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Best Carbohydrate Supplements 2024: For Training & Bodybuilding

Karla Tafra

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

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best carb supplement

Transparent Labs Carb Powder

  • 25 grams of patented Cluster Dextrin® (highly branched cyclic dextrin) for sustained release
  • Replenishes muscle glycogen
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • Free of artificial preservatives, colorings, or sweeteners

best carb supplement

Jacked Factory Carb Surge

  • 20 grams of complex carbs from Carb10® Pea Starch and Cluster Dextrin
  • Minimal impact on insulin secretion
  • Manufactured in the USA in a Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) Certified Facility

best carb supplement

Performance Lab SPORT Carb

  • 40 grams of KarboLyn® technology-created formula that’s bioengineered to a tiny molecule that absorbs faster and lasts longer
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Provides two-plus hours of stimulant-free energy

Carbohydrates often fall into the “forbidden” food group for many people who are trying to lose weight and keep it off. Still, they’re an important part of our nutrition and our major energy source, fueling our every cell. Whether you’re calorie counting, intuitive eating, or sticking to low-carb diets, it’s important to know how carbs affect you and whether or not a carb supplement could be beneficial. 

Best Carbohydrate Supplements For Training & Bodybuilding In (February. 2024)

5 Best Carb Supplements To Take In 2024

Transparent Labs Carb Powder

If you’re looking for one of the best carbohydrate supplements that won’t disturb your stomach and drastically increase your blood sugar levels, Transparent Lab’s patented formula is one of your best choices.

  • 25 grams of patented Cluster Dextrin® (highly branched cyclic dextrin) for sustained release
  • Replenishes muscle glycogen
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • Free of artificial preservatives, colorings, or sweeteners
  • High price point

Transparent Labs is a trusted brand by many fitness enthusiasts who leave thousands of positive reviews on their products. Their carbohydrate powder supplement has a patented Cluster Dextrin® formula which contains 25 grams of highly branched cyclic dextrin in every single serving. 

It’s specifically designed to be gentler on the stomach and avoid intense blood sugar spikes, while replenishing your muscle glycogen before, throughout,  and after training. It’s the perfect choice for a long-lasting and sustained release of carbohydrates that can help you endure even the hardest and longest training sessions. 

It comes in two flavors: tropical punch and blue raspberry and unflavored, so it can suit anyone’s taste.

Jacked Factory Carb Surge

Easy on the stomach carbohydrate supplement with a high-quality formula designed to have a long-lasting, sustained carbohydrate release without causing sugar spikes.

  • 20 grams of complex carbs from Carb10® Pea Starch and Cluster Dextrin
  • Minimal impact on insulin secretion
  • Manufactured in the USA in a Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) Certified Facility
  • Contains artificial flavors
  • Contains sucralose

Jacked Factory Carb Surge is a carbohydrate supplement with a high-quality formula that combines slow-acting and fast-acting carbohydrates which are easy on the stomach and provide long-lasting fuel throughout even the toughest workouts

Every serving contains 20 grams of complex carbohydrates from Cluster Dextrin and Carb10® Pea Starch which helps replenish glycogen stores and promote muscle recovery and growth. Their formula won’t cause a sudden blood sugar spike and has minimal impact on insulin secretion, causing a healthier sustained energy release. It comes in two flavors: blue raspberry and peach mango and unflavored.

Additionally, it’s important to mention that their formula contains some artificial flavors and sucralose, a controversial synthetic sweetener that is known to cause digestive issues in some people.

Performance Lab SPORT Carb

One of the cleanest and best carbohydrate supplements on the market, Performance Lab SPORT Carb is a great choice for anyone who’s looking to increase their carb intake and replenish glycogen stores in a healthy and sustained way.

  • 40 grams of KarboLyn® technology-created formula that’s bioengineered to a tiny molecule that absorbs faster and lasts longer
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Provides two-plus hours of stimulant-free energy
  • Very expensive

Performance Lab SPORT Carb supplement has a clean formula that was created using a unique KarboLyn® technology which is bioengineered to a tiny molecule size to increase absorption through muscle tissue, be easier on the stomach, and last for a long time. 

It also contains Himalayan pink salt and coconut sugar that helps drive the formula into the muscles with higher efficiency, increasing endurance, and athletic performance. Since it only contains monk fruit sweeteners and stevia, this carbohydrate supplement contains no artificial sweeteners, additives, colorings, or preservatives. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and non-GMO. It’s naturally flavored with cocoa, vanilla, and cinnamon, and naturally sweetened with coconut sugar, stevia, yacon root, and monk fruit extract.

