Carbohydrates are basically sugar and starch found both naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, legumes and grains as well as manufactured products like sport drinks and energy bars/gels, and they provide fuel to the body for energy. Once digested, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and oxidised at various rates for either immediate use as energy or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for later use.

Everyone needs carbohydrates to survive and be healthy. Higher amounts of carbohydrates are needed with increased muscle mass and increased physical activity levels. However, excessive carbohydrate consumption will be stored for future use as fat or glycogen so it's important not to consume excessive amounts of carbohydrates. The body is best able to process carbohydrates pre, intra and post workout as well as first thing in the morning.

As carbohydrates will create an insulin response and insulin tends to make us store fat, it's important not to have too much or at the wrong times if you want to stay lean and toned. The rate at which the carbohydrate is digested and absorbed can influence body composition and health: A slower carbohydrate breakdown from lower glycaemic carbohydrates is better for satiety, blood sugar, and body composition. These carbohydrates are found in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.

Rapid digestion of simple, higher-glycaemic carbohydrates is beneficial during the pre- and post-workout periods for feeding growing muscle tissue. With this in mind, Nutrients Direct offers a range of slow and fast acting carbohydrates to ensure you get the right nutritional intake depending on your requirements and training goals. Dextrose Monohydrate Dextrose Monohydrate, also known as corn sugar, is a simple carbohydrate which has a high Glycaemic Index. Dextrose is easily absorbed by the body to provide a rapid increase in energy levels as it raises blood sugar levels and restores glycogen quickly after consumption. Dextrose is a popular carbohydrate which is often combined with creatine or amino acids to increase training intensity and improve recovery. It is well documented that consuming dextrose and other simple sugars before and during exercise is able to spare muscle glycogen, increasing the amount of energy available work duration. Supplementing dextrose enables the body to maintain blood glucose levels, resulting in significant improvements in endurance exercise performance compared to drinking water alone.

After an extended period of intensive exercise, your muscle glycogen becomes partially or fully depleted. To maximise recovery it is necessary to replace this lost glycogen.To do this effectively, you need to consume carbohydrates in the form of simple sugar. It is well known that creatine is able to increase muscle mass and strength.What may not be as well known is that adding simple sugars such as dextrose to your creatine supplement causes an insulin spike which helps to increase the amount of creatine absorbed by your muscles. This increase in creatine absorption may then be beneficial for exercise performance and lean gains.

Instant Oats Instant Oats are a complex carbohydrate which have a low Glycaemic Index meaning that they provide a sustained energy release. Sourced in Australia, Nutrient Direct's Instant Oats are a healthy source of carbohydrate which have been shown to improve digestion and provide satiety so can assist with weight loss. Instant Oats are popular with people who train and are looking for slow absorbing carbohydrates rather than other highly processed carbohydrates such as Dextrose or Maltodextrin. Instant Oats are also high in dietary fibre which has not only been shown to prevent a host of diseases but is also effective in aiding weight loss as it creates greater feelings of satiety whilst keeping calorie intake down.

Maltodextrin Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate although it has a relatively high Glycaemic Index meaning it is rapidly absorbed by the body in a manner similar to Dextrose. As it is easily absorbed by the body, it provides a rapid increase in energy levels as it raises blood sugar levels and restores glycogen quickly after consumption. Maltodextrin is a popular carbohydrate which is often combined with dextrose to optimise glycogen replenishment and performance. Like dextrose, maltodextrin is absorbed directly through the gut so it raises blood sugar and insulin levels as much as dextrose does.However before maltodextrin can be utilized, it must first pass through the liver for the bonds between the glucose molecules to be broken down. So the rate at which it is used for glycogen replenishment is slower than with dextrose. However, because it is metabolized slower, there will not be as quick of a drop of insulin and blood sugar levels as with dextrose. Why not try each one and see which one works better for you, but you may also consider a popular approach which is to combine dextrose with maltodextrin in a 50/50 combination. Waxy Maize Starch Waxy Maize Starch is a complex, long-chain carbohydrate. Nutrients Direct's Australian made Waxy Maize Starch is easily and quickly absorbed by the body, providing a rapid increase in energy levels as it raises blood sugar levels and restores glycogen quickly after consumption. Unlike other simple carbohydrates,

Waxy Maize Starch has a high molecular weight allowing it to pass through the stomach quicker alleviating bloating or cramping. Combining Waxy Maize Starch with faster acting sugars like dextrose and maltodextrin as well as amino acids (including BCAAs) is popular amongst people who train as it allows for rapid absorption. It works brilliantly on its own or as part of a muscle building stack when mixed with creatine and protein.