Sports drink manufacturers are always trying to find better ways to help athletes hydrate, whether that’s finding the perfect mix of electrolytes or slashing sugar without sacrificing taste. Sports brand Kill Cliff is on the cutting edge of the no-sugar technology. While other sports drinks are packing their products with sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners, Kill Cliff is using Palatinose.
What the Heck is Palatinose?
Palatinose is a slow-burning, low-glycemic sweetener derived from non-GMO beets. It has an incredibly low glycemic index, which means that it doesn’t cause insulin spikes like normal sugar. According to a 2002 study, Palatinose is favorable in products for diabetics and pre-diabetics.1 It helps release energy slowly, which is great for endurance athletics. Kill Cliff markets its sports drinks as best for use before and after workouts.
Palatinose is just a trade name for Isomaltulose, which is present in honey and sugarcane extracts. It has half the sweetness of table sugar and has been used as a sugar replacement in Japan since 1985. It’s digested and absorbed into the body more slowly than table sugar and is then gradually released into the bloodstream as glucose and fructose.
New Ways to Sweetness: The German Company BENEO
The German nutrition company BENEO has trademarked the name Palatinose. They specialize in providing all-natural ingredients in baby food, confections, cereals, soups, sauces, beverages, and even animal feed. From their website: “BENEO is your global partner catering to the latest trends and developments in food and feed. We are specialized in providing ingredients from natural sources that meet today’s nutritional expectations.”
They also specialize in naturally-sourced sugar replacements. They say: “BENEO’s Palatinose is a smart alternative to sugar that is released slowly and in a more balanced way, allowing for lower blood sugar response and related on-pack health claims for blood glucose management. Next to improving blood sugar management, clinical study results also show that the gentle carbohydrate energy of Palatinose supports efforts towards weight management and sustained energy.”
Water is Still Your Best Bet
These breakthroughs in science are both exciting and important. If we have healthier sweeteners, we have a healthier world. If you’re an athlete or just a normal person who runs a couple miles every day, water is still your best bet, however. Sports drinks have unnecessary calories; for example, Kill Cliff’s Endure drink has 110 calories and 27 grams of carbs. The vast majority of sports drinks have artificial colors and flavors, and some sneak in high fructose corn syrup. Tim Noakes, professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town in South Africa tells Harvard Health Publishing, “If they [athletes] avoided the sports drinks they would get thinner and run faster.”
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