Rice syrup or brown rice syrup refers to a sweetener created by adding enzymes to turn the starch of rice into sugar. The term brown refers to the color of the syrup because white rice is usually used for the processing. This sweetener is usually sold in the health section of your grocery store, but it is a sugar, and like all sugar, it is best to consume it with moderation. If you are trying to choose a lower-fructose alternative to agave syrup, which is 90 percent fructose, rice syrup could be a good option for you.
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Rice syrup contains a similar amount of carbohydrates compared to other sweeteners, but it has a lower fructose content. More precisely, the sugar content of rice syrup is divided between 50 percent soluble carbohydrates, 45 percent maltose and 3 percent glucose, according to TriedTastedServed.com. The fructose content is not specified, but it appears to be close to zero.
Rice syrup has a relatively low glycemic index when compared to other sweeteners, which means that it won't raise your blood sugar levels as quickly as regular sugar or pure glucose. The glycemic index of rice syrup is in the same range as the glycemic index of honey and agave syrup, according to "Organic Lifestyle Magazine." Honey and agave syrup have a low glycemic index because of their high fructose content, but the low glycemic index of rice syrup is due to its high maltose content.
Fructose vs. Maltose
Many health-conscious people try to avoid high-fructose sweeteners, especially high-fructose corn syrup, because a high-fructose intake is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, according to Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a professor in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. However, the predominant sugar found in rice syrup is maltose. Maltose is made by two molecules of glucose bond together. Although studies indicate that fructose seems to be worse than glucose, you should not go overboard with rice syrup. A high intake of sugar, whether it is from glucose or fructose, can be detrimental for your health.
To stay healthy, maintain your weight, prevent chronic diseases, and keep your fructose intake low by avoiding consuming a high amount of sugar from sweets, candies, baked goods, breakfast cereals, snack foods, desserts and soft drinks. If you sweeten your plain yogurt or bowl of sugar-free old-fashioned oatmeal, you may use a small amount of the sweetener of your choice, such as rice syrup, but limit yourself to a very small amount. Get rid of your sweet tooth by gradually decreasing the amount of sweetener your use to improve your health and body weight.