Home Health TipsSports supplements Maltodextrin, what is it and what is it for?

Maltodextrin, what is it and what is it for?

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

What is Maltodextrin?

Nowadays, as the food industry has developed, it is not uncommon to read the word ” Maltodextrin ” on the label of any food , but have you ever wondered … What is it? What is it for?   or  because it has become fashionable?

Maltodextrin is the result of the hydrolyzation of starch , normally extracted from corn but can also be extracted from wheat or rye. It is actually a type of sugar made artificially from the modification of the polysaccharide chain.

Actually, when we talk about maltodextrin we have to take into account if we refer to it in a context of the food industry , in which we could not speak very well of it, or otherwise, if we refer to maltodextrin as a sports supplement , which in this case is interesting and very useful for athletes .

Why do some common foods contain maltodextrin?

In the food industry, maltodextrin has become a very widespread ingredient in many foods, and it is commonly used in fast food or pre-manufactured food products; This is due to the fact that it has very useful properties for certain foods: It is a humectant and above all it acts as a thickener, it also acts as a stabilizer in foods with a large amount of fat, thus extending its durability.

In short, it is a very effective ingredient for the pre-made food industry.

Maltodextrin as a sports supplement?

In the sports nutrition industry it is widely used as an alternative energy supplement to glucose, in fact it is a polymer of glucose (normally it usually has less than 20 glucose molecules), although it is considered a simple carbohydrate , the glycemic index is not as high as that of other sugars .

The consumption of maltodextrin in sport is indicated for practicing sports activities that require strength, such as bodybuilding, or that require resistance, such as cycling or running, since it provides energy for both intense and endurance activities, delaying the fatigue and the onset of tiredness.


It is recommended consumption during practice exercise , especially if the duration of the same exceeds 1 hour or its intensity it is high, as this would avoid that deplete the reserves of muscle glycogen reducing fatigue and delaying the appearance of it and so much we would increase our athletic performance .


Once the sporting activity is over, maltodextrin helps to replenish glycogen stores that have been depleted during exercise. This contribution is very necessary for athletes who need to recover in short periods of time, to carry out a new training in the following days. Normally for after exercise it is recommended that its intake take place within 30 minutes after the end of the activity, since in this period the effects are faster and more effective because the glucose transporters are still active and the membrane of the muscle fiber it is more permeable.


Carbohydrates should account for around 45% of the total value in a balanced diet, however, in active people and athletes this figure should increase to around 55%.

The generic nutritional recommendations indicate that active people should consume between 7 and 10 grams of carbohydrates for every kilo of body weight. But it is not convenient to be obsessed with specific figures or doses, but only to keep in mind that during practice and after exercise an extra supply of maltodextrin would be advisable in order to enhance the resynthesis of glycogen stores , just as it would be very convenient to ingest some other post-exercise protein supplement to repair possible muscle damage.


This product can be purchased online on a multitude of web pages dedicated to sports supplementation, it can be purchased for direct intake in containers of powders to mix with water, or as an incorporated product that is present in other sports products in form of gels or energy bars.

Can there be health risks or side effects after consumption?

There is no big difference between the risks and side effects caused by maltodextrin as a substitute for other similar products.

On occasion it can produce disorders of the type: allergic reactions such as skin rashes or eczema, difficulty breathing, digestive intolerances, flatulence, bloating , abdominal discomfort. If you experience any discomfort after ingesting this product or any food that contains it, consult your doctor.

Maltodextrin like glucose or dextrose, due to its high glycemic index, cannot be recommended to diabetics since its consumption or extra contribution could cause spikes in blood glucose levels.

Fat maltodextrin?

The use of maltodextrin as a sports supplement is widespread, but if your goal is to lose weight, this supplement may be taking you away from your goal.

Maltodextrin is a carbohydrate after its consumption, an insulin spike is produced which increases energy to carry out physical activity but also makes access to glucose faster by cells, which contributes to a drop in blood glucose so the brain insists on quickly replenishing it, increasing appetite .

In addition, generally in these cases, our body “asks” us for carbohydrates to quickly replenish itself, which increases the risk of gaining weight . That is why we should not consume simple carbohydrates, since they satisfy us for less time than complex carbohydrates.

Is maltodextrin dangerous for diabetics?

The use of maltodextrin in high doses in diabetic people is strongly discouraged since maltodextrin produces insulin peaks that the diabetic patient is not able to regulate. Although its use among athletes is frequent, since if maltodextrin stands out for something, it is because it has less than 20 glucose molecules, therefore they adjust their doses to the level of training.

It is advisable that if you use maltodextrin to increase your physical performance and you are diabetic, you inform your medical specialist so as not to put your health at risk.

If you want to lose weight with diabetes , here we have the diet that suits you, discover it .

You may also like

Leave a Comment