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So, you want a way to boost your recovery and performance in the gym? Day in and day out, people are always looking for that 1% improvement that could take them to the next level. This could be the perfect workout, the perfect nutrition protocol, or even supplementation.
Research has spent countless hours looking into different foods, nutrients, and minerals that can be taken for a boost. While there are MULTIPLE things to consider, one to note is Maltodextrin.
Maltodextrin is something that can be taken to improve your endurance, boost recovery, and eventually provide an increase in overall performance.
Let’s get into it!
Maltodextrin is a form of carbohydrate. In fact, it’s a complex carb that’s referred to as a polysaccharide. This just means that it’s made up of multiple simple sugars to create a more complex one.
image by HowToGym from Unsplash
You can actually find maltodextrin in some foods as an additive to increase the mouthfeel and consistency. However, it does much more than that! So what is maltodextrin when we think of fuel? How does maltodextrin affect a training or a workout?
When we exercise, we use up what is called glycogen, and this glycogen eventually runs out. When this happens, we start to notice that dreaded fatigue which often slows us down and decreases our work capacity. One way in which we can effectively replenish it is by consuming more carbohydrates (which are made into glycogen). Maltodextrin is the perfect fit. And this is why maltodextrin is used in supplements and in powdered sports formulas. It’s going to help you replenish what you lost, so you can continue working out. And who doesn’t want more energy!
Yes, Maltodextrin is considered a form of sugar. But is maltodextrin safe? Is it good for us? We keep hearing about all the bad that sugar has so why is maltodextrin good for us? Is maltodextrin natural? And where does maltodextrin come from? These are a lot of important questions for all of us concerned about sugar, so keep reading!
There are several different maltodextrin types. Maltodextrin can be extracted from different sources for different reasons. It is mainly a white powder that can come from the sources stated below:
Hmmm. I don’t see sugar as a source.
Okay, going back to why maltodextrin is used in supplements; it’s for fuel. Here is why we see increased energy while using maltodextrin and why sometimes the negative reports on sugar may not always be accurate.
The sugar that comes from maltodextrin is going to cause a boost in your blood sugar, but this is something that can be beneficial if timed right. Sugar can be effective for the person using it as part of their workout nutrition. Not only will it provide you with some super-fast fuel but will also boost your recovery rate.
Maltodextrin is also a complex sugar or carbohydrate, which means that the release into the blood stream will be a little slower. This is beneficial for those worried about blood sugar spikes and for those that do not want a “sugar crash” - but who want consistent fuel. Maltodextrin can provide that consistent energy source and along with that, maltodextrin is considered natural.
Maltodextrin is a complex carb, while dextrose is a simple carb. Both of them are going to provide you with energy, however, the rates at which they do so may vary. Dextrose being so simple is an immediate boost of energy. So, this is super useful at all points (pre-intra-post) of a workout. Maltodextrin, being more complex, is going to give you a more extended release of energy. This also makes it perfect for all phases of a workout, it’s just a little different.
When the body starts to break down maltodextrin, you’ll be receiving a boost in energy. This is going to allow you to work for a longer and more extended period of time. Which means, you can increase your gains in the gym at a more rapid rate!
It’s also going to do numbers for improving your recovery and muscle synthesis. Our body releases insulin when we consume carbs. Insulin is going to pull all of the nutrients from the blood into your body to do what it’s meant to do. This effect can be paired with a consumption of protein (either as a shake or meal) to boost the amount of protein being sent to the muscles. Therefore, you end up with more recovery. More recovery means more gains!
With so many experimenting with keto diets, this is a very common question. Is maltodextrin keto? The answer is simple - no. Maltodextrin is not keto-friendly because it contains a high amount of carbohydrates. So steer clear of maltodextrin while on a keto diet.
When you hear the word “malt”, you might think that there’s barley used in maltodextrin, but that is not the case. Maltodextrin is considered gluten-free, even if it is processed from a wheat source and this is usually because of the type of processing used. So maltodextrin is considered gluten-free and can be used by those with celiac disease and can be also be used by those with gluten sensitivity.
Maltodextrin, considered a food additive, is on the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Carbohydrates are considered our body’s main energy source, however, It is recommended to consume carbohydrates in the form of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are in foods such as fruits, legumes and whole grains. If your diet is high in simple carbohydrates, such as table sugar, syrups, and soft drinks, it can increase your risk for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. It is all about balancing your diet and determining how much carbohydrates you need for your personal health goals and for your workouts.
If you look at maltodextrin as a fuel source, when should you consume maltodextrin? The good news is you can consume maltodextrin at multiple points around a workout. Maltodextrin supplements are a great pre-workout source to give you some energy. At this point you’ll have some ready-to-go carbs on deck! It’s also a great intra-workout option. This means that you consume it slowly while you exercise. So, between sets or rounds you’re grabbing a swig of it. This is going to replenish what you’re losing as you work out, which is going to boost your endurance and ability to fight off fatigue.
Lastly, you’ll see it used as a post-workout supplement. This is going to work on that insulin release we spoke about earlier. That rush of insulin paired with some protein is going to send it straight to the muscles like a sponge. This boosts your rate of recovery, which directly correlates to improvements.
Maltodextrin is a great supplement that’s going to improve your endurance, recovery, and performance when consumed around your workouts. It’s something that fits into that pre-workout, intra-workout, and post-workout slot! Combine it with a protein powder and you’ll take things to an even higher level!