Carbohydrates Frequently Asked Questions
Which carbohydrate should I use?
The question of which carbohydrate sources are best for you depends on a few factors.
Most carbohydrates in powder form are absorbed very quickly. Consumers are often looking for a quick energy source prior to training, a source that will rapidly restore blood glucose levels (in the case of post training) and generate a hormonal response that increases the rate the body transports blood glucose into the muscles cells. This process has been reported to be a critical component for muscle growth through increased protein synthesis.
Many people will take carbohydrates with protein, especially when 'Bulking' or trying to increase muscle mass. When attempting to gain weight, it is typical for people to have carbohydrate to protein at a 1-1 or even 2-1 ratio (ie 60g of Carbs to 30g of Protein).
Please note: Ensure you take an adequate amount of fluid when consuming carbohydrate supplements as FSANZ warns that high carbohydrate supplements may cause gastrointestinal upset if not consumed according to directions.
Why should I take additional carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and make up an important part of a balanced diet. If you’re looking to gain muscle or looking for an effective way to refuel after a long workout then supplementing with additional carbohydrates is a great option.
Carbohydrate supplements are a convenient and cheap way to increase both your daily intake of carbohydrates and calories.
What are the different types of carbohydrates?
When it comes to carbohydrates there are two forms: simple and complex.
Simple carbs are typically sweet tasting like the carbs found in fruit, juice, and refined sugar. Complex carbs are typically more starch tasting like grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables.
Additionally, there are three main types of carbohydrates that each play a different role in the body.
- Fibre is a complex form of carbohydrate that plays a critical role in a healthy digestive system. Fibre comes in two forms soluble and insoluble meaning does it dissolve easily or not.
- Starch is also a complex form of carbohydrate and is the main dietary source of carbohydrates for the body. Starch is found in common stable foods like beans, rice, wheat, and potatoes and is slowly digested by the body to produce glucose for energy.
- Sugar is a simple form of carbohydrate and unlike fibre and starch, sugar is broken down quickly by the body into glucose to be used as energy. Sugar is commonly found in fruits and vegetables and is added to confectionery such as lollies and soft drinks.
When is the best time to take carbohydrates?
The best time to take carbohydrates is immediately after a workout with your post-workout shake. However, carbohydrates can be taken at any time of the day.
Can I add carbohydrates to a shake/smoothie?
Yes! Carbohydrates are a fantastic addition to shakes and smoothies and are a straightforward way to add extra carbohydrates into your diet.
Which is the best carbohydrate for buildbuilders?
Dextrose Monohydrate is generally the most popular carbohydrate used by bodybuilders. It is a monosaccharide, which means it is a single chained carbohydrate, which results in rapid absorption.
Dextrose is quite sweet (80% as sweet as sugar) so is great for flavouring unflavoured proteins or those who have a sweet tooth.
Dextrose mixes very well and has a great texture, it is generally said to improve the mixability and taste of proteins so works very well when blended with proteins. Dextrose is likely the best carbohydrate for those looking for a rapid spike in blood glucose levels, which also means it should be avoided for those concerned about these effects (and the possible weight gain due to it).
Why use Maltodextrin as a carb source over Dextrose Monohydrate?
Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate (as it is multi chained with a complex structure), however due to its weak bonds it is rapidly absorbed by the body, in a very similar period to Dextrose.
Maltodextrin generates slightly less of a hormonal response in the bloodstream but will still raise blood glucose levels significantly.
Maltodextrin is slightly sweet (much less sweet than Dextrose) and is the best choice for those who want a carbohydrate which has a great texture, mixes well, and does not affect the taste of their protein.
There has been some research into the combination of using Maltodextrin along with Dextrose. It is reported (but not particularly well verified) that the combination of these is ideal for rapid absorption, thanks to their structure. Due to this, many people prefer to take a combination of Maltodextrin and Dextrose at a ratio of 50:50.
Which the most versatile carbohydrate?
Fine Powdered Oats is perhaps the most versatile and suitable carbohydrate for widespread use. Fine Powdered Oats have all the nutritional benefits of oats, being high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre as well as protein. Oats are considered complex carbohydrates; however, our fine oat powder is highly refined so although the sugar content is extremely low, these would still be considered a rapidly absorbed carbohydrate with a high GI (though not as high as Dextrose or Maltodextrin).
Fine Powdered Oats mix well and have minimal texture, so they are great for adding to whey protein when making a bulking shake.
If your nutritional intake is lacking, then Fine Powdered Oats would be the best carbohydrate to use. They can be used for energy source pre-training as well as for post workout to restore glycogen levels. They are also great added to pancakes and other baking!