Last updated: August 15, 2021

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Along with whey and creatine, maltodextrin is one of the most popular dietary supplements for bodybuilders and competitive athletes. It promises to supply the body with energy in the form of carbohydrates directly after exercise. Maltodextrin is also said to help build muscle mass and provide more muscle strength.

Our maltodextrin test 2021 looks at the benefits and possible side effects of the dietary supplement and goes into more detail about who maltodextrin is recommended for and who should possibly avoid taking maltodextrin. In addition, we give you buying advice so that you can find the right maltodextrin for you.




The most important facts

  • Maltodextrin is available in dextrose equivalent (DE) variants of 6, 12 and 19. The higher the number, the longer the effect of maltodextrin lasts and the stronger the sweetening power.
  • Dietary supplements such as maltodextrin should be considered primarily by experienced athletes and competitive athletes. Fitness studio beginners should first learn about their individual energy balance through their normal diet.
  • The advantages of maltodextrin include its easy digestibility and the carbohydrate combination of maltose and dextrin.

The Best Maltodextrin: Our Picks

In this section we look in detail at the maltodextrin products recommended by our editors.

Buying and evaluation criteria for maltodextrin

The following section deals with the essential buying and evaluation criteria to consider when buying maltodextrin. The following list clearly summarises the essential criteria.

When buying maltodextrin, it is important to consider in which liquid you prefer your maltodextrin, how large the supply should be and whether additives have been enriched in your maltodextrin.

Preparation with water

Maltodextrin is very soluble in water. In addition, maltodextrin is neutral in taste and can therefore be taken with normal water intake without any change in taste.

Maltodextrin dissolves very well in liquids and does not clump.

With maltodextrin 12 and especially maltodextrin 19, however, it should be noted that a subtle sweetness is added to the drinks despite the tastelessness. However, if you prefer to do without the sweetness completely, you should rather go for maltodextrin 6, as there is hardly any sweetness to be tasted.

Preparation with milk

Those who like to take their maltodextrin in combination with their protein shake and enjoy it with milk can rest assured, because maltodextrin can also be dissolved in milk without any problems.

Especially since milk is usually a little more viscous, you should take special care when buying maltodextrin that the powder does not clump.

Package size

The choice of package size depends largely on your own experience and use of maltodextrin.

If you have been taking maltodextrin for a long time, you may want to buy a larger package to build up a long-term supply. This way, you don't have to worry about buying new maltodextrin.

However, if you want to try maltodextrin for the first time, you should rather go for smaller packaging sizes or trial sizes. With the smaller package size, you can test the effectiveness and digestibility of maltodextrin for yourself without stocking up on too much.

Additives

Maltodextrin is naturally tasteless. However, if you prefer a sweeter taste, you can look out for additives such as aspartame. Aspartame is a sweetener that is controversial in terms of its impact on health.

However, studies show that there is no significant link between aspartame and health restrictions. (1)

However, those who find the additive aspartame too unsafe and can do without a sweeter maltodextrin can find products that contain pure maltodextrin.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about maltodextrin answered in detail

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of maltodextrin 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 maltodextrin and how does it work?

Maltodextrin is a tasteless white powder that is used in the food industry as a thickening agent in numerous products in addition to providing a quick energy supply for competitive athletes.

The term consists of maltose (malt sugar) and dextrin (dextrose). Due to the carbohydrate combination, maltodextrin promises a particularly high effect on performance during sports.

Maltodextrin is a white and tasteless powder (Image source: HowToGym / unsplash)

Maltodextrin is mainly used by competitive athletes as a quick source of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates gained through maltodextrin help the body to replenish its energy stores after training and to initiate the regeneration phase.

In addition, maltodextrin is a weight gainer and muscle builder, as maltodextrin induces a high insulin release and thus helps to store macronutrients in the muscle cells.

When and for whom is it useful to take maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin is suitable for experienced competitive athletes who know themselves and their calorie balance. Inexperienced sports beginners in particular can fall into the trap of gaining too much weight with dietary supplements such as maltodextrin.

Fitness studio beginners in particular can achieve excellent results with simple adjustments to their nutritional intake and learn about their own calorie balance during this phase.

Advantages disadvantages
Good energy supply for the muscles possibly too much weight gain
Helps with weight gain no micronutrients present
Supplies the muscles with carbohydrates quickly

More experienced athletes have already completed this first step and can decide for themselves whether a dietary supplement should be used with maltodextrin.

