IMO, (or Isomalto-Oligosaccharide as it might appear on your food label) also goes under the name of - dietary fiber from tapioca starch, prebiotic fiber and soluble tapioca fiber. It’s becoming increasingly popular in low carb products and is advertised as a fiber that can be deducted from total carbohydrate, resulting in a really low net carb count.
IMO’s have a sweet flavor and are being used by food manufacturers because of restrictions on Erythritol and Monk fruit in commercial food products. Xylitol is not restricted but is not well tolerated by everyone. The restrictions will eventually be lifted but until that time IMOs are the alternative.
IMOs are considered a fiber and initial studies showed promise because in simulated digestion models, the dietary fiber didn’t break down in stomach acids. However, there has been debate that the tests failed to test enzymes in the small intestine and that it is broken down as a carbohydrate.
I don’t have the background to validate any of these studies but I have heard enough to make me skeptical. I personally can't tolerate IMOs well so therefore I had already decided not to use them in my products -if I can't eat them I wouldn't expect you to.
I do hear from people that can’t use Erythritol either, but for my family it’s the only sweetener we have no problems with. There's enough scientific data showing that Erythritol has virtually no effect on blood sugar, is safe for diabetics and is well tolerated by most of the population, making it my sweetener of choice.
So when I see products sweetened with IMOs that proudly boast - "Contain ‘0 Sugar Alcohol" I'm thinking… "Hold on .... is your sweetener better than mine?"
"My new Chocolate cake mix is almost ready! It's sweetened with a special blend of Erythritol & Stevia. Hope you enjoy it!"