What Is Powdered Dextrose?

Granulated sugar
Spoon full of sugar (Image: Svetl/iStock/Getty Images)

Powdered dextrose, also known as icing dextrose, is a fine powder made from dextrose anhydrous, dextrose monohydrate or both. In most cases, manufacturers of powdered dextrose also add an anti-caking agent to the powder such as starch, silicates of calcium or magnesium. Powdered dextrose has several medical applications. Speak with a medical professional prior to consuming an powdered dextrose supplement.

Dextrose Anhydrous and Dextrose Monohydrate

Dextrose anhydrous and dextrose monohydrate are both purified and crystallized D-glucose compounds. The primary difference between these compounds is that the anhydrous form does not contain water and the monohydrate form contains one molecule of crystallized water. According to the book, “A Manual of Sugar Analysis, Including the Applications in General of Analytical Methods to the Sugar Industry,” both of these compounds contain approximately 99.5 percent D-glucose.

Dextrose

Dextrose, like fructose and glucose, is a monosaccharide known as simple sugar. You can also combine these sugars to produce complex sugars such as sucrose, also known as table sugar. One of the primary differences between these simple sugars is the way your body metabolizes each of the sugars. Dextrose is a form of glucose manufacturers widely use in food products and athletes use to replenish the muscle glycogen levels. Manufacturers derive dextrose from corn. According to the book “Dictionary of Food Ingredients,” dextrose is approximately 20 percent less sweet than cane sugar.

Medical Uses

When your body’s blood sugar levels fall below a certain range, it can adversely affect your brain function and metabolism. Medical professionals sometimes use powdered dextrose to help raise your blood glucose levels quickly; they also sometimes recommend powdered glucose to individuals on restricted diets. Only use powdered dextrose as a dietary supplement in combination with other nutrients because powdered dextrose will not supply your body with any proteins or fats.

Considerations

In sports, athletes sometimes use powdered dextrose after workouts to boost energy levels in muscle. Dextrose has a high glycemic index ranking at 100. This means that dextrose will quickly raise your blood glucose levels. Products such as candy also quickly raise your blood glucose levels, but they contain sucrose, a combination of glucose and fructose. Fructose does not convert into glycogen in your muscles. Honey also raises blood sugar levels but, like candy, it contains fructose.

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