The best most available carb source?


i’m pretty much 100% new to this, and i want some information on the best most available carbohydrate source.

I’m currently fully invested into spelt flour, but it’s simply too difficult to find locally, thus unnecessarily cranking up the cost. i’ve heard some good things about it: that you don’t have to cook it, and its flavor is considerably bearable. none of this is enough to warrant almost 3$ per day for a carb source though.

if there are any other price minimizing gurus out there, please feel free to let me know of other, best, cheap, highly available components.


What do you mean by “best”?

In terms of price, masa harina is very cheap if you can get it locally in bulk. Otherwise, it’s not cheap at all.


by best most available, i mean the option that covers the most nutritionally, has low costs, and is likely to be found everywhere.

i think you answered my question though.

is masa harina another flour that needs to be cooked?

thanks for the info! :^)


Masa harina is a popular carb source in DIY because it’s cheap, fairly abundant in supermarkets and like and (or so they say) absorbed well without being baked. It also tastes pretty good, IMO. The main weakness with masa is that is very gritty. Like extremely gritty. I’ve also been looking for the perfect carb source, but I’m not sure it exists. Masa comes really close though.


I wish sweet potato powder were less expensive, it would be an excellent source.


more great info joemoe.


by gritty, do you mean chalky, extremely particulate, or insoluble? not sure i really get it.


Not very chalky at all. Hard “sand/silt-like” particles. It’s not like the chalky texture, what you’d expect in a protein shake. There is definitely insoluble components in Masa, because it doesn’t go away even after 24 hrs of putting in the refrigerator and mixing extensively.

I suggest you buy some Masa harina from Wal-Mart (it’s like $2-3) to give it a go before you settle on it as a DIY carb source. (If you end up not tolerating it, you can always make tortillas! Yay! :)).


hmmm cool. doesn’t sound too bad.

another question, pretty unrelated: is overdosing something by a few percent of the maximum that big of a deal? I understand the overdose threshold to be the amount that 99% of people can consume without any adverse affects. i feel like it wouldn’t be a huge deal.


It depends. It’s best to stay within FDA recommendations. Fat soluble vitamins and minerals can have especially adverse effects in [large] excess. For instance Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat soluble.


@waynenilsen - potato powder has a lot of starch, that’s not digested in a raw form. Try Rice Flour - we use it for 100%FOOD (rich for nutrients, cheap for pocket) and no gas!

@aidenaiden & @joemoe - levels set by FDA in 2000 cal diet - are minimums. So many people consume 200-300% of daily intake without any problems. But I recommend you check maximums (normally 5-10x of minimums) - they are hazardous.


I’ve used masa harina a lot for past recipes. It is cooked already as it is nixtamalized, so no worries there. Some people will be bothered by the grittiness, others won’t, I had no issues with it personally.

The brand can make a difference as well. Many seem to like the Maseca brand, I’ve used it and found it good, I found the smoothest to be Masa Brosa from Walmart, and the roughest to be blue masa.

Many folks like oats and use them without any pretreatment, but from what I understand you can easily cook them with a short microwaving.

As to overdoses, just be careful with them and do your research on the nutrient of interest. Some are disputed, or known to be significantly exceeded in some medications and would likely be OK. Others, the form it is ingested in can make a big difference in absorption, so check the form of vitamin you are getting as well.

There are some nutrients not specifically listed you may also want to include, or you may want to be sure to get a specific form of a certain nutrient such as D3 or K2. There are also ideal ratios of some nutrients to strive for, but I wouldn’t be to concerned about those when first starting out, but definitely worth looking into as you advance as a DIY’er.


Maltodextrin is fairly cheap. Pure glucose, but has a rather high glycemic index that is drastically offset by the other ingredients you use. Zero nutritional value beyond carb source.

It’s especially useful for getting pure carbs once you’ve reached a nutritional baseline and just want to scale it up or down for bulking or cutting.


Since Maltodextrin is a glucose,
a glucose is a sugar,
why Soylent nutrition facts say it contains 2 g sugar only?

Clinical trials for long term intake of Matodextrin

I think that Maltodextrin is more considered a starch than a sugar.


Correct. Most maltodextrin comes from corn, which is a starch. If you eat the kernels too then you get fiber (hence the “corn poops”).

Of course, starches are simply long chains of simple sugars (glucose):

Source: Wikipedia. Emphasis is mine. I can quote Wikipedia here because this is not a scholarly or journalistic endeavor :slight_smile:


Polysaccharide = large chains of glucose = poly sugar.

I think it will be the first question to a dietitian that we’re looking for.

P.S. I do not have anything against sugar - it’s a good source of energy for our brain. Especially from glucose. But I need to understand how to mention it in Nutrition Facts - just carb or sugar.
We use Dextrose instead of Maltodextrin (both come from corn) and customers (Hi @Brianrk) are interested.

UPD: Found an interesting link that adds more questions:


My reaction to that article:

  1. He’s a health/whole-foods pusher, so he’ll say anything not natural is bad.
  2. He refers to maltodextrin as being high Glycemic Index. The maltodextrin in Soylent has a very low GI/DE.
  3. He uses the GMO argument, which minimizes his credibility in my eyes.
  4. He pushes his own product to sell (Or is an affiliate with them.)


There seems to be evidence that maltodextrin contributes to Crohn’s Disease:

I also can not find any evidence that any form of maltodextrin has a low GI. I see ranges from 105-150, which is higher then glucose itself. (???) It seems like replacing all your maltodextrin carbs with simple sugar might actually reduce GI/insulin response.

Of course since maltodextrin is in basically every food in existence, if it was incredibly dangerous we’d know about it by now. It’s probably not the best idea for a sole source of carbs though.


Maltodextrin is what the official Soylent team decided to go with for carb source in combination with oat flour. Also, it wasn’t a low GI source – They moved from tapioca maltodextrin to corn due to cost slightly increasing the GI. The real secret to blunting the GI is diluting the maltodextrin with other ingredients – ie, protein, fat, minerals, water etc. It’s the ratio that makes the difference.

“Our chosen maltodextrin is derived from corn and has a DE of 10.”

You can certainly use regular sugar, but I have mixed feelings about sucrose after watching this video. And you’re right, it would technically lower your GI.


Carbohydrates can be long chain (takes more chemical energy to break into individual glucose molecules, thus longer to digest) and short chain (faster digestion.) Maltodextrin is a long chain carbohydrate, and has a Dextrose Equivalence rating for various grades.

The lower the DE, the longer the molecular chain, and the closer the carbohydrate is to pure starch (DE: ~.01)

Soylent uses maltodextrin with a DE of 10. This makes it take a while to digest, and it’s definitely a complex (long chain) carbohydrate.

High DE simple carbs are not good (well cooked processed flour, pure sugars and so on) when they’re consumed consistently. For individual meals (like a desert shake once or twice a week) it would actually be ok. Moderation is the key.