What is IMO?
IMO, isomaltooligosaccharide is a short-chain carbohydrate that is included in many “low-carb” or “keto” products and is listed as a fiber. IMOs can be made in several ways, but they are primarily derived from a sugar called maltose. IMO is promoted as a prebiotic fiber with a light sweetness profile. Its functional properties (i.e., moisture retention, low viscosity) make it well-suited for nutrition bars, cookies, candies, and the like.
How is IMO metabolized?
IMO is composed of short-chain oligosaccharides. It is ultimately metabolized into small amounts of glucose and maltose and thus should be viewed as a slow-digesting carbohydrate rather than a true fiber.
Does IMO spike blood glucose levels?
The glycemic index of IMO is very low, however, it has been shown to be nearly completely digested (83 % or more) by enzymes on the small intestinal border. Thus, IMOs should not necessarily be classified as a true fiber but rather as a low glycemic carbohydrate like steel-cut oatmeal, at about 3.3 calories per gram.
Is IMO Keto?
Based on the current research IMOs should not be classified as a “true fiber.” Rather, IMOs should be viewed as a very low glycemic carbohydrate source, much like steel-cut oats. In essence, if you see a low-carb snack that has 20 grams of IMO fiber, it is likely that approximately 16 grams of this fiber will act as a slow-digesting carb, and four grams will act as an indigestible fiber. Those who are on a ketogenic diet should be aware of these fibers and proceed with caution when consuming them in large amounts, as they could raise both blood glucose and insulin levels.
Want to learn more about IMO and Keto?
Check out our full article here.