WHAT IS IT? WHY IS IT BAD NEWS FOR GAMERS? WHY IS IT USED IN GAMING PRODUCTS? AND WHY IS IT HIDDEN?
Most if not all gamers are aware of the many health implications that come with regularly consuming too much sugar, subsequent ‘crashing’ and associated health risks.
So much so, in recent times it’s led to a huge shift of manufacturers going ‘sugar free’ – especially in the powdered variety of energy drinks where it’s quickly become the accepted norm.
However, what the community may not be aware of is that the sugar has been replaced by something hidden (often found in the ‘other ingredients’ section of esports energy drink labels) that’s actually more detrimental to your health.
And that ingredient is...
So what is maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin is a highly processed carbohydrate and hidden sugar sourced from either corn, wheat, rice or potatoes. However maltodextrin is usually manufactured from genetically modified (GMO) corn, as it’s extremely easy and cheap to produce.
To produce maltodextrin, starchy foods such as corn, wheat, potatoes, and rice are cooked in water and then exposed to various acids and enzymes to separate the maltodextrin from other sugars.
After this process, the liquid containing maltodextrin is purified, filtered, and spray-dried to create a white powder that’s easy to identify in your energy drink as it leaves an unwanted but familiar chalky residue inside your mouth and shaker-cup.
Why are fillers like maltodextrin bad news for gamers?
Well apart from the big ouch in your wallet in regard to bang for buck (up to 50% of your current product can be this filler) maltodextrin can have some other far more concerning and negative impacts.
First up as mentioned above the head line story is around sugar...
Maltodextrin can be very conveniently listed/categorised on a food nutritional label as a carbohydrate and NOT a sugar
This is because maltodextrin is classified as a type of polysaccharide. Polysaccharides fall under the category of ‘carbohydrates’ despite maltodextrin consisting of a very long chain of repeating glucose molecules connected together. It’s this very long chain that breaks up rapidly in the body to send blood sugar levels soaring.
What does this mean?
Large amounts of maltodextrin used as a filler can cause spikes in your blood sugar far greater than even table sugar!
The Glycaemic Index (GI) rates carbohydrate-containing foods by how much they boost blood sugar levels. The greater the spike, the higher the number. For reference, table sugar (sucrose) registers at 63.
Maltodextrin however ranges from 85-120, ringing alarm bells for health-conscious gamers.
This also means products that use large amounts of maltodextrin as a filler should be avoided if you’re diabetic, or are pre-disposed to developing diabetes.
This sharp increase in sugar level ensures a rapid release of insulin (body’s storage hormone) which can lead to unwanted weight gain.
Another reason to rule out a filler like maltodextrin is to keep your gut bacteria healthy
Inside our guts we naturally have a lot of bacteria (trillions in fact) to help with breaking down foods for digestion. Maintaining a good balance of these natural bacteria is now recognised to help everything from our ability to fight disease through to mood, sleep and stress levels.
According to a study published in 2012 via PLOS ONE, maltodextrin can change your gut bacteria composition, making you more susceptible to disease. Maltodextrin can suppress the growth of probiotics in your digestive system, which are important for immune system function.
The same study also showed maltodextrin to actively increase the growth of E. Coli, bacteria that’s associated with autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease.
Maltodextrin has no nutritional value
And finally, a filler like maltodextrin has no nutritional value. Given you are buying an energy drink (with a high filler percentage of maltodextrin), maltodextrin is increasingly recognised by sports nutritionists as ‘nutrient negative.’ This means that converting the calories into useable energy actually takes up more vitamins and minerals than the product genuinely delivers - thus creating a negative net value.
Over time excessive consumption of maltodextrin can even lead to a number of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Not good news, especially as gamers are prone to going lengthy periods of time without eating.
ARE YOU GETTING BANG FOR BUCK?
Fillers like maltodextrin are a cheap and used to bulk up energy drinks and gaming meal shakes.
Fillers like maltodextrin tick a lot of boxes for companies wanting to maximise profits.
This of course raises ethical questions in regard to prioritising profits over product effectiveness, at the potential expense of gamers health.
OUR PLEDGE - NO FILLERS
We have a deep affection for our borderless community and a sense of responsibility that we take seriously.
ESN have never used fillers like maltodextrin in our products and never will, plain and simple.
Product transparency doesn’t just help gamers avoid the pitfalls of purchasing ‘bulked up’ ineffective products.
It also puts an end to ALL ‘proprietary blends’ by clearly listing each and every ingredient in the correct descending order for your convenience and added peace of mind.
A commitment to transparency appears on all ELX and IGF packs (see below). Helping you make a better informed, healthier decision on your energy and nutritional needs.
Kourtney P. Nickerson, Christine McDonald Crohn's Disease-Associated Adherent-Invasive Escherichia coli Adhesion Is Enhanced by Exposure to the Ubiquitous Dietary Polysaccharide Maltodextrin. Published: December 12, 2012
Give Respect To Gain Respect
We believe that we should all respect each other when online and in competition. We have our own wonderful borderless global community, that should be inclusive of gender, race, beliefs, sexuality and be non discriminatory. So hey, game hard, game fair and remember, let's be careful out there...