The following three points explain for which groups the intake of maltodextrin is recommended:

In case of underweight: If you suffer from underweight and find it difficult to reach your individual calorie intake throughout the day in the form of a balanced diet, it is recommended to use dietary supplements such as maltodextrin.

For bodybuilding: Maltodextrin is particularly suitable for bodybuilders and strength athletes who are in the muscle-building phase. Maltodextrin easily provides a bodybuilder in the mass phase with a calorie surplus, which is needed to build up strength and muscle mass.

Maltodextrin is good for athletes to build muscle mass. (Image source: LYFE FUEL / unsplasch)

Moreover, the additional carbohydrates ingested through maltodextrin give extra energy during strenuous weight training. However, scientists debate whether an additional intake of carbohydrates actually has a positive effect on muscle hypertrophy and protein synthesis in the body. (10)

Maltodextrin is available with a dextrose equivalent (DE) of between 3 and 20, with values of 6, 12 and 19 being the most common. The higher the DE value, the closer the maltodextrin is to sugar.

For endurance sports: Especially when training for a marathon or for cycling, a quick supply of carbohydrates is of particular importance. Maltodextrin can be a suitable helper here.

Maltodextrin has the property of being quickly absorbed into the blood and thus supplying the muscles with additional energy in a short time. Studies prove the positive effect of maltodextrin on performance in intensive endurance sports. (2)

The following table shows you which maltodextrin is best suited for your specific sport or for your specific application and which advantages they bring for your sport.

Weight gain Bodybuilding Endurance sports
Maltodextrin 6, 12 and 19 are best suited for weight gain Maltodextrin 19 provides the body with energy the fastest and is therefore suitable for bodybuilders after a workout Maltodextrin 6 is very good for endurance athletes, as the effect only occurs after about 2 hours.
Maltodextrin makes it easier to achieve a calorie surplus and thus gain weight Maltodextrin gives energy for more strength in the gym and promises efficient muscle building Maltodextrin is best suited for marathon runners as well as cyclists for long training sessions over 2 hours.

In summary, it can be said that maltodextrin is a suitable means of achieving one's goals, especially for competitive athletes or experienced athletes in the areas of weight training and endurance sports. However, maltodextrin is less useful for very inexperienced athletes and beginners in weight training.

Can maltodextrin be taken in combination with other dietary supplements?

During muscle building, maltodextrin can be taken in combination with the protein powder of your choice. The reason for this is the additional release of insulin. Insulin can be understood as a key for the cell, which enables macro- and micronutrients to be stored in the cell.

Studies prove the symbiosis between protein powder, such as Whey, and a high intake of carbohydrates in the form of maltodextrin (3)

Maltodextrin and protein powder make an excellent combination for a weight gainer shake. (Image source: LYFE FUEL / unsplash)

Due to the strong insulin increase, which is intensified by the maltodextrin, protein is stored in the muscle cell and the muscle can regenerate and build itself up in the best possible way with the help of the stored protein. This has a positive effect on muscle mass and strength.(3)

What types of maltodextrin are there?

The most common types of maltodextrin are maltodextrin 6, maltodextrin 12 and maltodextrin 19. The higher this number, the faster the maltodextrin is metabolised. While with maltodextrin 6 this can take up to 2 hours, maltodextrin 19 is already metabolised after 15 minutes.

Type Description
Maltodextrin 6 Maltodextrin 6 is ideally suited for endurance athletes, such as cyclists, who need an energy supply only in up to two hours during training.
Maltodextrin 12 Maltodextrin 12 is metabolised relatively quickly and provides the muscles with energy very quickly.
Maltodextrin 19 Maltodextrin 19 is the fastest in the bloodstream and is therefore ideal as a post-workout remedy for bodybuilders and strength athletes.

Each of these types of maltodextrin has individual benefits and uses. Depending on your sport and focus, you should decide which of the maltodextrin types is best for you.

How should maltodextrin be dosed?

When taking maltodextrin, it is recommended that a competitive athlete should consume between 0.5 and 1 gram of maltodextrin per kilogram of body weight to ensure a sufficient supply of carbohydrates.

Maltodextrin is perfect for the post-workout drink.

According to this calculation, an athlete who weighs 90 kilograms should consume between 45 and 90 grams of maltodextrin after exercise. Once a day or after every workout is enough to get an optimal supply of the fast carbohydrates needed after exercise.

What alternatives are there to maltodextrin?

