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Dextrose and Calorie Calculations

author image Krista Sheehan
Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.
Dextrose and Calorie Calculations
Dextrose is commonly given through intravenous injection. Photo Credit Bhakpong/iStock/Getty Images

With its ability to fuel the body and encourage muscle growth, dextrose can be used as either a weightlifting supplement or nutritional supplement for hospitalized patients. Monitoring daily calorie intake is essential for maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring adequate energy. Once you know the calorie content of dextrose, calorie calculations are quite simple and straightforward.


More commonly referred to as “glucose,” dextrose is simply a type of simple sugar. Although dextrose can be consumed through the diet, the body is also able to manufacture this simple sugar. After consuming protein, fats and carbohydrates, the body can break down these substances to form dextrose to fuel the body.

Bodybuilding Uses

Bodybuilders often use dextrose solutions to encourage weight gain and muscle growth. When dextrose is consumed, it stimulates the body to release the insulin hormone. As insulin moves through the bloodstream, it removes glucose or dextrose from the blood and converts them into glycogen for storage in the muscles.

Medical Uses

According to the Drugs.com website, dextrose is also used when a person cannot consume enough foods or fluids to produce sufficient energy for the body. In fact, the RxKinetics website explains that dextrose and fats are mainly used to satisfy a patient’s energy needs. Occasionally, protein is also added if additional energy and calories are needed. When used medicinally, the sterile dextrose solution is injected into the veins.

Types of Dextrose Solutions

The amount of dextrose given depends entirely on the number of calories needed by the patient. A doctor or registered dietitian will determine the number of calories needed and the amount of dextrose that should be given. Dextrose solutions are written as “D5W,” which means that the dextrose solution contains 5 g of dextrose per 100 ml of the solution. Similarly, D15W contains 15 g of dextrose per 100 ml of the solution and D30W has 30 g of dextrose per 100 ml of solution.

Calorie Calculations

One gram of dextrose contains 3.4 calories. To calculate total calories, you must also know the amount of dextrose given. When using dextrose to supplement a bodybuilding diet, simply monitor how many grams of dextrose you consume per day. However, when a dextrose solution is given through an injection, the calories are slightly more difficult to calculate. Once you know the amount of grams per 100 ml of the solution, you then need to calculate the number of milliliters given. For example, a D10W solution has 10 g of dextrose per 100 ml. If 500 ml of the solution are given, a total of 50 g of dextrose have been administered. Once you have this final number, simply multiply it by 3.4 to determine the number of calories.

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