What Is Maltodextrin Used For In Bodybuilding?
In simple words, Maltodextrin is a variety of carbohydrates that go through an ultra-processing stage. It is a white powder made from potato starch, wheat, corn, or rice, and people use it as a safe food additive.
The process involved in making Maltodextrin is rather complicated since it requires cooking the scratches from the primary sources mentioned and then adding specific enzymes or acids to further aid in breaking it down.
The desired result is a neutral-tasting water-soluble white powder that you can consume to assist in your daily carbohydrate intake, boosting performance and energy levels, among other benefits.
Maltodextrin is popular in weight training supplements, sports drinks, meat substitutes, beer, calorie-reduced products, etc.
However, since Maltodextrin added to food is often in small amounts, it is only best for a quick calorie intake before or after a workout rather than being a significant factor in your general calorie intake.
What Does Maltodextrin Do To The Body?
Maltodextrin is beneficial for the body in many ways. One particular reason people eat food or drink supplements containing Maltodextrin is that it serves as a quick source of calories and offers fast digestion.
It contains the same calories in one gram compared to sucrose or sugar and gets digested by our bodies quickly.
This makes it an excellent fuel for your muscles and is why companies or manufacturers of sports or energy drinks add it in large quantities to their products.
Other benefits for our bodies that Maltodextrin offers include:
- Preventing Colorectal Cancer– The fermentation of Maltodextrin in your intestines may act as an excellent agent in preventing colorectal cancer. The digestion-resistant Maltodextrin, Fibersol-2, prevents the growth of tumors and hence has antitumor properties.
- Aids in digestion– Maltodextrin is known to have favorable effects that aid your body in complete digestion and help with stool consistency, volume, etc.
- Chronic low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia)– Since Maltodextrin has a high GI (glycemic index) value, it is reputable in rapidly increasing blood sugar levels. It is recommended for people suffering from hypoglycemia and is a successful treatment.
Why Do Bodybuilders Use Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin is very common in and around athletes and bodybuilders since it promotes healthy weight gain and boosts muscle growth.
Hence, bodybuilders often use Maltodextrin to gain weight or as a quick source of calories before, after, or during a workout routine.
Unlike most carbohydrates, Maltodextrin requires less water to aid digestion and is mostly used as a post-workout drink. It is often mixed with a protein shake since they promote the prevention of the protein consumed turning into energy.
This prevention completely benefits the body in the regeneration and growth of muscles, and it helps stop any muscle loss since it prevents the protein consumed from turning into energy.
But how is this possible? Maltodextrin, as soon as it’s consumed, because of its high GI, breaks down rapidly into glucose, causing an immediate increase in blood insulin levels.
This increase in the anabolic hormone insulin dramatically aids in the rise of muscle mass and growth and prevents loss by decreasing cortisol levels.
Cortisol helps break down proteins to be used as fuel when you work out, so a decrease in this hormone prevents it from happening but rather keeps the proteins for later use in building, avoiding the loss of and growth of muscles.
Therefore, bodybuilders mix Maltodextrin with protein after or before training to get the best muscle results and speedy recovery.
Do All Mass Gainers Have Maltodextrin?
We know that mass gainers, as the name suggests, are supplements intended to help you gain more mass.
This is important for athletes or people trying to gain weight or put on some serious additional mass since they contain calories in the 600-1200 range per serving. It is also a blend of multiple variations of good carbs, fat sources, and protein.
Maltodextrin is a highly added ingredient in most mass gainers as the perfect source of carbohydrates for all the right reasons. They are gluten-free even though they are made from sources like wheat and help in muscle growth, muscle mass, and prevention of muscle loss.
And to top it all, they are known to speed up recovery time for a better training session the next day and are also used as a powerful and quick source of energy. In addition, Maltodextrin is also partly added because of its tasteless and easy-to-digest element.
All these factors add to why it is one of the most used ingredients in mass gainers.
That said, a popular myth within the fitness industry is that this carbohydrate raises the chances of gaining weight or even promotes obesity.
But Maltodextrin is like any other carbohydrate, and over consuming it may lead to those symptoms. However, as great as it is, not all mass gainers include Maltodextrin as their source of carbohydrates.(1)
This mass gainers usually contain high-quality oat flour that is gluten-free as a substitute for this carbohydrate and is the only primary source of carbs within the mass gainer.
What Foods Are High In Maltodextrin?
Since Maltodextrin serves as an excellent filler for various processed food or is used as a thickener to instantly increase the volume, among other benefits, it is added to food for multiple purposes.
Other benefits include increasing the shelf life or flavor of the food; it’s used as a replacement for fat or sugar. Because it is inexpensive and instant, most manufacturers prefer Maltodextrin over other carbs.
Some of the foods that are high in Maltodextrin include:
- Cooked cereals.
- Various baked goodies.
- Meat substitutes.
- Various soup recipes.
- Sports and energy drinks.
- Mass gainers.
- Salad dressings.
- Frozen meals.
Maltodextrin is a highly refined white tasteless water-soluble powder used by most bodybuilders and athletes as a quick calorie intake, a source of energy, or if you’re looking to gain some mass.
Even though it is highly processed, most people still consider choosing this over other carbs because of its multipurpose benefits and other healthy and helpful features.