Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used commonly as a food additive to add consistency, or as a filler and preservative in processed foods. This is not how we intend to use it since we intend to use it as a supplement and not as an additive. Let’s brake it down first.
What IS Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin is a white powder made from starches such as potato, rice, corn or wheat by processing them thoroughly, making it a highly water soluble simple carbohydrate. Even though it comes from plants, it is a highly processed food/additive and should not be used carelessly; after finishing this article you will be able to learn how to use Maltodextrin wisely, knowing how and why you should use Maltodextrin as a sports supplement in every one of your trainings. It is a really useful supplement and it is not well known by the general public mainly because of the fear of carbohydrates and lack of science based knowledge & the name of it (it sounds really scary). Maltodextrin can help you reach your goals faster, either if you are looking to improve performance, gain weight or lose body fat %, since it avoids using muscle as an energy source. This is how.
The purpose of Maltodextrin:
When we train, we use energy to generate movement, and this energy expenditure leads to burning fat/gaining muscle, depending on our specific goals and the type of training we are doing. If the energy we use runs out, we can no longer keep burning fat/gaining muscle. This is when Maltodextrin comes in. Being a high glycemic index carbohydrate and because it uses less water than simple table sugar to be digested, it provides a fast source of energy to the body, making it able to last a whole training session without the exhaustion response kicking in.
Once the body’s energy reserves run out (our muscle glycogen, amino acid pool and blood glucose levels start to drop) the exhaustion response starts manifesting, meaning our body can no longer train at the same intensity and our cortisol levels start to rise while our insulin levels decline. This provokes a catalytic response in the metabolism, forcing the body to use muscle as an energy source, and NOT carbohydrates/fat, as it is intended. Maltodextrin prevents this from happening, ensuring a steady level of blood glucose, delaying the use of muscle glycogen and the depletion of the amino acid pool, using carbohydrates as an energy source for longer, keeping the insulin levels up and preserving muscle; Use carbohydrates/fat as an energy source, not muscle.
So, this is how you should use it:
Maltodextrin should be used mainly WHILE training since we all burn energy during every workout and it is difficult to eat in this process. The amount of the supplement used depends on the duration and intensity of the training, since each gram provides 4 Kcal and we should provide around 30% of the calories burned in the whole training session during the same. Just mix it with water or your favorite juice/BCAA’s to fully benefit from it.
Maltodextrin has been in the market for a long time now, so it is not considered to be harmful, but still, I strongly recommend that you consult your doctor/certified nutritionist before taking this or any other types of supplements.