Alternative Carbohydrate Sources with Lower Glycemic Index


Quite a few recipes have been using Maltodextrin for their primary carbohydrate source. This troubles me as I found out that Maltodextrin has an extremely high glycemic index of 150! Since I’ve learned this, I’ve been looking at alternative sources such as Brown Sugar (GI: 60), Agave (GI: 10-20) and Coconut sugar (GI: 35). Currently, I’m interested in looking into coconut sugar since it has a relatively low GI and will be easier to measure (as opposed to agave which is a syrup).

Does anyone else in the community have any experience with any other carbohydrate sources or have any recommendations?


Simple carb vs. complex carbs
How to remove phytic acid?

I’m using a blend of carbs between malto and oat flour. The fiber helps lower the GI of the malto…


That’s pretty similar to what I have currently. I’m actually looking to get rid of the Maltodextrin to lower the overall glycemic index. With such a high GI, I don’t see Maltodextrin being a good long-term source of carbohydrates as it may promote certain health issues such as diabetes.


I am using a blend of oat flour, buckwheat flour, and spelt flour; these are mixed, presoaked for at least 24 hours, and then cooked – not very convenient, but I think it is prudent to do these things to cope with the phytic acid content of the oats. My mix also incorporates a good bit of peanut butter powder; peanut butter has a very LOW glycemic index that will further lower the GI of my soylent.

Initially I had intended to look around for some maltodextrin – until I learned about that staggering GI of 150! Now I wouldn’t touch it.

My own formula, which I haven’t yet made available here as I’m a little worried about being in any way responsible for anyone else’s experimentation or results, is composed almost exclusively of food ingredients (I call it my “RealFoods Analogue Soylent” with mental apologies to Rob for what he would call my “essentialism”), which I feel is a much safer approach for experimentation than incorporating chemically pure manganese, potassium, sulfur and other elemental ingredients. I notice that there is now a definite trend towards this food-ingredient approach; perhaps I need to think again about publishing my personal soylent version.


Palatinose seems like the perfect carb source.

Jeffrey I would very much like to see it :wink:


First, maltodextrin has a GI of 105, not 150. Second, Agave? Are you fucking kidding?

Agave is absolute crap. its 90% fructose, thats why its GI is low. Fructose is shit. Only 20% of the energy in fructose can be used. Your liver has to process fructose the same way it processes alcohol and that releases bad triglycerides. And “brown sugar”? What the hell? First, brown sugar is no better than white sugar, its just more expensive, and second, its also 1/2 fructose. Do you people even understand the whole point of Soylent? Its to be scientific about nutrition, not preferring stupid expensive natural crap which is bad for you.


Does anyone have any opinions on Xylitol?


For Soylent, glycemic index is not the most important factor. Its glycemic load that is more important. I don’t know if fluid and solid Soylent acts the same way, but i make a raw chocolate Soylent cake(No fructose), and there are plenty of fibers and oats to make it digest and release energy from carbs slower. And i eat it in 6 portions throughout the day. So the energy burst is not that overwhelming for the body.

I won’t recommend fructose in bigger doses. The glycemic index of fructose may be lower than glucose, but that’s just because only the liver can metabolize fructose, and it is not absorbed by your insulin receptors like glucose is, and therefor it is not suitable source of energy. Ethanol is considered to be toxic, in large chronic use. Ethanol is also made from fructose. And they both have almost exactly the same impact on the liver. Though ethanol is metabolized by your brain too(which makes you drunk), while fructose isn’t. Smaller doses of fructose is not THAT bad, but for many other reasons, fructose is not very optimal energy source, and it puts your liver under stress more than glucose, because it requires to be metabolized in complex processes.

So the bottom line is, decrease the glycemic load, not by using fructose, but by adding more fiber and complex carbs. Also consider splitting your soylent into more meals. That is more healthy in the long run, i believe.