Vitargo Carb Powder

Made for endurance training and even the most demanding workouts, Vitargo is a carb supplement that’s specifically designed for athletes and provides the fastest fuel before, during, and after workouts.

  • Extremely fast acting
  • Claims backed by scientific evidence
  • Naturally occurring starch isolate
  • Sugar-free, non-GMO
  • Expensive 

Vitargo is made from a specially processed carbohydrate that molecularly differs from sugars and maltodextrin and it’s proven by peer-reviewed studies to work faster and better than both of these usual carbohydrate sources. The reason for this is its molecular size: it’s thousands of times larger than sucrose, glucose, and maltodextrin. It’s also easy to digest and absorb, delivering energy and fuel straight to your muscles and liver.
Vitargo improves muscle repair and promotes same-day recovery, replenishing 77% more glycogen than sugars and maltodextrin in as little as two hours. Its formula contains no GMO, no artificial ingredients, and zero sugar.

JYM Supplement Science Post JYM Dextrose Carbs

A fast-acting carb supplement to replenish muscle glycogen stores and support nutrient uptake.

  • 30 grams of pure dextrose per serving with fast absorption
  • Affordable
  • Fast-acting
  • Contains artificial ingredients and sucralose
  • Creates a drastic insulin spike and needs to be taken with their branch chain amino acids (BCAA) to get the full benefit of their product

JYM Supplement Science Post JYM Dextrose Carbs carbohydrate powder has a fast-acting formula containing pure dextrose, allowing it to rapidly start replenishing muscle glycogen. It’s known to increase blood glucose levels and create an insulin spike in the body, but it may help enhance nutrient uptake into the muscle cells. 

The brand recommends using another one of their products post-workout in combination with the carb supplement: the Post JYM BCAA+ Recovery Matrix, a branched-chain amino acid product that promotes muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth. It comes in five delicious and unique flavors that can suit any palate.

The product itself isn’t the cleanest as the formula contains some artificial ingredients and sucralose, which can cause gastric distress in people.

What Are Carbohydrates? 

Carbohydrates are one of the main macronutrient groups in addition to proteins and fats. They are sugar molecules that come in three different forms, depending on their complexity:

  • Sugars (the simplest form)
  • Starches (more complex carbohydrates)
  • Dietary Fiber (the non-digestible form)

Their role is to provide fuel for your body that it can then convert into energy. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose molecules that are then absorbed by your cells and converted into energy, helping them optimally perform their functions. That’s why they’re usually one of the best food options before a workout, supplying you with the energy to perform even the hardest exercises. 

Who May Use Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are a macronutrient that should be used by everyone as the role and health benefits they provide in the human body are hard to replace. Some people, like those diagnosed with diabetes, need to be on a low-carb diet for health reasons as their bodies cannot properly digest carbohydrates, leaving them in the bloodstream to circulate and create inflammation. 

Other people keep a low-carb diet because they’re trying to lose weight as they’re the easiest and quickest macronutrient for your body to store if it isn’t used and converted into fuel. Excess glucose gets stored in your liver and muscle cells as glycogen so it can be accessed in times of need. But, when those storage values aren’t used and more carbohydrates enter your bloodstream, they turn into fat and cause weight gain. 

But, not all people are trying to lose weight. Some have problems with low body weight or are trying to promote muscle growth. Others are endurance athletes or those who practice endurance sports and need a long-lasting energy supply to prevent muscle breakdown. These are the people who should increase their carb intake and think about taking carbohydrate supplements. 

Some of the best carb sources include:

  • Fruits and vegetables (especially those vegetables high in starch such as potatoes[1])
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Carbohydrate supplements

Benefits Of Carb Supplements

The best carbohydrate supplements replenish your muscle glycogen storage as well as provide you with sustained energy for longer periods. Their goal is glycogen replenishment, but they can do so through both, fast-acting carbs (simple sugars) and complex carbs that take a long time to digest properly. 

They’re great for any type of long, endurance training where they offer a quick burst of energy, allowing you to perform better, faster, and endure more strain than you’d be able to without them. They also help prevent muscle breakdown or gluconeogenesis[2] which occurs when your body is in a very depleted, low-carb state and starts turning protein into glucose so your body can use it for fuel. 

Different Types Of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates exist in three main forms that all play different roles in your body:

  • Sugars – are the simplest carbs that your body breaks down fairly quickly, causing an increase in your blood sugar levels and secretion of insulin. They provide a quick burst of energy for when you need it. They can be naturally occurring or artificially added to other carb supplements, but your body processes them in the same way. 
  • Starches – are complex carbohydrates that create a moderate insulin response, take longer to break down, and keep you satiated for longer. They are the slow-digesting carbs that give your body sustained energy throughout the day, replenishing your muscle glycogen little by little instead of all at once. 
  • Fiber – a complex carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by the body. It passes through the intestines, helping cleanse your body from toxins by “collecting them” as it sweeps through your body. It also helps you stay fuller for longer, feeds your gut bacteria, and keeps your blood glucose levels in the optimal range.  

