Replace sucrose with dextrose and fructose to reduce sweetness

I’ve always said there’s no stupid questions, only stupid people… so let me have a go: I find my personalized recovery shake mix to be a tad sweet and wonder if there would be any benefit in replacing table sugar/sucrose with a 50/50 mix of dextrose/fructose?

My understanding is that sucrose is essentially 50/50 glucose(dextrose)/fructose so I would assume sweetness would be identical, but keen to try if the sweetness may drop. Or I suppose maltodextrin (not quite glucose, but almost?) and fructose would do the same job as table sugar mixed 50/50 at less sweetness?

Please also feel free to add any other benefits of dropping table sugar in favor of dextrose/fructose. I already have maltodextrin at hand…

Pure fructose is sweeter than sugar. Maltodextrin is long chain glucose and is not sweet at all. Since this is for post workout you don’t need be concerned with speed of uptake so much. Use as much Maltodextrin as you can tolerate to bring the sweetness down.


I was gonna say why are you using rocket fuel for recovery?!!

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I would just use chocolate milk, but if i keep that in the house, the kiddo will drink it all and ill have nothing left :rofl:


I believe that maltodextrin is a starch based additive with similar properties to that of glucose but less sweet. All be learning :wink:

As noted my understanding of recovery is that the speed of the uptake is probably not as important. Generally I have opted towards a banana smoothie with some supplemented protein and then go for real food.

Another simple change to try could be leaving it as it is and putting in a good pinch of salt? Taste is individual of course, but it would likely take the edge off the sweetness and could well make your mix surprisingly more palatable. Salt+sugar is a potent combination in tasty processed foods for a reason, but in this case it’s probably beneficial after a sweaty indoor session, especially if you don’t have electrolytes in your mix already.


Thanks a bunch for all the input!

I guess my starting point was to be able to prepare a shake in advance with about 20g of protein (listening to the TR podcast they have convinced me). So then to get to 4:1 carbs to protein I added sugars and also tried to keep the sugars 2:1 glucose:fructose, I think based on a comment from Nate somewhere in here.

I suppose you are right though in that I could either lower the sugar altogether, moving closer to a 3:1 carbs to protein or just replace the sucrose with maltodextrin resulting is less sweetness, but maintaining other attributes (possibly except speed of absorption which is indeed probably somewhat less important after than during).

So my takeaways and new questions are:

  • 100g sucrose vs. 50g dextrose and 50g fructose will be equally sweet. 50g maltodextrin and 50g fructose would be less sweet than 100g sucrose.
  • When talking about the body potentially being able to absorb 60g of glucose and 30g of fructose per hour (yeah, i know this is being challenged and the upper limits may be significantly more), what happens to anything taken in beyond this threshold? Is it sitting in your gut being absorbed in say hour 2 if you haven’t taken in more? Or is it going to waste through urine etc.? Or even stored as fat?
  • @Captain_Doughnutman is there a reason not to do a 2:1 glucose:fructose in a recover drink? Aside from possible gastric distress and potentially a higher cost?
  • How much salt is too much for this purpose would you say? I love my salt, but am aware there are limits to what is healthy…

Just on the salt question, in coming up with a recipe for homemade recovery mix I basically copied the Skratch Labs recovery recipe which contains 270mg of sodium, from salt, per 12 fl oz serving. That works out as 0.675g salt, or approx 1/8 tsp.

Depending on your kitchen kit this might be hard to measure, unless you have a very small measuring spoon or some of those coffee brewing/drug dealing scales. Basically a big pinch.

That seems like a good starting point for experimentation, you could increase this substantially if you wanted though, Skratch and other brands like Precision Hydration sell other mixes with 1500+ mg of sodium per serving. But to get that quantity of sodium they aren’t using table salt (sodium chloride), other salts like sodium citrate seem to be used instead. I haven’t gone that deep in my home brew nutrition. Sodium citrate is apparently what makes nacho cheese though so I’m tempted to get some.

This isn’t directly answering your question, but coming at the problem from another angle. I also don’t like a super-sweet drink. I find that including bitter ingredients helps tone down the sweetness and makes the drink much more palatable with the same amount of sugar. I’ve been adding spirulina and cocoa powder to my recovery drinks. Instant coffee would also do the trick if you’re into that.

Another component to think about is the protein that you’re using. Most flavored protein powders have artificial sweeteners in them, so they’ll also contribute sweetness to your shake. I use unflavored whey, which is just plain protein powder and nothing else.

Thanks that’s valuable input. Have tried adding some cocoa, but will defo also try instant coffee. Also a good point on the whey - mine is flavoured as I could not find a neutral one as i was looking, but suppose I only need to look a little closer to achieve that. Thanks again!

Appreciate this comment. I actually have a drug dealer’s scale so should be able to measure that out:) Haven’t quite managed to read up on the salt/electrolyte bit yet, but this is a good topic for a crossover to my on-the-bike energy drink too. Sodium citrate sound like something to experiment with!

Chocolate milk is my go to for recovery. Certainly cheaper than any non homemade mix.

Sweetness reduction would be best accomplished by maltodextrin + fructose. Barely.

I pulled that image from this thread:

Other related threads:

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@Dr_Alex_Harrison , do you by happen know the carb/sugar distribution of Gu Roctane (grape)? It states Maltodextrin and Fructose. I use this exclusively with 90-120g per hour.

Nope. Sorry! No company with which I’ve inquired about sugar ratios is willing to spill the beans. I think most of them think that 2:1 gluc:fruc is optimal.

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