Carb Conundrum (homemade drink)

Looking to make my own carb drink for the bike, and curious what the big differences are between these three. I know dextrose is just d-glucose, maltodextrin is a linear chain of glucose molecules, and Waxy Maize is a branched chain starch. So I get that it mainly boils down to breakdown rate in the case of the starches and utilization rate. My question is: does it really matter on the bike? It wouldn’t change the hourly carb uptake rate would it? They all end up as glucose, so at the end of the day, dextrose looks to be the winner as your body doesn’t have to break it down. Why is waxy maize more expensive? Are there benefits I’m missing?



Waxy Maize

I don’t know, but I’m guessing it’s in this thread.

Bulk Powders Maltodextrin
Bulk Powders Fructose

/end thread. :wink:


Part of my question was because the dextrose is a good amount (almost 25%) cheaper than maltodextrin, and half the price of the waxy maize. So I was curious if there were major differences.

Is it? I wasn’t aware of the prices. Thought they were all similar.

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Unfortunately Bulk no longer make fructose and after contacting them they are not bringing it back. They offered me dextrose as a substitute.

Damn, I did not know that either! I’m about half way through my last bulk packet!

Following lots of very useful posts from @Dr_Alex_Harrison I’ve now changed over to normal sugar with great success, simply add some electrolyte and flavouring, I like BULK’s vanilla liquiflav. By far the cheapest and easiest solution I’ve found so far.


Just in case you have not found a substitute, I’ve switched to this fructose with no issues. Just leave a bag for me.

NOW Natural Foods, Fructose, Pure Crystalline Frustose, Excellent Substitute for Sugar, Certified Non-GMO and Kosher, 3-Pound (Packaging May Vary)


I believe the long chains like maltodextrin are more soluble in water vs the shorter ones, making it easier to fit hundreds of grams in a bottle. Try that with sucrose and you end up with a slurry, not a liquid.

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I just use dextrose. Maltodextrin is the same performance-wise but malto doesn’t mix as well…it’s a lot harder to cram a lot of calories into a single bottle with malto than with dextrose.

Starch doesn’t mix very well at all. Also, you will suffer a performance penalty if you fuel with starch vs malto/sugar/dextrose/fructose. But there can be compelling health reasons to use starch so you’ll know if you have those or not.

Anyhow…I just use dextrose and fructose with a little sodium citrate…bam!..roll on down the road.


How many grams of dextrose do you guys/gals typically cram into one water bottle?

Because it sounds fancy. No, it’s worse.


Just from the links I posted, they’re all around $28 for the tub, but the dextrose is 10lbs, the maltodextrin is 8lbs, and waxy maize is 5.5lbs.

I had never heard of Bulk. I thought you were just meaning bulk as in large amount. Thanks for the mention, they look good.

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I have switched to sucrose as well and it is working well for me. I wish it wasn’t so sweet, but so far that hasn’t been more than an annoyance for me.
Even if you want more glucose, I would go maltodextrin + sucrose, rather than sourcing separate fructose. This keeps is simple and cheaper, and I don’t really see a downside.


Really! I always thought the opposite, but if that’s the case then wow. I’ve already been able to cram around 250g in a bottle with malto/fructose, but even more would be welcome!

This is what I have been doing. I’m going to try the dextrose since it’s cheaper, and go with dextrose + sucrose. Hopefully it’s not too sweet.

You can get Fructose from Holland and Barrett

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Out of interest, what sort of water/sugar ratios have you been trying?
Are you adding an electrolyte too, such as the sodium citrate that @Dr_Alex_Harrison mentioned in the other thread, and if so what amount?

It’s been a bit since I followed the initial thread about using Gatorade powder and Maltodextrin. What is now the go-to standard for a home recipe? I’ve been using the Gatorade version for a bit, but local stores aren’t selling the cans of powder anymore so I need to re-source and figured I may as well update my recipe if I’m going to the trouble.