Answer: Yes. Vegans can use dextrose – which comes from plant starches, usually cornstarch.
Still, it’s not always guaranteed to be vegan. Bone char is a common medium for refining dextrose. Also, the words ‘cultured’ and ‘fermented’ on the packaging indicate the use of bacteria from milk. You need to read the label before purchasing dextrose!
Table of Contents
What Is Dextrose Exactly?
Dextrose is simply a carbohydrate or monosaccharide. More specifically, it’s called crystalline glucose and D-glucose.
Dextrose is also known as glucose because it’s chemically similar to glucose (C6H12O6), but there is a vast difference between glucose and corn sugar. It’s an equal term for glucose or blood sugar. Your body absorbs dextrose faster than any other carbohydrate because it seems practically the same as human glucose.
Dextrose is an additive that adds sweetness to your foods and drinks, which is the primary energy source for your body, but it’s not like refined sugar. It occurs naturally in honey, starchy foods, and some fruits like cherries, bananas, papaya, blueberries, etc.
How Is Dextrose Made?
Dextrose is organic and plant-based, but you can’t find it directly in nature. It goes through an industrial process called enzymatic hydrolysis, a method of enzyme hydrolysis of cellulose (woody biomass) or starch (corn). The primary raw material of dextrose is corn sweeteners, organic acid, and fuel ethanol.
Types of Sugar
There are four types of sugar that people consume:
Glucose: A simple sugar found in the blood.
Sucrose: Combination of glucose and fructose with a ratio of 1:1. Another name is table sugar. Sugar cane is the primary source of sucrose.
Fructose: Fruits are its primary source.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: 45 to 58% glucose and 42 to 55% fructose combination make HFCS.
All of them are sugars, but they have different chemical structures and act differently in your body.
Are Corn Syrup and Dextrose the Same?
Both corn syrup and dextrose come from cornstarch, but their preparation is different. You will get dextrose in powder form, and it is also familiar as glucose powder, besides corn syrup as glucose syrup. Corn syrup contains glucose, and HFCS has both glucose and fructose. Also, dextrose should not be confused with sucrose, galactose, and fructose.
Which One to Pick – Table Sugar or Dextrose?
Table sugar is mainly sucrose from sugar cane, fruits, and vegetables. It’s sweeter than glucose and less sweet than fructose. It’s a popular additive in ice cream, candy, soda, and canned food. Because of being a preservative & flavor enhancer, sucrose is used widely in the food and beverage industries.
Dextrose is a form of glucose that comes from starches. Corn, wheat, and rice are the primary source of this sugar. It’s around 20% less sweet than table sugar or sucrose. Cake, bread, filling, cookies, rolls, icing, glazes, drinks, and beverage producers use dextrose most commonly.
Dextrose will provide you with a gentler sweetness that provides fewer calories – 20% less sweetness allows bakers to bulk and preserve food without making it overly sweet. There is also available GMO-free dextrose.
Can Vegans Eat Dextrose?
Dextrose is plant-based glucose.
However, there is a twist. Dextrose is not always vegan; it can be non-vegan. Some commercial producers use bone char for refining and filtering sugar. Dextrose can also contain various bacteria from milk.
You need to be conscious and ensure a vegan label on the package.
What Is Cultured Dextrose?
A combination of simple sugar and bacteria from milk during production makes cultured dextrose, and it has a tough name called Propionibacterium Freudenreich I.
Cultured dextrose doesn’t always mean non-vegan food because producers may not use bacteria from milk.
Uses of Dextrose
Dextrose is affordable and familiar as commercial sugar. It has multiple uses in food, medicine, bodybuilding, and cosmetics for these qualities, including:
- Packaged Food Preservative
- Color Stabilizer
Dextrose is mainly used in chocolates, candies, cookies, energy drinks, cured meat, cake mixes, sauces, frozen desserts, pickles, etc.
You can also buy dextrose for your recipes as a replacement for sugar.
Dextrose also has medical uses. Mainly dehydrated and low blood sugar patients use dextrose in oral or saline form.
- Dehydration treatment
- Improving low blood sugar
- High potassium level treatment
- Supplement as insulin inducer
Dextrose is also popular among bodybuilders. It provides faster muscle recovery and quick energy.
Benefits of Dextrose
Dextrose is full of carbs and is fat-free. It has many health benefits that depend on your consumption needs and goals.
Rich In Carbohydrates: Carbs are the primary energy source of your body. 100g of dextrose serves 92g of net carbs.
Fat-Free: Dextrose is fat-free. This fat-free sugar ensures fast absorption. It’s also free from fatty acids that may increase your risk for heart disease.
Quick Absorption: Human body can absorb dextrose faster than any other sugar. What else is a more beneficial choice for your training sessions?
Cholesterol-Free: Dextrose is cholesterol-free. According to doctors’ suggestions, you should consume 200mg or less of cholesterol each day.
Sodium-Free: Dextrose is sodium-free, which is beneficial for various reasons. You need sodium for proper health, but it will lead to water retention and even increase blood pressure if you consume too much sodium.
Side Effects of Dextrose
People with diabetes and heart diseases, and pregnant women should limit dextrose because it’s pure glucose that increases blood sugar fast. If you avoid refined sugar, you should prevent dextrose because it’s highly refined. Taking too much dextrose may lead to some long-term side effects.
- Increase blood sugar
- Increase blood sugar
- Increase fat storage
Dextrose is vegan-friendly; you just need to ensure there’s a vegan label on the packaging. Choose the right brand and enjoy your sweet vegan life!