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Dextrose is an important term for athletes, doctors and diabetics; in the vernacular it is more commonly known as glucose. However, dextrose or glucose have the same goal, and that is to make the blood sugar level rise. This gives the body new energy and power. For diabetics, dextrose can even be a lifesaver(2, 6). With our dextrose test 2021 we want to help you find the best product for you. For this purpose, we have compared several dextrose products so that we can recommend the best ones in our guide. In this way, we want to support you in your purchase decision and make it as easy as possible for you.




The most important facts

  • Dextrose is a simple sugar or monosaccharide, and is also commonly known as glucose. Dextrose is thus a subspecies of glucose and is also used like glucose(1).
  • Generally, dextrose is available as tablets, powders, gels, tablets or infusions. The different types of dextrose have the common goal of increasing the blood sugar level quickly and for a short time.
  • For athletes and diabetes patients, dextrose is an important and daily companion, and can also save lives in the worst case.

The Best Dextrose: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for dextrose products

When buying dextrose products, you can look at various aspects, such as:

By making the right choice for you, you can save money and also ensure that you don't add anything to your body that it doesn't need. Therefore, always look for high quality and, if necessary, ask to see the manufacturer's certificates.

Form

Dextrose is available in many different forms and options. Naturally, you will find foods with dextrose in the fruit and vegetable section. Dextrose is also found in cereals and sweets. Since dextrose is a subform of glucose, you will find it almost everywhere(6, 9). However, if we talk about pure and unadulterated dextrose, it is available in various forms. We have listed the most popular and well-known ones for you here.

  • Powder: Dextrose is available as powder after extraction from mostly maize or wheat starch. Other forms are also possible during further processing.
  • Tablets and cubes: Pressed dextrose tablets, which are also popularly known as dextrose, are mainly produced for oral use and for sucking.
  • Gel: Dextrose can also be easily taken as a gel to drink. In most cases, the gel is available in small individual packets.
  • Infusion: With an infusion of dextrose, the sugar enters the blood particularly quickly, which can also be vital, among other things, especially for diabetes patients.

Depending on your preferences, there are different forms of dextrose that can be bought and used.

Dosage

There is no exact information on the dosage of dextrose, and it is handled differently depending on the product and manufacturer. In general, healthy people do not need to take any additional dextrose. However, dextrose can help athletes and diabetics(4). Depending on the product, a different dosage is recommended. For athletes, however, it is recommended to take between 60 and 80 grams of dextrose before training(1, 10). In most cases, it is mixed into drinks and shakes. Too much intake leads to an overdose, which is very unhealthy in the long term and could make you ill(1, 10).

Additional effect / side effect

Dextrose generally has the positive additional effect that it makes you fit quickly and gives you a lot of power, even if only for a short time. This is why the substance is also used in sports. However, this additional effect decreases again after a few minutes(6). Dextrose creates a kind of yo-yo effect, as the body receives energy, but this drops drastically again after a short time and energy is needed again, i.e. sugar or in our case dextrose(4). When buying dextrose as a food supplement, it is important to read the side effects on the package leaflet. In principle, dextrose is not harmful in the short term. However, excessive intake of sugars like dextrose can lead to diabetes, obesity or further damage(9).

Use

As already described in more detail, dextrose is especially appreciated by athletes and diabetics. However, dextrose is also used by other healthy and normal people for baking and cooking. Also, when blood sugar levels are low in the morning, dextrose can help to instil new drive and power(6). For these reasons, dextrose can be bought for shakes, in baking mixes, in simple tablet form and as an infusion. Dextrose can therefore be used like normal household sugar, also known as sucrose.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about dextrose products answered in detail

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of dextrose and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What is dextrose and how does it work?

Like glucose, dextrose is a carbohydrate and can be classified as a simple sugar. With glucose, however, there are two types, D-glucose and L-glucose. Of course, only D-glucose occurs and is better known as dextrose or dextrose(9). Both terms refer to the same simple sugar, but are very comparable to our household sugar(9). The term dextrose is mostly used in the ingredients of foods and products, while the term glucose is more popular in the vernacular. Both sugars are part of glucose, and this is essential for our bodies and everyday life. Glucose in the blood, then also known as blood sugar, fuels the body, gives it strength and energy(6, 8).

Dextrose in sports

Dextrose is also used in sports as workout shakes and drinks because of its strength-enhancing effects. In addition, some people also use dextrose to sweeten food. Dextrose and glucose are generally used more in endurance sports(10). Drinks with dextrose and additional electrolytes create a constant performance during endurance sports. Drinks with dextrose or glucose and electrolytes are also thought to improve fluid absorption during exercise(1, 10).

When and for whom is it useful to take dextrose?