@johnsands660 - While your response was crude in tone you did provide interesting and valuable information, so, thank you for that. I’m curious to know if you have any anything to say about isomaltulose (a.k.a. palatinose), as I’ve not been able to find much information on it. The Wikipedia page looks a bit shady, as if it were written by someone trying to promote it as the ideal sugar replacement, but it seems to contain the exact same overall info that I’m finding on other sites.

Please note that many people on here have little to no understanding of the specifics of nutrition (including myself). I am personally more fond of the approach @rob is taking and have purchased some of his “official” Soylent to that effect, but I find it interesting to read about all the different approaches that other people are taking to make their own versions and what they are learning along the way. The few people on this forum who really know their stuff have been incredibly helpful to that effect.


Thanks everyone for your replies (yes, even @johnsands660). From the information provided, it seems the best route is to stick with a mix of maltodextrin, oat powder and fiber for carbohydrates. The oat powder and fiber will balance out the glycemic load of the drink itself, while still acting as a sufficient source of glucose for the brain. Additionally, we should be staying away from any sources that are primarily fructose (including sucrose).

Isomaltulose sounds interesting, but I got turned off by the price of it (~$50 for 2 lbs).


@J_Jeffrey_Bragg I’m experimenting with something similar to your flour combo but I found that when cooked it thickens up so much that I would need a ridiculous amount of water to keep it liquid. How are you cooking yours? and are you having this problem too?


My total quantity of the cereal ingredients I use (rolled oats ground up, buckwheat ground up, spelt flour) amounts to 7/8 cup – another 1/4 cup consists of ground flaxseed and psyllium husks but those are added after the cooking. Some dried whole egg also contributes to the thickening. The end quantity is around three pints.

Yes, it’s pretty thick, about like a Dairy Queen Blizzard used to be (before DQ axed its frozen yoghourt products). That keeps the oil components in suspension rather nicely, and I just eat it out of a tall mug with a soup spoon, often partially frozen. It wouldn’t be easy just to drink it; but the flavour is very nice rather than vitamins-and-elements nasty, so there’s no need to hold one’s nose and chug it.

When I get time, maybe this evening, I’ll go ahead and post about my “RealFoods Analogue Soylent” approach and go a little further into method, of which there’s a bit more than happens with the elemental version.


If you would post your recipe that would be really helpful. I’m trying to do a similar thing with the whole foods but right now it’s difficult to eat. Although I am finding that doing it this way is very inexpensive which is one of my main reasons for going this direction. What is your daily cost?


@jacob thanks for tipping me off to Xylitol

We’ve actually been experimenting with isomaltulose / palatinose. It does sound like an ideal carb source, however, the FDA warns that more than 40g / day can cause digestive issues in some individuals, meaning it could not be used for the bulk of carbohydrate energy.

Glycemic index does not come only from the chemistry and geometry of a substance. A high GI substance like maltodextrin can be offset with an appropriate fiber blend. However, it is still preferable to have a mix of high GI, medium, and low GI carbs to ensure satiety and a steady flow of energy.

The final version will likely have a mix of several different carbohydrates. This is our main focus at the moment and are consulting with experts in the field to create something ideal. Your feedback and suggestions are of course welcome as well.

Isomaltulose in Soylent 1.4
Processed ingredients and synthetic vitamins/minerals in Soylent
New Soylent Feedback category

I tried coconut flour. It doesn’t actually add much in the way of digestible carbs, but it is high in fibre and protein and adds a nice flavour (with the cocoa I’ve been adding). First time I think I’ve tried a Soylent and thought yum.


I’ve been reading up on it, I was thinking of incorporating a sugar alcohol for some % of the total carbohydrate calories.


Well, people do say you can live of beer only…


Well it looks like pre-cooked masa (such as this) could be an excellent source of carbohydrates, relatively low in phytic acid, and the cooking / nixtamalization process may further reduce the phytic acid. It’s also very inexpensive. Failing that, does anyone have detailed information about waxy maize starch?


@inzun, any chance you might share your soylent cake recipe? Or is it on the DIY already? If so, what is it called?