose
- Lactose - Glucose + Galactose
- Polysaccharides - Polysaccharides are a combination of many of the monosaccharides. There are few types of polysaccharides that commonly exist all of which are made up of pure glucose in various structures
- Starches - Plant storage energy
- Glycogen - Animal storage energy
- Chitin - Animal structural carbohydrates
- Cellulose - Plant structural Carbohydrates
Read More: The Sugar Secret
Is Maltose Healthier Than Sugar?
As far as sugars go, maltose is extremely unstudied and its health effects are relatively unknown in comparison to other sugars. Recently maltose has been used as a health alternative for high-fructose corn syrup or sugar due to health concerns with these products. With the lack of evidence on maltose, the verdict is out whether or not this is truly a healthier alternative. Being that maltose is made up of pure glucose, it’s unlikely that it’s any more or less healthy than any other starch, but I would argue that maltose sugar is less healthy than regular table sugar for a number of reasons:
- Maltose Is Less Sweet - Because maltose is made up of 2 glucose molecules it is significantly less sweet than sucrose (table sugar), as the fructose in sugar is where the majority of the sweetness is derived in sucrose. This means in order to taste equally as sweet you must include more maltose than sugar, which means to get an equal level of sweetness the maltose sugar would be more sweet.
- Maltose Is Pure Glucose - Another detriment of maltose is that it lacks fructose. Fructose has the advantage over glucose in that it does not require insulin to be released into the cell nor does it cause insulin to be released. Glucose, unlike fructose, requires insulin to be released into the cell, more insulin must be released to process an equal amount of maltose compared to sucrose. Additionally, because maltose is pure glucose you could make the argument that it is in fact more likely to be stored as fat than sucrose. This is because fructose must be processed by the liver and is preferentially converted to glycogen to be saved as stored energy. This means that comparably if you were to consume 100 grams of maltose all 100 grams would have to be distributed throughout the body and processed, while in sucrose 50% must be processed by the liver. The sucrose in this sense is less likely to get “backed up” in the bloodstream to the degree in which the cell can no longer utilize anymore for fuel and must store it as fat.
Read More: Are Starches Fattening?
Foods That Contain Maltose:
Maltose is found in more bitter tasting fruits and certain grains like:
- Spelt Grains
- Sweet Potatoes
- Malted sweets
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