Given the enormous number of sporting supplements on the market, which have many different purposes, it is not uncommon for anyone who regularly practices a sport to be concerned, to a greater or lesser extent, with informing himself and acquiring one or more ) of these products. The variety available is so great that obviously most of us do not know that utility has a good part of the range that we have at our disposal. Proteins, pre-workouts, muscle recuperators, thermogenics … And carbohydrates, category within which are the two supplements that we are going to try to explain in this article: maltodextrin and dextrose.
WHAT IS MALTODEXTRIN?
It is a polymer, ie a substance composed of several long chain molecules, so that a structural unit is repeated. These molecules are formed by glucose and are united thanks to the presence of glycosidic bonds. In short: a chain of glucose molecules, so that we are before a carbohydrate.
Glucose is the basic unit of carbohydrates used by our muscles during exercise, and this is stored in our muscles in the form of glycogen when not consumed.
This product is normally extracted from corn starch in the United States, and from wheat or barley in Europe, through a partial hydrolysis process, although it can also be extracted from other foods such as wheat or potatoes. This process of hydrolysis consists of a chemical reaction in which, through the action of certain acids, the bonds present in polysaccharide molecules (complex carbohydrates) are broken, so that new molecules of carbohydrates are obtained formed by shorter chains. Thus, maltodextrin is at an intermediate point between simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
This product is used in the food industry as an artificial sweetener, as a substitute for sugar, and also as a thickener; stabilizer in foods with a high fat content, in order to prolong its durability; and also as a flavor preservative.
WHAT IS DEXTROSE?
Dextrose is nothing other than the simple glucose molecule, therefore it is a simple carbohydrate or sugar. Glucose is found naturally in a multitude of foods in the company of other natural sugars, such as fructose and, although we say it is a sugar, should not be confused with the common sugar used in cooking, since the latter is composed of two molecules of glucose and dextrose for only one, as we have already noted.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MALTODEXTRIN AND DEXTROSE?
Once there, there seems to be no significant difference between the two supplements, apart from one being a more complex carbohydrate than the other, which is composed only of one molecule of glucose.
Actually the differences between both substances are few, with both we can replace the glycogen after an intense training, either after a gym session or after a race in the background.
Where there is a palpable difference is in the rhythm of emptying the stomach with one and another substance. In this case, the dextrose possesses greater osmolarity, which leads to an increase of the concentration of the particles that are dissolved in a solution. The result of all this is that dextrose takes longer than the maltodextrin to leave the stomach, which can cause some people to feel bad during physical activity, but instead the insulin peak it provides is somewhat greater than that provided by maltodextrin.
The dextrose is a simple carbohydrate, high glycemic index and high energy, suitable for athletes and all sports.
Dextrose should be consumed right after the workout, when the body needs high glycemic index carbohydrates to aid recovery and gain of muscle mass.
Maltodextrin, in turn, is a complex carbohydrate, because it has several sugars in its formulation, among them dextrose, maltose, fructose and others. All sugars have their own characteristics that aim to keep the glycemic index more stable, and with this we have different rates of absorption, trying to maintain energy levels for a longer time than we would with a single type of sugar.