  • Dextrose: Dextrose is a simple sugar found naturally in fruits. Colloquially, dextrose is also called grape sugar, because dextrose is found in large quantities in grapes. Besides malt sugar, dextrose is the other component of maltodextrin, but it can also be ingested separately.
  • Cyclic dextrin: Cyclic dextrin is a special form of carbohydrate. It consists of 6 to 8 glucose molecules and, unlike maltodextrin, is arranged in a ring-shaped chemical form. It has a similar performance-enhancing effect on competitive sports as maltodextrin.
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is very rich in carbohydrates and provides athletes with enough energy similar to maltodextrin. In addition, unlike maltodextrin, oatmeal has a lot of micronutrients, such as magnesium, iron or zinc. Compared to maltodextrin, however, the disadvantage of oatmeal is that it is not a pure carbohydrate source and usually constitutes a whole meal. So if you want to eat carbohydrates quickly after sports, you should turn to maltodextrin.

What side effects can occur when taking maltodextrin?

When taking dietary supplements such as maltodextrin, there is a possibility of a laxative effect if consumed in excess. Furthermore, there is the possibility that overconsumption can lead to an increased amount of gas in the digestive tract, which can lead to discomfort and flatulence. (9)

Maltodextrin is easily digestible and usually does not cause discomfort. However, extremely high consumption can lead to digestive disorders.

With regard to maltodextrin, however, studies have shown that no digestive problems occur. On the contrary, maltodextrin in low doses even has a positive effect on digestion. (4)

Can maltodextrin be used for intolerances and allergies?

In the case of fructose int olerance, the person concerned is intolerant to fructose, which is mainly found in natural products such as honey or fruits. (5)

In lactose int olerance, the enzymes needed to break down the milk sugar lactose are missing. This leads to digestive disorders. However, since lactose is not a component of maltodextrin, people with lactose intolerance can also consume maltodextrin without concern

[(6)

Sorbit ist ein Zuckeralkohol und wird in der Herstellung verschiedenster Produkte der Lebensmittelindustrie genutzt. Eine Unverträglichkeit liegt vor, wenn Sorbit im Dünndarm nicht oder nur zum Teil ins Blut aufgenommen werden kann.

Um sicher zu gehen, dass du auch mit einer Sorbitunverträglichkeit Maltodextrin konsumieren kannst, solltest du darauf achten, dass keine Süßungsmittel zum Maltodextrin hinzugefügt wurde.(7)

Gluten ist ein Eiweiß, dass vor allem in Getreide, wie Weizen, Gerste. Dinkel oder Roggen zu finden ist. Personen mit einer Glutenintoleranz bekommen beim Konsum von Gluten starke Verdauungsprobleme. Da Maltodextrin zu den Kohlehydraten gehört, ist die Einnahme von Personen mit einer Glutenunverträglichkeit unbedenklich. (8)

Bildquelle: piotrkt / 123rf

References (10)

1. Sathyapalan T., Thatcher N. J., Hammersley R., Rigby A. S., Pechlivanis A., Gooderham N. J., et al. (2015). Aspartame sensitivity? A double blind randomised crossover study. PLoS One 10, e0116212. 10.1371/journal.pone.0116212
Source

2. Malfatti, Carlos & Laat, Erivelton & Soler, Larissa & Bronkhorst, Irene & Pacheco, Vanessa & Funez, Eduardo & Pavlak, João & Da Silva, Luiz & Osiecki, Raul. (2011). Maltodextrin's Effect on the Performance of Elite Mountain Biking Athletes During Simulated Competition and on Power Output at the Ventilatory Threshold. Human Movement. 12. 10.2478/v10038-011-0023-9.
Source

3. Hulmi, J.J., Laakso, M., Mero, A.A. et al. The effects of whey protein with or without carbohydrates on resistance training adaptations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 12, 48 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-015-0109-4
Source

4. Abellán Ruiz, M.S., Barnuevo Espinosa, M.D., Contreras Fernández, C.J. et al. Digestion-resistant maltodextrin effects on colonic transit time and stool weight: a randomized controlled clinical study. Eur J Nutr 55, 2389–2397 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-1045-4
Source

5. Fedewa A., Rao S.S. Dietary fructose intolerance, fructan intolerance and FODMAPs. Curr. Gastroenterol. Rep. 2014;16:370. doi: 10.1007/s11894-013-0370-0.
Source

6. Deng Y., Misselwitz B., Dai N., Fox M. Lactose intolerance in adults: Biological mechanism and dietary management. Nutrients. 2015;7:8020–8035. doi: 10.3390/nu7095380.
Source

