Dextrose vs. Maltodextrin vs. Oats
What is the difference between Maltodextrin and Dextrose?
TASTE, maltodextrin has an extremely weak sweetness to it. Plus it doesn't mix as well as dextrose. Dextrose on the other hand is very sweet and DISAPPEARS in water when stirred with a spoon. Hence, it is very friendly to the user. Adding dextrose to creatine makes it taste good and mix easily. Both are derived from corn strach which gives them their high glycemic level rating. But maltodextrin is complex and dextrose is simple.
Dextrose is required to create the quickest and highest insulin spike for maximum glycogen uptake by muscle cells.
Dextrose is derived from corn starch, (very similar to maltodextrin)It is produced by the enzyme conversion of corn starch and refined by ion-exchange demineralization. Dextrose is a fine white powder, hygroscopic and dissolves in water instantly (disappears).
Dextrose is a high glycemic carbohydrate that should be used for pre or post workout supplementation. The objective in using dextrose is to cause a rapid increase in insulin levels thus shuttling amino acids into the muscle cells. This method of combining carbohydrates and protein before and after workouts has been proven numerous times over and over again in research studies. Taking protein in conjunction with carbohydrates produces greater muscle gains and creates an anabolic effect better than taking protein or carbohydrates alone.
Research patented by a supplement company showed that combining 75 grams of dextrose with 5-10 grams of creatine and 200mg of ALA showed to increase the effectiveness of creatine monohydrate. Or 100 grams of dextrose with 5-10 grams of creatine will increase the effectiveness.
Maltodextrin is used for slow energy release. This combination of carbohydrates ensures energy levels are sustained over prolonged periods of time.
Maltodextrin has the ability to replace glycogen stores quickly and spare amino acid catabolism giving you energy over a sustained period of time. Maltodextrins are easily digestible carbohydrates made from natural corn starch. The starch is cooked, and then acid and/or enzymes are used to break the starch into smaller polymers (a process similar to that used by the body to digest carbohydrate). Maltodextrins are generally sold as dried powders. Maltodextrins are polymers of dextrose (sometimes labeled "glucose polymers"). Maltodextrins do not contain significant quantities of protein, fat or fiber.
Maltodextrins are not produced from and do not contain malt products. Corn-based maltodextrins are safe for patients with celiac disease since they do not contain proteins from wheat, barley, oats or rye. Maltodextrins are not known to contain MSG. Diabetics should follow the advice of their physicians. Maltodextrin’s glycemic index should be considered metabolically equivalent to glucose (dextrose). A complex carb derived from corn starch that is used in many MRP's.Instead of containing mostly disaccarides like most complex carbs, maltodextrin contains mostly Tetrasaccarides or higher.Pure maltodextrin also contains small amounts of dextrose and sugar.
Translocation of GLUT4 can also occur due to muscular contractions (2). So, weight lifting alone increases muscular insulin sensitivity - called insulin independent glucose uptake. Because of this fact, this time is ideal to take advantage of the nutrient partitioning (basically means where the nutrients go) effects of training. So, ideally we’re looking at a quick digesting carbohydrate to replenish the glycogen used while training and a quicker digesting protein to provide amino acids due to the increased protein synthesis that comes after training (for up to 36 hours (3)). The quickest digesting carbohydrate, glucose - also known as dextrose or corn sugar or even grape sugar - is probably the best idea. It’s also very cheap, especially if bought in bulk. Maltodextrin is also a good available source. It is known as a ‘complex carbohydrate’, purely on the grounds that it is a glucose polymer consisting of about 3-8 molecules. It is therefore too long to be classed as ‘simple’, and since there is no mid-classification, complex it is. This doesn’t stop it from digesting very quickly and doing the same job to insulin that glucose does. Maltodextrin is also a carbohydrate exploited by supplement companies for this very reason. They can claim it is a complex carb and it’s great in their MRPs. In all truth, it is the guar gum that they put in these products that slow digestion, not the maltodextrin. Any other time of day, just like glucose, it is a poor choice.
Once you’ve got the basic idea of a simple sugar post-workout, then you can experiment using different combinations of glucose and maltodextrin. It is usually recommended to make a 50/50 mix of the two, based on the differing absorption rates of the two carbs. Glucose requires no digestion and so once in the intestinal tract can pass straight through the wall lining. Maltodextrin, however, requires a bit of digestion to split it into the glucose molecules that make it up. The difference of digestion is not really that much in the way of time, but can make a big difference. This is because glucose enters the cell via active transport (4) and only so much can get through at any one time once the receptors are all being utilised. By taking in maltodextrin, the longer digestion and absorption rate means the glucose from the malto is getting to the cell more or less once the first glucose molecules are in. So you’re basically ‘lining the glucose up’.This complex carbohydrate is otherwise known as a glucose polymer. Maltrodextrin has the highest rating on the glycemic index of 100. Texture is a fine white powder possessing a bland taste and excellent dispersion in water or other beverages. Maltodextrin increases the mixability of protein powders when added to them.
Typical Analysis of 100 grams
Base Common Starch
Moisture 5.0 %
Dextrose Equivalent 18.0
Total Carbohydrates - 93.8 gms
Sugars 9.1 gms
Protein 0.1 gms
Monosaccharides 4.5 %
Disaccharides 4.5 %
Trisaccharides 4.5 %
Tetrasaccarides & higher 86.5 %
Maltodextrin is most commonly found in the once popular "weight gain" formulas and now in "Meal Replacement Powders". Maltodextrin should be used by anyone wishing to increase their muscle mass and strength, without the complications of simple sugars. The most important use for maltodextrin is post-workout. Maltodextrin has the ability to replace glycogen stores quickly and spare amino acid catabolism. Maltodextrin will raise one insulin level, making them more apt to absorb more nutrients. Takes the guess work out of carbohydrate intake after workouts. Also recommended for bodybuilders on low carbohydrate diets to prevent glyconeogenesis, though timing is crucial. Maltodextrin is also used to increase vascularity of the muscle and give one the "pumped" look.