Sugars exist in many different forms and under many different names. While some may be present naturally in healthy foods such as fruit, in the majority of products where they’re artificially added, they are believed to cause inflammation and harm to the body. 

Many people wonder if they should completely omit carb supplements if they’re following a keto diet, and the best keto supplements do not contain any carbs or at least zero net carbs. If you see that a product has zero net carbs but does contain some carbohydrates, it’s usually fiber. Since fiber isn’t digested in the body, it doesn’t create an insulin spike or gets absorbed in the bloodstream, meaning it provides zero calories to your energy balance.

How To Choose The Best Carb Supplements?

The best carb supplements need to have some qualities for your body to process them well and reap some benefits.

  • High quality – the sources of carbs in your product must be high quality so that your body can efficiently use them as fuel. 
  • No artificial ingredients – if possible, choose a carb supplement with zero or minimal artificial ingredients as that reduces the chances of an inflammatory reaction
  • Easy on the stomach – many brands create formulas that are easy on the stomach and your digestion, preventing any feelings of uneasiness and discomfort.
  • Improved absorption and nutrient intake – the best brands do everything they can to create a formula that will help you intake as many nutrients as possible, so you’re not just drinking the supplement without knowing if it’s even working. 
  • Your needs – if you’re looking for just a quick energy boost, choose a product that’s high in simple sugars, but if you’re looking for something with a more sustained release, which will keep you fueled up throughout your entire workout and replenish your muscle glycogen storage post workout carb supplement, you need a complex carb formula. These complex carbs will help maintain low blood sugar levels and their slow digestion will promote your endurance while improving athletic performance.
  • Your preference – many of these carbohydrate powders have flavors that can make it easier for you to turn into a shake and drink. Some brands also offer unflavored versions in case you want to mix it up with something that already has its flavor. 

The Takeaway

Carbohydrate supplements are a great way to help provide muscle fuel and an energy boost for your entire body, especially in moments when your muscle glycogen storage is depleted. They help fuel your training session, increase your endurance, and promote a better athletic performance through your ability to get faster, more powerful, and endure more strain. 

Pay attention to the ingredients list and try to stay away from any artificial flavors, colorings, and sweeteners as they’re known to cause an upset stomach and potential other digestive issues down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do carbohydrates cause weight gain?

No, carbohydrates don’t cause weight gain. Only a surplus of calories causes weight gain. So when you’re intaking more calories than you’re expending, your body starts storing the surplus as fat.

How might carbohydrate supplements help?

They can help replenish your glycogen storage, give you sustained energy throughout endurance training, and improve your athletic performance by allowing you to push yourself in your workouts.

Are there any side effects to carbohydrate supplements?

One of the potential side effects of carbohydrate supplements is water retention. Carbohydrates cause an uptake in the water around your cells, which can show an increase[3] in body weight. Even though you technically do weigh more, your body fat stays the same.

How should I consume carbohydrate supplements?

Take a serving with water, either before your workout for quick muscle fuel, during your workout to help replenish muscle glycogen storage, and post-workout to improve recovery.

How many carbs should you take before a workout?

Depends on the brand, but anywhere from 20-40 grams of carbs before a workout is the standard serving.


+ 3 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Robertson, T. M., Alzaabi, A. Z., Robertson, M. D., & Fielding, B. A. (2018). Starchy Carbohydrates in a Healthy Diet: The Role of the Humble Potato. Nutrients, 10(11), 1764. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111764
  2. Hanson, R. and Owen, O. (2013). Gluconeogenesis, Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry, pp. 381-386. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-378630-2.00040-2.
  3. Osterberg, K. L., Pallardy, S. E., Johnson, R. J., & Horswill, C. A. (2010). Carbohydrate exerts a mild influence on fluid retention following exercise-induced dehydration. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 108(2), 245–250. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.91275.2008
Karla Tafra

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

Karla is a published author, speaker, certified nutritionist, and yoga teacher, and she's passionate when writing about nutrition, health, fitness, and overall wellness topics. Her work has been featured on popular sites like Healthline, Psychology.com, Well and Good, Women's Health, Mindbodygreen, Medium, Yoga Journal, Lifesavvy, and Bodybuilding.com. In addition to writing about these topics, she also teaches yoga classes, offers nutrition coaching, organizes wellness seminars and workshops, creates content for various brands & provides copywriting services to companies.

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

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