Dextrose is found as glucose in almost every food such as fruit, pasta, biscuits and many more. A normal intake of dextrose therefore occurs with the daily intake of meals. This intake is usually quite sufficient. The situation is different for athletes who do not want to do without food supplements and shakes. For them, dextrose can be an important ingredient in drinks, shakes and also dishes. Dextrose enters the blood very quickly and gives the body power(1). Dextrose can also be very important for diabetics. Since people with diabetes have a disturbed sugar metabolism and the blood sugar level fluctuates strongly, dextrose can help to increase the blood sugar level again in the case of hypoglycaemia (3, 8).

Where does dextrose occur and how is it produced?

Dextrose is more commonly known as glucose in its natural form and, because it is derived from glucose, is found in almost all dishes and foods. Dextrose is especially found in fruits and, logically, sweet foods. To give you a brief overview, we have included a small table with the dextrose content for you below (4).

Food Dextrose content in 100 grams
Dates 33.68 g
Raisins 27.75 g
Balsamic vinegar 7.57 g
Banana 4.98 g
Grapes 7.20 g
Plums 5.07 g
Honey 35.75 g

However, dextrose also hides in many other industrially produced foods in which it is not normally suspected. Typical of these foods are, for example, sausages and also packaged meat. Meanwhile, dextrose is also industrially produced from maize and wheat starch. As a monosaccharide, dextrose is also a basic building block for other compounds and belongs to the carbohydrates. 100 grams of pure dextrose contain up to 400 calories(8).

What do dextrose products cost?

The price range of dextrose products varies depending on the form and manufacturer. In general, dextrose tablets tend to be cheaper than infusions or powder mixtures. Whichever product you buy, it should be of high quality and safe for your health. We have compared a few prices and forms in a small table to help you understand them:

Form price range
Dextrose bars circa 80 cents to 11 €
Dextrose powder circa 7 to 25 €
Dextrose gel circa 1.20 to 32 €

Dextrose infusion is not usually available in supermarkets or online shops. Dextrose is also available in tablet and pill form. However, this form is less common but also achieves the same goal.

What types of dextrose are there?

As already mentioned several times in our article, dextrose can be roughly classified especially in its form. For this purpose, we will once again classify the types of dextrose in a table for you and then deal with them individually below.(6, 7)

Type Description
Dextrose tablets The best-known form of dextrose are the small tablets of pressed dextrose powder
Dextrose powder Dextrose as a powder is used in its pure form for all other types
Dextrose gel Dextrose gel comes in small packets for drinking, especially important for athletes
Dextrose tablets Dextrose in tablet form is for quick absorption
Dextrose infusion Infusion is the quickest way to absorb dextrose

To help you understand the types of dextrose, we've outlined a few of the main forms with pros and cons below.

Dextrose tablets

The best known form of dextrose is certainly the small square and round dextrose tablets, which are available in small packages. They are usually produced by pressing the dextrose powder under high pressure.

Advantages
  • Easy and discreet to take
  • tablets go into the blood quite quickly
Disadvantages
  • Swallowing the tablets is not pleasant for everyone
  • dextrose tablets take a little longer to enter the blood

Dextrose tablets are the best known on the market and can be found in almost every household.

Dextrose gel

Another important form of dextrose to mention is the gel. It is available in small packaged sachets and is drunk as needed. The gels come in different flavours and ingredients.

Advantages
  • The gel is also easy and quick to take
  • they work a little faster than the tablets
Disadvantages
  • The gel is prone to rapid spoilage
  • Use up immediately after opening

Dextrose gels are commonly found in athletes who need a quick energy boost.

What are the side effects of dextrose and how should it be dosed?

Healthy people do not need to take dextrose as a dietary supplement as it is already present in most foods such as fruit, whole grains and milk. Too much dextrose should not be consumed because the rapid and constant change from high to low blood sugar levels is unhealthy(6, 9). Thus, too much dextrose intake can make you fat in the long run and harm the pancreas. This also increases the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure(4, 8).

It is therefore advisable not to exceed a certain level of dextrose, or sugar in general, and to watch the dose when taking dextrose as a supplement. The amount of dextrose is dosed according to individual factors. The more intense the stress, the higher the need for dextrose. For athletes, an amount of 40 to 60 grams is recommended before training. Many also take drinks and juices with 60 to 80 grams of dextrose to have more power during endurance sports(10).

What are the alternatives to dextrose?

As with normal household sugar, there are several alternatives to glucose and dextrose, which are either completely natural or industrially produced. A very well-known alternative to dextrose is simple honey. Although dextrose is also contained in honey, it is much lower than in its pure form(8). If you don't like honey, you can also use agave syrup, maple syrup or stevia. These are produced naturally. Other alternatives to dextrose are acesulfame, birch sugar, xylitol or aspartame. These are industrially produced and are also available in larger supermarkets and pharmacies(5).

