The term maltodextrins indicate the water-soluble carbohydrates produced by digestion starch mainly corn or potato.

According to the degree of processing of these starches are created the maltodextrins, made up of glucose molecules arranged in polymer chains more or less long. The name maltodextrins therefore identifies a class of substances produced by digestion, or better hydrolysis of starch, it makes you that there are different types of maltodextrins in the second stage of processing and characterized by the same amount of glucose molecules contained therein. The number of these molecules of glucose determines the Dextrose Equivalence (DE), which indicates the level of equivalence, of a given carbohydrate, in relation to glucose. In the maltodextrins Dextrose Equivalence can have a value between a minimum of 4-6 to a maximum of 36-39. The higher the value, the more the behaviour of maltodextrins is similar to that of glucose, then the greater their rate of assimilation, but with a high glycemic index. The speed and assimilation depends on the value of Dextrose Equivalence, the lower the value will be much slower than their absorption. The end result of this absorption, however, will always be the same, namely the absorption of glucose produced by the breakdown of the starch. It is believed that in resistance sports such as cycling an optimal value of DE is around 20-24, but in reality this value depends on several factors. First, the length of the race and his intent, then by individual athlete, on its ability to metabolize the maltodextrins. On the other hand, their use is advantageous compared to direct investment of simple sugars: release so gradually glucose content in the polymer, ensuring a steady supply of energy sustained over time, have a low glycemic index, thus avoiding peak insulin, allowing taking drinks not too sweet and more easily tolerable level intestine. In theory it should take a different maltodextrins index D.E. depending on the various stages of the race, giving priority to those with low index D.E. in the pre race and the first part of the race, preferring then those with a high D.E., a rapid assimilation, in the final stages of the race. We must consider, then, that, as mentioned, the individual sensitivity of maltodextrins assimilation is very diverse, and while some athletes tolerate the suit, in others can lead to nausea, gastrointestinal disorders and liver. Hence, even in this case, it is best to test the integration during training and only after having seen the benefits an individual to use them even in races. An important aspect is the degree of concentration in the liquid in which dissolved, which can vary from 7 / 8% up to 10% in subjects with a high tolerance to the food. The optimal solution is found patiently tried from time to time solutions increasingly concentrated up to find the maximum possible without the side effects described above. So it is better to start from very low concentrations and then, based on its experience, can be increased up to the maximum of 10% over which is not very convenient to go. The assumption of the liquid is in direct function of athletic effort but can be considered an average of 200 cc every 20 minutes. Appointment before the race, the maltodextrins, help improve the stocks of glycogen, but only if you are not followed proper pre race nutrition. Same thing for food after the race, can help the reintegration of stocks of glycogen, but are really only useful when the new physical effort is imminent and there is therefore time to make a meal after the race efficient and rational. In these cases, then you can swallow a quantity of 15-20 grams of glucose, to trigger the mechanism for synthesis of glycogen, and then take 200-220 grams of maltodextrins, to reinstate the stock. It should be noted also that the degree of fullness of maltodextrins is virtually zero and then one of their excessive use outside of competition could lead to excessive ingestion of calories. Ultimately we can understand how the use of maltodextrins during a competition of long duration, that is above the hour and a half, is without a doubt, it is necessary however to plan well their recruitment, both in the types of maltodextrins, their concentration and time recruitment. In pre and post-race, however, their usefulness is less obvious and necessary, especially when it follows a proper diet in all stages of sports performance.