There can be plenty of reasons for not having the energy to complete your usual workout in the gym, but most of the time it comes down to nutrition and failing energy levels. If you have a plan in mind, know your capabilities, but just can’t push through that last set, the solution can often be a quick hit of energy. Enter, maltodextrin.
What is Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin begins, usually, as rice, corn, wheat and potato starch. These starches are cooked, and then acids and enzymes are added to them, in order to further break them down. The final product is soluble, neutral-tasting white powder that you can mix into your drinks.
Is Maltodextrin Vegan?
Animal-related ingredients are not a part of any stage in the process of creating maltodextrin, so vegans and vegetarians can rest at ease. It’s a plant-derived starch, consisting of a small number of simple sugars that are connected together.
Is Maltodextrin Gluten-Free?
For anyone on a gluten-free diet and coeliac sufferers concerned about meeting dietary requirements or finding supplements that don’t contain wheat, you can safely have maltodextrin, as it is most commonly derived from corn.
What are the Benefits of Maltodextrin?
Fitness fans – this is what you came here for. The main benefit of maltodextrin is it’s use as a great source of energy when you need it – we’re talking high calories and fast. So when you’re working on explosive power, or hitting the drop sets and you feel your levels plummeting towards the end, supplements and sports drinks containing maltodextrin have got you covered.
Maltodextrin is a rapidly digestible sugar. It provides you with 4 calories per gram and because it is so readily absorbed into your system, it gives a quick energy boost, which is particularly beneficial to bodybuilders and weight lifters in general. When your energy levels plummet, maltodextrin helps you recover for that extra-hard set.
Maltodextrin can also be used for improved endurance, enabling you to keep going during a longer cardio workout or HIIT session.
What are the Dangers of Maltodextrin?
The main risk with maltodextrin is also linked to its benefit: the ability to give you a lot of sugar – fast! For anyone with diabetes or insulin resistance, that could be a problem. Maltodextrin has a high glycemic index (GI), which means that it can cause a spike in your blood sugar. It’s safe to consume in very small amounts, but those with diabetes should be particularly careful. It should also be avoided if you’re predisposed to developing diabetes.
For anyone on a low-carb diet, maltodextrin would need to be considered as part of your daily carb intake.
Maltodextrin vs. Dextrose
Maltodextrin and dextrose are both carbohydrate supplements that come in powder form. You’ll find both supplements in shakes geared to build mass and aid in recovery. While they share many properties in common, dextrose is the simpler form of sugar of the two. Your body doesn’t need to break it down as much as maltodextrin for energy – maltodextrin features a string of glucose molecules, which can be easily broken down, but not quite as quickly as dextrose.
Take Home Message
Maltodextrin is a water soluble, vegan, quickly-absorbed processed version of starch that can provide you with a serious hit of sugar when you need it. This is particularly beneficial for bodybuilders in need of an extra hit of calories to power through their last sets. Naturally, an intense hit of energy can cause blood sugar levels to spike, which means it’s not suitable for anyone with diabetes. However, for non-diabetics, when taken in moderation, maltodextrin can help to conquer plateaus when your fuel levels start to drop.