Image source: Alexander Redl / unsplash

References (10)

1. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to carbohydrate‐electrolyte solutions and reduction in rated perceived exertion/effort during exercise; A. Hardy H. Fontier; Juni 2011; EFSA Journal
Source

2. Baker LB, Rollo I, Stein KW, Jeukendrup AE. Acute Effects of Carbohydrate Supplementation on Intermittent Sports Performance. Nutrients. 2015 Jul 14;7(7):5733-63. doi: 10.3390/nu7075249. PMID: 26184303; PMCID: PMC4517026.
Source

3. Fructosezufuhr fördert hepatische Insulinresistenz – auch bei Nicht-Diabetikern; Deutsche Gemeinschaft für Gesundheit / DGE;
Source

4. Quantitative Empfehlung zur Zuckerzufuhr in Deutschland; Deutsche Adipositas-Gesellschaft e.V. (DAG), Deutsche Diabetes Gesellschaft e.V. (DDG), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V. (DGE); Dezember 2018
Source

5. Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies; Meghan B. Azad, Ahmed M. Abou-Setta, Bhupendrasinh F. Chauhan, Rasheda Rabbani, Justin Lys, Leslie Copstein, Amrinder Mann, Maya M. Jeyaraman, Ashleigh E. Reid, Michelle Fiander, Dylan S. MacKay, Jon McGavock, Brandy Wicklow and Ryan Zarychanski; CMAJ July 17, 2017 189 (28) E929-E939; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.161390
Source

6. Traubenzucker; Carola Felchner; 22. September 2016
Source

7. Österreichisches Lebensmittelbuch IV. Auflage Codexkapitel / B 22 / Zucker und Zuckerarten Veröffentlicht mit Erlass: BMGFJ-75210/0005-IV/B/7/2006 vom 2.7.2006 Änderungen, Ergänzungen: BMGF-75210/0029-II/B/13/2017 vom 22.12.2017
Source

8. Stärkebasierte Zucker / Dextrose; VGMS, Verband der Getreide-, Mühlen- und Stärkewirtschaft VGMS e.V.
Source

9. Wahrheit und Irrtum über den Zucker. Eine kritische Studie; Dr. med. Karl Windstosser
Source

10. Sport nutrition: the role of macronutrients and minerals in endurance exercises Rudolf Valenta and Yulia A. Dorofeeva Medical University of Vienna,
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftliches Journal
Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to carbohydrate‐electrolyte solutions and reduction in rated perceived exertion/effort during exercise; A. Hardy H. Fontier; Juni 2011; EFSA Journal
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Baker LB, Rollo I, Stein KW, Jeukendrup AE. Acute Effects of Carbohydrate Supplementation on Intermittent Sports Performance. Nutrients. 2015 Jul 14;7(7):5733-63. doi: 10.3390/nu7075249. PMID: 26184303; PMCID: PMC4517026.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Fructosezufuhr fördert hepatische Insulinresistenz – auch bei Nicht-Diabetikern; Deutsche Gemeinschaft für Gesundheit / DGE;
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Quantitative Empfehlung zur Zuckerzufuhr in Deutschland; Deutsche Adipositas-Gesellschaft e.V. (DAG), Deutsche Diabetes Gesellschaft e.V. (DDG), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V. (DGE); Dezember 2018
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies; Meghan B. Azad, Ahmed M. Abou-Setta, Bhupendrasinh F. Chauhan, Rasheda Rabbani, Justin Lys, Leslie Copstein, Amrinder Mann, Maya M. Jeyaraman, Ashleigh E. Reid, Michelle Fiander, Dylan S. MacKay, Jon McGavock, Brandy Wicklow and Ryan Zarychanski; CMAJ July 17, 2017 189 (28) E929-E939; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.161390
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Traubenzucker; Carola Felchner; 22. September 2016
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Österreichisches Lebensmittelbuch IV. Auflage Codexkapitel / B 22 / Zucker und Zuckerarten Veröffentlicht mit Erlass: BMGFJ-75210/0005-IV/B/7/2006 vom 2.7.2006 Änderungen, Ergänzungen: BMGF-75210/0029-II/B/13/2017 vom 22.12.2017
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Stärkebasierte Zucker / Dextrose; VGMS, Verband der Getreide-, Mühlen- und Stärkewirtschaft VGMS e.V.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Wahrheit und Irrtum über den Zucker. Eine kritische Studie; Dr. med. Karl Windstosser
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Sport nutrition: the role of macronutrients and minerals in endurance exercises Rudolf Valenta and Yulia A. Dorofeeva Medical University of Vienna,
Go to source
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