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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Aug;56(8):755-64.

The comparative gastrointestinal responses of children and adults following consumption of sweets formulated with sucrose, isomalt and lycasin HBC.

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Bioscience Research Institute, The University of Salford, Greater Manchester, UK.



To determine the gastrointestinal responses of children and adults following consumption of sucrose, isomalt and lycasin HBC and to compare these at two different dose levels in adults.


Both studies were randomised, double-blind, cross-over designs.


Fifty-one children aged 6-9 y were recruited from primary schools in the Salford area of Greater Manchester. Forty-eight children completed the study. Fifty healthy adult volunteers aged 18-24 y were recruited from the student population of the University of Salford. All subjects completed the study.


Children consumed either 25 g of sucrose, isomalt or lycasin HBC and adults 25 and 40 g in hard boiled sweets per day for two consecutive test days. Test periods of 2 days were separated by 7 day washout periods. Children consumed sweets throughout test days and adults in no less than 30 min but no more than 90 min. Subjects reported the prevalence and magnitude of flatulence, borborygmi, bloating, colic, bowel movements and watery faeces.


Consumption of 25 g isomalt provoked a mild laxative effect in children but not in adults. Consumption of 25 g isomalt significantly increased the prevalence and magnitude of gastrointestinal responses in both children and adults. Consumption of 25 g lycasin HBC significantly increased borborygml in children and adults but no other gastrointestinal responses. Consumption of 40 g lycasin HBC or isomalt by adults significantly increased the mean frequency of bowel movements and the number of subjects passing watery faeces. In adults, 40 g isomalt and lycasin HBC provoked significantly more gastrointestinal responses compared to 25 g of either product.


Consumption of 25 g lycasin HBC does not provoke an unacceptable laxative effect or gastrointestinal response in children or adults compared to 25 g isomalt, which is associated with a mild laxative effect and increase in gastrointestinal responses. In adults gastrointestinal responses following consumption of products were found to be dose dependent.

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