Isomaltulose has low glycemic properties in dogs, says recent study


A recent series of in vitro and in vivo studies, initiated by Beneo, investigated the digestion of isomaltulose in dogs, compared to other saccharides.

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A recent series of in vitro and in vivo studies, initiated by Beneo, investigated the digestion of isomaltulose in dogs, compared to other saccharides. Three studies were performed. The first was an in vitro study evaluating small intestinal hydrolysis of isomaltulose compared to sucrose and maltodextrin. The second in-vivo study evaluated the glycemic effects of the saccharides by measuring plasma glucose, insulin, and glucagon-like peptide 1 at baseline up to 180 minutes after administration of a single dosage following an overnight fast (nine dogs with three dogs in each group). The third study sought to understand whether digestive enzymes and the underlying glycemic responses for isomaltulose and sucrose can be upregulated. In it, 18 dogs were exposed to the saccharides for two weeks and the measurements were repeated after an overnight fast.

Results showed that isomaltulose was hydrolyzed by intestinal enzymes in all three dogs, with lose degrading activity, which the researchers say indicates a slower rate of hydrolysis. Isomaltulose was also found to have a low glycemic response in vivo, which was in line with in vitro data.

According to a press release from Beneo, there has been an increase in the number of overweight and obese dogs in the last few decades, exceeding 50% in Western countries. This excessive weight has been linked to metabolic and skeletal disorders that impact the quality of life of pets, and have therefore led to more pet owners seeking out products that control their pet’s weight. Citing its Consumer Research on Attitudes towards Pet Food in US, Brazil, UK, Germany & China 2021, Beneo says that over 8 in 10 pet owners agree that on-pack communications regarding controlling pet weight naturally (87%) or lowering impact on blood sugar (85%), have “very much” or “somewhat” affected their purchasing decisions.

The carbohydrate used in dog food plays a big part in this decision because overweight and obese pets are at risk of developing impaired glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, explains Beneo. “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,” said Maygane Ronsmans, PhD, product manager Animal Nutrition at BENEO, in a press release. “The low glycemic properties of isomaltulose already shown in other species, including humans, pigs and rodents, have now been confirmed in dogs. 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.”

According to Beneo, isomaltulose is a disaccharide that naturally occurs in honey. Composed of glucose and fructose, isomaltulose is characterized by a stronger glycosidic bond than sugar. What also distinguishes isomaltulose from high glycemic energy sources, says Beneo, is that it is a direct source of energy that generates a more balanced glucose response. Beneo derives its isomaltulose from sugar beets in Offstein, Germany.


  1. Corbee, R.J., Mes, J.J.; de Jong, G.A.H.; van den Dool, R.T.M.; Neumer, F.; Theis, S.; Bosch, G. Brush border enzyme hydrolysis and glycaemic effects of isomaltulose compared to other saccharides in dogs. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1111/jpn.13860 (accessed 2023-8-1)
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