Maltose: Honey's Less Sweet Cousin
What is maltose? While it's name sounds unfamiliar, and thus, potentially unhealthy, maltose is a healthier alternative to other conventional sweeteners. Maltose is an all-natural sweetener originating in China produced from distilling fermented grains, usually rice. The ingredient list for maltose reads as follows: rice and water. That's it! Scientifically, maltose is two glucose molecules combined - so no fructose in sight. It is also 50% less sweet than normal table sugar. It's been made since Ancient Chinese times and was often used to soothe sore throats and upset stomachs due to its high iron and mineral content. This is why we like to refer to it as the "honey of the East."
Is maltose the same thing as brown rice syrup? Almost, the process of preparation differs slightly as brown rice syrup only contains about 50% of maltose while pure maltose is higher, yielding a thicker, less sweet syrup. The small amount of mineral content is negligible in both syrups.
Does maltose have any health benefits? Yes! Maltose has high fiber and iron content as well as some protein. Since ancient times, the Chinese used maltose as a light medicinal treat for better digestion and a healthier immune system even to this day. Maltose is also an excellent source of energy due to its higher glycemic index, which makes it a great pre-workout or post-workout snack ingredient!
Does this mean I can eat as much as I want? No. A healthy balanced diet includes eating at most the recommended daily value of sugar and maltose is no exception, just like fruit is no exception. But a little bit a day is completely acceptable and luckily, Numa's milk bites are packaged for diet-control purposes!
How else is maltose used? The Chinese use maltose in almost everything. Not only is it the main sweetener found in almost all their sweet treats, but it's also used to glaze famous dishes like peking duck! In fact, we love it so much, we use it to make art on the streets.