7. Jeffrey S. Hyams, Sorbitol Intolerance: An Unappreciated Cause of Functional Gastrointestinal Complaints, Gastroenterology, Volume 84, Issue 1, 1983, Pages 30-33
Source

8. Maria Teresa Bardella, Clara Fredella, Valeria Saladino, Cristina Trovato, Bruno Mario Cesana, Maurizio Quatrini & Luigia Prampolini (2005) Gluten intolerance: Gender- and age-related differences in symptoms, Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 40:1, 15-19, DOI: 10.1080/00365520410008169
Source

9. Junaida Astina & Suwimol Sapwarobol (2019) Resistant Maltodextrin and Metabolic Syndrome: A Review, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 38:4, 380-385, DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2018.1523028
Source

10. Figueiredo, V.C., Cameron-Smith, D. Is carbohydrate needed to further stimulate muscle protein synthesis/hypertrophy following resistance exercise?. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 10, 42 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-42
Source

Why you can trust me?

Aspartame Sensitivity? A Double Blind Randomised Crossover Study
Sathyapalan T., Thatcher N. J., Hammersley R., Rigby A. S., Pechlivanis A., Gooderham N. J., et al. (2015). Aspartame sensitivity? A double blind randomised crossover study. PLoS One 10, e0116212. 10.1371/journal.pone.0116212
Go to source
Maltodextrin's Effect on the Performance of Elite Mountain Biking Athletes During Simulated Competition and on Power Output at the Ventilatory Threshold
Malfatti, Carlos & Laat, Erivelton & Soler, Larissa & Bronkhorst, Irene & Pacheco, Vanessa & Funez, Eduardo & Pavlak, João & Da Silva, Luiz & Osiecki, Raul. (2011). Maltodextrin's Effect on the Performance of Elite Mountain Biking Athletes During Simulated Competition and on Power Output at the Ventilatory Threshold. Human Movement. 12. 10.2478/v10038-011-0023-9.
Go to source
The effects of whey protein with or without carbohydrates on resistance training adaptations
Hulmi, J.J., Laakso, M., Mero, A.A. et al. The effects of whey protein with or without carbohydrates on resistance training adaptations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 12, 48 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-015-0109-4
Go to source
Digestion-resistant maltodextrin effects on colonic transit time and stool weight: a randomized controlled clinical study
Abellán Ruiz, M.S., Barnuevo Espinosa, M.D., Contreras Fernández, C.J. et al. Digestion-resistant maltodextrin effects on colonic transit time and stool weight: a randomized controlled clinical study. Eur J Nutr 55, 2389–2397 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-1045-4
Go to source
Dietary fructose intolerance, fructan intolerance and FODMAPs
Fedewa A., Rao S.S. Dietary fructose intolerance, fructan intolerance and FODMAPs. Curr. Gastroenterol. Rep. 2014;16:370. doi: 10.1007/s11894-013-0370-0.
Go to source
Lactose Intolerance in Adults: Biological Mechanism and Dietary Management
Deng Y., Misselwitz B., Dai N., Fox M. Lactose intolerance in adults: Biological mechanism and dietary management. Nutrients. 2015;7:8020–8035. doi: 10.3390/nu7095380.
Go to source
Sorbitol Intolerance: An Unappreciated Cause of Functional Gastrointestinal Complaints
Jeffrey S. Hyams, Sorbitol Intolerance: An Unappreciated Cause of Functional Gastrointestinal Complaints, Gastroenterology, Volume 84, Issue 1, 1983, Pages 30-33
Go to source
Gluten intolerance: Gender- and age-related differences in symptoms
Maria Teresa Bardella, Clara Fredella, Valeria Saladino, Cristina Trovato, Bruno Mario Cesana, Maurizio Quatrini & Luigia Prampolini (2005) Gluten intolerance: Gender- and age-related differences in symptoms, Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 40:1, 15-19, DOI: 10.1080/00365520410008169
Go to source
Resistant Maltodextrin and Metabolic Syndrome: A Review
Junaida Astina & Suwimol Sapwarobol (2019) Resistant Maltodextrin and Metabolic Syndrome: A Review, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 38:4, 380-385, DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2018.1523028
Go to source
Is carbohydrate needed to further stimulate muscle protein synthesis/hypertrophy following resistance exercise?
Figueiredo, V.C., Cameron-Smith, D. Is carbohydrate needed to further stimulate muscle protein synthesis/hypertrophy following resistance exercise?. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 10, 42 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-42
Go to source
Reviews