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GMOs and corn-derived maltodextrins

By Steve Born

Our Client Advisor staff has fielded this question a few times as of late, so we wanted to share the following with all readers of Endurance News. In a nutshell, the question we receive is something to the effect of, "Is the maltodextrin you use in your fuels derived from GMO-free corn?"

Dr. Bill Misner provides the answer:

"The highly refined, finished maltodextrins in Hammer Nutrition's product line originates from conventionally grown and organically grown corn. These corn maltodextrins are neither certified organic nor certified GMO-free. The refining process converts whole corn to longchain maltodextrins, which generate a remarkably high glycemic effect through first-pass metabolism. This high glycemic effect resolves high blood sugar turnover depletion during extreme exercise sessions.

Some (30-50%) of the corn maltodextrins are GMO-free while I estimate perhaps as much as 70% is exposed to GMO residue in either seed or insecticide. Once GMO-free and GMO corn products are mixed, GMO residue contents are diluted, but still present. The cost for GMO-free maltodextrins is higher than the bulk of crops grown all over our country from mega-farms. Organic crop harvests are significantly less than conventional grown, hence the huge differences in price.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) GMO detection tests done on Hammer Nutrition's maltodextrins [have resulted in] "negative" results. However, this does not imply [that there are] zero GMO-residues, since by more precise measures GMO measures may be detected. The detected levels of GMO-free maltodextrins originate from organically grown crops that must have very-very-low-to-no GMOs based on more precise detection measures before being certified GMO-free. When I suggest that PCR detection is negative, that means there is none detected by the limits of that particular test method. The corn maltodextrins processed via our manufacturer are gluten-free, but cannot be declared GMO-free."

My interpretation of Dr. Misner's statement is that the maltodextrins from the corn are so highly processed (in order to become maltodextrins) that the potential for any issues associated with GMO-derived corn would be extremely remote, if not altogether nil. The current testing procedures used to detect GMO residues have repeatedly shown that the maltodextrins we use in our fuels are devoid of any measurable amounts of GMOs (in parts per million). That should alleviate any concerns one may have regarding this specific matter.

Even so, it would be great if we were able to get the maltodextrins we use in our fuels only from certified organically grown, certified GMO-free corn. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that even a fraction of our maltodextrin needs could be fulfilled solely from certified organic/GMO-free corn. We require a lot of it, and the supply would rarely, if ever, be available. Plus, assuming that we could find a reliable, consistent source of certified organic, certified GMO-free corn, the cost of the maltodextrins would absolutely skyrocket, meaning a significant price increase in our products.

So does that mean we're cutting corners? Absolutely not. We ALWAYS procure the highest quality raw materials from the most reliable, trustworthy sources, and that includes the maltodextrins we use in our fuels. Additionally, the procedure of extracting the maltodextrins from the corn is a meticulous, multiple-step process, and by the time the "end result" (the maltodextrins) is reached, there are zero-to-near-zero measurable amounts (in parts per million) of GMO residues left.

Believe me, we at Hammer Nutrition admire and respect people who are conscientious about the food and fuel they put in their body. That's been a huge part of our "battle cry" throughout the 25 years we've been in business: we want you to be conscientious about what's in your fuel, and even more so about the food that comprises your daily diet. However, while the former is undeniably important, it's the latter, your diet, that makes up a significantly higher percentage of your daily calorie intake. As such, it has a much greater impact on your overall health, as well as athletic performance. Focus on that first and foremost, what you're consuming in your daily diet, and we'll make sure that the other approximately 10% of your daily calorie intake - the fuels you consume in your training and racing - are the finest, purest, most effective, and most affordable they possibly can be. HN