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What is maltodextrin?

Posted by Warren Pole, co-founder 33Fuel on

It's in most energy gels, protein powders and sports drinks but what is maltodextrin?

If you've ever read the labels on your sports nutrition chances are you've come across maltodextrin - it's the mainstay ingredient in just about every traditional gel, bar and drink on the market. But what is maltodextrin?

Well, it's sugar. 

And not just any old sugar. Heavily-processed, man made, high-GI (Glycemic Index) sugar. This makes it even worse for you than scoffing Tate & Lyle's finest straight out of the bag.

Sorry about that.

Not only will it give you a mighty sugar rush, it'll also drop you into a big old crash right afterwards while upsetting your body's natural ability to burn fat as fuel. In short, it will ruin any hope you have of creating stable energy while also acidifying your body, damaging your immune system and wreaking havoc on gut health.

Oh dear. 

What is maltodextrin

Maltodextrin - sugar, but much cheaper and a lot worse for you 

What is maltodextrin? It's the cheapest sugar there is

But if maltodextrin is hopeless for performance and terrible for health, why are countless companies shoveling it into sports nutrition products aimed specifically at health and performance-conscious individuals?

Because it is cheap. 

Incredibly. Stratospherically. Unbelievably. Cheap.

How cheap is maltodextrin?

'Food grade' maltodextrin, bought in bulk costs £320 per metric ton. That's £0.32/kilo, or £0.0003/gram.

To use a GU energy gel as an example, these weigh 32 grams and their main ingredient is maltodextrin, just like almost any other ordinary energy gel. 

Even if this made up 100% of the product (which of course it doesn't, water makes up much of the bulk) it would still only cost just over 1p per gel. 

GU gels retail for over £1.60 each.

At 33Fuel we don't think packing our products out with cheap filler is the way to go. 

We also don't think cramming them with ingredients that are actively bad for you is cool either. 

Call us old fashioned, but we believe sports nutrition should actually be good for you. Like seriously good for you. So good that it actively improves your performance, recovery and wellbeing. 

If that means buying the most expensive ingredients out there then that's what we'll do because we're as serious about your performance as you are.

Rest assured, our products contain no maltodextrin and never will. 

what is maltodextrin 33fuel chia energy gel

One energy gel, four wholefood ingredients. No maltodextrin, no processed crap and no stomach issues or energy spikes. Just stable tasty energy for as long as you need. Say hello to 33's Chia energy Gel

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From the 33Fuel Podcast: Maltodextrin and sports nutrition - a bad combo

From the 33Fuel Vlog: All you ever wanted to know about Post Exercise Immunosuppression


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