Some people have asked me “why do you use Rice Malt Syrup (RMS) in your sweet recipes?” “Isn’t it just another form of sugar?” Yes it is but it is the breakdown of sugars types that makes this a healthier alternative for those concerned about their sugar intake.
RMS has a low glycemic index (GI) meaning the energy is slowly released and you won’t have a sugar rush like eating fructose (fruit sugar) or sucrose (table sugar). Unlike fructose (fruit sugar) and it won’t store in the body as fat. There is a lot of information out there on the internet about RMS, I first learnt about it from www.sarahwilson.com.au and more about the actual sugar profile and how the body uses it from the book Sweet Poison by David Gillespie. The easiest breakdown I have found on the Internet that explained RMS was this extract:
Brown rice syrup has a low glycaemic value, which means it does not cause a sugar rush or a sudden spike in blood sugar after consuming it. This is because the sugar profile in this syrup is 50% soluble carbohydrates, 45% maltose and 3% glucose. The glucose is immediately absorbed and metabolized, maltose takes from an hour to an hour and a half, and soluble carbohydrates take 2-3 hours to be metabolized and energy released. This results in constant supply of energy spread over a long time rather than a sudden rush.
There has also been a lot of discussion on the Internet about arsenic levels in RMS based on some findings from various researchers in other countries. This alarmed me and I went into panic mode! However I have learnt that Australia and NZ has some fairly strict guidelines regarding arsenic (organic and non-organic) usage.
I have only ever used the brand Pure Harvest Rice Malt Syrup so I personally contacted Pure Harvest regarding the arsenic levels in their RMS and I was happy with their prompt response to which they sent me a test report for the total arsenic levels in their RMS and in fact the arsenic levels are way below FSANZ allowable limit.
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.
I do not believe that RMS is a suitable alternative for diabetics and I am not qualified to make any suggestions otherwise. I also do not know anything about using RMS as a sugar alternative for cancer sufferers. I believe if you are concerned about your sugar intake be it because of weight or other health issues then RMS is a good option. Like any sugars though I would still use it in moderation and as a treat, if you are trying to wean yourself off sugar I would avoid any sugar substitutes including RMS for at least 6 weeks to get over the cravings first.
Yours in Foodness