Why has our Nutrition Panel’s Energy value changed this year?
In short, the new laboratory tests, performed in December 2017, now include testing the polyol values in our products (Isomalt in the hard candies and Maltitol in the chocolate). In terms of the SA Labelling Legislation, testing for polyols was not mandatory (required) when we did our original tests with Microchem in 2012, 2015, and 2016. Since announcing that Microchem had become SANAS-accredited to perform polyol testing (only a handful of laboratories are), we decided to redo our laboratory tests in December 2017 to include these values. One of the main reasons for redoing our tests was because we had recently changed some of our raw ingredient suppliers (the recipe stayed the same) and we felt that retesting was the appropriate thing to do. You will also notice that our new packaging reflects that we have now achieved Halaal Certification. The results showed an increase in Energy. We cannot determine how much of the energy value can be attributed to the ingredients obtained from the new suppliers, or to the polyol testing.
Not all Food Calories are equal and here's why...
Did you know that kcal values differ between countries !?!
Food energy is the amount of energy in a food that is released through digestion. Food energy is derived from carbohydrates, fats and proteins as well as from organic acids, polyols, and ethanol. The result is expressed as a value in kilocalories (kcal) and/or kilojoules (kJ). There are 4.2kJ in 1kcal. The energy value for sugar is 17kJ/gram (4kcal/gram). What is interesting to note is that in Europe Isomalt is counted with an energy value of 2.4kcal/g, while in many other countries, such as America, its scientific energy value of 2kcal/g is used. In South Africa, Isomalt is counted with an energy value of 2.6kcal/g. So, in other words, our understanding is that had we had our tests done in America, the energy value for Isomalt would be reflected as 2kcal/g and not 2.6kcal/g. Maltitol is 2.4kcal/g in Europe, 2.1kcal in America, however, it is reflected as 3.12kcal/g in South Africa!
Here is a comparison table:
Using the SA table as prescribed in the SA Labelling Regulation, R146, and according to the latest laboratory tests, our hard candies have a calorie value of 1.9kcal/g (190kcal/100g). We have also been advised that the NEW SA Labelling Regulation, which is currently in draft form, has different values to the one currently in existence (R146) #crazystuff
However, the calorific value of polyols is lower than that of sugars because of the way they are digested...
Most polyols are primarily fermented in the large intestine, rather than absorbed in the small intestine, which has important consequences for their energy value.
If a carbohydrate (like sugar) is absorbed in the small intestine and not excreted via urine, it becomes fully available to the body as energy, whereas if a carbohydrate (like a Polyol) is fermented in the colon, only about half of it (50%) will be available as energy. When a polyol is ingested, a significant part of it (varying from 10% to 99% depending on the individual polyol) is not absorbed in the small intestine and therefore enters the large intestine.
The "real" energy value of a polyol is therefore dependent on the following three factors, which must all be considered when calculating a polyol’s energy value:
- the percentage of polyol that is absorbed in the small intestine as opposed to the percentage that is fermented in the large intestine
- the extent to which the body can use any energy from the polyol absorbed in the small intestine
- the part that ends up in the large intestine.
So, in summary, calories from Polyols, which are listed on food labels are not necessarily what the body is taking in.