Rice malt syrup (RMS) has been popping up everywhere recently. Health food stores, supermarkets, baked goods and even my cupboard - which has very stringent entry guidelines! It has been popularised for it's minimal impact on weight gain comparative to other liquid sweeteners. You'll see it a lot in my recipes; so what is it, and why do you need some? Let’s unpack what’s so good about RMS!
Whats the deal?
- Fructose free sweetener made from rice
- Consistency of honey, tastes a little like mild golden syrup
- Can be used in place honey, agave and maple syrup
How is it made?
RMS is made by adding enzyme to rice which breaks down the starches. It is then cooked until it becomes a syrup.
RMS contains soluble complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose. The maltose in brown rice requires up to 1.5 hours to digest completely (that’s fairly slow-release). However, the main nutritional benefit comes from its lack of fructose. Glucose is present in starchy foods and our bodies naturally produce it too, which means every cell in the body can use glucose.
The nutritional panels below show a quick comparison of the overall sugar content per 100g.
HONEY: RMS: AGAVE:
Why is fructose so rubbish?
Fructose is metabolised very differently by the body. Fructose (such as that in high fructose corn syrup and agave) is not found naturally in our bodies. When consumed in large amounts, it is processed by the liver which becomes overwhelmed, causing the pancreas to create insulin and store the sugar as fat.
Fructose is found in fruit, and I'm not trying to demonize that here. Fruit is also full of amazing vitamins and minerals (unlike many other fructose-containing foods). One or two pieces of fruit a day is fine - just watch out for your fructose intake elsewhere in your diet and keep it to a bare minimum.
How to I use RMS?
Generally anywhere you'd ordinarily add sweetness. Think protein balls, pancakes, smoothies, on muesli, and in baking (try these Red Velvet Cupcakes). Because it's not quite as sweet as traditional sugar, substitute 1¼ cups of RMS in place of 1 cup sugar, or add a spot of Natvia (stevia) too.
Which brand do you recommend?
I use Honest To Goodness RMS because I can buy as much or as little as I need.
If I just need to grab some quickly, I'll buy Pure Harvest Brown Rice Syrup (pictured) - as this one is available at in major supermarkets and offers good value for money too.
What is your favourite alternative sweetener? Let me know in the comments below - I'd love to hear them!