What is Rice Malt Syrup?
Rice malt syrup, or RMS, is made from 100% organic brown rice. It is made through culturing rice with enzymes to breakdown the starches and then cooking until it becomes syrup.
The final product contains soluble complex carbohydrates, maltose and a small amount of glucose. Rice malt syrup is 100% gluten free and fructose free.
Why is Fructose Free Important?
The importance here is that the carbohydrates in rice malt syrup provide a steady supply of energy, requiring up to 90 minutes digestion time. Other sweeteners like sugar, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and agave, which range from 50-90% fructose, are faster releasing sugars which cause insulin spikes, the associated blood sugar crashes (the blood sugar-insulin roller coaster) and therefore cravings, hunger and fatigue.
Most people know how hard it is to stop after one piece of cake, and perhaps it wouldn’t be so difficult to do so if we cooked without fructose! Studiesshow that when we’re not consuming fructose, the right appetite hormones switch on and you can stop at one slice, and not need to have dessert every night.
In his book Fat Chance, Dr. Robert Lustig explains the affect of fructose on ghrelin levels:
In humans, ghrelin levels rise with subjective hunger, peak at the time of voluntary food consumption (which is why your stomach grumbles at noon), and decrease after a meal. However, fructose intake does not decrease ghrelin; therefore, caloric intake is not suppressed.
In short, avoiding the blood-sugar roller coaster is the key to satiety, hormonal control and weight management. In comparison to fructose, glucose is used by every cell in our bodies and our liver only metabolises 20%. Remember, glucose is also found in starchy carbohydrates like sweet potato – our perfect post-exercise glycogen replenishment.
What are the Benefits of Rice Malt Syrup?
Other than an efficient source of energy, rice malt syrup is the perfect sweetener for those following a low FODMAP diet, those who are fructose intolerant, gluten intolerant, and unlike honey, is suitable for vegans.
Pure Harvest rice malt syrup is also organic, GMO free and contains no artificial colours and flavours.
In cooking or baking, rice malt syrup can substitute practically any sugar or sweetener. About 1/4 cup is sufficient. It also doesn’t taste too sweet, the way honey can in certain amounts. This helps with portion control and again, blood sugar control, satiety, hormonal control and weight management. In case you hadn’t noticed, sweet foods stimulate the need for more sweet foods and start the vicious cycle of addiction!
The Rice Malt Syrup Controversy
Recent research by scientists at Dartmouth College, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in 2012, found consumers were ingesting potentially harmful levels of arsenic via rice and rice malt syrup. Naturally this would put many people off from purchasing rice malt syrup, however let’s keep this in perspective. We live in Australia where there are standards set for arsenic in food or beverages.
Pure Harvest are located in regional Victoria, and are one of Australia’s largest manufacturers and distributors of natural and organic food and pride themselves on unadulterated chemical-free products. They aim is for efficient use of energy, raw materials, water and packaging. This is continually monitored through their Environmental Management System and Australian Packaging Covenant action plan.
So Pure Harvest’s rice malt syrup is a chemical-free product with environmentally sound manufacturing techniques. And after this so called controversy, Pure Harvest released the following statement:
“The FSANZ standard 1.4.1 permits a level for cereals of 1 mg/kg (ppm) of total arsenic. As can be seen from the test report provided, our rice syrup has a level of <0.040 mg/kg (ppm) of total arsenic (note the less than, this is the detection limit for the specific test used to detect the arsenic in this case, so the actual levels are less than this), so is well below the maximum permitted levels stated in the code. The American FDA do not have any standards set for arsenic in food or beverages, and are in general many years behind Australia and New Zealand in the development and implementation of Food Safety systems.”