Bodybuilding: Dextrose Vs. Maltodextrin

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A bowl of fruit loops, containing sugar. (Image: tacar/iStock/Getty Images)

Consuming quick-digesting carbohydrates following an intense strength-training workout helps your body build muscle faster and more effectively. These carbohydrates stimulate a quick and strong release of the hormone insulin, which acts as a super shuttle for nutrients your muscles need to grow and recover optimally. Quicker recovery means you can hit the weights again sooner and potentially expedite gains. Dextrose and maltodextrin are sugars sold as powdered supplements that you can add to post-workout shakes or meals to provide a quick hit of carbs. Which you choose depends on your personal taste and what you find works best for your body.

Dextrose and Maltodextrin Details

Dextrose is such a simple sugar that your body doesn't have to break it down, so it raises insulin almost instantaneously. It's basically dietary glucose, one type your body breaks all other sugars -- including lactose and sucrose -- into before they can be used. Maltodextrin consists of a string of glucose molecules, which your body easily breaks down so it digests almost as quickly as dextrose. It is usually derived from corn or potato starch.

How to Choose?

Both maltodextrin and dextrose process so quickly, they'll both offer the insulin surge you need to hasten muscle growth. Dextrose is usually slightly less expensive than maltodextrin, if cost is a concern. Dextrose tends to taste sweeter than maltodextrin, which could also be a deciding factor for you.

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